In commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence by the United Nations, the Empower My World Foundation (EMWF) in conjunction with the Rights Enforcement And Public Law Centre (REPLACE) and Echoes of Women in Africa Initiative (ECOWA) with support from ROLAC; a Programme of the British Council which is funded by the European Union (EU); held a sensitization programme to educate market traders on access to justice and gender based violence.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is an international campaign to challenge violence against women and girls. The campaign runs every year from 25th November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – to 10th December, International Human Rights Day.
The programme which was a Legal Clinic was held at Elemoro Royal Market, Bogije, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos. It had in attendance the market executive members and other traders. The programme was aimed at educating participants on access to justice for women in the informal sector post COVID-19 and for the need to speak out against GBV.
Participants at the programme shared their experience on issues concerning gender based violence.
Speaking at the programme, the Executive Director of Empower My World Foundation (EMWF), Nwanda Oluka said that the essence of the programme was to sensitize women and men on what Gender based violence is about and how to access justice when they are being abused.
“The Legal Clinic was set up to mark the 16 days of activism against gender based violence and one of the focal points of our meeting here is to be able to educate and sensitize women on what gender based violence is and what access to justice means.
The essence of the Legal Clinic is to build the capacity of participants in having relevant information on how to access redress in the event of an infringement of their rights. We also hope to help participants with cases after this workshop.
I believe the capacity of the participants have been built. They will go back to their communities and spread the message”.
Also in her statement, Felicitas Aigbogun-Brai of the Rights Enforcement And Public Law Centre (REPLACE) said the programme is to make people understand how to access the courts and get justice when abused.
“This is a form of community awareness, specifically on access to justice for women in the informal sector, from the 25th of November to the 10th of December. There is the 16 days of activism that the United Nations celebrate, this year we are focused on women in the informal sector. We want to build up their capacity to know about their rights and access to justice.
The aim of the programme is to see that people who earn little in Nigeria, who may not be able to understand how to access the courts or get lawyers can also get access to justice when their rights are abused.
That’s why we have the toll free number that they can call to report any issues concerning gender based violence”, She said.
Toll free Number: *080 300 300 300*
The Deputy Executive Director of Echoes of Women in Africa Initiative (ECOWA), Kate Duru said that the importance of the programme is to educate people on women’s right as many women are facing different forms of abuses.
“During the 16 days of activism against gender based violence we came up with programmes to talk about the issues of domestic violence and access to justice.
We are here to talk about the issues and educate them on women’s right, when we started the people were a bit skeptical in opening up because they didn’t understand why we are holding the programme until they started asking questions about what they would benefit from this programme. Looking at the current situation in the country with the EndSARS and victimization of people who spoke up for their rights; We educated them on how their rights can be protected because violence against women is something that cuts across all sectors.
Most of them have issues of domestic violence and do not know where to run to because they don’t understand that there are avenues which they can follow to handle the matter perfectly.
We are here today to educate them on what constitutes their rights because information is power.
We are interested in capacity building, as we teach them today, they are expected to teach others and continue the chain of information”. Duru said.
In gratitude, the Iyaloja Vice, Elemoro Oduwule, said that the programme is good as it has taught her to speak out.
“ The programme is good because it has opened our eyes to what we never knew, most times we see some issues of violence without knowing who to tell or report to, so we just keep quiet.
Now they have given us a toll free number to call in case of any emergency on violence and I’m really happy.
My advice to people especially when suffering from domestic violence is to speak up and also to call the number” She said.
The programme ended with pictures and distribution of hand sanitizers.