At the heart of creating lasting change lies awareness, dialogue, and education. On a bright morning of July 24, 2023, Advocacy for Women With Disabilities Initiative (AWWDI) took a transformative step forward by orchestrating a powerful community sensitization event on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). This event, held at the Kuje Secretariat and Kuje Market, marked a significant stride towards fostering understanding, respect, and safety within the community.
Initiation and Purpose
Under the banner of the theme “Community Sensitization on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence,” AWWDI embarked on an endeavor that aimed to not only increase the community’s knowledge about SGBV but also to rally the collective determination to prevent and address this critical issue. This initiative was meticulously organized and masterfully executed by AWWDI, with unwavering support from esteemed partners: ActionAid Nigeria, the High Commission of Canada to Nigeria, and funded by Global Affairs Canada. This collaboration underscored the importance of joint efforts in addressing the pressing concerns of SGBV.
Setting the Stage
From 10 AM to 12:30 PM, the atmosphere at Kuje Secretariat and Kuje Market buzzed with anticipation and eagerness. The community was about to embark on a journey of learning and transformation, facilitated by the passionate team of AWWDI.
The community’s reception was one of warmth and curiosity, as AWWDI’s representatives engaged the market women and individuals at the secretariat. Amidst welcoming smiles, the AWWDI team brought to the forefront the crucial matter of SGBV. Their words carried the weight of awareness and the urgency to address the issue collectively.
Raising Voices Against SGBV
AWWDI’s message echoed the essence of raising awareness about SGBV, fostering empathy, and cultivating an environment of safety and respect for everyone. Their interactions aimed to pierce through the barriers of ignorance, to challenge harmful stereotypes, and to open the doors for vital discussions about gender-based violence.
Empowering Through Knowledge
This sensitization initiative served as an educational platform, equipping the community with insights into the impact of SGBV, particularly concerning women with disabilities. It was a call to inspire change and evoke empathy, nurturing a culture where safety and respect are not negotiable but foundational.
A Resounding Commitment
The event became a potent catalyst for change, as the engagement between AWWDI’s team and the community in Kuje Market fostered dialogue, deepened awareness, and instilled a shared commitment to eradicating SGBV. The collective voice rising from this event speaks of a safer and more inclusive society, a society where women and girls with disabilities are heard, protected, and valued.
In the journey towards awareness, challenges sometimes emerge. During this sensitization event, AWWDI faced resistance from some market women, revealing the persistent uphill battle to break down barriers and dispel misconceptions. These challenges, however, only reaffirmed the importance of AWWDI’s mission and the necessity to continue educating and advocating for change.
As the sun set on that impactful day, AWWDI’s community sensitization campaign left an indelible mark. It was not just an event; it was a stepping stone towards a future defined by equality, respect, and safety for women and girls with disabilities. AWWDI, alongside their valued partners and the resilient community, embarked on a collective journey of empowerment, unity, and transformation.