Why we change our approach to GVB – Activist

A champion in Gender Based Violence (GBV), Nor Barnabas has disclosed the rationale for the paradigm shift in the approach to nip in the bud Gender Based Violence (GBV) in our communities.

Barnabas who works for Touch a heart foundation made the disclosure during a sensitization workshop for students of GDSS Shuware Mubi and GTC Mubi.

The activity was organized by the Sultan foundation for peace and development with support from spotlight initiative.

He noted that GBV varies with communities and localities and also varies according to ethnicity but is majorly influenced by traditions and religious beliefs.

“The Idea about sensitizing the students is in the context of our local communities, children are also stakeholders. Formerly the sensitization was going to community leaders and caregivers. This time around they saw it that it is very important to also include the children that is the young ones who would hopefully be parents tomorrow.

“So catching them young is the idea so that inculcating this wonderful discipline about GBV and its effect to local community especially the house hold setting, catching them young and educating them will help to groom the society with people with indepth knowledge around the issue.

“It will definitely exposed the students to a lot of things. It is one thing to expose somebody and its another thing for the person to use it either positively or negatively. But these programs are designed so that everything is brought black and white to the students and to tell them the negative effect and positive one,” he said.

Speaking on the development, a student of GDSS Shuware, Favour Joseph said she has learnt that segregation that take place in workplace based on gender misconceptions is a form of GBV.

She urged young girls to imbibe the spirit of descent dressing noting that such will go a long way in preventing rampant incidents of rape cases in the society.

Also speaking, Grace Dauda, a student of the school said she has learnt the nuances and rudiments of GBV and will escalate the knowledge to the rest of the society.

Another student, Maryam Abdullahi who frowned at genital mutilation said she will henceforth become a champion of GBV in order to stop such unwholesome practice against the girl child.

She noted that in some communities, a girl won’t get a husband if her genitals are not mutilated noting that such constitute a gross violation of the rights of the girl child.

Also speaking, Amina Mohammed Ali, the program assistant of the foundation in Adamawa State noted that the aim of the project is to work with relevant stakeholders including traditional, religious and youth leaders to end the menace which has become rampant over the years.

“We are implementing the spotlight initiative project on ending all forms of violence against women and girls. This is the phase 2 of the project. We implemented the phase 1 last year and we did it on prevention. By that we are talking about the male engagement component where we targeted men who will be champions of women and they will stand against all forms of violence against women and girls.

“In phase 2, we are targeting girls in secondary schools and girls in tertiary institutions. We shall discuss, interact with them and engage with them on gender equitable norms.

“We shall also engage them in discussions about some of the cultural norms that are perpetrated against them leading to the occurrence of gender based violence. So basically this engagement will bring about shift in gender stereotyping with regards to women and young girls,” she said.

She noted that the 250 girls that will be covered will be selected from Yola north and Mubi North local governments of the state.

“We are targeting 250 girls in select secondary schools in Yola north and Mubi North because these are our project locations. Today we are interacting with students of Ladi Atiku Government Girls Secondary School we will be engaging about 50 of the girls we will then move to Government Girls Secondary School Yola and FGGC Yola and then we move to Mubi where we are targeting other schoolgirls during the First quarter,” she added.

She noted that at the end of the project, it is expected that there will be monumental shift in gender stereotyping and other social norms that bar the girl child from achieving her potentials which also exercerbate gender based violence.

“There will be a shift in gender stereotyping or some of the social norms restricting or limiting the girl child from achieving her potentials there by leading to the perpetration of SGBV against her,” she said.

She called on the general public especially parents not to hesitate in reporting any forms of gender based violence noting that the lethargic disposition of communities towards such cases make perpetrators to be emboldened to commit more of such atrocities in the future.

“We have a referral pathway, people should not hesitate to report any case of gender based violence because some of them don’t even know that these things are punishable. If we keep quite nothing will be achieved. The communities should stand up and ensure perpetrators are punished,” she said.


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