Community leaders commit to ending violence against women

Rebecca Mu’azu, Gombe

Community leaders in Kaltungo Local Government Area of Gombe State, are to support an end to violence against women and girls, by signing a commitment form at the end of a town hall meeting.

Organised by the UN Women, to mark 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, the town hall meeting focused on the values and positive outcomes of preventing all forms of violence against women and children, for the attainment of sustainable peace and development.

It also afforded the participants, who are members of security agencies, traditional and religious leaders, teachers, women mentors, local government officials and ward councillors, and others, to rub minds on issues affecting women and how they can be tackled.

A Paper, on Violence Against Women, presented by the District Head of Bozun-Shilwa, in Dukku Area Council of Gombe State, Umar Gurama, called on the Federal and state governments to enact laws that suit the culture and religion of the people, so that women will be given their rights in the society.

Gurama said there was the need for a cultural approach towards marital relationships in the society, in which he said, a drastic change should be applied in recognising the status given to marriage.

He however said women should advocate for their rights in a manner that was gradual.

“Women need to take it slowly. It should be gradual. It’s not something you should be fast on. When you are looking for a right, then you start sayng that instantly you need the right, it won’t work that way, because, still, man is a man,” said Gurama.

Joint decision making

Gender Technical Advisor of UN Women in Gombe State, Mrs.  Rhoda Zira, called on community and religious leaders to involve women in the peace process and decision making, especially in matters concerning children.

“At the end of the project, we expect women to have a voice; we expect women to be part of committees in your communities, when decisions are taken concerning issues of peace and any other thing.

Let’s say Mai-anguwa is inviting men to handle issues, we want women to be part of those committees. Let it not be only men’s affairs, even though women are always at the receiving end when it comes to the issue of conflict. Women also have ideas, they have strength and they have voice and they have something to contribute at the table, when it comes to the issue of conflict and even decision making,” said Mrs. Zira.

Mrs, Zira therefore solicited for the support of leaders at all levels to bring women to join decision making, particularly if it involves issues of women and children.

UN Women is currently implementing an EU-funded Programme: “Promoting Women’s Engagement in Peace and Security in Northern Nigeria”, which supports the Federal Government as well as three Northern States of Adamawa, Gombe and Plateau.

In Gombe State, it is being implemented in Kaltungo, Kwami, Yamaltu Deba and Balanga Local Government Areas, to strengthen women’s leadership, advance gender equality and improve protection for women and children in conflict settings.

Warfare

The town hall meeting, which is an EU sponsored programme, through the UN Women and Gombe State Ministry of Women Affairs, is part of activities to mark the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence, for the attainment of sustainable peace and development.

There is a change in the nature of warfare, where civilians are increasingly targeted and women continue to be excluded from participation in peace process.

The programme also addresses the impact of war on women and the role they should and do play in conflict management, resolution and sustainable peace.

It also brought visibility to the project at the community level, being the first time a meeting of this kind was held at the grassroots.

The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a period set aside to stimulate action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

The theme for the 2016 commemoration is Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence against Women and Girls.