AFRICA REGIONAL DIALOGUE ON GENDER EQUALITY & RIGHTS, OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE ‘STATE OF THE AFRICAN WOMAN’ REPORT AND ICPD +25/AADPD +5 REVIEW.

Vision Spring Initiatives was represented at the 2018, Africa’s Regional Dialogue (ARD) which focused on Advancing Gender Equality and Rights. The forum provided space for interactive exchange, knowledge transfer, mutual learning, joint strategizing and dialogue on issues that affect and impact gender equality and SRHR in Africa. Key participants to this forum were drawn from civil society networks and organisations including IPPF Member Associations, Faith Based and Youth Led organisations. Governmental and Intergovernmental Representatives, Parliamentarians, Academia, and various Bilateral and Multilaterals agencies also participated. 150 participants attended the 4 day meeting.  

The Dialogue built on IPPF Africa Regions Inter-Generational Dialogue that started way back in 2012 and borrows from proven models that have worked in 15 Year Old International Dialogue on Population and Development that is hosted every year by GIZ, BMZ, IPPF, DSW, Bayer and KFW, in Berlin, Germany.  The dialogue served as a platform for south-south knowledge exchange and dialogue, that enabled learning and sharing of lessons and good practices of partners advocacy strategies,  providing platform for key decision makers and parliamentarians to interact and undertake informal dialogues CSOs and Youth on SRHR.  It is expected that the various sessions will revitalize and increase CSO and Youth interaction with decision makers and ultimately see strengthened relations with decision makers.Ngozi Nwosu Juba the program director in attendance at the Africa Regional Dialogue.

1537376346739blob the Program Director of Vision Spring Initiative, Ngozi Nwosu-Juba, making a presentation on behalf of CSO grouops, urging them to remain focused and ensure that duty bearers are held accountable to their commitments.

gender 1 

Gender justice is at the core of the work of Vision Spring Initiatives. The organisation through its yearly event work with girls to understand the power they possess as equal partners with men and boys, while it helps men and boys ‘unlearn’ gender stereotypes.

gender 2 our school projects enables girls think outside the box!!!

gender 3 one of our young women proudly displaying the description on her t-shirt during our ‘Break Silence’ program.

gender 4 an educative session handled by our project assistant, Tolu.

 

 

 

Vision Spring Initiatives Demand an end to all forms of Violence against women and girls.

Vision Spring Initiative a member of LagosWOmen2030 and Women Thrive Alliance participated at a peaceful protest to end all forms of attack, abuse and killing of women, girls and men in Nigeria.

The protest was a response to the incessant report of attacks on women, girls and men by alleged Fulani herdsmen.  

The protesters visited media stations, dropping statements demanding an end to all forms of violence. The final points of visit by the protesters were Governor’s office and Lagos State House of Assembly. LagosWomen2030 are a group of Civil Society organisations monitoring and contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Nigeria.

1537376228000blob1537376246367blob members of the LagosWomen2030 with the representative of Lagos State Governor.

THE RIGHT TO PEACE IN NIGERIA!

As the world celebrates the International Peace Day today with the theme RIGHT TO PEACE, we at Vision Spring Initiative joins the world in celebration. Peace as abundant as it should have been is not so in Nigeria, particularly in the Northern part.

Nigeria suffers a variety of complex political problems including inequality, corruption, oil disputes, national disunity, and the Boko Haram insurgency. This eight year conflict and humanitarian crisis in the north has killed 20,000 and displaced 2.6 million people. Boko Haram mostly use women and girls as suicide bombers, forcing them to detonate bombs in urban canters. According to the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, 83 children were used as suicide bombers since January: 55 girls and 27 boys, one was a baby strapped to a girl. The group abducted 67 women and children in 2017. The plight of refugees fleeing the violence is also worsening with the current severe drought and impending famine across northeast Nigeria.

In May, after negotiations brokered by Switzerland and the International Committee for the Red Cross, 82 Chibok schoolgirls were released. Boko Haram fighters had abducted 276 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno state, in April 2014. More than 100 of the girls and hundreds other captives, including over 500 children from Damasak, Borno, remained in Boko Haram captivity.

Violence has also intensified in the MiddleBelt between Fulani herdsmen and farmers amid claims of trespassing and sabotage. At the end of April 2018, President Trump met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. It was a very important meeting as President Buhari was the first president from sub-Saharan Africa to visit President Trump at the White House. President Trump was reportedly very interested in the conflict between Fulani herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.

The Niger Delta has also been the scene of serious violence. Between 2006 and 2009 a militant group named MEND protested against the poverty of the region despite the oil wealth it produced. In 2009, a general amnesty was accepted by these militants. However, in 2016, President Buhari’s 70% cut to the amnesty program prompted further unrest. Since 2016, attacks have largely been carried out by the NDA, targeting major pipelines, and provoking huge economic consequences.

Another element in Nigeria’s political status-quo is the legacy of the Biafran civil war (1967-1970) which saw the defeat of Biafran separatists by federal forces and the death of a million people. Grievances in the Igbo community were reignited in 2015 in protests by Igbo youth. The Nigerian government has since been accused of using excessive force, killing 150 protestors from August 2015-2016.

In spite of these violence and conflicts, Nigeria has remained immune to war and secession. We must therefore continue to thrive and maintain peace across the country, especially where it has been deprived for a long time.

Every human being has the RIGHT TO PEACE.

Every Local Government Area has the RIGHT TO PEACE.

Every state has the RIGHT TO PEACE.

Our country has the RIGHT TO PEACE.

We should endeavor to always advocate for peace in every sector and in all tiers of the government. The government, most especially the incoming one should be pressured in ensuring adequate budget is allocated to security and enough effort is concentrated in the Middle Belt and North. Also, the government should ensure that the perpetrators of peace are rightfully impeded.

Our children and women are not suicide bombers and sex toys. A girl child should not be deprived education. A boy child should not be taught to repress his emotions. A woman should not be controlled by laws and stereotypes. A man should not be controlled by laws and stereotypes.

Let’s rise above complex political problems including inequality, corruption, oil disputes, national disunity, gender stereotypes, religion and cultural disunity that has handicapped our progress, growth and development as a country.  We have the RIGHT TO PEACE.

“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

 

Ayodele Oluwatobi

Vision Spring Initiative