PRESS STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT MEDICAL WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA, RIVERS STATE AT THE START OF THE 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
Every year the United Nations sets apart 16 days to impress upon the entire world the need to do a lot more about the menace of Gender-Based Violence (GBV). This special time between the 25th of November which is the International Day of Elimination of Violence against Women, and the 10th of December which is Human Rights Day, is referred to as the 16 days of activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).
During these 16 days, people all over the world take action to address the deplorable situation of violence against persons and reverse this ugly trend. The campaign against GBV which has now come to be known as ‘Orange the World Campaign’ uses every means to raise awareness about the need to prevent and respond to violence against persons. The theme for the 2021 16 days of activism is ‘Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!’ This is apt because it focuses on the disproportionate burden of violence against persons borne by women and girls. Women who are the bearers, rearers, and carers of society are also the worst affected by the negative impact of physical and sexual violence.
The Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN), the umbrella body of all female medical and dental practitioners in the country, has a mandate is to improve the health of women and children as enshrined in her motto ‘Healing with the love of a mother’. Consequently, we bear a special burden to respond to Violence Against Women and Girls. Over the years, MWAN Rivers has championed and supported activities to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. We set up and coordinated a multi-stakeholder observatory that identified and responded to incidents of Violence against Women and Girls in the State. This was supported by the National Stability and Reconciliation Project of the British Council. We have also teamed up with The Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) to implement GBV intervention activities during the 16 days of activism against GBV.
Our specific focus this year in line with the theme of the 16 days of activism against GBV is the prevention of GBV within tertiary educational institutions in the state. Strategically, we will train and empower young people as GBV Prevention Champions and Advocates. These champions would in turn use peer-to-peer methods to inform, educate and build capacity among university students to prevent, defuse and report incidents of physical and sexual violence on campuses. Experience has shown that passionate and bold young people are best suited to reach their peers as change agents. The use of broadcast and social media platforms to advocate for an end to GBV will be exploited to the fullest. MWAN will conduct research activities to understand the pattern and risk factors for GBV in university campuses.MWAN will also organize campus-based rallies to emphasize that GBV is both unacceptable and inexcusable.
As a proud partner of the state, MWAN Rivers will apply the experience gained in this area of service to support state and non-state stakeholders in the response against GBV. Of special note is the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Technical Working Group coordinated by the SGBV desk office of the Rivers State Ministry of Health. MWAN Rivers urges state and non-state entities to support this office and its working group to ensure landmark achievements against GBV in the State. MWAN Rivers is committed to supporting all efforts to curb the menance of GBV in the state.
We are vehement in our declarations.
NO to physical violence on University Campuses. NO to rape in our universities.
NO to sexual harassment and coercion by authority figures on campuses. NO to intimate partner violence.
If we each orange our little corners, soon together, we will Orange the World. The time to End Gender- Based Violence is NOW! We can and we must for ourselves and for generations to come.
God bless the Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria, Rivers State Branch God bless Rivers State
Dr Omosivie Maduka MBBS, MScPH, FMCPH
President, MWAN Rivers Thursday 25th November 2021