The executive director of Women’s Rights and Health Project (WRAHP), Bose Ironsi and the Edo State assistant programm officer, of the organization, Akpojevba Ufuoma Juliet say WRAHP has sensitized a total of 13, 000 people on sexual and gender based violence, in Edo State.
The duo made the disclosure at a programme organized by WRAHP to sensitize media representatives on effective documentation of reported SGBV cases in Edo state, under a project titled. ‘Enhancing Gender Equality and Protection from Gender Based Violence for Women and Girls’.
The ED, Bose Ironsi said it is globally estimated that one in three women experience either physical or sexual abuse in their life time and that the figures are mirrored in Nigeria where 30 per cent of girls and women aged between 15 and 49 reported to have experienced sexual abuse alone.
“Nearly, three in 10 Nigerian women have experienced physical violence by age 15. According to the United Nations, 11, 200 Nigerian women and girls were raped in 2020. As part of effort to address the problem, WRAHP with support from Open Society Foundation (OSF), implemented a 21- months project on, ‘Enhancing Gender Equality and Protection from Gender Based Violence for Women and Young Girls in Edo State.
“The aim of this idea was to improve protection from SGBV for women and young girls through the VAPP Law in Edo State.
“The specific objectives were to: increase awareness of the provisions of the VAPP Law among 5000 community members in two local government areas in Edo State and to strengthen reporting pathways for survivors of SGBV, through mandated reporting in the two local government areas in Edo State,” shestated.
The executive director also listed some key accomplishments of the project to include, increased understanding on the provisions of the Edo State VAPP Law and other SGBV related issues among 13,375 (8,896 females and 4,479 males) community members, both adults and young people.
She said others achievements were, networking and partnership for effective and comprehensive SGBV response in the state with key state and non-state actors such as the State Police Command, Ministry of Justice, National Human Rights Commission, NAPTIP, International Federation of Women Lawyers, Child Protection Network, the Media, etc.
She added that a crop of 36 committed community SGBV advocates were raised in the state who are engaged in community sensitization sessions on VAPP Law and working to protect women and girls from SGBV and the availability of the simplified edition of the Edo State VAPP Law to members of the community and 5000 copies of the VAPP law produced and distributed using multiple community channels.
Representative of the permanent secretary to state Ministry of Social Development and Gender Issues, Mrs. Barbara Osobaro, represented by Mrs. Irenonsen Ihensekhen, said the state has zero tolerance for SGBV, since the first lady Besty Obaseki handled the issue of SGBV in the state.
She stressed that on their own, the ministry would continue to work to ensure the problems are curbed and advised all to join hands together to fight the sexual and gender based violence scourge.
The WRAPH Edo State assistant programm officer, Akpojevba Ufuoma Juliet, said the NGO has carried out awareness and sensitization programmes in various communities in the state, especially in Egor and Ikpoba-Okha local government areas.
She explained that those sensitization activities took place in churches, schools, mosques, markets and among children in various communities in the state. She listed the local governments where youths and women were trained as Egor and Ikpoba-Okha local governments.
According to her, WRAPH recently trained 120 persons women and youths on capacity building.
She further said the main core of the event is to dialogue with the media on how to report sexual and gender based violence to the general public for the public to get the right message about SGBV in the state.
She listed some of the challenges as lack of trust in the justice system, time frame to finish their project, election issues, economic and social crisis such as; kidnapping, armed robbers, rape, defilement and many other problems that lead to their constrains.
In her closing speech, director, Citizens Rights Department, Edo State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Charity Chris-Ebosele, said her office is saddled with the responsibility of handling domestic violence and they have been doing their best to reduce the issue of SGBV in the state.
In agreement with other speakers, she urged, “we all must come together to combat the issue of SGBV in our state.”