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FIDA Nigeria Activities.

Overview of FIDA Nigeria Activities.

. STOP VAWIE Project

. NSRP Project

Issues of violence against women and girls remain top on the FIDA Nigeria agenda. With the commencement of insurgency in the North Eastern parts of Nigeria in 2009, there has been a 7.7% increase in the rate of GBV in areas affected by the insurgency. It is notable that this statistic is despite the culture of silence in matters of GBV and SEA in this region. As indicated in the GBV Sector HNO needs analysis, the CPRH report reveals that 6 out of 10 females have been victims or survivors of one form of GBV with rape accounting for 96% of the cases for which help was sought. 4% of boys and men also reported cases of GBV.

Lack of timely and appropriate services provision in response to GBV especially with regards to access to justice for survivors of GBV including rape is a major challenge to achieving and effective response. Obsolete legislation and the slow pace of justice in addition to the prevailing culture of silence around rape negate efforts to improve reporting for rape and other forms of GBV. It also drives impunity for perpetrators of GBV. The inability of state actors to pass CRC legislations and GBV legislations to improve protection of women and children under the law in line with global standards are also challenges to achieving better protection from GBV. Low knowledge about existing laws among affected population and law enforcement agents, and weak enforcement mechanisms also compound the situation for women and girls and impact on past and ongoing efforts to improve reporting and prosecution for GBV cases and increase vulnerability of women, girls and children to GBV risk and exposure.

In addition, lack of legal support and legal rights education and awareness is also a major barrier. Anecdotal reports reveal that women and girls survivors of violence have lamented poverty and ignorance about who to report GBV to and how to follow up on prosecution as factors that debar reporting, prosecution and follow up. High level and community driven advocacy is important to assure that government and all development actors’ meet obligations for stronger legal protection for affected population the North East especially women and girls. FIDA Nigeria, as an organisation active in the affairs of persons in the North East has identified the problem of lack of access to justice for the target group as one which, if strategically addressed, could save and improve many lives in the North East. Through its lawyers in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, the organisation has taken up a number of cases of GBV in the courts and through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms. Through the support of the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP), FIDA Nigeria recently engaged in a project titled “Challenging impunity through gender protection and empowerment”. The project which was implemented in Yobe State was aimed at challenging the persistent increase in violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Nigeria and ensuring greater participation of women in peace-building institutions. It involved activities such as legal representation of women and girls who have survived all forms of violence; quarterly meeting of stakeholders to ensure that all relevant persons are well informed and involved on the project; training of trainers for capacity building of women in peace-building and step-down of the training by the trainers to community members; radio sensitisation and advocacy on end to VAWG and women inclusion on peace-building process/institutions; and advocacy visits to the Yobe State House of Assembly members to advocate for enactment of laws similar to the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, 2015 which protects all persons from all forms of violence.

FIDA Nigeria is also involved in a project titled “Access to justice for conflict-induced displaced populations in Maiduguri, Borno State, North East Nigeria”. The overall objective of the project is to contribute to improvement of the situation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by providing access to justice for IDPs affected by the insurgency in Nigeria’s North East, precisely Maiduguri Metropolitan Council (MMC), Borno State. The project will contribute to creating awareness amongst persons in these camps on their rights and ways of obtaining redress where these rights have been violated. In addition, a team of lawyers under the umbrella of FIDA Borno will provide legal counseling and assistance where necessary, to this vulnerable group. A recent project which FIDA Nigeria is currently winding up is the “Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Women and Children through the Implementation of the VAPP Act/Law” project funded by the Australian Embassy. This project involves legal representation of indigent women and girls, radio presentations and jingles in sensitisation of the rights of women and girls and the provisions of the VAPP Act.

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