WARIF Ford Foundation Partner To Combat Gender-Based Violence In Ogun, Oyo, And Lagos

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Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a non-profit organization launched in response to the high incidence of sexual assault, rape, and human trafficking occurring amongst young girls and women across Nigeria and Africa has recently partnered with Ford Foundation to expand its Gatekeepers Project.

The expansion is set to be implemented in 3 Southwestern states of Lagos, Oyo, and Ogun states.

The partnership is to tackle the pervasive issue of gender-based violence (GBV).

The Gatekeeper’s project is an initiative of WARIF that focuses on empowering community stakeholders to effectively respond to cases of rape and sexual violence, with particular emphasis on young girls and women in rural areas.

The project launched in August 2017, has since then been working with community stakeholders such as Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) community and religious leaders, to address the pressing issues of rape and gender-based violence (GBV) in rural and peri-urban communities across Nigeria.

This innovative grassroots approach was the first of its kind and has had a significant positive impact on raising awareness and on the prevention of GBV in many communities, through in-person training programs for these stakeholders as first responders in cases of GBV and the handling of GBV-related issues.

Commenting on the initiative and partnership with Ford Foundation, the founder, Dr. Kemi Dasilva-ibru said, “Acknowledging that rape and sexual violence affect 24 % of women in Nigeria and in the rural communities which accounts for 54% of Nigeria’s population, there is limited access to medical services and scarce information through mainstream media outlets.

WARIF recognizes the urgent need to address GBV at the grassroots level in these communities, by equipping these Gatekeepers as first responders within their communities.

“This understanding inspired the partnership with Ford Foundation. We are grateful their commitment aligns with ours and we hope to further strengthen this partnership for greater impact.

“Interpersonal and professional relationships between the various community leaders and stakeholders are also strengthened through the Gatekeepers Programme ensuring a broader community engagement and reach and the safety of women and girls” She added.

The Gatekeepers project focuses on empowering these community stakeholders to effectively respond to cases of rape and sexual violence, with particular emphasis on young girls and women in rural areas.

This successful initiative was carried out in 5 Local Government Areas in Lagos state, 4 Local Government Areas in Ogun, and 5 Local Government Areas in Oyo state. A total, of 1,050 gatekeepers have been trained across these three states.

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