The Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) concluded a three -day capacity building workshop for selected young women on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Nigeria under the Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG) project supported by Ford Foundation. The workshop which took place in Yola, Adamawa State from 13-15 January 2020 availed the opportunity for fifty (50) young female feminists to learn on pushing against the boundaries of VAWG by utilizing their strengths and leadership qualities especially in spaces of governance and politics in Nigeria. The workshop was also focused on empowering selected feminists on rights-based approaches and other practical frameworks that effectively integrates women’s human rights and dignity into gender equality processes in Nigeria through mentorship.

Group picture from the EVAWG Workshop in Adamawa State

In a welcome address to the participants by the Chief Executive Officer of NWTF – Ms. Mufuliat Fijabi, violence against women and girls is a prevalent human rights violation and a major hindrance to the advancement of women’s rights and a threat to the inclusion of women in governance and in all development spheres. She added that inspite of this great challenge, it is gratifying that there are young and committed women who are ready to subject themselves to capacity development in order to enhance their ability to raise their voices, network and advocate for a complete end to violence against women and girls. Ms. Fijabi reiterate that the program was initiated due to a genuine interest in sustainable activism and leadership which aligns with the passion of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) to transform power relations between men and women to ensure the inclusive participation of women and girls in Nigeria’s development and democratic process.

“I encourage you all to sustain the interest in learning, activism and be deliberate in developing your leadership skills and build your confidence towards emerging as transformational leaders” Ms. Fijabi urged. She concluded by appreciating selected mentors who generously obliged to be part of the program and the Ford Foundation, West Africa for the support.

During goodwill messages, Ms. Lami Patrick – Honorable Commissioner for Women Affairs lauded the timeliness of the EVAWG project. The Commissioner stated that issues on women’s emancipation in the state and Nigeria has now been overemphasized without no tangible progress across all measuring platforms. Ms. Lami affirmed her supports in terms of bringing together stakeholders who will provide critical information about VAWG and other women rights issues in the state. Likewise, Ms. Wilbina Jackson – Honorable Commissioner, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development expressed her delight at the EVAWG initiative. She acknowledged the existing attempts in the state on addressing VAWG, especially during her time at the State Assembly where she sponsored a bill which was unsuccessful. “As a senior citizen of the state and former legislator in the state, I sponsored a bill on VAWG without any support from my colleagues at the House”. She attributed the non-passage of the bill to deeply rooted patriarchal inclinations and other religiously motivated barriers.  Similarly, Hajia Turai A’Kadir – a renowned Women’s Right Activists in Nigeria recognized the past political feat of women’s movement in the state. She showered encomium on the female Commissioners present, especially with regards to their contributions towards creating necessary platforms for younger generation of women to contribute meaningfully to the development discourse in Adamawa States.

The three-day workshop was concluded with a mentor-mentee meeting session, where mentroship action plans on key elements and issues around violence against women and girls, potential barriers, risks, and mitigation strategy were jointly designed by mentors and mentees.  The workshop will be preceded by a six-month mentorship process in Adamawa State.

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