16 Days ‘of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
“UNITE! Activism to end Violence Against Women and Girls”
The 16 Days’ of Activism against Gender-Based Violence is a United Nations observance recognized annually from the 25th of November to the 10th of December (Human Rights’ Day), to drive awareness of the ills of violence in our communities and nations while seeking an end to all forms of violence.
This year’s global theme “UNITE! Activism to end Violence Against Women and Girls”, couldn’t have been more apt in view of the rising incidences of violence globally. Gender-based violence (GBV) which comprises of harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender identity has been an ugly scourge worldwide. It is deeply rooted in gender inequality, abuse of power, harmful norms, cultural practices that are repugnant to natural justice, equity, and good conscience. It is the most pervasive human rights’ violation which knows no economic or social status, power ranking, individual prestige, class or caste system, national boundaries, or any other human considerations. It manifests in physical, verbal, socio-economic, sexual, and physiological ways, amongst others.
Gender-Based Violence is also one of the most pronounced declaration of the unequal power play between the male and female gender, caused by some factors including Cultural (patriarchal views, gender stereotypes, societal expectations of masculinity and femininity, socialization of gender, general acceptance of violence as an acceptable means to resolve conflict); Economic factors such as lack of economic resources making women more vulnerable to violence; Political factors including under representation of women in power and politics resulting in fewer opportunities to shape decisions that affect policies and equality, and adoption of measures to combat gender-based violence.
This scourge has become a global pandemic which if left unchecked has the potential to send entire societies into ruination due to its life-threatening component. Before the emergence of Covid-19, the issue of gender-based violence had steadily been on the increase, however, with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, this epidemic has aggressively accelerated and statistics now show that One out of every three women has experienced this scourge in their lifetime. This illustrates that it has indeed reached pandemic proportions.
Bringing it closer home to Nigeria specifically, the cases of Gender Based Violence have risen exponentially, partly due to continuous terrorism activities, sustained patriarchal outlook of the society, repeated economic disadvantage of the female gender and the seemingly discrimination with respect to female participation in political spaces, resulting recently in a protest spearheaded by FIDA and other notable Civil Society Organizations against the rejection of gender-sensitive Bills by the Nigerian National Assembly.
FIDA, a leading voice in the fight against all forms of violence as well as those that present as a result of gender differences, has over the years incessantly advocated for a complete elimination of violence in our society through various mediums which include, advocating for acceleration in criminal justice responses to incidences of violence, pushing for stiffer penalties for GBV offenses; identifying discriminatory laws that translate to gender-based violence and pressing for their repeal/legislative review.
Some other measures consist of Building capacity and training of relevant stakeholders for efficient analysis of data emanating from GBV cases; massive grassroot sensitization in indigenous languages of the relevant laws that deal with gender-based violence such as the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015; the Childs Right Act, Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA); amongst other laws; pushing for adoption of these laws by States that are yet to do so; Sensitizing the public on the ills of gender-based violence; intensive training of Community Paralegals towards mitigation of GBV; Capacity building workshops for stakeholders at various strata; continuous dialogue with Community Gatekeepers, Traditional rulers, Faith and Religion based Leaders towards changing societal patriarchal outlook, amongst other various interventions.
This year, FIDA Nigeria is amplifying the global call for action by calling for an improvement of existing strategies and the formulation of new ones towards a complete eradication of this cancerous epidemic. These new strategies MUST be targeted at comprehensive and multi-faceted solutions, sustainable policies, stronger commitments, and the necessary executive will of government which MUST translate to action to end all forms of gender-based violence particularly those aimed at women. This is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 5.2. Our global voices have indeed reached a crescendo!!!
It is time to end all forms of Violence in our societies and globally! Enough is enough!
#endGBV #saynotoviolence #16daysofactivismagainstGBV #FIDANigeria
Yours in service,
Amina Suzanah Agbaje, (Mrs.)
