At IWD, WARIF re­it­er­ates com­mit­ment to re­duce gen­der-based vi­o­lence

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - PANORAMA -

WOMEN At Risk Foun­da­tion (WARIF), a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion aimed at re­duc­ing the high in­ci­dence of sex­ual vi­o­lence, rape and hu­man traf­fick­ing among women and girls in Nige­ria, cel­e­brated the In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day (IWD) by speak­ing against gen­der-based vi­o­lence in Nige­ria, through her re­cently in­tro­duced WARIF Ad­vo­cacy Through the Arts Pro­gramme (WTA), tar­geted at ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions in La­gos State.

WARIF is an or­ga­ni­za­tion set up to com­bat high in­ci­dences of gen­der-based vi­o­lence, which af­fects women and young girls in Nige­ria. The foun­da­tion is fo­cused on rais­ing global aware­ness and ad­vo­cacy against the grow­ing preva­lence of sex­ual abuse, rape and hu­man traf­fick­ing amongst women and girls of all ages in Nige­ria. WARIF has suc­cess­fully launched sev­eral ini­tia­tives such as the WARIF Cen­tre, The WARIF Ed­u­ca­tional School Pro­gramme, (WESP), and the WARIF Gate­keep­ers Ini­tia­tive, a project which aims to erad­i­cate gen­der-based vi­o­lence in the ru­ral ar­eas through ed­u­ca­tion of tra­di­tional birth at­ten­dants and tra­di­tional mid­wives.

In cel­e­bra­tion of the In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day themed ‘Press­for­progress, WARIF par­tic­i­pated in a se­ries of events lead­ing up to Thurs­day March 8. The foun­da­tion launched the WARIF Through the Arts Ini­tia­tive – us­ing the ARTS as a tool for change. Per­form­ing arts and role-play­ing was in­tro­duced in uni­ver­si­ties of higher learn­ing; where a per­for­mance skit was used as the medium to en­gage stu­dents to dis­cuss and to speak out against gen­der-based vi­o­lence and sex­ual abuse. This ini­tia­tive, which was launched at the Col­lege of Medicine, Univer­sity of La­gos (UNI­LAG) and also shown at the Depart­ment of Law na­tion­wide con­fer­ence held in UNI­LAG, had a huge im­pact in rais­ing aware­ness, en­cour­ag­ing di­a­logue about the preva­lence of abuse, and the need to re­duce its high in­ci­dence.

Founder, WARIF, Dr. Kemi Dasilva-ibru, also at­tended the So­cial Me­dia Week event, where she spoke on the CNN De­bate, with dis­course on bring­ing the #metoo cam­paign to Nige­ria, the is­sues sur­round­ing gen­der based vi­o­lence in Nige­ria and ways so­cial me­dia can serve as an ef­fec­tive tool re­quired to ad­dress the is­sue.

Dasilva also speak­ing at the Women in the Arts Event or­ga­nized by the Bri­tish Coun­cil, said “artists and ac­tors in the arts and en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­tries need to be­gin to use their art as a voice to speak up against gen­der-based vi­o­lence in Nige­ria. The in­ci­dence is high, and we all have a part to play in cre­at­ing aware­ness. Arts does not only en­ter­tain, but serves as a pow­er­ful tool for so­cial change, it can be used to ed­u­cate and in­form all about the var­i­ous is­sues oc­cur­ring in our so­ci­ety.

Board Chair of WARIF, Erelu An­gela Ade­bayo ( left); founder of WARIF, Dr. Kemi Dasilva Ibru; WARIF am­bas­sador, Kate Hen­shaw; and Con­sul Gen­eral, Ger­man Em­bassy, Ingo Herbert at an event to mark the In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day (IWD) at the Bri­tish Deputy High Com­mis­sion’s res­i­dence in La­gos.

Wife of the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Mrs. Toyin Saraki (right) and the founder of WARIF, Dr. Kemi Dasilva-ibru (left).

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