In view of the rising incidents of domestic violence in the society, women from Wuntin Dada and Miri communities in Bauchi Local Government Areas of Bauchi State have embarked on peaceful rallies to create more awareness among people of their respective communities against sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).
The rallies were coordinated by a Bauchi-based nongovernmental organisation (NGO), Aid Connect for Development (AIDCODE) in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria and facilitated under the Canada funded intervention tagged, Women Voice and Leadership (WSL).
Carrying various placards with inscriptions like: “We don’t agree to SGBV”; “Parents, be vigilant over your children”; “We don’t agree to sodomy”, among many others, women, who trooped out in large numbers, marched round the communities and terminated at the market squares in each community.
Speaking at the end of the rally at Miri, a woman leader in the community, Hajiya Salamatu Ibrahim, said women in the area were more than before aware of dangers associated with SGBV.
According to her, this was as a result of their consistent engagement with AIDCODE, adding that the rally was held in the community with a view to sensitising residents on the evil of SGBV and how to mitigate against it.
Hajiya Ibrahim further said women in the community had been actively involved in ensuring that sexual and gender based violence were eradicated in the community.
In her words: “This rally is just a fraction of what we have been doing to open the eyes of our people on the dangers associated with rape, sodomy and other forms of sexual and gender based violence in our communities.
“We also take such campaigns to door to door to consistently sensitise household heads and their spouses on the need to protect their children against sexual predators.”
She informed that women in the community were not only being trained by Aid Connect for Development and its partners on varying methods to adopt in putting an end to SGBV in the area but also being equipped to competently raise awareness on it in their immediate environment.
“All the methods we adopt in carrying out such campaigns were in tune with what Aid Connect and their partners taught us on the dangers of allowing such crimes to thrive or hiding them from the public domain for fear of stigmatisation of victims,” she said.
She then expressed appreciation to the NGO for its efforts in engaging and building their capacity as a result of which cases of SGBV were minimising the community.
“I made bold to say that, Allah has been protecting this community as a result of our consistent campaign against SGBV,’ Ibrahim added.
Speaking with journalists after the rally, the Executive Director of Aid Connect for Development, Mrs Habiba Ajifor, informed that the rally was held with a view to recreating awareness among people of the communities for them to continue to be vigilant against issues related to SGBV.
She explained that through her organisation’s mentorship, women in Miri and Wuntin Dada were now taking the lead in campaigns aimed at eradicating sexual and gender based violence in their communities.
According to her, “this will ensure sustainability even when there are no partners support,” adding that dangers associated with the menace in the society could not be overemphasised.
On her part, AIDCODE Programme Manager, Ms Abigail Hardo, revealed that her NGO was carefully mentoring women in the two communities using an all inclusive approach involving women, men, boys and girls.
“It really gladdens my heart to see that the communities are taking ownership of such campaigns without prompting. It goes to show that sustainability of such activities is assured,” she said.