Women at Risk International Organisation (WARIF) in partnership with Ford Foundation is tackling gender based violence in Nigeria with the community based Gatekeepers Project.
This includes training and awareness workshops for traditional birth attendants, law enforcement officers and religious leaders.
Launched in 2017, the Gatekeepers project commenced with the training of 1000 Traditional Birth Attendants across 15 Local Government Areas in Lagos State.
The project was then extended to include Law Enforcement Officers and more recently, Religious Leaders who come from different religious spheres and with the large circles of influence in their respective places of worship have a positive impact on the prevalence of gender based violence in their various communities.
The project emphasises to these leaders, the importance of immediate response to these cases of sexual violence, the process of reporting to law enforcement as well as referring these survivors to WARIF for further management
Speaking on the partnership; WARIF’S Founder, Dr Kemi DaSilva-Ibru stated ” with the rising rate of rape and sexual violence in communities across Nigeria, initiatives like these are necessary to sensitise individuals in both rural and urban centres about the harmful effects of sexual violence on the survivor and the community.
“The training and sensitisation of these community based leaders play a pivotal role in the reduction of gender based violence.
“We anticipate that this project in partnership with Ford Foundation will evoke a change in the prevailing mindset of the community and a subsequent reduction in the number of cases of violence against women and girls reported.”
A total number of 700 Gatekeepers will participate in the project, which include 500 Traditional Birth Attendants, 100 Law Enforcement Officers and 100 Religious Leaders.
These Gatekeepers will be equipped with the knowledge and tools needed to raise awareness, support survivors of rape and refer these cases immediately to WARIF for treatment and to the Law Enforcement, for apprehension of the perpetrator and prosecution.
WARIF is a non-profit organisation, established to raise awareness and address the prevalence of rape, sexual violence and trafficking of young girls and women in communities across Nigeria.
The foundation achieves this through the development and implementation of a series of initiatives which are impactful, measurable and sustainable, targeting both the intervention/treatment of these affected women, as well as providing preventive measures in education and community service to reduce the high incidence.