Country Vice President/National President
FIDA Nigeria in her pre–Annual General Conference activities on the 22nd of November 2022, held a Media Parley themed Media: The Life Saving Trumpet of The Vulnerable Women and Children in The Society”
In her remarks, the Country Vice President/National President (FIDA) Nigeria Amina Suzanah Agbaje commended the media as “a lifesaving trumpet” on issues of Gender Based Violence and the challenges of women in the society, she also called for a collaborative effort between stakeholders to win the fight against all forms of violence against women and children.
The essence of the parley is to tease out new strategies for dealing with issues that affect the right of women and children living with disability.
Emphasis were made on the key role of the media for the vulnerable in society; FIDA also, appreciated the media for their accomplishments so far and challenged them to doing greater things whilst looking at engaging new strategies and collaborations going forward.
To conclude the activities of the day, The National Executive led by the CVP in the company of other delegates embarked on an outreach to FCT School for the blind Jabi, also joining the event were School of the deaf and School for special needs children, Kuje.
The Chairperson FIDA Gwagwalada Branch Professor Josephine Agbonika SAN, while addressing the students encouraged them to aspire to any level not looking at their disability as a limitation, in her remarks she also enlightened the students on the relevant laws protecting people leaving with disabilities. Guests were entertained buy a musical performance by students from the school of the blind after which FIDANS danced with the children and presented gift items to the three schools present at the outreach.
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria is a non-profit, non-governmental organization made up of over 4,000 female lawyers with several years’ experience in utilizing the law to address social problems in Nigeria. The organization’s mandate is the enhancement, promotion, protection and preservation of the rights and welfare of women and children in Nigeria. FIDA Nigeria implements key projects and activities aimed at providing access to justice to indigent persons, particularly women and children.
Women constitute a powerful electorate with millions of votes. According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerian women signaled their intention to make their voices heard in the 2019 election, accounting for about 47.14 per cent (39,598,645 million) of the 84,004.084 million registered voters nationwide. In 2015, three million, six hundred and sixty-seven thousand, and seventy-six (3,667,076) housewives voted in the presidential election, placing next to students (4,480,708) and civil servants (4,628,433). Similarly, housewives rank third on the list of registered voters by group in the 2019 election. They represented 14.10 per cent of the total registered voters by group, next to farmers/fishers (16.23 per cent) and students (26.57 per cent). This figure does not include the millions of women across the various other groups
However, inspite of this progress recorded, Women’s participation in the elective positions has been minimal and has multi-dimensional implications for the democratic project in Nigeria and for the continuing quest for gender equality in Africa’s biggest economy. The 2019 elections was the sixth consecutive general elections since the beginning of the fourth republic in 1999. This marks what is undoubtedly a measure of democratic progress, if only for conducting periodic elections since the return to civil rule. What remains deeply in doubt, however, is how inclusive this progress has been and, in particular, to what extent women have benefited from the democratic dividend of equality and fairness. With gender issues and women’s political and economic empowerment taking center stage on the global arena, Nigeria appears intent on maintaining its position at the bottom of the ladder of women’s political empowerment. Recent data indicates that women’s rates of participation in formal decision making remain one of the lowest on the continent and across the world with women occupying an abysmal 5.6 per cent (86 out of 1534) of all elective positions at both the national and subnational levels.
Essential to women participation is the eradication of political violence, in other words, it is of paramount importance to condense political violence before and after elections so that women can fully participate in elections. In the same degree The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) states that, elections have triggered outbreaks of violence in which women and girls were victimized. In others instances violence against women has been a tool of political harassment and intimidation of female election candidates. In addition, female voters continue to be disproportionately affected by various forms of election-related violence or threats of violence which has the effect of keeping them away from the polling stations more than male voters.
Purpose of Consultancy
As the countdown to 2023 General Elections emerges, The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria with support from UNWomen will undertake an assessment of all forms of violence perpetrated against women ahead of the 2023 General Elections which may deter the participation of women. This assessment through the deployment of a standardized field instrument known as the VAWE tool to measure safety and security threats against women pre and post elections will be conducted across four focal states namely Kwara (North Central), Borno (North East), Plateau (North Central) and Kaduna (North West). Based on the above, FIDA Nigeria is seeking to engage a consultant to analyse the findings from this survey and develop a VAWE assessment report for each of the four focal states which will be used as an advocacy tool to existent peace-building architectures in the focal states towards creating a peaceful environment to enable women participation in the general elections and serve as a catalyst towards providing enabling strategies for advanced women political participation.
