In Enugu, advocates have emphasized the imperative of putting an end to violence against women and girls during a peer learning engagement held as part of the activities marking the 16 days of activism. Six Women Rights Organizations (WROs) from the Southern region of Nigeria convened in Enugu to share experiences and insights, forming a collective advocacy strategy to amplify their voices and champion the rights of women and girls.
Uduak Udofia, the Executive Director and Founder of Women in Mediation Network (WIMNET), highlighted that the event was part of the resourcing change project supported by the UK Conflict Stability and Security Fund of the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office. In addition to the peer learning engagement, various WROs are actively engaging in advocacy efforts, both on social media and within their respective states. Udofia expressed optimism that the event would contribute to the realization that women’s rights are human rights among practitioners and stakeholders.
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Ngozi Eboh, President and Founder of Global Initiative for Development, Care of Women and Youth (Gidcoway), underscored the event’s significance, as it coincided with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on November 25. She emphasized the symbolic nature of amplifying voices against any form of gender-based violence in southern Nigeria’s communities.
Eboh discussed the pervasive nature of gender-based violence, extending beyond issues such as rape and forced marriages to encompass the creation of safe spaces. She stressed the importance of challenging mindsets that perpetuate violence, citing examples like a male boss using employment conditions to exploit female employees or school functionaries abusing their authority. Eboh urged a shift in mindset to foster empathy and self-respect, emphasizing the need to sanitize societal spaces.
Responding to the global attention on the campaign against violence against women, the Director of Finance and Programme Coordinator of Global Women for Quality and Sustainable Development Initiative (GWQSDI) explained that women are more vulnerable and prone to violence. Other organizations present at the peer learning meeting included the Coalition for the Promotion of Women Rights, Women for Skill Acquisition and Leadership Organisation, and the Coalition for the Promotion of Gender Justice.