Stakeholders Call For More Collaborations To End GBV In Ebonyi

By Israel Mbam, Abakaliki 

Stakeholders at the quarterly engagement on sustaining the efforts of Gender Based Violence taskforce in Ebonyi State have called for more sensitization and synergy to end all forms of GBV in Ebonyi State. They stressed the need for line ministries, traditional and religious leaders, the media, CSOs and other relevant groups to encourage the taskforce team through effective collaborations.

The stakeholders engagement was the 2024 first quarterly GBV Coordination meeting held recently in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital. 

In her opening remarks, the State Coordinator of GBV taskforce, Barr Faith Vin Nwanchor noted that the program was organised by the Taskforce in collaboration with the State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, with support from the USAID-Integrated Health Program, IHP.

She further explained that the meeting was to present report on GBV taskforce activities, achievements and challenges, discuss and develop Sustainability plan for priority activities supported by USAID-IHP

On his part, the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Dr. Ben Odoh, stressed that the present administration in the state was committed to reducing GBV incidence to minimal level in the state. Represented by a staff of the Ministry, Barr. Uchenna Onu, the Commissioner revealed that the creation of the sexual assault and gender-based violence department on assumption of office was part of the strategies to sustain the fight against all forms of GBV in the State. 

Others speakers, including the Gender Desk Officer of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Florence Onwa, appreciated the GBV task force team and assured that the Ministry being the coordinating house of the taskforce will not relent in supporting its activities.

She emphasized that the safe space established in the Ministry with support from Momentum County Global Leadership was 95% ready for temporary accommodation of GBV survivors, assuring that adequate arrangements are underway to provide all that was needed for it full take-off.

In his submissions, the Director of Planning in the State Ministry of Budget and planning, Mr Chijioke Ogbodo, assured that all inputs emanating from line ministries concerning GBV activities would always receive due attention in the state budget formation.

Giving update on activities, achievements of the GBV taskforce, the Coordinator, Barr. Faithvin Nwanchor, the deputy Coordinator, Rev. Mrs. Flora Egwu and the PRO, Goodness Mgbaja identified some of the achievements of the taskforce to include enhanced response to GBV cases, survivor rescue and referrals; increased mediation services and alternative dispute resolution approaches to GBV cases, enhanced Community and social group outreaches, among others. 

According to Mgbaja, “About 20,000 women and girls were covered in the taskforce’s recent GBV screening exercise in the state out of which over 5,000 cases needing action were responded to.

“We have recorded tremendous increase in reported cases of GBV in the state. Today, the state GBV Taskforce has gained over 50 member Organizations in the state, and other states like Delta, Osun and Abia have adopted our model.”

On the challenges, Dr. Flora Egwu decried delay in execution of identified GBV cases, late reporting of cases, poor survivors’ attitude towards prosecution of perpetrators, lack of operational vehicle and paucity of fund as some of challenges faced by the taskforce.

Responding to the issues, stakeholders at the meeting promised to strengthen their collective commitment in advancing the fight in spite of the imminent close out of a major partner’s project in the state

Part of the strategies was to adopt a more robust, multi-sectorial approach to the fight, comprising increased advocacy to secure the interest of more relevant government ministries and department as well as individual economic influencers to support the fight.

There was also a call on the State Ministry of Justice to as a matter of urgency, make handy to the public the complete, amended and domesticated Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) law to both enhance public knowledge and facilitate the job of prosecution of GBV perpetrators. 

Participants at the meeting including partner Civil society organisations, representatives of concerned government Ministries, Departments and Agencies; security agencies, NAPTIP and the media, among others, deliberated extensively on ways of sustaining and building upon the successes so far recorded by the State GBV taskforce.

Goodwill messages were received from partner ministries and agencies, the USAID-IHP and other partners: WHO, NAPTIP, the Police and other security agencies and the National Obstetric Fistula Centre, Abakaliki, among others.

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