• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Dr Kemi Dasilva-Ibru, founder, women at risk international foundation (WARIF) creating systems and enabling landscape for women and girls, enables impactful, positively transformative for all

Dr. Kemi Dasilva-Ibru, founder, women at risk international foundation (WARIF) creating systems and enabling landscape for women and girls, enables impactful, positively  transformative for all

A consultant specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a public health physician with over 20 years of experience, Dr Kemi DaSilva-Ibru is dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls through medical practice, social activism, and wider public advocacy against gender-based violence. Dasilva-Ibru is also the founder of the Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a non-profit organization that addresses the prevalence of gender-based violence, rape and the trafficking of young girls and women across Nigeria.

Through her work, she has become an internationally recognized thought leader in the gender space and the field of women’s health. She is also a member of the distinguished 2024 Forbes 50 over 50 Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) list, and her 2020 TED talk on the ‘shadow pandemic’ has gained a significant global audience.

DaSilva-Ibru’s medical and academic career spans three decades and three continents with her completing her medical and postgraduate training and obtaining a Masters from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University. She has also taken other postgraduate medical courses in various specialities. An alumna of the Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, DaSilva-Ibru currently undertaking a PhD in gender-based violence at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

WARIF is one of Nigeria’s foremost organizations tackling sexual violence through a holistic and survivor-centred approach to helping affected girls and women, as well as successfully tackling the issue’s root causes. DaSilva-Ibru’s goal is to bring about a world in which all women and girls can live their lives free from gender-based violence. Excerpts…

What does WARIF represent?

WARIF is the Women at Risk International Foundation. A non-profit organization established to address the prevalence of sexual violence, rape, and human trafficking among young girls and women in Nigeria and Africa. Since its inception in 2016, WARIF has become one of the foremost organizations in the country successfully tackling gender-based violence – an issue that affects 1 in 4 girls before the age of 18. This overarching objective is achieved through the design and adoption of a unique 3 pillar approach – in Health with the provision of free essential services as well as post-incident care at the WARIF Rape Crisis Centre, and through the implementation of impactful preventative measures Education and Community-based Programs for target beneficiaries. The organization serves as a beacon of hope to many and has transformed the lives of countless women and girls in communities across Nigeria.

What is your view on “Positive Discrimination Initiatives”?

Positive discrimination initiatives are carried out in many communities to establish equitable opportunities in environments where there are prevailing systemic biases. These initiatives assist in transforming ecosystems where disenfranchised diverse groups such as women and girls from various sectors, as seen in education, health, and politics, are included in promoting a fair non-discriminatory society.

When you invest in girls and women in any society you empower them and provide a more productive environment with improved economic structures and social development. Investing in women and girls is not only wise but will certainly accelerate her progress as well as that of her community. Presently in Nigeria, an estimated 2 percent is lost ($8.8 billion dollars) of Nigeria’s annual GDP of $440 billion as a result of violence against women and girls. I believe both men and women have a role to play in our society in promoting gender equality. When we create systems and an enabling landscape where women and girls have access to education and skill development, economic empowerment, and opportunities for leadership positions in all sectors; the effect is impactful and positively transformative for all. I believe as women we must fiercely support each other in this endeavor as we advocate for a more inclusive and equitable society.

Your advice for the girl child and women in general as we celebrate IWD 2024?

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, my advice to every young girl and woman is to believe in yourself; education is empowerment as you challenge stereotypes and break barriers in this male-dominated world. Support each other as we continue to strive for a more inclusive and equitable world for all; Find your voice, speak up, and be heard as you a more than enough.