16 Days of Activism: Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now!

As part of efforts towards ending all forms of violence against women and girls in the world, the United Nations under the leadership of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General’s launched the UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence Against Women Campaign which commences on November 25 of every year.

The campaign is a multi-year effort aimed at preventing and eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) around the world calling for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy and create opportunities for discussion about challenges and solutions.

According to the UN Women 2021 report released on November 24 titled: “Measuring the shadow pandemic: Violence against women during Covid-19,” based on survey data from 13 countries about 1 in 2 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced a form of violence since the COVID-19 pandemic. Women who reported this were 1.3 times more likely to report increased mental and emotional stress than women who did not.

The findings also revealed that about 1 in 4 women feel less safe at home while existing conflict has increased within households since the pandemic started. “When women were asked why they felt unsafe at home, 21% cited physical abuse as one of the reasons. Also, 21% of women specifically reported that they were hurt by other family members while 19% stated that other women in the household were being hurt,” the report said.

“Outside their homes, women are also feeling more exposed to violence, with 40% of respondents saying they feel less safe walking around alone at night since the onset of COVID-19. About 3 in 5 women also think that sexual harassment in public spaces has gotten worse during COVID-19.”

As an organization, we find these statistics extremely disturbing. To this end, we are calling on the government agencies, non-government organisations to make a commitment towards ending this disturbing trend.

As a leading voice in the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Nigeria, Dinidari Africa Foundation in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission

(NHRC) organised a one-day inter-agency workshop on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Abuja on Tuesday, November 16, 2016.

The event, which is part of programmes under the: “The Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Collaboration, Advocacy, Awareness and Protection Project (The CAAP Project)”, is an eight-month partnership between our organisation and the Commonwealth Foundation.

Through this event, we were able to bring SGBV responders from both the government agencies and non-government organization under one roof to discuss their challenges and proffer solutions towards ending this scourge.

Under this project, we are currently training leaders in the six area councils in Abuja on how to respond to cases of SGBV within their communities. These leaders would in turn train other community members on how to respond should they or any woman around them suffer an abuse or violation of their rights.

Aside equipping women and girls in these communities with tools and contacts of people and organisations to reach out to for support, we are also encouraging survivours to speak up and expose their abusers. This, we believe, would deter other abusers from further inflicting physical and psychological pains on women and girls around them.

Furthermore, we are partnering other civil society organisations on a media parley to train journalists on how to tell SGBV stories more professionally and devoid of sensationalism. The event slated for November 30, 2021, would bring together media trainers and female reporters across print, broadcast and online platforms across the country.

Our goal at Dinidari Africa Foundation is to have a world where no woman must suffer any form of abuse either on grounds of her gender, race or colour.

Ndi Kato

Executive Director, Dinidari Africa Foundation

November 25, 2021