Policy & Advocacy

Pre-COVID-19: Addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV) through Economic Empowerment

According to Gibbs et al 2020. Intra-household tensions around incomes and decision making have risen and increased the likelihood, frequency, and severity of intimate partner violence according to interviews with women’s rights organisations. The current situation exacerbates known drivers of violence, including increasing poverty, food insecurity, household tensions, and mental health issues (Gibbs et al, 2020)

Norms of ‘breadwinner masculinity’ in many parts of Nigeria put men under pressure to continue to provide for their families even as government restrictions make it more difficult to do so and their wives and children ask them for money for food and other household necessities. Women’s rights activists working on VAWG said increased intra-household conflict of this nature has led to more cases of physical violence, psychological violence, and denial of resources. From 2017 to 2019, CLICE Foundation secured partnership with the Development Alternative Inc. (DAI) as a co-facilitator of the recently concluded Department for International Development Funded (DFID) funded Market Systems Development in the Niger Delta (MADE) I & II intervention with the overall objective of driving inclusive economic growth in the Niger Delta Region.

CLICE Foundation provided technical support for the promotion and adoption of a private sector driven supply of improved fish processing technology for poor, but economically active households in the Creeks, peri-urban and urban areas in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. 80% of the beneficiaries were women.

This approach to addressing VAWG increases women’s ability to be part of the decision making process and reduces the level of dependency on men. Therefore, reducing the likelihood of Violence Against Women because the women are able to contribute to and support their husbands financially.

Currently, CLICE Foundation secured another partnership with the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND), Fisheries Intervention across every segment of the value chain (from seed to market) in the nine (9) Niger Delta States, River State inclusive to increase household income while addressing food insecurity and the root causes of VAWG.

Women and Girls who were victims of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Rivers State faced increased barriers to reporting and accessing medical assistance and legal aid during the COVID-19 lockdown. The pandemic lock down, curfew and suspension of public transportation with strict implementation by the Rivers State Government, the Governor, His Excellency, Gov. Wike hampered the ability of front line support service providers; sexual and reproductive health workers, rape clinical management, Emergency hotlines, legal aid, crisis centers, etc. from providing assistance. However, survivors who spoke up on social media were eventually referred to service providers for remote counselling. Even if cases were reported, service providers were inaccessible by survivors. This resulted in under-reporting and lack of adequate information for specialist service providers to support victims and survivors.

Women and girls who were victims of VAWG were not able to access medical assistance and justice. Victims had no choice than to live with perpetrators in unsafe environments.

According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), At least 13 varying cases were reported per day all through the lockdown in Rivers State. Two of such cases were of child defilement perpetrated by the father. Levels of physical violence perpetrated against women and girls increased during the pandemic as many women were at the mercy of abusive husbands or fathers. However, a more disturbing and novel view on Gender Based Violence that the pandemic presented is perpetrated by security officials.

16 Days Activism

CLICE Foundation was one of the Civil Society Organisations selected by the European Union (EU) to participate in a one-day Share to Support dialogue session in November 2020. The virtual event brought together leaders of civil society, the media, Government officials, Donor agencies and EU Programme implementing partners to reflect and share responses to GBV advocacy experiences during the COVID -19 Pandemic.

The dialogue session was aimed at highlighting the unique experiences in the 7 ACT states (Lagos, Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa, Edo, Rivers and the FCT) and the innovations with which CS organizations addressed the GBV challenges in their locality during the pandemic.

At the 5 hours virtual dialogue, 7 CSO partners  including CLICE Foundation were given the opportunity to share stories on Issues, innovations used, results so far & challenges of working on SGBV in their respective states of operation. In this light, CLICE Foundation made a presentation at the virtual event, marking the 16 days of Activism and Advocacy on Gender Based Violence. This was a live event that was aired on major radio stations and published across diverse media platforms.

Violence Against Women And Girls (VAWG) has become a serious crisis in Nigeria in the last decade with the Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NHDS) recording that 28 percent of women in Nigeria aged 15-49 have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence.

According to Young and Adib (2020), Nigeria has long been facing a gender-based violence crisis, with 30% of women and girls aged 15-49 having experienced sexual abuse. Lack of coordination amongst key stakeholders and poor implementation of legal frameworks, combined with entrenched gender discriminatory norms, has hampered government and civil society efforts to address gender-based violence. These efforts have been further compromised by the COVID-19 pandemic (Source: The Shadow Pandemic: Gender Based Violence and COVID-19: https://www.theigc.org/blog/the-shadow-pandemic-gender-based-violence-and-covid-19/ .

