On the 29th of November, 2022, Global Citizen held a Town Hall event to mark the United Nations’ annual 16 Days of Activism, and in support of its ongoing Roadmap to 36 campaign.
The event had Sandra Ezekwesili and ‘M.I’ Abaga as hosts, and was attended by high-level community leaders who emphasised the urgent need to combat gender-based violence across Nigeria, urging all states to immediately implement the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act of 2015 (VAPP Act).
The Town Hall event is a part of Global Citizen’s ongoing Roadmap to 36 advocacy campaign work in leveraging resources to protect women and girls by mobilising stakeholder engagement to scale up interventions and drive impact in dismantling negative social norms through funding, innovative multi-stakeholder coordination, along with grassroots engagement, with the aim to drive policy changes and resource the implementation of the VAPP Act.
Gender-based violence in Nigeria is on the increase as a result of the pandemic and needs to be
eliminated. The event provided a much-needed platform to underline the current status quo on Nigeria’s gender equality and gender-based violence. It also raised awareness of the resources available and structures for reporting sexual and gender-based violence, encouraging individuals to take
advantage of these platforms for reporting such incidents through the LCDA and Lagos State.
The Town Hall provided the opportunity to engage in community-level discussions with local
stakeholders on practical strategies to ensure the implementation of the VAPP Act, outlining the best
practise on how community leaders should handle incidents of sexual and gender-based
violence reported to them and the creation and the importance of prevention and reporting
structures in small community groups such as churches, mosques and markets.
Talking about the event, Maimuna Maibe, Global Citizen’s Country Director said “this year, we decided to take a grassroots approach. We think it is the most productive approach that we can take in terms of getting people to be aware of, and understand, the importance of protecting women and girls in the communities, and also making sure that people understand the reporting structures available and how to seek help around sexual violence conversations. Our call to action as an organisation to the stakeholders in the room was for them to further escalate and carry the conversation forward beyond the town hall conversation that we had. We believe that more conversations, especially in their congregations or in their community town halls are crucial.”
Global Citizen, with the support from the Ford Foundation, is leading public campaigns and advocacy efforts to encourage global citizens to take action and lend their support calling for strengthening gender-based violence laws in West Africa, the adoption of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill (VAPP) and holding the national and local governments accountable for full implementation and resourcing of the bill.
To conclude the 2022 16 Days of Activism, Global Citizen team in Nigeria joined the annual Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) 2km march against gender-based violence to raise awareness and call for urgent action to protect and empower women and girls across Nigeria.