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NGOs inaugurate women, girls ‘safe-space’ to address SGBV in Kaduna

Two NGOs, Global Peace Development and International Alert, have inaugurated a women and girls’safe ‘space’ to address sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and conflicts between Goska and Dangoma communities in Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Goska and Dangoma are southern parts of Kaduna communities located in Kafanchan, Jama’a LGA of the state.

The safe space, which is a built structure, would serve as a referral centre for women and girls, especially survivors of SGBV, to get referred to places they could get counselling.

Inaugurating the safe-space structure in Goska Community, Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State, the Executive Director of Global Peace Development, Mr. Ebruke Esike, expressed worries over SGBV and violent conflict in the communities.

He therefore said that to address cultural norms and SGBV issues, the NGOs conceived the idea of addressing the concerns of women, which could lead to getting the men to promote peace between the two communities.

Esike said that the women from the two communities were lacking enough space to talk to themselves, which informed the establishment of a safe space to enable them to discuss and address wholly issues concerning them.

According to the executive director, if women were not ready for violence, men could not perpetrate it.

“Women have a role in the peace process; the safe space is, however, a combination of many factors that promote justice, stability, and accountability for those who violate the rights of women and girls.

“Women alone or men alone cannot promote peace; we need to work together, and that is why the safe space is important,” he said.

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Also speaking, the Country Director (Nigeria) of International Alert, Mr. Paul Nyulaku, said the safe space would provide a safe heaven for women and girls to come together and get referrals and also serve as a space for discussion of security issues of importance to them.

Nyulaku also said the space would serve as a point of strategy for women and girls to explore opportunities for inclusion in decision-making processes in their community.

He noted that the space would be for the permanent use of the communities to ensure sustainability and continuity of the dividends of the initiative.

He equally said that the two NGOs had trained first responders in the communities who would be saddled with the task of providing first response services to survivors of SGBV and referring them to the appropriate authorities if the need be.

“The safe space is going to be manned by the first responders and dialogue facilitators that have been trained to provide psychosocial and psychological support to survivors of SGBV in the communities,” he said.

Earlier, in a remark, the Director of Policy Advocacy and Communications of International Alert in London, Hannah Ward, said it was encouraging to see the two communities that have been in conflict bond together again to live peacefully.

She restated the NGO’s commitment to continue to support communities to live peacefully and hoped to build more safe spaces across the state.

Speaking on behalf of the two communities, the village heads, Mr. Samuel Barde of Goska and Malam Muhammad Bayi of Dangoma, thanked the NGOs for erecting the safe space for their benefit.

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They said it would go a long way toward strengthening the renewed ties between them for the benefit of their youth and the coming generation.

“It will also reduce much of the cases of SGBV in our communities because justice is bound to be served to perpetrators and would serve as deterrence to others, they said.

NAN reports that those present at the commissioning of the safe space included women, youths, and religious leaders, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, and the Deputy Chairman of the Jama’a LGA, among others.

The highlight of the event was traditional dance and displays by groups from the two communities.(NAN)

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