By Moses Oyediran, Enugu
A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), operating under the auspices of the Parent-Child Intervention Centre (PCIC), has expressed worry over the alarming rate of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Enugu state, especially since the novel dreaded Covid-19 pandemic ravaging the entire globe broke out.
It, however, stressed the need for all hands to be on deck particularly the male folk, to end the menace in the state, during the post Coronavirus period.
The event which was sponsored by Global Affairs Canada was supported by Actionaid Nigeria.
As part of measure to mitigate the problem, as well as engage Community men (PCIC), had weekend in Enugu organized a one day workshop for youths from various locations of the state on the role of men to end GBV during post Covid 19 pandemic in the state
Speaking at the event, Executive Director (ED) of the NGO, Ambassador Peggy Chukwuemeka, said, “evidence from researches has proved that working with men and boys to challenge toxic masculinity and gender inequality has a positive impact in improving the health and wellbeing of women and children, and men themselves.
She explained that her organization decided to engage the men because “gender-based violence devastates the lives of women, girls, families, and communities, especially in rural Nigeria.
According to her, “We engage men/boys for several reasons which include to reduces violence, because women often ask that programmes around SGBV involve men as well as women”, adding that men’s participation helps to avoid a backlash, violence against women.
“This is because owing to the patriarchal nature of our communities, men often hold more power and influence in a home or community. And so they tend to be more effective change agents.
“Men engagement programmes will support the social reintegration of survivors who often ostracised by their husbands/families e.g in conflict situations where women have endured rape.
The NGO boss, further noted that “Critically, if social change is to be sustained it is essential to engage the whole community (not only one half, namely women) including the most influential power brokers.
“Progress to reduce gender-based violence is possible – and reaching men and boys through education, knowledge-sharing platforms, etc is key. PCIC engaged 50 community men in order to challenge and change the social norms and attitudes that cause and perpetuate violence.
“Through the engagement, men will be able to take the lead in challenging harmful traditional practices such as Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), child marriage, teenage pregnancy and in promoting the use of sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) services among women and girls, while reducing violence against women and children.
“The expectation from the community men engagement organized by Parent-Child Intervention Centre with support from Actionaid Nigeria and sponsorship from Global Affairs Canada is to give men the opportunity to discuss the importance of men’s participation to end GBV” she Stated.
In a presentation, a Civil Rights lawyer, Barrister Chinwike Okereke, of African Law Foundation (AFRILAW), Enugu, identified poverty as one of the key factors responsible for GBV, stressing that many times lack of money in men’s pocket leads to transfer of anger and aggression on partners.
He charged the participates to see themselves as agents of change on issues concerning GBV in their respective Communities and state large, advising victims to always speak out rather than die in silence.
Some of the participants who spoke at the workshop had appreciated the NGO for putting together the programme, opining that such a campaign against GBV should be sustained.
They also advocate for legislation on the issue, and its proper implementation, saying that is the best way to curb the menace in the state.