Nigeria has been characterized by gender inequality in almost all areas of human development and ranked 118 out of the 134 countries on the Gender Equality index.
This was made known by Spotlight representative Yemisi Adebola Nathaniel during local theatre engagement to strengthen the capacity of selected faith and culture, women, man and youth groups, media, and CSOs.
The one day capacity building organized by Spotlight Initiative in partnership with European Union and United Nations implemented by Womens Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Hope and Rural Aid Foundation (HARAF) held in Yola, Adamawa state.
Yemisi said challenges in advancing of gender equality include inadequate inclusion of women and girls perspectives in policy making decisions, resource allocation and implementation in economic and social sectors.
Spotlight focus on Africa is elimination of Sexual and Gender Based Violence, Harmful Practices, and address related aspects of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in 8 countries namely Nigeria, Liberia, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Mali.
In Nigeria the programme is being implemented in Adamawa, Cross Rivers, Ebonyi, FCT, Lagos, and Sokoto states.
Negative social norms which condone or support violence against women and girls and harmful practices remain pervasive. Gender Based Violence is widespread and 30% of women aged 15-49 have reported experiences of sexual abuse.
“The efforts are to achieve gender equality and womens empowerment. It is the worlds largest targeted effort to end all forms of violence against women and girls, she said.
In her remark, an official of WRAPA Bibiana Adams the organization is targeting key role players that are central to the achievement of systematic shift in VAWG/SGBV/HP and the intervention focused on building capacity of both individual and organizations to influence and act across state and non-state actors.
Key interventions includes enhancement of project management skills, facilitating constructive and result based dialogue and convening, communicating for impact and advocacy, adapting in alternative solutions and effective coordination.
This is all aimed at improving the human and institutional agency to advance progress in VAWG/SGBV/HP that ensures provision of Sexual and Reproductive Health services, she said.
In his presentation on Art of public speaking as a tool for effective advocacy, Communication consultant to the programme Dr Muhammad Adamu Dodo said the essence of advocacy is to pass a message through informing, persuading and entertaining.
To achieve desired result of advocacy, one must be prepared, practice and perform.
He Said that Advocacy is generally directly at policy makers including politicians, government officials, and public servants.
There was also a presentation by Gambo Wada on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, Violence Against Women and Girls, Sexual and Gender Based Violence, Harmful Practices, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.