GBV: Spotlight Initiative Holds Online Conference on Community Surveillance with Traditional/Religious Leaders

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

As part of strategy to reduce the raising cases of Gender Based Violence in Nigeria, Spotlight Initiative, a joint EU-UN project will on Thursday 6th August host Traditional and Religious Leaders to a Virtual Roundtable Conference on “Enhancing Community Surveillance to End Violence Against Women and Girls”

The Initiative, in a statement released and signed by Oluwatosin Akingbulu
Communication, Advocacy and Partnerships, UNICEF, on Wednesday, noted that engaging traditional and religious leaders is a key approach of the prevention strategy of the spotlight initiative aimed at fostering positive collaborations with critical stakeholders in finding a lasting solution to end gender-based violence and harmful practices targeting women and girls and in promoting Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

“This builds on past engagement with religious and traditional leaders, including with the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN) and Nasrul-Lahi-L-Fatih Society (NASFAT) on the EVAC campaign, and holding them accountable to the communique signed at a Consultative Forum held on 26 February 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria.” The statement added.

The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between European Union and United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. We are the world’s largest targeted effort to end all forms of violence against women and girls.

The project is currently being implemented in six states in Nigeria. The states are; Adamawa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Lagos, Sokoto and the FCT.

The virtual roundtable also places in context the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on violence against women and girls which has disrupted the socio-economic and cultural settings of families and communities.

The proposed conference with religious and traditional leaders, which will hold on Zoom Conferencing App, according to the organizer, will leverages on the declaration of the State of Emergency by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) against gender-based violence (GBV) in Nigeria under the EU-UN joint Spotlight Initiative and the End Violence Against Children Campaign (EVAC).

The statement further said, “through this engagement, the Spotlight Initiative expects to secure the commitment of traditional and religious leaders to further the process of transforming social norms and to develop action plans on ending GBV and harmful practices.”

Speakers to include the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council Islamic Council for Islamic Affairs; President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Archbishop Benebo Fubara-Manuel; Hon. Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline K. Tallen; EU Commissioner on Spotlight, Janez Lenarcic; UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, as well as survivors, women advocates and child protection networks.

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