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NGO organises tournament to increase awareness on gender-based violence

NGO organises tournament to increase awareness on gender-based violence
August 05
23:13 2022

YouthHub Africa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), is using football to increase awareness among men on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the federal capital territory (FCT) and Ebonyi.

The project, which is supported by the spotlight initiative under the United Nations women’s arm, had the closing series of matches of the tournament on Friday in Abuja.

Speaking at the event, Pauline Tallen, minister of women affairs, described the initiative as a “wake-up call to all actors in the fight against violence in FCT”.

Represented by Julie Akharia, principal community development officer, gender affairs, the minister pledged her support, adding that advocacy efforts for creating a safer community will be intensified.

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“For us at the ministry of women affairs, advocating efforts at creating the enabling environment for speedy dispensation of justice to victims of violence, capacity building of law/judicial officers, physical, legal and psycho-socio intervention programmes, and other preventive educational support to the girl-child and women will be intensified and sustained,” she said.

“I strongly believe that this tournament will go a long way in minimising the trauma victims go through.

“It will serve as a veritable tool in creating the much-needed awareness and sensitisation on the menace of violence against women and girls.”

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Also speaking, Ashifa Agede, the sexual and reproductive health programme officer of YouthHub Africa, said the tournament is part of the organisation’s male engagement programme to end violence against females.

“The aim of the tournament is to engage young men as partners and champions, to have engagements with them that are aimed at changing behaviour and cultural norms that have been entrenched into our systems towards SGBV,” Agede said.

“During the halftime breaks at the matches, we had sessions where we discussed issues around consent, rape and other topical items in this thematic area.

“So far, the feedback has been quite interesting. They received the programme overwhelmingly because at each match, we had more people attend than the previous.”

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According to Agede, football was used for advocacy for men because of the effect it has.

“We chose football because we are trying to target men in their comfort zones. Men are most relaxed when they’re watching football. So we thought, why not? These teams already exist in various area councils in the FCT, so we approached these existing teams and it was easy to fit our programme into their existing fields,” Agede added.

Shedrach Gabriel, one of the football players, expressed gratitude for the “exciting opportunity to learn new things while having fun”, adding that it was a welcome idea among his peers, and he hoped it would continue.

While charging the youths to implement what they had learnt during the sessions, Jacinta Ike, representative of the FCT social development secretariat, urged the participants and members of the public to report cases of SGBV to the secretariat’s 24/7 hotline at 08078111126.

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