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WACOL INAUGURATES “50/50 WOMEN” ADVOCACY GROUP TO END HARMFUL CULTURAL NORMS AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS IN FOUR STATES IN SOUTH-EAST NIGERIA

The Women Aid Collective (WACOL) is currently holding a workshop/training to increase the capacity of 50 women leaders. These women were selected from various women groups in Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, and Imo states to advocate for eliminating harmful cultural norms targeting women in our society.

The intervention aims to institute a cluster of women called the “50/50 Action Women” who would become a powerful voice for vulnerable women and girls who are victims of violence against women and girls in the communities.

The training would empower the “50/50 Action Women” with necessary skills, especially in women’s human rights, violence against women and girls, human rights laws, leadership, advocacy/lobbying, and collaboration/networking. It was discovered that issues of FGM, child marriage, the disinheritance of widows/female children, preference of the male child, deliberate exclusion of women in civil and political leadership, and such likes are still prevalent in the five south-east states and some south-south project states.

Other component of the training is stating the precise roles and mandate of the 50/50 Action Women group in achieving the target goal.

Participants were drawn from the academia, community women leaders, women chiefs, Ugoezes (wives of traditional rulers), women from CSOs, CBOs, FBOs, women professionals and women in business, female SUG officials, PWD and the media.

During the event in Umuahia, Mrs Ijeoma Uzoeshi, WACOL programme officer, and the project’s programme officer said the training was designed to empower women to improve their skills and understanding and give them some skills in advocacy and lobbying, negotiation and collaboration. This activity will help them understand how best to engage some critical stakeholders, like the traditional gatekeepers, on the issues affecting women negatively.

Uzoeshi insisted that a society that puts down half of its citizens cannot talk about sustained development, hence the need for women to be included in leadership as a key to the realisation of women’s right.

Uzoeshi, the programme officer of the non-governmental organisation, decried the cases of violence against women, other domestic and divorce-related issues like wife battery, rape, female genital mutilation, harmful widowhood practices, widowhood/girl child disinheritance, property dispossession, and child abandonment which are abounded in the south-east, south-south and Nigeria as a whole.

“This project aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, especially those that stem from cultural norms and practices. Most of these cultures and traditions at our community level reinforce gender inequality”, she pointed out.

The resource persons, Barr. Helen Kalu and Dr Uche Nwoke, exposed the participants to women’s right issues, violence against women and girls in Nigeria, women and transformational leadership for the realisation of women’s right, and human rights of women in international, regional and national instruments and relevant SDGs.

The event’s highlight was the official inauguration of the 50/50 Action Women in the selected state, performed by the founding director of WACOL and Tamar SARC, Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo (OON).

The training would also be done in Anambra, Delta and Edo states.

The three (3)-year project is fully funded by the Ford Foundation and is being implemented by WACOL.

#BreakTheSilence

@FordFoundation

@WACOLNigeria,

@Women Aid Collective -WACOL.

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