The Community Awareness and Development Initiative (CADI), an NGO, has mobilised 200 youths for active community engagements to tackle Gender-Based Violence (GBV), Sexual Reproductive Health Right (SRHR) and other Harmful Traditional Practices (HP) in Sokoto State.
The Chief Executive and Founder of CADI, Alhaji Sani Umar-Jabbi, said at the closing of the trainings, on Sunday, in Sokoto, that the effort was supported by the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Project aimed at eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).
Umar-Jabbi, who is the District Head of Gagi, said the engagement was designed to work with 200 young people on advocating and dissemination of key messages developed by CADI on GBV, SRHR, Maternal and Newborn Child Health (MNCH), Female Gentile Mutilation (FGM), VVF, HP, among other issues.
He said a series of activities had been planned targeted at enhancing youths capacity through relevant knowledge and how best to tackle GBV, personal health challenges and harmful traditional practices prevalent in their communities.
Umar-Jabbi added that 50 youths each were selected from Tangaza, Binji, Bodinga and Sokoto North Local Government Areas and engaged as the areas were covered by the Spotlight Initiative Project in the state.
He added that participants were educated on the importance of girl-child education, accessing right medications in designated hospitals, including ante-natal care and child spacing methods.
According to him, most youths in rural communities lacked access to educational materials relevant to handling issues related to sexual abuse and other forms of violence.
“It is an ongoing effort aimed at equipping youths in the society to effectively assist survivors of SGBV in their respective communities.
“The youth groups serve as vanguards of community contacts through their interactions, as such, training on ways to offer services and referrals of survivors and other forms of violence against women and girls will go a long way in assisting the authorities,’’ Umar-Jabbi said.
He urged the participants to endeavour to share the knowledge and experiences they acquired for the good of the society, while commending the handlers of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative Project and the Sokoto state government for their support.
Umar-Jabbi stressed that due to the rising cases of GBV and other harmful practices in the country, collective efforts were required to reduce the menace.
In their separate lectures, Dr Aliyu Gadanga, Mr Abubakar Mailato and Zainab Muhammad-Yabo, duelled on the immediate causes and avenues that could prompt gender-based violence within the family and community settings.
The facilitators educated participants on quality feeding habits, improved hygiene, monitoring of children associations to track suspected abuses, as well as the provisions safeguarding the integrity of women and mitigating improper practices in the society.
They maintained that the impacts of gender-based violence affected survivors’ behaviours, growth and development, as well as their psychological wellbeing.
Hajiya Habiba Muhammad, a Director in the Sokoto state Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, said strategies and policies had been put in place to check issues of gender based sexual violence in the state.
Muhammad urged CSOs to assist relevant agencies in curtailing the menace by exposing perpetrators and monitoring the wellbeing of survivors.
She noted that the state government, in collaboration with actors of the Spotlight Initiative Project, had established a Sexual Assault Referral Centre to provide immediate and long term assistance to survivors of GBV.
Malam Umar Idris, the UNFPA Spotlight Desk Officer in Sokoto State, commended CADI for the efforts and stressed the need for more collective actions against the menace.
A participant, Bala Umar, from Waziri ‘B’ Faqon Idi in Sokoto North Local Government, said he gained a lot from the training, especially the lawful provisions to expose GBV and reporting platforms.
Umar assured of his active engagement, through sensitizing his peers and the larger society via social media handles, group sitting places, mosque, where he serves as deputy Imam.
Another participant, Abubakar Maiturare from Magaji ‘B’ ward in Sokoto North expressed optimism that the training would boost the participants’ capacity to educate people, assist survivors, expose perpetrators and report cases to law enforcement agencies to sanitize the society.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training availed the youths the opportunity to ask questions on different topics on happenings in their localities. (NAN)