By Justina Auta
An NGO, Talitha Cumi Foundation (TCF), has created 30 safe spaces and engaged 750 marginalised girls on Gender Based Violence (GBV) under its Flashlight Action on Girl Safety (FLAGS) project.
Ms Adetayo Erinle, Executive Director of the Tabitha Cumi Foundation (TCF), at the FLAGS project launch in Abuja, said the three-year project is to support girls in FCT, Nassarawa and Niger states on GBV.
Erinle said the project was funded by the UN Trust Fund and implemented by TCF to support girls between 10-19 years in 10 communities across the three states.
According to her, the organisation will work with health department, police, FIDA, community members, men and boys to ensure success of the project.
“Many survivors are not able to access, justice, and even help when they’re violated because they don’t have money. They don’t have funds to pay for transportation to go to hospital or to go seek justice beyond their communities.
“So apart from giving them the right information, which is power, we are also going to provide virtual case management, individual case management.
“Also, the health officers within their communities will be trained and empowered to provide first contact friendly support to girls that have been violated and also to collect and preserve evidence so that justice can be pursued.
“So within the communities we’re setting up 30 safe spaces. This safe spaces are small groups with “Amintaces” who is likely a trusted adults and trained to take charge of those safe spaces.
“They are trained to help the girls feel relaxed to talk, trained to maintain confidentiality, trained to know what to do when they speak out to provide support for their mental health to provide you know supports for justice,’’ she said.
According to her, this will ensure perpetrators are dealt with in according to the law and survivors overcome the trauma and able to live a normal life.
Prof Simon Akpama, Executive Secretary, National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult Non Formal Education (NMEC), stressed the need for education, which he said empowers, liberates and helps nations and individuals fight GBV.
Akpama, represented by Mrs Ejiji Nnenne, Assistant Director, Network and Partnership Department, NMEC, emphasized on the collective responsibilities of all to remove persistent hunger, poverty and disease
“As well as stamp out violence against women and girls, education is a very valuable instrument and literacy is a critical first step in imparting education.
“Failure to address this issue especially as it relates to the girl-child, also poses a significant cost for the future.
“The plight of the girl-child is increasingly becoming horrendous daily, and this terrible episode of their lives ultimately affects who and what they become in future. Hence this issue needs to be addressed,’’ he said.
Mr Oluwasegun Femi, representing Child Protection Network encouraged the public to always speak out against Sexual and gender Based Violence, which will ensure survivors, gets justice and perpetrators are punished.
Mrs Olagunju Temitope, representing National Commission for UNESCO said advocacy on SGBV should be intensified, especially at the community level to eliminate the practice in totality. (NAN)