In an effort to encourage people to speak-up against Violence Against Children (VAC), Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) and Gender Based Violence (GBV) in their various communities, the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative has taken its sensitization campaign to Obanliku local government area of Cross River State.
Just like in other local government areas it visited, Spotlight Initiative held community dialogue with stakeholders and service providers in Obanliku and as well as a road show to draw attention to the abnormal behaviour manifested in SGBV.
The two days events took place between 18th and 19th September, 2023 in Sankwala, the local government headquarters.
Obanliku is one of the local government areas in Cross River State where the Spotlight Initiative programme is being implemented. The initiative is working towards ending Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), and Violence Against Children (VAC).
Stakeholders and services providers gathered on the 18th of September, 2023 at the LGA headquarters, Sankwala for a Dialogue on ending VAC and VAWG.
Speaking at the commencement of the dialogue, the Cross River State Coordinator, Child Protection Network (CPN), Kebe Ikpi, informed participants that the dialogue was put together by the Cross River State Ministry of Justice (MOJ) with funding from UNICEF.
Kebe explained that the event was meant to create awareness on ending violence against children, women and girls, and also to sensitize them on the various types of violence and their effects, as well as to create awareness on child protection service providers in the LGA, where people can report cases of child abuse and SGBV in the communities.
Speaking further, the CPN State Coordinator explained that the age of a person is a determining factor, and not their body size, especially when dealing with who is a child or not. He affirmed that people can suffer from physical, emotional and sexual abuses, neglect and exploitation.
Mr Vincent Atukanre, the Community Mobilization Officer for Obanliku, led the discussion by highlighting some basic child protection terms and also allowed participants to share their thoughts on what they understand by violence, child, among others.
He encouraged all participants to go back to their various communities and sensitize their people, stressing that there was need to break the culture of silence and report cases of VAC and VAWG known to them.
On his part, Mr Obusu Peter, the Social Welfare officer for Obanliku spoke on factors that hinder access to services for survivors. He advised parents not to abandon or neglect their responsibilities to their Children and whoever is seen doing that should be reported to the Social Welfare Officer. He shared phone numbers of The Police Gender Unit and other relevant service providers.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Atukanre Theresa who spoke on the medical needs of survivors, stated that rape survivors need to access medical services immediately or within 72 hours, including Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), so as to preserve evidence for prosecution and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
She concluded by encouraging participants to speak up when they hear or witness an abuse. According to her, this is the only way to stop the perpetrators from further harming other people.
A rally was held on the second day to round off the sensitization campaign in the local government area.