Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
Issues bothering on how to ensure a society free from Gender Based Violence, GBV and how to effectively handle and manage GBV cases formed the main thrust of a four day training in managing Gender Based Violence in Emergencies, GBViE for NGOs, ministries, departments and agencies that are providing services regarding issues of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in Calabar, the Cross River state capital.
The training which was organized by the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA Cross River Sub-office in Calabar was also targeted toward srate and non-state actors to ensure that they are well informed and equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills on how to respond to survivors of GBV.
Speaking with newsmen on the essence of the training, UNFPA Cross River state head of office, Dr. Omolaso Omosehin said the training was focused on GBV in emergencies owing to the fact that records show that one in every three women must have been assaulted in one way or the other. He charged the participants to ensure they step down all they acquired during the training at their various localities.
He said: “We know that all over the world Gender Based Violenceis common. We do know that one in three women globally have been assaulted by a close or intimate partner throughout their life, so you can see how high the figure is.
“Incidentally in Nigeria we also have situations that have arisen because of crisis and particularly in Cross River State we have a good number of GBV survivors who have migrated from Cameroon.
“We know that humanitarian workers face a lot of challenges trying to see to the need of these refugees, and we decided that those who manage these refugees especially those who manage Gender Based Violence are well trained and that is why this training is very, very important and I’m happy that we were able to have participants both from Ogoja and Calabar during this training and I’m quite sure that the skills they have acquired during these four days will strengthen their capacities to manage cases that they see in the field.
“They have been trained, their capacities have been built, I believe when you energize yourself you would also want the energy that you have acquired to be put into good use. So I expect that the participants will go back, some of them are from various NGOs that work with these refugees, and will put the things that they have learnt into practice. They will also be able to build the capacities of those who were not able to attend the training, so we expect a multiplied effect after today”.
In her remarks, Cross River state Commissioner for women affairs, Hon. Rita Ayim stressed that the government is no longer smiling at GBV offenders. She appreciated UNFPA for providing the humanitarian workers with the needed skills to succeed in the fight against GBV in the state and the country at large, maintaining that UNFPA has made the ministry of women affairs to become functional. She added that her ministry will collaborate with the necessary agencies to ensure that there is a lasting solution to the menace of GBV in the state.
“Those who are involved in GBV cases should know that the government’s eyes are on them, and that the law will catch up with them. They should desist from perpetuating Gender Based Violence whether it is against men and boys, or women and girls; because the law is there to take its cause. Nobody is going to compromise on issues that concern that”, the commissioner opined.
She also disclosed that the ministry of women affairs is synergizing, getting data, information, reports, follow-ups, and referrals for those that come there and even for those that go to the partners. She further averred that the ministry will do follow-ups, work with them to be able to achieve results.
Similarly, head of programmes, Girl’s Power Initiative, GPI Calabar office, Ndodeye Bassey-Obongha revealed that with the latest issues around the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been heightened cases of Gender Based Violence within and outside the country. She said there is a need for service providers to have the capacity to provide the services that are needed which is one of the major aims of the training.
According to her, “the need for us to actually build the capacity of responders to be able to provide services that GBV survivors need is very critical and the need to also work together as partners because most times when you’re working in silos as individuals you don’t achieve much.
Responding to and providing GBV services is supposed to be a coordinated system because most of them will need certain services that cannot just be provided by one agency or one body; you might need legal services, health services, psycho-social services, mental health services, livelihood skills’ building and all of that.