The town hall was held to mark the United Nation’s 16 days of activism, highlighting the urgency to combat gender-based violence and promote safety across the country. This is part of the ongoing Roadmap to 36 advocacy campaign urging all Nigerian states to protect women and girls by implementing the VAPP Act NOW.
(Nigeria, Lagos | Monday, December 5, 2022) Global Citizen, the international advocacy organisation, held a Town Hall event on Tuesday, November 29, at Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA, marking the United Nations’ annual 16 Days of Activism, and in support of its ongoing Roadmap to 36 campaign. Co-hosted by media personality, and renowned journalist, Sandra Ezekwesili, and award-winning rapper, Jude ‘MI’ Abaga, the event featured speakers including Fuad Atanda-Lawal, Executive Chairman of Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA; Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, Executive Secretary, Lagos Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency; Pastor Laju Iren, Executive Producer, Laju Iren Films; Bridget Taremotimi, Head, General Division Services, WARIF; Uzoma Ayodeji, Gender/FGM Analyst, UNFPA; Ifeoma Monye, President, International Women Society Nigeria; Pastor Godman Akinlabi, Lead Pastor, The Elevation Church and Dr. Mustapha Bello, Professor of Islamic Studies, Lagos State University (LASU). The Town Hall highlighted the urgent need to combat Gender Based Violence across Nigeria, urging all states to immediately implement the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of 2015 (VAPP Act).
The 16 Days of Activism event, attended by high-level community leaders, provided a much-needed platform to underline the current status quo on Nigeria’s gender equality and gender-based violence. The event also raised awareness of the resources available and structures for reporting sexual and gender-based violence, encouraging individuals to take advantage of these platforms for reporting such incidents through the LCDA and Lagos State.
The Town Hall provided the opportunity to engage in community-level discussions from local stakeholders on practical strategies to ensure the implementation of the VAPP Act, outlining best practise on how community leaders should handle incidents of sexual and gender-based violence reported to them and the creation and the importance of prevention and reporting structures in small community groups such as churches, mosques and markets.
“This year, we decided to take a grassroots approach. We think it is the most productive approach that we can take in terms of getting people to be aware of, and understand, the importance of protecting women and girls in the communities, and also making sure that people understand the reporting structures available and how to seek help around sexual violence conversations. Our call to action as an organisation to the stakeholders in the room was for them to further escalate and carry the conversation forward beyond the town hall conversation we had. We believe that more conversations, especially in their congregations or in their community town halls are crucial,” said Maimuna Maibe, Nigeria’s Country Director at Global Citizen.
The 16 Days of Activism activity forms part of Global Citizen’s ongoing Roadmap to 36 advocacy campaign work leveraging resources to protect women and girls by mobilising stakeholder engagement to scale up interventions and drive impact in dismantling negative social norms through funding, innovative multi-stakeholder coordination, along with grassroots engagement, with the aim to drive policy changes and resource the implementation of the VAPP Act.
The Roadmap to 36 campaign aims to provide practical actions that communities and the local government can utilise to ensure the effective prevention and reporting of gender-based violence at their local level, together with engaging the public about gender-based violence and advocating for action on the full implementation of the VAPP Act (domesticated in Lagos as Protection Against Domestic Violence Law 2015, Criminals Law of Lagos State, 2015).
Gender-based violence in Nigeria is on the increase as a result of the pandemic and needs to be eliminated in the mission to achieve the UN’s Global Goals and end extreme poverty and its systemic causes by 2030. Violence against women has been described by the United Nations as a “shadow pandemic” — with all types of gender-based violence (GBV), particularly domestic violence, intensifying amid COVID-19. In Nigeria, according to the National Gender-Based Violence dashboard of the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, of the 10,000+ cases reported so far, only 33 convictions have been secured. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) also reports that nearly 30% of girls in Nigeria have experienced physical violence by the age of 15, with lockdowns in major cities across the country resulting in an increase in violence against women and girls in Nigeria, as globally.
In concluding activities for the 2022 16 Days of Activism, the Global Citizen Nigeria team also participated in the annual WARIF walk against gender-based violence for the second year in a row. The team joined hundreds of Nigerians on a 2km march in Lagos to raise awareness and call for urgent action to protect and empower women and girls across Nigeria.
Global Citizen, with the support from the Ford Foundation, is leading public campaigns and advocacy efforts to encourage global citizens to take action and lend their support calling for strengthening gender-based violence laws in West Africa, for the adoption of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill (VAPP) and holding the national and local governments accountable for full implementation and resourcing of the bill.
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