A Non-Governmental Organisation says it has, in collaboration with the United Nations, created 30 safe spaces and engaged 750 marginalised girls on gender-based violence in 10 communities in Niger, Nasarawa and the FCT.
The Executive Director of the Tabitha Cumi Foundation, Adetayo Erinle, made this known in Abuja at the launch of the Flash Light Actions on Girls’ Safety (FLAGS) project.
Mrs Erinle said the three-year project, which is fully being bankrolled by the UN Trust Fund, would support girls between ages 10 and 19.
They are to work with health care centres at the grassroots in collaboration with the police, FIDA and community members to ensure the safety of women and girls in their community.
“Many survivors are not able to access justice, and even help when they’re violated because they don’t have money,” Mrs Erinle said.
“They don’t have funds to pay for transportation to go to hospital or to seek justice beyond their communities,” she explained.
According to her, The health officers within those communities will be trained and empowered to provide first contact friendly support to girls that have been violated, and also to collect and preserve evidence, “so that justice can be pursued”.
Mrs Erinle insisted that the project would ensure perpetrators were punished in accordance with the law.
Survivors would also overcome their trauma, in addition to being able to live a normal life, she added.
The Executive Secretary, National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult Non-Formal Education, Simon Akpama, who was represented by Ejiji Nnenne, stressed the importance of education.
Professor Akpama said education was critical to empowering, liberating and helping nations and individuals fight Gender-based violence.
“Failure to address this issue, especially as it relates to the girl-child, poses a significant cost for the future,” he warned.
Professor Akpama said the plight of the girl-child was increasingly becoming horrendous day-by-day, and that the “terrible episode of their lives” ultimately affected who and what they became in future; adding: “Education is key to emancipating women and girls from GBV.”
The representative of the Nigeria National Commission for UNESCO, Olagunju Temitope, said advocacy on Sexual and gender-based violence should be intensified, especially at the community level, in order to eliminate the practice and change existing negative social norms.
Reporting by Azizatu Sani; Editing by Adeniyi Bakare and Tony Okerafor