Gender-Based Violence: Group trains community champions to curb menace

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By Henry Uche

In its resolve to see the end of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the country, Tabitha Empowerment Centre (TEC) has trained Frontliners of Gender-Based Violence whom they regard as “Anti-Gender-Based Community Champions”.

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The three weeks of intensive training was one of the activities of the “Anti-Gender-Based Violence campaign funded by the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) which was flagged off on the 14th of May 2022 with trainees drawn from Kurudu, Jikwoyi, Nyanya, Kubwa, Kuje, Orozo, and Karu communities of Federal Capital Territory.

In a remark, the Founder/Executive Director of TEC, Christina Uzo-Okamgba, stressed the need for collaborative efforts amongst individuals, traditional gatekeepers, faith-based organizations, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and government agencies toward eliminating gender-based violence in the country.

She added that the Community Champions would be commissioned at the grand finale of the Anti-gender-based violence campaign scheduled to hold in September 2022.

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TEC Founder enjoined the Community Champions to leverage and maximize the information conveyed at the training session in their day-to-day engagements with victims/survivors of gender-based violence.

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“Information is essential in everything we do. It’s needed for planning, decision making and even policy design. Thus, as you garner knowledge from the quantum of information delivered today, please use it maximally.

“Being empowered and commissioned means- they would work closely with TEC from their various communities to escalate cases of GBV, which means if they see something of this nature they would provide interim support to victims, by first mitigating the impact of such violence by deploying the skills/knowledge they had gained so far before transferring the case to Tabitha where we take it up for further actions,”

Christina Uzo-Okamgba added that the champions would join forces with Tabitha to spread the awareness via sensitization, especially to the hinterlands at different fora like motor parks, markets, local and communal spaces, sports arenas, and social groups among others.

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“These Anti-Gender-based violence Community Champions will be working in Groups under specific team leaders From TEC. We have support units in strategic places for easy coordination. The message is to ensure preventive measures against GBV,” she affirmed.

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At the training, a team of Lawyers led by Hosanna Gani Esq, taught the trainees extensively about the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) 2015, with a focus on the offences of Spousal battery, rape, and others.

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The trainers led the trainees on how to identify the various positions of the law regarding these offences. More so, they provided information on how victims/survivors could seek redress in court when such violence occurs.

Similarly, Mr Odoh Nonso Emmanuel (Nurse/Midwife) led trainees to identify the various forms of sexual and physical violence. He also provided information on various medical procedures that could be adopted in response to cases of gender-based violence.

More so, a session on “De-escalating Situations Through Dialoguing; A Mediation Guide” led by Adamma Chigozie Isamade (Lawyer) sensitised the trainees to Mediation as a potent tool in handling disputes.

Trainees were schooled by Peace Abel (Medical Doctor/Licensed Therapist), who facilitated the session on “The Healing Process For Survivors Of Gender-Based Violence”. Here she emphasised the importance of psychosocial support/rehabilitation and the difficulties faced in ensuring survivors complete various therapy sessions were addressed.

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The training ended with Mr Obi Peter (Lead North Central at Men Engage Nigeria) who emphasised the role of men and boys in eliminating Gender-Based Violence. He stressed the need for gender equality and reiterated the roles of parents, traditional institutions, and faith-based organizations in eliminating all forms of discrimination against the male and female gender.

He stated that the various ideologies infused in children are largely responsible for the increased spate of Gender-Based Violence in the world today. “Parents and guidance must be careful about the kind of orientation, ideas, concepts and ideologies they plants in Children. We should use unfortunate stories to educate our children on the dangers of indulging in such vices. We must note that the results of any bad behavior transcends beyond what we can imagine,” he added.

Contributing, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) represented by NAPTIP’s Chief Intelligence Officer, Violence Against Persons Department, Mr. Gabriel Onyali, led a session themed, “The Role of NAPTIP In Curbing Violence Against Persons”.

He delivered an in-depth understanding on the duties of NAPTIP, insight on the spike in the cases of GBV during the covid-19 pandemic, and the efforts made by NAPTIP in tackling the increasing figures.

Onyali provided information on the VAPP Act 2015, and the role of NAPTIP in the implementation of the sections of the Act. He also distributed some materials from the agency.

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