Stakeholders in Plateau state have taken deliberate steps to address Gender Based Violence and harmful traditional practices such as child marriage, women disinheritance and denial of girl child education in Plateau communities.
The stakeholders, made up of women, youths, religious leaders, and traditional rulers resolved to address all social norms that negatively affect the status of women and entrench violence against women and girls.
National Programme Manager of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Mr. Fiki Obaro who addressed the stakeholders on Friday during the Action Plan Progress review meeting at Mangun community in Mangu Local Government Area, urged them to channel their energy towards protecting women and girl child from harmful practices in the society.
He explained that the project, sponsored by Ford Foundation is taking place in two communities each of Plateau, Lagos and Ekiti states respectively.
District Head Mangun in Mangu Local Government Area, HRH Da. Job Damiyal said the traditional institution has come up with a bye-Law that addresses all forms of marginalization against women.
“We have realize that there are some cultural practices that affects women and girls child negatively and we are working on changing the narrative. We have decided to introduce a by-law that will address the issues to enable women participate actively in the activities of the land.
“Women should not be marginalize because there are some practices such as force marriage, payment of dowry. A girl should not just be force into marriage without due process and some consideration. Although, people see it as part of culture but we want to put a stop to that.
“The girl child must be given every opportunity, especially as it concern education. Before now, we don’t see a girl child as useful, once she grow up, she is given out to marriage but we want to change that in our community because it is the girl child that come back to help ageing parents.
“we want to ensure that the girl child is given her rightful place in the society. As a community, we have decided that some of those traditional practices that will not uplift womanhood are stop in order to give the girl child a chance to flourish in the society.”
Rehila Pinshak, a woman who spoke at the event, said the programme has enlightened them on the need to kick against child marriage in the society.
She lamented that most girl child who are forced into early marriage end up with VVF and some times perished at the point of delivery.
Representive of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Julius Abalis described the programme as important and said it is useful on changing negative narrative that grossly affect women.
“The programme address some of the issues that we have being battling with but we are happy we have been enlightened. The women now know their position in the society and the men also know that women are not supposed to be relegated or marginalize in the society.”
A woman Leader of Mangun District, Plangnan Luka said the programme has liberated most women who were marginalized by their spouses.
“There are lot of changes that have occurred in our community because of the programme, women find it very important especially when we sensitize women during programmes and it has help us in addressing issues in our homes.
“There are some of my friends who face violence in their homes and usually run back to their parents but I had to sit down with her and encourage her based on the lessons learned from this programme and they are living peaceful now.”
Programme Officer FIDA Nigeria, Rita Lasoju encouraged the community to carry out the Action Plan judiciously to eliminate issues of gender violence in the areas.
She explained further that the programme is aimed at empowering women and girls child to contribute effectively in the growth and development of the society.