By Habibu Harisu
Sokoto, Dec. 22, 2020 Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has called on trained community defenders against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) to be good advocates for the elimination of all forms of violence in the society.
Abubakar III, made the call at the end of a four-day training of 160 community defenders against Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Harmful Practices (HP) organized by the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development, an NGO, on Tuesday, in Sokoto.
The Sultan, who was represented by the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Sama’ila Mera, called on participants to spread the good understanding of the issues acquired from the training for the benefit of the society.
He noted that the foundation worked hard at ensuring all provisions of child protection acts were in accordance with religious beliefs, stressing that the cases of GBV were becoming alarming and people were concerned that no one was safe from the perpetrators.
The programme was tagged:” Workshop to train 160 Women and Girls Right-Defenders in Relevant Skills to Better Engage with Religious and Community Leaders to End Violence Against Women and Girls and Harmful Practices”.
Naija247news reports that the effort was aimed at preventing Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), Harmful Practices (HP), Sexual Reproduction Health Right (SRHR).
The Spotlight Initiative Project is the sponsor of the programme supported by the European Union, the United Nations, in partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria, aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls.
The Director General of the Foundation, Dr Aminu Inuwa, said the training aimed to identify and discuss the high prevalence of violence against women and girls, as well as develop strategies for the promotion of gender equitable norms and effective response to GBV cases in the society.
Inuwa said the participants shared experiences of handling, supporting and advocating for victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) as well as trained women defenders to better engage community and religious leaders at all levels.
He noted that all the cases of GBV occurred in communities where survivors often faced untold hardships.
The Director General said training of 320 women and girls’ rights defenders was conducted in Adamawa state, noting that the foundation handled engagements in the Spotlight Initiative Project and various activities were conducted during the year.
Inuwa said the defenders were trained on relevant skills to better engage with religious, community and political leaders to end violence against women and girls as well as end harmful practices.
” The foundation also mobilized 120 men and set up eight platforms for men and youth against sexual and gender-based violence at the community levels,” Inuwa said.
He explained that the men were used as advocates for engagement in the prevention of and intervention for victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
The director general added that 225 opinion leaders, including traditional, community and religious leaders, as well as the media, were empowered to continue to speak up on violence against women and girls.
The foundation reached out to over 10 million listeners with its messages, via six radio stations in Sokoto and Adamawa states, during the COVID-19 lockdown, Inuwa said.
In her remark, the Sokoto state Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs, Hajia Kulu Sifawa, said the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Project was supporting the programme to unravel the many untold stories of sexual and gender-based abuses.
” Establishment of the NANA Khadija Referral Centre has facilitated receiving victims of all forms of violence against girls, women and even boys. More synergy between stakeholders is, however, needed to expose and handle these issues in our society”, Sifawa said.
A cross section of participants noted that violence against women cases were increasing at an alarming rate and urged stakeholders to redouble efforts at addressing the problems so as to achieve the desired impact.