Group sensitises 200 women in Enugu community on gender-based violence

The South Sahara Social Development Organisation (SSDO), a non-governmental organisation, has sensitised over 200 married women in Amankwo Eke community in Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State on standing for their rights and against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

The sensitisation was carried out on Saturday, under the NGO’s focused project called Sister Guardian Initiative (SGI) in commemoration of the United Nations annual global campaign called 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

The campaign starts from Nov. 25, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, to Dec. 10, which is International Human Rights Day.

The women, who were also introduced to an interest-free credit scheme, were encouraged to work as a team and be their sister’s keeper to kick out Sexual and Gender-Based Violence from their community.

Blessing Uchendu, SSDO’s gender and protection programme lead, said the sensitisation was to correct some ills in society.

According to her, the Sister Guardian Initiative is aimed at assisting women suffering abuse to report such cases to appropriate authorities.

She explained that any rights violation, be it physical, economical, harmful traditional practice or emotional, should be reported for the issue to be handled in the best professional manner by trained SGI executives in their community.

She said, “we are always here training and enlightening women on the need to speak out against SGBV in any form and the need for them to pick up the courage to deal with every case of gender abuse.

“The SGI executives deliver by giving mediation and counselling services, referral to the police or health centres and provision of safe houses, among others.

“We are also involving men in the fight against SGBV to make it a holistic family affair to properly deal with it.”

She said that the NGO had inaugurated a 10-women executive to champion the fight against SGBV in the Amankwo Eke community in Udi LGA.

“SSDO works with the executives in areas where they encounter difficulty. We do not want maltreatment of women in our communities any longer,” she said.

On empowerment for women, SSDO introduced the Jacob’s Well Project to enable those doing something (like petty trade) to have access to soft loans to expand their businesses and contribute to their families’ welfare and well-being.

Stella Ani, the coordinator of the Jacob’s Well Project, said that empowering women would make their families financially stable and help to reduce all forms of abuse against women.

According to Ms Ani, being financially independent will help women start doing something and also contribute to the family, while their value, worth and respect will increase as well.

“This will go a long way in reducing financial stress and pressure on the family, which is the remote cause of violence and disagreements at home,” she said.

Geraldine Uzor, the president of the Catholic Women’s Organisation of St. Paul Catholic Church, Eke, thanked SSDO for the sensitisation and enlightenment.

Ms Uzor said women in the community had resolved to work together and with SSDO to stand up for their rights and stop all forms of intimidation against fellow women.

“We encourage our women and sisters to speak out and not to die in silence over issues of inhuman treatment they are subjected to, as well as maltreatment by their husbands,” she said.

A community leader, Sylvester Mgbo, said that the community had tried over the years to abolish cultural practices against women.

He added that “on the issue of SGBV, they have our support and backing as community leaders and elders.

“No one will be happy to hear that his daughter married out in any community is being maltreated by her husband,” Mr Mgbo said.