The issues of gender equality and women empowerment were at the centre of discussion at a workshop organised by the Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) in Maiduguri Borno state.
The two-day training workshop was targeted at enhancing the knowledge of and capacity of local Community Security Observatory Dialogue (CSAD) and Women Peacebuilders platforms.
The idea was “to promote women’s rights and participation through targeted training, mentoring and provision of financial and technical support to selected participants.
The participants are expected to, at the end of the training, be able “to initiate and carry out awareness-raising activities for men and boys to promote the prevention of SGBV, lead result-based advocacy on gender equality and inclusion of women in community and state recovery and peacebuilding leadership structures.
Participants at the workshop are also expected to come out with reinforced skills that would enable them to identify, document and refer GBV cases to Probono Lawyers.
Organisers of the workshop explained that the training is being facilitated through a project funded by the government of the Netherland and UN Women.
While delivering a welcome address, the executive director of WARDC Dr Abiola Akiode-Afolabi, explained that WARDC “is a non-governmental, non-profit making human rights organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of women’s human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria.
“WARDC uses the law to advance women’s rights as a human right issue. One of the goals of this project is to contribute to the change of laws and policies that can further support post-conflict reintegration and protection of women and girls from gender-based violence.
Dr Akiode-Afolabi reiterated that Violence against women and children denies women their most basic right and freedoms, including freedom of opinion, gender equality and justice before the law.
She said “women and girls in Nigeria, particularly women in the North East which constitute a large majority of the poor, widow, marginalized and vulnerable.
“The call to acknowledge, address and act to end all forms of violence against women and children. The project works in two states (Yobe and Borno) with women groups to strengthening women’s access to justice: making right a reality for conflict-affected women in Borno and Yobe state.
She noted that women are more often victims of abuse because they are still regarded as inferior in many African cultures.
“In Nigeria where gender equality is enshrined in the law, women and girls are more venerable to discrimination and violation of their rights. One thing is certain that there is violence against women and children everywhere in society and we cannot deny that fact or hide from it, it affects all of us.
The Executive Director said the project intends to bring an end to violence against women and girls not just in the northeast alone, but the entire country.
The high point of the training was the robust participation and free discussions amongst attendees especially as they break into the group to provide solutions and ideas on how to stop gender inequality and fashioning out a strategy for sustained advocacy.
The issues of gender equality and women empowerment were at the centre of discussion at a workshop organised by