In a bid to fight Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in communities across Lagos, the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) partnered with RiseUp to mobilize community stakeholders as gatekeepers and to build better links with law enforcement agencies.
The meeting at Otto-Ilogbo community, one of the most populous informal communities in Lagos was the first of three meetings targeting Otto-Ilogbo, Makoko and Bariga. It would bring together local stakeholders such as local chiefs, women leaders, youth leaders, heads of girls’ groups among others in a bid to reduce GBV particularly against teenage girls. It would also ensure that the communities work more closely with government agencies, law enforcement agencies and other state actors as well establish community systems that would report sexual violations so that the perpetrators are brought to book and thereby help towards the reduction and indeed eradication of such crimes in those communities.
The first meeting at Otto-Ilogbo held recently was fruitful as it provided a robust platform for the rubbing of minds among the community stakeholders. Both the old and youth freely aired their concerns and observations and welcome the idea of a better working relationships with constitutionally appointed bodies and personnel to curb sexual violence in their community as in everywhere in the country especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and associated pressures and socioeconomic abnormalities.
Comrade Mushbau Ishola Agbdemu, an eminent community leader and activist at Otto-Ilogbo and the local organizer, welcome the idea and promised that the community would work closely with the CEE-HOPE team to ensure the success of the project.
Betty Abah, CEE-HOPE’s founder and Executive Director, expressed delight at the turn of the one-day event. “We are really impressed by the enthusiasm of the communities to collaborate with us and the others in focus and we hope that we have such good responses from the other communities as well. Our work with informal communities over the years proved that if given the opportunities and cooperation from constituted authorities, the community people would always leverage on their potentials and experiences to turn things around positively. We are positive that this will go well,’ she added.
The October 25 meeting at Otto-Ilogbo was preceded by another one-day meeting at Makoko constituting leaders and representatives from the three target communities including Makoko, Bariga and Otto-Ilogbo on September 11.