By Oluwafunke Ishola
Toward ending violence against women and girls, the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD), has inaugurated a community network of men leaders in three communities in Ikorodu, Lagos.
Mr Monday Osasah, Executive Director of Centre LSD, made this known at the inauguration and training of members of the network in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the network, includes traditional leaders, community leaders, religious leaders, youth groups, and the Nigeria Police Force.
NAN reports that African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD) is an NGO and think-tank in Nigeria, working to build strategic leadership for sustainable development in Africa.
Osasah said that the network would serve as an advocacy platforms to promote gender-equitable norms, attitudes and behaviour, in relation to women and girls’ sexuality and reproduction at community levels.
“The formation of the network is part of the activities lined up in the implementation of the Male Engagement component of the Spotlight Initiative Project in Lagos State by Centre LSD.
“Spotlight Initiative is a European Union and United Nations global, multi-year initiative that spotlights and place emphasis and efforts to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” he said.
Osasah said that Centre LSD, being one of the implementing partners for the Spotlight Initiative, was working in Lagos and Cross Rivers.
According to him, the project is being implemented in six communities in Ikorodu and Yaba Local Government Areas; namely
Igbogbo, Baiyeku and Ibeshe Communities in Ikorodu, while Iwaya, Adekunle and Makoko for Yaba LGA.
“The Community Network of Men Leaders to End Violence Against Women and Girls will be established in each of the communities.
“We are trying to create a Nigeria where all women and girls are free from violence and harmful practices,” he said.
Osasah said that the focus area of the project would address sexual and gender-based violence, harmful practices and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
According to him, gender-based violence is widespread in Nigeria, with one in three women aged 15 to 49, having reporting experience of sexual abuses.
He added that it was one of the challenges that had isolated development in Nigeria.
Commenting, Rev. Ojo Joshua, representative of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Igbogbo/Baiyeku, urged everyone to work together in ending injustice against women and girls in Nigeria.
Also, Imam Abdulrazaq Aliyu, representing the Muslim Community, commended the organisers of the programme, saying it would enable more men to be abreast of their roles of protecting the rights of women and girls.
He added that unified efforts to eradicate injustice of women and girls would culminate in development.
The Centre’s work is grounded on the understanding that the problems of the African continent can be located around leadership failures, wrong strategies and inappropriate development approaches.
Its mission is to work with forces of positive change to empower citizens to transform the society. (NAN)