Duties and Responsibilities
The successful candidate will be tasked to analyse the findings generated from the field work and develop a VAWE Assessment report for each focal state which will be used to support peace building architectures.
Review and Validation of the Report
In collaboration with the Project Team, the Programme Manager shall review and validate all contents of the report. The report developed must be delivered to the National Programme Manager on a date not later than the deadline for submission via email on email@example.com.
The applicant should be a national or international educational, research, think-tank, NGO or any relevant organization with the required expertise
The assignment is for a period of four weeks from the date of
signing the contract.
The fees for this assignment is subject to negotiation with the selected individual.
How to apply
Qualified candidates should send curriculum vitae and cover letter detailing relevant experiences to the addressed to the Country Vice-President/National President to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Subject of e-mail should be “Application for Consultancy to develop a training Manual”
Deadline: Applications should be submitted on or
before 15th November 2022.
FIDA Nigeria on 2nd November, 2022 attended the Public Hearing conducted by the House of Representatives Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development on;
1) A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AMEND THE VIOLENCE AGAINST PERSONS (PROHIBITION) ACT, 2015 TO PROHIBIT DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WIDOWS AND ALL FORMS OF REPRESSIVE AND DEGRADING WIDOWHOOD PRACTICES AND FOR RELATED MATTERS.
2) A BILL FOR AN ACT TO MAKE PROVISION FOR THE DEFINITION OF THE OFFENCE OF IMAGE BASED SEXUAL ABUSE UNDER THE ACT AND MAKE PROVISION FOR PENALTY FOR OFFENCE OF IMAGE BASED SEXUAL ABUSE: AND FOR RELATED MATTERS (HBs.1711 AND HB.1804).
FIDA Nigeria was ably represented by her National Legal Officers Mariam Omeiza Esq, Rahila Dauda Esq, and Jamila Babuba a staunch member of the FIDA Nigeria’s Parliamentary Committee.
At the event, Ms. Omeiza made the presentation on behalf of FIDA Nigeria and elaborated our observations and submissions. She further appreciated the House Committee on its efforts to bring the VAPP Act 2015 up to date with the current realities such as image-based abuse and the persistent harmful practices against widows; she assured them of FIDA Nigeria’s continual support.
The members of the Committee Chaired by Hon. (Otunba) Adewunmi Oriyomi Onanuga appreciated FIDA Nigeria’s contributions and promised to look into the submissions made.
FIDA Nigeria Methodology Workshop on the Review of a Draft Tool Aimed at Increasing Women’s Political Participation
FIDA Nigeria recognizing the disproportionate impact of election-related violence on women and girls before during and after elections thus negatively influencing their participation in electioneering processes, as part of efforts towards addressing this malaise on the 31st of October 2022, held a methodology workshop.
The workshop was aimed at improving the participation of women in the general elections by strengthening the capacity of selected networks, institutions, electoral bodies, and oversight mechanisms to better prevent and respond to violence against women in elections, Sexual & Gender-Based Violence, and other forms of Violence against women ” that may deter female electorates through the development and analytical review of the draft tool.
Also, at the workshop was the presentation & review of the 2022 Osun Governorship Elections report developed by FIDA Nigeria. Discussions were held on the content of the report pertaining participation of women & persons with disabilities which will serve as a catalyst towards providing enabling strategies for women’s participation in the 2023 General Elections.
FIDA Nigeria on the 20th of October 2022 was at the Public Hearing on A BILL FOR AN ACT TO AMEND THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR WOMEN DEVELOPMENT ACT, CAP.N15 conducted by the House of Representatives Committee on Women Affairs and Social Development.
