Ford Foundation Makes Commitment Towards Fight Against GBV


The Ford Foundation has made a commitment towards supporting the ongoing fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Nigeria

The commitment was made on Monday by the visiting Vice President, International Programmes, Ford Foundation, Martin Abregu, at a roundtable organized by UN Women at UN House Abuja with stakeholders.

Abregu said having listened to all the contributions of the stakeholders in the battle to end GBV in the country, the Ford Foundation is ready to collaborate and ensure its success.

He noted that fight against gender based violence and discrimination are topmost on the agenda of Ford Foundation.

At the roundtable discussions titled: “Diverse Approaches to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Prevention in Nigeria”, were representatives of UNFPA, UNDP, UNESCO, and UNICEF, Federal Government, traditional and religious leaders.

The Country Representative of UNWomen,  Ms. Beatrice Eyong on her part said the scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) in Nigeria, like many other parts of the world, remains a pervasive issue that undermines the fundamental rights and dignity of women and girls, impeding progress towards gender equality and sustainable development.


She noted that: “Globally, an estimated 736 million women—almost one in three—have been subjected to physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence, or both at least once in their life. 33 percent Nigerian women have experienced physical violence by the age of 15. Similarly, data from the Mirabel Centre in Lagos show that 81 percent of reported cases of sexual assault between 2013 and 2019 were perpetrated against children – 67 percent of the perpetrators were known.


“In Nigeria, these staggering statistics have worsened because of the security challenges arising from armed conflict, insurgency, banditry, and kidnappings across the country. Additionally, the economic downturns arising from the recent devaluation of the local currency, high inflation, and the slow recovery from global economic shocks from COVID-19 have also exacerbated the prevalence of GBV.”


She however said: “Yet, amidst these challenges, there is hope. Hope in the transformative power of collaboration, innovation, and solidarity. This roundtable provides a platform to share best practices and lessons learned from the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative and other successful interventions in Nigeria and globally, fostering cross-learning and innovation. Today's discussion provides us with an invaluable opportunity to harness this collective energy and expertise to explore diverse approaches to GBV prevention that are grounded in the unique socio-cultural context of Nigeria.”


Eyong said: “At this juncture, permit me to reiterate our gratitude to the Ford Foundation for the collaboration with UN Women to implement a three-year-long initiative (2023-2026) known as the “Traditional and Cultural Leaders for Ending GBV by Advancing Advocacy, Policy and Social Norms Change in Nigeria and West Africa – LEAP Project.” The project aims to partner meaningfully with powerful agents of social change, including government at national and sub-national levels, CSOs, and especially traditional and religious leaders, to shift underlying structures of power within communities, end harmful practices, address religious misconceptions, and transform cultural norms around violence against women and girls.”


She said: “With LEAP, UN Women is already sustaining the momentum from the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative by collaborating with traditional leaders through the Council of Traditional Leaders of Africa (COTLA) to implement community-led initiatives towards challenging negative practices that perpetuate violence against women and girls in Nigeria.


She commended the traditional leaders for hosting community dialogues to commemorate 16 Days of Activism against GBV in 2023 and 2024 International Women’s Month, adding that: “Such dialogues are breaking the barriers in reporting GBV at the community level and making the palaces of their royal highnesses and majesties a safe space for GBV survivors.”


She said: “We are also proud to highlight the practical demonstration of commitment to women’s empowerment towards the prevention of GBV by His Royal Highness, Ambassador (Dr) Apollos Chu, the Paramount Ruler of the Nchia community in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, through the cash transfer of Twenty-Five Thousand Naira to 250 women during one of the community dialogues facilitated by the LEAP project to commemorate 2024 IWD.


“Furthermore, UN Women’s partnership with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs on the project is progressing well and will soon result in the development of the first national GBV prevention policy to provide guidance for action on preventing and responding to GBV in different sectors and settings in Nigeria.”


Eyong said: “Your Highnesses, our guests, and colleagues and partners, as we engage in dialogue and exchange insights, let us remain mindful of the urgency of our shared mission. Every voice, every perspective represented in this room is a testament to our shared determination to build a future where every individual – regardless of gender – can live free from violence and discrimination. It is my belief that discussions at the roundtable can inform the development of policies and strategies that address GBV comprehensively and effectively.”

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