UNESCO Abuja partners Bauchi, Delta and Gombe States for Well-Being of Women and Girls with support from the Government of Japan
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on all spheres of life globally. With massive school closures for several months across the world, learning was disrupted for children, young people, and adults. Nigeria is not left out and experienced countrywide school closures which meant that learners were unable to gain access to education with the girl child mostly affected.
Another effect of the COVID-19 pandemic was the sudden surge in the reported incidents of gender-based violence in Nigeria. This shows there is an urgent need to provide an empowering and enabling environment for women and girls in marginalized communities through protective education and preventive interventions across multiple levels of social systems.
UNESCO, being at the forefront of promoting youth and adult literacy through evidence-based advocacy and fostering partnerships, attracted funding from the Government of Japan for the project titled: “Empowerment of Women and Girls in Marginalized Communities for Better Well-Being through Education and Advocacy”. This project is a one-year project to be implemented in Bauchi, Delta, and the Gombe State of Nigeria.
Following a successful virtual National launch, advocacy and inception meetings were held in the Delta and Bauchi States respectively with courtesy visits paid to the State Governors. The objective of the event was to solicit the support of the State government and all relevant partners as well as promote the buy-in by all stakeholders for sustainability.
In the same vein, while assuring the UNESCO team of the state’s willingness and support for the project, the Governor of Bauchi State, Senator Bala Mohammed said, “Bauchi state was one of the first states to sign into law the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill in Nigeria”. The Speaker, Bauchi State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Abubakar Y. Suleiman was also at the advocacy and inception meeting.
Japan – UNESCO project will enable both young women and girls at risk of dropping out of school and young women facing intersecting marginalization: living with HIV/AIDS, disability, victims of early and unintended pregnancy, child marriage, and rural poor, use available training to prevent COVID-19 in their communities and undergo second chance, post-literacy classes. Community media (15 per state) will be trained on GBV reportage, educating and advocating for the rights of women and girls on GBV using their platforms, COVID-19 prevention, violent extremism and hate speech. In addition, psychosocial support and rehabilitation will be provided for women and girls SGBV survivors (50 per state) through art and creative mechanisms for long-term recovery.
Japan has had series of collaborations with UNESCO over the years in its efforts to promote sustainable development. The focus of the project on the promotion of peace, stability, and inclusive development for shared prosperity is at the heart of Japan’s Country Development Cooperation Policy for Nigeria.