Advocacy and Economic Empowerment through Domestic Resource Mobilisation and Donor Funds

As an organization that drives inclusive interventions through capacity building, system strengthening, advocacy and economic empowerment, we ensure gender is mainstreamed into all interventions and programmes deliberately to address the root causes of Violence AgainstWomen and Girls (VAWG).

Our approach to addressing VAWG is multi-dimensional, preventive and Responsive through referral during advocacy visits. Early interventions such as advocacy programmes and economic empowerment is premised on the belief that “prevention is better than cure”. The approach was adopted following our participation in the Women Economic Empowerment training by WISE Development; a DAI Global Company, in November 2017.

Rivers State: In November 2018, We had both radio advocacy where listeners were allowed to call-in on the Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation live programme to share their experience. Thereafter, we visited selected public and private secondary schools. The secondary school narrative was similar in Rivers State. The outcome was increased awareness on Violence Against Women and Girls in secondary Shools and workplace, adopting the #HearMeToo. Further engagement with organisations in Rivers State revealed similar exercises had been carried out, but no data. Major constraints to furthering intervention were sketchy data and lack of funding. Our solution in this situation was advisory, referral and further advocacy on social media platforms. Enugu State: Building on previous experiences and findings at the secondary school level, CLICE adapted to preventive intervention by ensuring all stakeholders were involved. The advocacy was targeted at primary school pupils (primary 3 to primary 6) in University of Nigerian Enugu Campus (UNEC) having identified weak relationships between students, parents and teachers as part of the root causes of the sustained culture of VAWG. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bo1nfbJjIjJ/?igshid=1d6wgo63osnsy

Overview of the Niger Delta Region

CLICE Foundation has participated in several multi-stakeholder advocacy and policy dialogue in the Niger Delta Region.

The Niger Delta region comprises nine states with a population of over 40million people from several ethnic nationalities. Geographically, it is the largest wetland in Africa, stretching over 20,000km2 with marine, brackish and freshwater ecosystems. In terms of wealth, the region accounts for 35 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, with an even larger natural gas deposit and accounts for over 80% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings. In spite of the abundance of resources, the host communities are hitherto plagued with development challenges that stem from the political economy of oil and gas which over the years has resulted in environmental degradation, therefore, making it impossible for agricultural activities to thrive, poverty, infrastructural deficit, persistent crisis and conflict.

The impact of oil activities in the region is of far-reaching implication, displacement, health challenges and displaced livelihood has become a new normal.

Oil pollution has heavily impacted the wetland, rivers, swamps and creeks of this region, destroying the mainstay of the people, which is farming and fishing. During CLICE Foundation’s implementation of the UKaid- DFID funded Market Development Programme in the Niger Delta (MADE) I & II intervention, we find out that States like Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and part of Cross River State recorded a downward slope in the supply and availability of wild captured fish due to environmental pollution. The alternative means such as fish farming is staggered due to lack of potable water for the fish to survive in earthen and trampoline ponds.

The Strategic Implementation Work Plan

In 2019, we played the lead role in developing the Cross River State Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP) for the Niger Delta New Vision and this was presented to the Presidency. The SIWP provides a framework for coordination of investments in development and stabilisation interventions in the Niger Delta Region. It harmonises projects across the Niger Delta, through participatory partnerships between the Federal & State Governments, Private Sector, and Local Communities.

The Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the Host Communities

The Host and Impacted component of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) provides a framework to govern host communities development, seeks to provide direct economic benefits from petroleum operations to host communities, and to improve peaceful coexistence between host communities and oil companies (also known as settlors) involved in petroleum production.
Based on feedback from critical stakeholders that the Host Communities component of the bill may cause a sticking point due to the lack of alignment between the expectations of host communities and the content of the bill, in December 2021, CLICE Foundation participated in designing and developing robust engagement plans towards increasing public awareness and demand for the effective passage of the PIB alongside other Civil Society Organisations and the Media.

The Niger Delta Dialogue (NDD) and a member of the Women in Extractive remote network where we constantly get updated on current trends in host communities. 

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