FIDA Nigeria presented her memo commending the committee for this laudable move in renaming the National Centre for Women Development to “Maryam Babangida National Centre for Women Development”. As a former First Lady of the Nation, Maryam Babangida was indeed a trailblazer in the Women’s rights movement and emancipation, and as such had carved a niche for herself in that regard.
She spearheaded the establishment of the Centre for Women Development and it will not be out of place to have same-named after her person in appreciation of her numerous contributions towards national development and gender parity. The members of the committee on Women Affairs and Social Development led by Hon. (Otunba) Adewunmi Oriyomi Onanuga appreciated FIDA Nigeria’s contributions and promised to look into it as the bill progresses.
FIDA Nigeria was ably represented by her Legal officers Mariam Omeiza Esq and Rahila Dauda Esq.
In the implementation of the “Strengthening Women’s Voices, Institutions, Women’s Rights and Ending Violence Against Women and Girls In Nigeria Project”, FIDA Nigeria, Rivers State branch in partnership with Nigerian Women Trust Fund and under the sponsorship of Ford Foundation successfully translated the Rivers State Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP LAW) into pidgin English which was utilized in the paralegal training of fifty local community leaders from Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The Paralegal Training which was held on the 20th day of October 2022, in Okrika, had in attendance local community leaders from the traditional council, religious groups, youth groups, vigilante groups, women groups, and representatives of the Nigerian Police force
The Participants of the training were intensively trained in four engaging sessions on categories of gender-based violence, strategies for ending gender-based violence/ increased participation of women in Leadership positions, and how to effectively serve as paralegals for effective implementation of the VAPP Law.
At the end of the intensive sessions, participants resolved to use the law as an instrument to curtail gender-based violence and to achieve a significant increase in the participation of women in leadership positions.
FIDA Nigeria on the 13th of October 2022, held a one One-Day Stakeholders forum on the status of the gender-responsive bills before the National Assembly & the Electoral Act 2022 with regards to Women & Persons with Disabilities’ Participation in the 2023 general elections, under the WE-YOU Project with the support of Action Aid Nigeria.
Participants at the event include donor partners, members of the national assembly, civil society organizations working on women, youth, disability inclusion and technology and the media.
FIDA Warri Branch joined the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN) Warri Zone in a one Day Sensitization Program on Breast Cancer Awareness with the theme ” Go Pink Day – Save a Breast, Save a Life”
The event took off at exactly 8:30am on the 13th of October 2022, at The General Hospital Warri Premise. The Zonal Coordinator of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN) Warri Zone Dr. Helen Agbadagri spoke to the women on Self Check, Early Detection, and How to take care of their breasts.
Dr. Mrs. Akpofure advised the women on how to monitor themselves and go to see a doctor early enough. The ladies were taught how to check their breasts and advised to do so once a month. Dr. Yinka Ebikagboro educated the women on the need to always do a routine check and the essence of seeing a doctor early before it’s late.
In commemoration of the International Day of the Girl Child 2022, FIDA Warri branch led by her Chairperson Ogechi Jessica Megbele in partnership with Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN) Warri Zone, Family Centered Initiative For Challenged Persons (FACICP) and Eddybekk Initiative For Children and Women Development (EBICWD) had a media Sensitization at MEGA FM 89.1 Warri and a School Sensitization/ Sanitary Pad Sharing at Yonwuren Secondary School Uguwangwe.
Jereoma Sam Oligida on behalf of FIDA Warri Branch welcomed the students, and speakers of the event which includes the President-Elect MWAN Delta State Dr. Ogelle who educated the students on the importance of having high self-esteem. Dr. Helen MWAN Zonal Coordinator educated the students on oral hygiene. Olubukola Omagbemi Peters representing FIDA Warri branch educated the students on their rights, Gloria representing FACICP Disability Plus spoke on showing love to physically challenged persons while Endurance Nwachukwu of EBIWCD discussed the topic “Who is a Girl Child”.
The students were also educated on menstrual hygiene and the event ended with the sharing of sanitary pads to the students. The Principal of Yonwuren Secondary School, Hon Esther Abrakata appreciated FIDA, MWAN, FACICP and EBICWD for coming to sensitize the students.