Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

Maureen Okpe

Government officials in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been tasked to key into campaign of ending Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) by making concerted efforts to increase its political will to achieve the overarching goal to stop Sexual and Gender Based Violence(SGBV).

Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), a Non-Governmental Organization gave the charge in Abuja, at a one day capacity training workshop for government MDA on project design, budget, implementation and monitoring to eliminate VAWG,SGBV,HP and promote women and girls SRHR, organised with support from Spotlight Initiative and UNWomen.

Speaking at the event with Journalists, lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics University of Nsukka Nigeria, Professor Anthonia Achike lamented that government officials do not make conscious effort to promote the right of women or sought to promote policies and actions to aid the end of SGBV.

Prof. Achike stressed the need for government officials to ensure implementation of policies and treaties signed to end SGBV.

She said, “we can not claim ignorance, we have to start implementing these policies as well as activate it to be effective and this can only be done when we bring these issues to the front burner of our development programs because right now it is left behind, we feel that it doesn’t matter, as it has not affected people personally.

“It is important that the legal system is in place, that the Constitution of Nigeria, which is the legal instrument, that everybody refers to takes care of that, there are sections of the law that provides for these situations, even the punishment, and shelters for survivors, but because our mindsets and political will are miles away from the right implementation methodology we don’t activate these things.

“We have enough response system, what we don’t have is the right mindset and the political will as we are a member of many treaties which were signed, we need to implement these policies to bring to an end this menace.

Prof. Achike further noted that, the culture of silence mitigates against the struggle to end SGBV as some persons fear stigmatization and such live in denial.

“The culture of silence is basically there because of our patriarchal system, and the fact that women by culture, tend to be suppressed. We need to assure the women that their problems will be solved when they expose the perpetrators and this can be done through advocacy.

“We need policy that will guide in handling survivors and perpetrators of violence in a very civilized way.

“They are the people that are the policy makers, that projects policies in a country when they are all educated on the fact that this fight is existing, then we can plan ways of eradicating it, by having structures in place that will guide in handling these issues.

Director of Programmes Barr. Dorothy Oleka, stated that the training is set at creating an understanding of the concept and issues around gender based violence and have their annual plan

design in ways that the programmes will deliberately contribute to ending SGBV.

Oleks noted, “our aim is to bring to light the budgeting percentage that is reflective of activities, programmes that could contribute to ending VAWGs and how to incorporate these issues when educating persons on the issues. 

“The whole intention is to conscientize the officers on the need to plan and budget irrespective of how little, to be able to carve a certain amount to contribute to ending SGBV.

Oleka states that, the officers are also charged to monitor what they are contributing because it is appropriate to plan, implement and equally track to find out if they are adding value.

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