United Nations Women has called for prioritization of investment by all stakeholders in financing development plans towards ending violence against women and girls, even as it pleaded for strategic policy development aimed at putting a stop to the scourge.
The call was made at the weekend by the UN Women Deputy Country Represntative to Nigeria. Mr. Lansana Wonneh at a Joint Symposium on Prevention of Violence Against Special Need Groups in Nigeria; with the theme: “Tackling Multi-forms of Vulnerability and Violence through Improved Policies, Programmatic and Funding Mechanisms”.
Wonneh, who was represented by the National Programme Officer UN Women, Mrs. Patience Ekeoba, said that despite many countries passing laws to combat violence against women, weak enforcement and discriminatory social norms remain a significant problems.
He said: “Being able to stop violence from occurring in the first place is critical to achieving the goal of ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) because if violence does not occur all the other GBV responses will not be necessary. VAWG is preventable; we need to continue to invest in transforming social norms, addressing unequal gender power relations, strengthening essential services for survivors, and enabling safer environments. I call for more attention to gender responsive budgeting, ensuring that budget circulars have definite allocations to gender equality and women empowerment including budget for addressing violence against women and girls.”
Wonneh explained that women with special needs and other groups experience violence differently because of their vulnerability and special needs, hence the need for stakeholders engagements to mobilize support and raise awareness to end the menace.
He added that: “The symposium provides opportunity for ASWHAN and the other special need groups to share their experiences of violences, their survivor stories and make demand for increased prevention interventions and response. It will also allow all relevant government agencies, the UN System, development partners, civil society gather here today to listen, discuss and advance prevention strategies and funding mechanism to enhance prevention and mitigation services and actions for the targets groups. So I call on you to participate actively so that at the end of today’s interactions we will all come up with practical strategies towards reducing and eliminating violence that affect this critical groups in our society.”
Also speaking, the Acting Director, Policy Planning and Coordination, Nation Agency for the Control Aids (NACA), Dr. Yinka Anoemuah, noted that the agency will continue to work with partners to achieve the desired goal of ending all forms of violence.
“We have so many vulnerable population that experience vulnerabilities and that is why we will continue to partner with the UN system and partners to find ways to bring an end to all the challenges that people are facing in the communities. We recognize very much the relationships between Gender Based Violence (GBV) and HIV, and that is why to the key area of strategic engagement that we have over the years, because if we want to control the virus, and end the epidemy by 2030, we need to bring to a stop all forms of violence, be it emotional, psychological, physical, then we have to work together to make that happen. Without resources, without people, without investment we will not be able to do it, but with collaborations and partnerships we will achieve a lot”. She noted
On behalf of people with disabilities, the President Women With Disabilities, Lois Auta, called for an increase in budget allocation on disabilities issues.
“Women with disabilities are much more vulnerable to issues of GBV, these violence could be in different forms such as issues of economic empowerment, issues of health, issues of institutional barriers and infrastructural Barriers. We have legal frameworks and these frame works are not implemented. The big issues is lack of funding, with need to come together and collaborate and activate the goal 17 of SDG, by working together. We need to insert a budget plan in all the MDAs for issues of women and girls with disabilities.
She said: “We need to talk to National Assembly to increase the budgets allocation on issues of disability as well as increase awareness on GBV in the rural areas.”
According to the Head Health Desk, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs Marian Shuaibu, the ministry takes priority in the wellbeing of all women. Noting that approval to establish a mobile court to deal with the perpetrators of GBV has been gotten, as well as development of a policy on mental health.
This year theme, “UNiTE!; Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women & Girls” is apt as it focusses on investment and financing of strategies and programmes that will help prevent violence from happening in the first place against women and girls.
The symposium was put together by UN Women, NACA, UNAIDS, Association of Women with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, (ASWHAN) and the Ministry of Women Affairs.