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NGOs call for establishment of response mechanism against SGBV

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NGOs call for establishment of response mechanism against SGBV

Two Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), the African Women Development Fund (AWDF) and the White Ribbon Alliance, Kenya, have called for the establishment of response mechanism against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

The NGOs in collaboration with “The Cognito Project” made the call at a virtual news conference on Wednesday tagged “Campaign against Sexual Violence in Nigeria.”

They said the call came under the KASA Smart Advocacy and Public Campaign Project aimed at assessing the knowledge of women, adolescent girls and marginalized groups in the community about SGBV.

The NGOs lamented the high rate of SGBV cases in Nigeria, while calling for more preventive and urgent action against the menace from those in authorities.

Mrs Christiana Asala, Executive Director, the Cognito Project, said that violence against women was a deep issue that affected individuals and communities globally, and that Nigeria was no exception.

Asala said that about 33 per cent of women within the ages of 15 years to 49 years in Nigeria had endured physical or sexual violence, according to the Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2018 report.

“In recent years, we have seen a surge in reported cases of sexual violence within the country, affecting people of all generations, from the elderly to the young.

“Young women and girls, especially those living with some form of disability or another, are particularly vulnerable and they suffer enduring physical and psychological consequences.

“Urgent action is imperative to raise awareness, institute preventive measures, and establish effective response mechanisms,” she said.

Mr Jang Charles, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, the Cognito Project, said that sexual violence encompassed unwanted competed sex acts such as rape, attempted non-consensual sex acts and unwanted competed or attempted sex.

Others, he said, are abusive sexual contact such as unwanted touching and pressured sex through threats or deception.

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According to him, the KASA Initiative, an advocacy and public campaign aimed at addressing sexual violence, was funded by the African Women Development Fund (AWDF) through the support of the White Ribbon Alliance (WRA) Kenya.

He said that the KASA initiative engaged over 5000 women and girls across four Nigerian states in the months of April and May 2023, and the campaign sought to answer three critical questions.

Charles said that the questions surrounded their understanding of what SGBV was all about, their experiences and how to ensure that the communities are safe and free from sexual violence.

According to him, additional targeted listening sessions were conducted, including those focused on women with disabilities, yielding profound insights from a total of 500 women enriching the responses provided by women and girls.

He said the states where the research was conducted included Enugu, Kaduna, Nasarawa States, and the Federal Capital Territory, adding that the findings underscored the prevalence of sexual violence across diverse age groups and regions.

“Among the 5,426 respondents, about 47 per cent disclosed that they had experienced sexual violence.

“Further analysis of age-specific data brought to light varying prevalence rates: those above 60 years reported a 61 per cent incidence, while respondents aged 21 years -30 years reported that they all faced a shared rate of 51 per cent.

“Respondents aged 51 years – 60 years encountered a 49 per cent prevalence, and individuals aged 10 years -20 years revealed a troubling 39 per cent exposure to sexual violence,” he said.

Tindak Sani, the Cognito Programme Lead Officer, said that the KASA campaign adopted a simple yet profound qualitative approach that aimed to empower women and girls to set the agenda for advocacy.

He said that to ensure priority issues and solutions were driven by the voices of women and girls within the community, the survey approach ensured alignment with genuine concerns.

According to him, women and girls articulated a deep demand for increased preventive and curative measures against sexual violence within their communities.

He said that the brief highlighted the significance of the top nine requests voiced directly by women and girls within Nigerian communities, on how to foster safety in their communities.

“If we desire to cultivate a society that safeguards the well-being of women and girls and effectively mitigates the escalating physical and psychological repercussions, it is not enough to solely heed these requests.

“It is time to decisively take action,” Sani stressed. 

NGOs call for establishment of response mechanism against SGBV

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