By Justina Auta
Japan Government and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will empower survivors of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in some Nigerian communities.
UNESCO’s Programme Specialist in Education, Abdoulaye Salifou, disclosed this during the virtual launch of the empowerment project in Abuja, titled “Empowerment of Women and Girls in Marginalised Communities for Better Well-Being through Education and Advocacy.’’
Salifou said the project would empower women and girls in maginalised communities in Bauchi, Gombe and Delta states.
He explained that it would also provide second chance education opportunities, incorporate COVID-19 preventive measures to women and girls facing marginalisation in those communities.
He added that the project would provide psychosocial rehabilitation in support of long term recovery for women and girls’ survivors of SGBV, as well as equip the media with strategies for quality contents for gender sensitive reportage.
According to him, beneficiaries of the project include women and girls in marginalised communities and those affected by SGBV due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said “690 women and girls and 300 learners underwent second chance literacy classes and 45 media men and women trained on SGBV reportage and rights of women and girls.
“Another set of 150 women and girls’ rights NGOs/stakeholders were sensitised on advocating Gender Based Violence (GBV), countering violent extremism and mis/disinformation on COVID-19.
“In addition, 150 SGBV survivors were reached with support and psychosocial rehabilitation services.”
Dr Dimitri Sanga, the Director, UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja, said the project would be implemented by UNESCO but funded by Japan Government to achieve the 2030 agenda of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sanga, therefore, urged the beneficiary states to key into the initiative and recognise the strategic benefits of the partnership, and to provide assistance where necessary to boost progress during the implementation.
The director said “the project represents a paradigm shift to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of citizens, which will ultimately contribute to peace, stability and inclusiveness.”
Mr Shinozawa Takayuki, the Chargé d’ Affaires a.i. at the Embassy of Japan in Nigeria, said the project would focus on advocacy toward eliminating SGBV, empowerment and reducing the spread of COVID-19.
Takayuki, while appreciating Federal Government’s efforts toward addressing challenges affecting women and girls, stressed the need for education as a tool to lift communities out of poverty through empowerment and enlightenment.
The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, while launching the project, said it would provide second chance education opportunities for women and girls at risk of dropping out of school.
Tallen, represented by her Special Adviser, Technical Matters, Jummai Idonije, added that the project would support SGBV survivors for long term recovery.
“This project will make livelihood interventions to address underlining causes and factors related to poverty, economic inequalities and control other sources that contribute to GBV among women and girls.
“It will also support life building skills to enhance self-reliance for women and survivors of GBV, as well as improve the economy and living standard of GBV survivors in Nigeria,” he said.
On the effects of COVID-19 on women and girls, the minister appealed to donor partners to extend similar gesture to at least six more states in the federation.
Mr Patrick Ukah, the Commissioner for Basic Education in Delta, assured the donors of the state government’s commitment toward prioritising issues affecting women and girls.
Ukah also reiterated the commitment of the state government toward ensuring the success of the project.
On his part, Mr Julius Ishaya-Lepes, the Commissioner for Information, Gombe State, said the project would uplift the standard of many women from poverty and other forms of disadvantages.
Similarly, Dr Aliyu Usman-Tilde, the Commissioner for Education in Bauchi State, said the state look forward to detailed information about the project, noting that it would improve the wellbeing of the people.