The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the rate of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) against women in Nigeria. Despite these high incidences of violence and the associated impacts on victims, both reportage and help-seeking behaviour remain low.
How we are helping
This project will increase awareness of SGBV mitigation and response frameworks, including channels for obtaining support and justice, and advocate for government inter-agency collaboration for a more holistic and robust SGBV response in Nigeria.
About the project
The 2018 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) report documented the prevalence of violence against women in Nigeria. It indicated that 31% of Nigerian women between ages 15 and 49 have experienced physical violence while 9% have experienced sexual violence. Spousal violence was 36% for ever-married women in the country. There is a prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria: at least 20% of Nigerian women between ages 15 and 49 surveyed in 2018 were circumcised.
Underpinning these figures is the poor awareness and perception of SGBV in Nigeria. For example, a World Bank report states that marital rape is not considered as a valid concept in some communities in Nigeria. Cultural practices that encourage forced early marriage are still common. According to UNICEF, 43% of Nigerian women married before the age of 18.
The pandemic and lockdown resulted in a further surge in cases of violence against women (including rape, molestation, and murder) in the country. The National Human Rights Commission reported 790 complaints of SGBV affecting over 950 victims between January and June 2020.
SGBV victims in Nigeria show low incidences of reportage and help-seeking; only 32% of women who have been victims of violence sought help, mainly sought from victim’s own families. Reasons for this include prevalent cultural norms that discourage reporting SGBV, poor awareness of how to report the crimes and processes involved, and shortcomings in the justice framework.
This project aims to increase protection for women and girls in Nigeria by improving awareness of SGBV at individual and community level and facilitating a coordinated national response to SGBV.
This will be achieved by:
- Engaging with the National Human Rights Commission, Nigerian Police, Ministry of Women Affairs and other relevant government agencies to strengthen capacity for a coordinated SGBV response.
- Amplifying SGBV mitigation and response measures through traditional and social media. Community outreach will distribute printed materials. Periodic meetings with National Orientation Agency, National Broadcasting Corporation, National Film, and Video Censor Board will produce targeted messaging against SGBV in Nigeria.
- Training and educating 600 gatekeepers and community leaders on SGBV mitigation and response in six local government areas in Abuja to reduce the incidence of violence against women at the community level and to build a community of protection and trust for women across Abuja. The training will also position gatekeepers as conduits between victims and institutional justice.
Dinidari Foundation is a grassroots organisation with experience in political participation, governance, and human rights. Its core themes are gender advancement; community development; election and electoral reforms; anti-corruption; human rights; and access to justice. It mobilises women and young people both at the community and national level using interpersonal and internet-based strategies. Recent projects include strengthening the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) response to human rights violations amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and extensive work promoting women’s rights and eliminating SGBV through community engagement and collaboration with government institutions.
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