From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has expressed concerns over the surge of gender based violence as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To address the disturbing trend, UNESCO in collaboration with the Government of Japan, said it would promote empowerment of women and girls in marginalized communities through education.
Declaring a two-day media workshop open in Asaba, the Communication and Information Officer at the UNESCO Multi-sectoral Office in Abuja, Nuhu Yachat, said the empowerment is targeted at strengthening resilience and self actualisation.
The workshop with the ‘Capacity Building for Community Media on Balanced Gender Based Violence Reportage in Marginalised Communities’ is funded by the Government of Japan, and it had 20 journalists as participants.
It came few days after 60 stakeholders in the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) also participated in similar workshop by UNESCO and Government of Japan.
Yachat said workshop, which has been implemented in Bauchi and Gombe states, was being replicated in Delta State with the aim of achieving balanced reportage on Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
She urged the participating journalists to use their platforms to advocate for the rights of women and girls on Gender Base Violence (GBV) as well as educate on COVID-19 prevention, violent extremism and hate speech.
According to her, participants would be equipped with strategies for developing quality contents on gender sensitive reportage, countering hate speech, mis/disinformation and early warning mechanism on Sexual and Gender Base Violence (SGBV) and its impact on the communities.
“Additionally, they would be taught on the rudiments of Media and Information Literacy (MIL) and how to utilize its concepts to improve reportage on SGBV,” she added.
She explained that the Japan-UNESCO project “is also a tool for effective advocacy on eliminating SGBV and reducing the spread of COVID-19, ultimately contributing to peace, stability and inclusive development in the beneficiary states of Bauchi, Gombe and Delta.
“This is expected to be achieved through the combined impact of psycho-social rehabilitation, community media empowerment, and second chance education opportunities.
“Japan has had series of collaboration with UNESCO over the years in its efforts to promote sustainable development.”
She disclosed that the capacity building workshop followed successful advocacy meeting on the Japan-UNESCO project titled: ‘Empowerment of Women and Girls in Marginalized Communities for Better Well-Being through Education and Advocacy’ in Delta State.