Women’s Rights and Health Projects and some Civil Society Organisations in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State, on Thursday, August 4, looked at the outcome of their efforts to curtail issues of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the area.
The meeting on Thursday was their fifth quarterly meeting in our efforts to tackle SGBV cases in Ojo and Oshodi-Isolo local government areas, under a WRAHP SGBV-based project.
The programme is 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’.
A statement by Bose Ironsi, WRAHP’s Executive Director, which was made available to newsmen at the meeting, noted that in the past nine months, the organisation was able to build the capacity of 414 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, an initiative of WRAHP, and the Idera SARC. There has been about a 30 per cent increase in reporting SGBV cases,” she said.
The statement further read, “In this Fifth Quarterly Meeting, our focus will be on Outcome Harvesting, which is an evaluation approach that allows us to retrospectively identify emergent impact by collecting examples of what has changed in ‘behaviour writ large’ (actions, relationships, policies, practices) and then work backwards to determine whether, and how, an intervention has contributed to these changes.
“The purpose of this meeting is to create a platform to track project deliverables and ensure that project objectives are achieved.
“This project is being executed under the European Union Agents for Citizen-Driven Transportation Project championed by the European Union in partnership with the Women’s Rights and Health Project. The programme is designed to build the capacity of Civil Society Organizations to enable them to be credible and effective drivers of change for sustainable development in Nigeria.
“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.
“We, therefore, implore the media to join us in our fight in breaking the culture of silence.”
Some of the participants who spoke during the meeting listed a culture of silence, people ignorant of their rights, lack of courage to speak out, fear of stigmatisation, and poverty as some of the problems confronting the fight against SGBV in Ojo.
However, they said that through massive advocacy visits to marketplaces, schools, religious centres, groups and different community associations, they were able to create awareness of the need for people to report SGBV cases.
According to them, the efforts have improved reports of SGBV cases in the LGA. They added that police in the area now handle SGBV cases appropriately, especially with support from Ireti Resource Centre and Idera SARC.
They further said that with the help of WRAHP, some of the perpetrators of reported SGBV cases in the areas have been dragged to court, while victims are referred to appropriate quarters for counselling and psycho-social support.
Speaking about the meeting, Precious Eberechukwu, Acting Manager, Ireti Resource Centre expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the project.
She said, “So far, we have trained the CSOs to be able to respond to issues of SGBV in their communities and this is the fifth quarterly meeting. What we are doing today is looking at the outcome of the project. We have trained the CSOs and built their capacities to attend to SGBV cases and vulnerable people in society. Today, we are looking at how they have been able to move from one level to the other.
“There is a lot of improvement, community members are now reporting cases to them and they have been referring to the right channels.
“We are happy with the outcome of the reports from the CSOs. Initially, SGBV cases in Ojo were hardly reported, there was this culture of silence in the LGA but today, we can say that a lot of people in this area are now aware of their rights and they know how to go about reporting cases.
“Why there is still room for improvement, we are satisfied with the outcome of the project.”
One of the participants, Samson Asolo from Blissful Life of Youth Society of Nigeria, said through the programme the CSOs have been able to build the capacity of the community to be able to respond to issues of SGBV within their domain.
“Another thing we have been able to achieve is that we have created awareness and that has led to an increase in self-reporting by survivals of SGBV themselves.
“Also, our engagement with WRAHP has strengthened the capacity of CSOs to report these issues utilizing referral pathways. Our ability to refer cases to appropriate quarters has helped significantly,” he added.