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WARIF wins grant to end gender-based violence in tertiary institutions

…partners UN women

In a bid to reduce the prevalence of gender-based violence in tertiary institutions in Nigeria, the Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) has been awarded a grant by the European Union and the United Nations (UN) under the “Spotlight Initiative”.

The organization has continued to advocate the need for collective participation to put an end to the prevailing incidence of issues surrounding violence against women in Nigeria.

The project implemented by WARIF will commence in January 2020 and aims to increase the awareness of sexual and gender-based violence and reduce its prevalence by promoting the adoption of policies and strategies or assist in the strengthening of these policies where they already exist to prevent these acts of violence on campuses in select tertiary institutions in Lagos and Abuja.

Speaking on the prevalence of sexual violence in tertiary institutions, Comfort Lamptey UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, stated that breaking the silence on sex for grades, and exposing the magnitude of the issue, is the first step to ending sexual harassment and violence in tertiary education institutions.

“We need laws and policies, both at the level of the institutions themselves and at the national level. As UN Women, along with our partner UN agencies, we remain committed to supporting the government and people of Nigeria to end sexual harassment in tertiary education institutions, and all forms of violence against women and girls,” Lamptey said in a statement seen by BusinessDay.

These strategies will also work towards breaking the culture of silence that is pervasive in many of these institutions and reduce the overall incidence of sexual assaults in our universities and colleges.

The initiative will be implemented for a period of one year and will target an average of 10,000 students in these selected universities.

 Also, the Initiative represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment as a precondition and driver for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Kemi DaSilva- Ibru ,founder of  WARIF, also stated on this partnership “ WARIF  is proud to partner with the UN  and the EU on the Spotlight Initiative to reduce the prevalence of gender-based violence in our tertiary institutions   by working directly with the student based organizations  and the school authorities in adopting strategies and  facilitating and strengthening  existing mechanisms that will provide the much needed  support  and safety to all students on campuses across the Country.”

The Joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative is a global multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of sexual and gender-based violence against women through various implementation programs and partners all over the world.

WARIF also intends to support all survivors identified in these tertiary institutions with free medical care, psychosocial counseling, legal assistance, and welfare support.

WARIF is a non-profit organization founded in 2016 by Kemi DaSilva Ibru, in response to the high incidence of sexual assault, rape and human trafficking occurring amongst young girls and women across Nigeria.

The Foundation was established to raise awareness and address the prevalence of this problem through the “WARIF Approach” – a unique holistic method of tackling Gender-Based Violence through the development and implementation of a series of initiatives, targeting both the intervention/treatment of these affected women, as well as providing preventive measures in education and community service to reduce the high incidence.

 

Anthonia Obokoh

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