EU, UNDP Partner With Nigeria On Women Empowerment

Adoba Echono

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 The European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS Samuela Isopi says art is a powerful tool to promote behavioural change, fight stigma, and create awareness around negative social norms.

Isopi stated this during the screening of the feature film titled “Deafening Silence, in Abuja, the Nigerian capital.

The European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria hosted the private screening of the feature film “Deafening Silence” to advocate for gender equality and women empowerment in Nigeria.

The film which is a result of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative aligns with the government of Nigeria’s gender priorities as well as the European Union’s and the United Nations’ Gender Action Points.

Isopi disclosed that the film is also on empowerment, and combating SGBV and Violence against Women (VAW).

“Deafening Silence” produced by the UNDP within the framework of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, leverages the power of storytelling to explore themes of Gender Equality.

The intervention is on gender equality, women’s Gender Empowerment, and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Nigeria.

The film aims to foster deep and honest conversations around these critical issues, with the goal of incentivizing social change.

The film seeks to raise awareness and inspire action to combat GBV, promoting a society where gender equality and empowerment are fundamental values.

“It is, therefore, my hope that this film will contribute to promoting gender equality and prevent gender-based violence in Nigeria and build a more inclusive society”.

In her remarks,  the Resident Representative of UNDP Nigeria Ms. Elsie Attafuah,  explained that “Deafening Silence is more than a film”, stressing that “it is a comprehensive communication, media, and visibility intervention designed to challenge biased gender norms and inspire transformative conversations.”

She added, “It harnesses the power of storytelling, communication, and mainstream media to catalyse societal change and promote gender equality.”

On his part, a former Nigerian Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, advocated for the protection of women in other aspects of their lives.

“Our budget at the federal and state levels does not reflect the aspirations of women in the rural communities where we have over 60 percent population,” he said.

The former minister also said most of the food consumed in Nigeria was being produced by women in the rural areas, stressing that when government policies exclude the rural areas, women are automatically excluded.

In Nigeria, the spotlight initiative was implemented in five states: Sokoto, Cross River, Lagos, Adamawa, and Ebonyi, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and ended in December 2023.

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