Women’s Rights and Health Projects, on Thursday, June 30 engaged Civil Society Organisations in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State to assess progress in the fight against sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases in the area.
WRAHP, managers of Ireti Resource Centre, is one of the Non-Governmental Organisations fighting to eradicate SGBV cases in Lagos.
The Thursday event was the Fourth Quarterly meeting with CSOs in Ojo LGA, a programme sponsored by European Union Act, under the Agents for Citizen-Driven Transportation Project, and titled, ‘Building capacity of Civil Society Organizations to promote uptake of justice related social services in Ojo and Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Lagos State’.
In a statement made available to newsmen, WRAHP Executive Director, Bose Ironsi, said that the NGO has, in the past nine months been able to build the capacity of 319 community stakeholders to effectively report issues of SGBV in their communities.
“This can be seen through the increased number of SGBV cases recorded in Ireti Resource Centre and the Idera SAC. There has been about 30 per cent increase in reporting of SGBV cases in the two LGAs the project is covering – Ojo and Oshodi-Isolo.
“This programme is designed to build the capacity of CSOs to enable them to be credible and become effective drivers of change for sustainable development of Nigeria,” she said
Speaking about the Fourth Quarterly meeting, she said the essence was to deliberate on the progress made by the CSOs to develop their organisational capacity, formulate and implement policies and their effectiveness in working with communities in SGBV case management.
“This meeting will also emphasise the importance of CSOs networking, as well as improving their internal, external, and programmatic capabilities.
“We are well aware that issues of SGBV cases are still rampant in communities in Lagos State, and it is our responsibility to ensure we follow up on our efforts to address the menace,” Ironsi said.
At the meeting, anchored by WRAHP’s Community Representative and acting Centre Manager, Ireti Resource Centre, Precious Eberechukwu, heads of different CSOs at the meeting shared the progress they have been making in ensuring the arrest and prosecution of perpetrators to ensure justice for SGBV survivors.
They said with what they have learnt from WRAHP, they have been referring cases they won’t be able to handle to Ireti Resource Centre and other appropriate quarters. They added that working with police in arresting perpetrators have become easier as they now know the police stations and units to take SGBV cases to.
Other areas they said they have been making progress include awareness campaigns in schools, markets, community meetings, etc.
Mrs Eberechukwu appreciated the CSOs and encouraged them to sustain the efforts to ensure the eradication of SGBV cases in their communities.
Speaking to newsmen, Focal Person for EU-Act Programme in Lagos State, Adeshola Afariogun, who was present at the meeting, appreciated WRAHP and the CSOs.
He said, “We have been getting positive feedback with the project being handled by WRAHP. The NGO is meant to train community-based organisations on how to report Gender Based Violence Cases (GBVs), and since WRAHP’s grant activity started, we have seen an increase in the reporting of GBV cases in the Ojo and Oshodi-Isolo local government areas of Lagos State.”
He said EU Act, in its programme to strengthen capacities of CSOs partners, have conducted a number of organisational development capacity activities with WRAHP and other CSO partners.
“So, the grants we give to our CSO partners are meant to enable them to showcase the applications of what they have learnt. In the case of WRAHP, they are working in the area of GBV and the organisation has shown a lot of strength in handling that.”
Moses Adedeji, CDA Chairman, Ojo CDC, My 10, who was part of the meeting appreciated WRAHP, and the representative of the EU Act, Mr Adeshola Afariogun.
He said, “Before now, in Ojo, we had many challenges in handling SGBV cases, especially in the area of logistics. Going to the police to report cases of SGBV before now used to be very challenging. Sometimes when you take a survivor to police station they would want a survivor of SGBV or family members to take care of logistics in arresting a perpetrator. Like asking them to provide a vehicle, open file with money and some others.
“However, with the project by WRAHP, sponsored by EU-Act, there have been improvements in handling these cases.
“WRAHP through Ireti Resource Centre help CSOs in Ojo now to facilitate and arrest perpetrators. They have trained CSO’s here on referral pathways – where we can refer cases when faced with challenges beyond us. They have also helped us to know police stations and units where we can report our cases.”
Adedeji, however, called on the government not to leave the job of addressing SGBV menace to NGOs alone.
He said he knew that Lagos State government has been trying, but asked the government to do more, especially in the area of collaborating with CSOs in different communities in Lagos in the fight to eradicate SGBV in the state.