The Nigerian Women Trust Fund has implored the pioneer students of the National Institute for Leadership and Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (NILEVAWG) not to end their input after their training and mentorship to eradicate violence against women and girls in society.
Speaking at the close-out meeting of the initiative, the CEO, Mufuliat Fijabi, said it is only the beginning of the resilience and doggedness to push for the total eradication of trampling on women’s rights, violence against women and girls, inequality, and stereotypes against women in Nigeria and across the globe.
In her welcome address, she said the initiative was a sequel to the successful completion of the similar but distinct project under the Ford Foundation called Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (EVAWG) Phase I and II in eight states which brought the idea of instilling leadership skills in women and girls across the country through the National Institute for Leadership and Ending Violence against Women and Girls (NILEVAWG).
“Women’s voices and leadership over the years have been limited due to multiple barriers, which include violence against women, sexual violence, lack of opportunities in decision making, and unequal gender relations, to mention a few. However, violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations.”
Speaking further, she gave thanks to the donor of the initiative, the Ford Foundation, for strengthening women’s voices, institutions, and women’s rights and ending violence against women and girls in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Women Trust Fund, with support from Ford Foundation, trained 100 young women from the 36 states and FCT in two batches of 50.”
She noted that the noble initiative gave birth to Project TAND in Ondo, OTOGE in Ekiti, Voice for Girls and Women Against Gender-Based Violence (V4GWAGBV) in Oyo, Project Unmute and GBV/VAWG clubs in Plateau states amongst others.
Giving her closing remarks, she gave thanks to the mentors who committed time and resources to see a new breed of women leaders born across the country.
“Posterity will be kind to you for your selfless service. Thank you all, and God bless you,” she said.
Another speaker, the Chair of the Advisory Board, Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) Amina Salihu, said that mentoring of this nature is always transgenerational as learning is crossed between the mentees and mentors.
“We are trademarking this for more people to expand the pool of women and girls to step in and find a way as leaders in this field. Do not spread the language of patriarchy, do not limit yourself, as leaders, you must always share your abilities with others.”
One of the mentors, Hajia Bilikiss, who also spoke at the event, said: “My mentors have been very wonderful. We appreciate the opportunity to serve. Although mentees are looking for sponsorship to implement their various project ideas, we hope that they will continue to be great leaders of our nation.”
Joy Haa, one of the mentees, while addressing the project tagged ‘Project Unmute,’ said: “The response we got from the participants through the questionnaires show that many of them have been harassed through unwanted sexual harassment, but they didn’t report these cases because they were afraid, and some didn’t think it was harassment. But, they have been able to build their self-esteem.”
Temitope Olaniyi, another mentee, said: “I have developed more passion against harmful traditional practices, I can boldly engage with the stakeholders now, and I have been able to network with more people to achieve the goal.”
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