NGO trains women traditional leaders, market leaders on SGBV

An NGO, Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), on Monday organised a training for women traditional leaders and market leaders on how to end violence against women and girls.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Capacity Building Workshop on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls with Association and Council of Iyalodes and Iyalojas of Oyo State was organised by WARDC funded by Ford Foundation.

In her remarks, Dr Abiola Akioye-Afolabi, the Executive Director, Women Advocates Research Documentation Centre (WARDC), said the training was aimed at developing the women leaders to serve as conduits to reporting Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and preventing gender-based violence.

According to her, it is a programme to leverage on the network of Iyalodes and Iyalojas of Nigeria, particularly in the South-West since they are traditional leaders and also vwomen-in-council to see the role they can play in ending gender-based violence.

“Market place is a public place where lots of people go. From the research we have done, we have seen cases where people are in the markets and they just break down crying and all because of the kind of pressure and trauma they are going through.

“Iyalodes also stay in council with the men so that they can also make decisions in that regard as lots of women deferred to that such that some of these cases go to them.

“So, it is an opportunity to educate them to let them know the available response system and let them be part of the solutions,” she said.

Akioye-Afolabi said the plan was to have a network of Iyalodes and Iyalojas in each state who would be able to carry the information to their different states.

Also, Dr Christianah Omidiji of Peace Heritage Foundation, another partner with WARDC, said the goal was to reduce violence against women.

Omidiji said: “This is because since the COVID-19 lockdown period, there was high rate of violence against women and even, sexual gender-based violence in any form.

“This was what informed the various programmes we have been having. The information from the training is for them to step down to their various spheres of influence and market place.

“And, if there is any case, we are on ground and they can approach us for proper action,” Omidiji said.

Commenting, Alhaja Faosat Sanni, Oyo State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, said that the state government had been intensifying efforts to ensure that gender-based violence was reduced.

Sanni, represented by Mrs Grace Oderinde, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, said:
“Women are the generational backbone in any society.

“It is very important for any society to take care of the women. So, we say no to violence against women.

“Part of the programme of Makinde-led administration is empowerment for women, scheduled to take place on Thursday at Adamasingba Stadium,” she said.

In her remarks,
Mrs Mary George-Peluola, a Deputy Director at WARDC, said: “From the organisation’s research, it has been established that some of the acts are done with impunity as some perpetrators feel they can do as they like, hiding under some social norms.

“SGBV is a criminal offence and it should be treated as such. There should be no excuse for perpetrating the acts against women or girls,” she said.

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