WARIF Empowers Stakeholders To Combat Rape, Sexual Violence In Ogun

WARIF Empowers Stakeholders To Combat Rape, Sexual Violence In Ogun

The Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a non-profit organisation focused on raising awareness and providing support to survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in Nigeria, has announced the successful training of a new cohort of stakeholders as part of its Gatekeepers Project, aimed at addressing the pervasive issue of rape and sexual violence.

Supported by the ACT Foundation, a grant-making organisation that supports local, national, and regional non-profits working to address social, health, and environmental challenges across Africa, this initiative targets the protection of young girls and women in rural communities across four local government areas (LGAs) in Ogun State.

The project’s implementation commenced with strategic engagement with key stakeholders, including state actors such as the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Alternative Medicine Board, and Olabisi Onabanjo University Teaching Hospital Sexual Assault Referral Centre, as well as non-state actors represented by coordinators of birth attendant groups in the LGAs.

In a press statement made available to LEADERSHIP, the founder of WARIF, Dr Kemi Dasilva-Ibru, said the consultations aimed to secure commitment and support from governmental and non-governmental agencies and identify local resources conducive to achieving project objectives.

“Selected birth attendants underwent comprehensive training to serve as first responders to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) issues in their communities. A total of 200 birth attendants (181 female and 19 male) received training across the designated LGAs,” DaSilva-Ibru revealed.

Equipped with skills in identifying and documenting cases of GBV, as well as providing counseling services, the trained birth attendants conducted weekly sensitisation and awareness activities in their clinics, the founder disclosed, adding that they also reached out to social and religious gatherings.

Through these efforts, information on GBV reached 8,130 individuals (6,587 females and 1,543 males), contributing to heightened awareness within the communities. A total of 203 GBV cases were documented during project implementation, with Domestic Violence (124 cases) ranking highest, followed by Sexual Assault (51 cases) and Rape (28 cases).

The services provided by trained birth attendants encompass counseling (87 per cent), referrals to the Police (six per cent), other medical facilities (four per cent), and WARIF or Sexual Assault Referral Centre (two per cent).

“The Gatekeepers program has not only increased awareness among Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) regarding GBV signs and prevention but has also been integrated into apprenticeship programs for new TBAs in the selected communities, ensuring the sustainability and perpetuation of knowledge within these areas.

“WARIF remains committed to its mission of empowering communities to combat rape and sexual violence, fostering a safer environment for all individuals, particularly women and girls,” she affirmed.

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