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16 Days Of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2023

A child displaying her placard
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A child displaying her placard

By Blessed Akinloye

A member organisation of the Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) in the South-west region of Nigeria, Blessed Health Spring Initiative (BHS), implemented the project “UNiTE- Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls” in commermoration of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence from the 24th of November to the 10th of December.

The main objective of the project was to call upon all networks, civil society and women’s rights organizations, organizations working with men and boys, the UN system, the Generation Equality Action Coalitions government partners, human rights defenders, schools, universities, private sector, sports clubs and associations and individuals to step up and support different prevention strategies to stop violence from occurring in the first place.

Teaching session at CleverLand College, a private school at Soka Area, Ibadan

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence was originated by activists at the inaugural Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. It is an international civil society led campaign that takes place each year.

It commences on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day, indicating that violence against women is the most pervasive breach of human rights worldwide.

It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls (VAWG).

The campaign theme this year is UNiTE- Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls. It focused on the importance of financing different prevention strategies to stop violence from occurring in the first place.

Activities carried out in these 16 days activism on Gender Based violence for 2023 include:

  1. Digital Awareness: The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence place each year on 25 November and ends on 10th of December. During this period, we advocated for elimination of violence against women and girls via the organisation’s social media handles (Facebook, Instagram and twitter) and had a reach of over individuals.
  2. Online TV Sensitization: We had an interview session with EIN Tv on Facebook on the 1st of December, 2023. During the session, several young people participated and they were enlightened with necessary information on standing for the rights of the girl child.
  3. In-School sensitization and Outreach: On the 24th of November,  CleverLand College, a private school at Soka Area, Ibadan was visited. At the outreach in CleverLand, 373 male and female students were educated and enlightened on Gender Equality and Girl Child Rights. Their knowledge on GBV was assessed and we had staggering responses from the students. About 10 of their teachers were also present and enlightened also on school related GBV and how to prevent them.
Flyer of the interview session

At the end of the project, we had educated about 373 girls and boys on the need to stand up for the rights of girls and put an end to violence against women and girls. Also, proper sensitization was given to end myths and misinformation surrounding Gender narratives and to end gender inequalities. Furthermore, an unspecified number of young people were reached online via the online TV interview sessions. And questionnaires were distributed to assess their knowledge on GBV.

Although we discovered that only a few of the in-school participants have some knowledge on GBV while quite majority are ignorant of GBV and are going through one.

We also discovered during question and answer session and individual counselling that some students are victims of School based GBV and if this intervention ends just there these students will keep being exploited.

Furthermore, lack of trained teachers in schools to be able to teach, mentor and train the adolescents, especially the females on their rights and the need to stand up against GBV.

While the online TV interview was a great session, network issues could not make many to have a full participation in the event.

Inadequate financing was another challenge that we encountered as we would have loved to carry out the event in another school, just as it was done at Cleverland College.

To conclude, eliminating Gender Based Violence is key to having a peaceful and safe environment. Women and girls have been victims of gender related issues and they will continue to be if no one rises to meet the challenge of giving a voice to the female gender.

At BHS initiative, we UNiTE with the rest of the world to end GBV in our community and we will continue to do till we see a society that is safe for women and girls.

One of the sensitisation graphics

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