By Patrick Obia
Development experts have trained the wives of the 18 Local Government Area Chairmen on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in Calabar with a call for more sensitization and empowerment of women.
The training focused on creating political reliance to issues of GBV and VAWG in Cross River State under Women’s Voice and Leadership Nigeria Project, implemented by Gender and Development Action (GADA) with support by Action aid and funded by Global Affairs Canada.
“The women are the voiceless, they are helpless; they are always at the receiving end. We have seen the issue of COVID-19 that occasioned in the increase of gender-based violence and as women we need them to raise their voices even by empowering them through skills acquisition, through this training, they can have helpline, can know all the options available to them that they can explore when they have issues like this and even help the community around them.” Says Mrs Francisca Effiom, Project Coordinate, Women’s Voice and Leadership Nigeria Project.
Mrs Effiom said the aim of the training is to sensitize wives of Chairmen of Local Government on gender-based violence and to carry the message to the grassroots.
“The event is to advocate, sensitize and train the wives of Chairmen and Chairpersons of local government on the issues of Gender-Based Violence and the need for them to be advocates and volunteers. This is everybody’s business, we are taking it to the grassroots for them also to have a buy in and from there also, they can even take it even to the world.
“Under Women’s Voice and Leadership program, we are raising a voice for the women.That does not mean gender is all about female, there are other areas, other platforms you can use in addressing the issues of gender-based as it affects the boys or the men.” She stated.
One of the participants and wife of the Chairman of Ogoja Local Government, Mrs. Jane Ishabor, expressed confidence on the outcome of the training, saying how to go about it was her major problem but now know how to kick it started adding that she will go back to her base and embark on massive sensitization to those at the grassroot.
“I am really going home more equipped because I have learnt how to handle gender based violence in my Local Government. It has been a thing that has being bothering me on how to go about it but from the information I have gotten here today I think I’m equipped and as I’m going back i know where to kick start from. Sensitization is where I tend to start from; to sensitize both the men, the youths, women, girls, young boys and from there other things will follow.” She said.
The event was graced by Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hon Rita Ayim; Director General of State Primary Health Care, Dr. Janet Ekpenyong; Amb Nkoyo Toyo; the representative of Commissioner for Health amongst others.
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