By Justina Auta
Stakeholders on Thursday advocated for more investment, collaboration and political will to prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and access to justice for survivors.
They made the call at a national dialogue organised by Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT), in partnership with Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), funded by the EU in Abuja.
The dialogue, with the theme “Invest to Prevent VAWG” was part of activities to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the activism is an annual international campaign that runs from Nov. 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women until Dec. 10, which is Human Rights Day.
It is a global initiative aimed at eliminating GBV by raising awareness about the devastating impact of violence on
women and children, and the social fabric of the society.
Damilare Babalola, National Programme Manager, ACT, while highlighting the need for more investment and collaboration with other partners, urged participants to proffer lasting solutions to VAWG.
He said “the advocacy is that we must unite and bring funds to the table, which goes beyond the funding, it goes to commitment at the community level.
“Commitment to change traditional norms, situations and circumstances that do not favour women and girls in the areas of violence perpetrated against them,’’ he said.
Hajiya Saudatu Mahdi, the Secretary of WRAPA, said the exercise was also to mobilise government resources for the prevention of VAWG
in all sectors and to promote equitable societies.
She said “it is not enough for us to condemn VAWG, not enough to claim we want to support them without putting down money. We need to put money where our mouth is.
“So, the essence is to have people understand why they need to be deliberate about investing time, resources and any form of moral and financial material to prevent VAWG and support survivors by ensuring everyone takes responsibility.’’
Eze Onyekpere, the Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, said channelling resources and implementation of policies will aid in addressing VAWG.
“We have laws and policies to prevent VAWG and indeed all persons, and for you to implement, you must put resources into various Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) that are charged with different tasks.
“The whole idea is moving beyond making laws and policies, acknowledging that it is wrong to put resources for the states to fulfill its duties towards women and the society.”
Rukaiyat Shittu, member, Kwara House of Assembly, said “we should have more legislation and policies about gender parity, and violence will reduce.’’
Wynyfred Achu-Egbuson, Programme Manager, CSO, Youth and Human Rights, stressed the need for collaboration and political will to address VAWG.
“Government needs to be creative, identify partnerships, and also collaborations because government funding is the surest source of funding towards ending VAWG.
“There may be situations where international actors are willing to support, but they are only there as a stopgap mechanism; they will only provide when they see government’s
commitment and political will.’’
Mrs Josephine Piyo, Plateau Deputy Governor, while reiterating commitment towards implementing laws to end VAWG, stressed the need for partnerships to ensure
total elimination of the menace.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Hadiza Mohammed-Aliyu