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 Programmes: Gender Based Violence

 

 

 


 

GBV Programme

 

Girl-child compensation, child and forced marriages, rape and domestic violence are the commonest forms of GBV across the new nation. However, in EES, the issue of girl-child compensation stands out. It is not only a challenge to the county leadership but also the custodians of the people’s culture, the chiefs. Girl child compensation is a common practice among the Lotuho community.

 

It is a dehumanizing practice where when a person is killed in a fight or accidently, a young girl from the family of the killer would be given to the deceased family as an appeasement. This practice according to the people like the state Director for Child Welfare, Mama Jane Surur, has caused more harm than good.

 

“Girl-child compensation is very inhumane. Girl-child compensation should be phased out gradually or by law,” she lamented. “Women’s voices should be heard because they are the first teachers in the society. You cannot see your child languishing in pain when she is being taken as compensation. This is very painful.” 

 

 

 A group of frontline Gender based violence trainees and the county Executive Director after a training in Cuiebet County, Lakes State.

Torit’s paramount chief Charles Odonu and the head of chiefs in Hiyala Payam Benjamin Ohide are trying to de-campaign the practice but they may not go far unless there is concerted effort from partners like HLSS and lawmakers.

 

The practice according to the chiefs is embedded in the strong belief in tradition, laxity in the implementation of laws (Child Act) and laxity of legislators to sensitise their electorate on the need to end such cruel practices.

 

To reduce the cruel practice and other forms of GBV, concerted awareness creation was and is still required. HLSS’ gender based violence (GBV) programme with support from the Common Humanitarian Fund (CHF), so to say  hit the ground running as there was already a common shared problem identified (girl-child compensation) by the community, county and state leadership. Consultation with community and its leaders such as chiefs to build a working coalition against GBV became a foundation for HLSS.

 

A high level delegation of HLSS paid courtesy calls to state and county officials which was followed by focused group discussions (FGDs), radio talk-shows, dramas, community outreaches, radio spots in Lotuho and English aired on Radio Emmanuel and EE State radio, supporting and marking the 16 days of activism against GBV consequently followed. The radio talk-shows and radio spots respectively targeted the communities of Torit, Ikwoto, Lopa/Lafon and Magwi counties.

 

During the 16 days of activism, HLSS engaged in community outreach campaigns; employing dramas, music and dance as well as radio spots to communicate the key messages of GBV. Radio Emmanuel ran the spots six times a day for ten days while the state radio ran the spot five times daily for same period of time, a total of 110 radio spots aired. At least 600 people were reached through the community outreach approach while a total of 300,000 people are estimated to have been reached through the radio and other programmes with the key messages of GBV.

 

Training

 

Training is an integral part of the GBV programme in order to increase the knowledge on the programme and mobilize the community through the frontline responders to victims and potential victims of the vice. With the technical guidance of the state government governments (ministries of Gender) EES and Lakes State, HLSS embarked on a double-edged training of the frontline responders such as nurses, police, prison officials, teachers, army officials, women and youth groups as well as state gender ministry officials and selected youth and school going children.

 

The first group was trained intensively on all forms of GBV, case and information management. The youngsters on the other hand were trained on life skills,  covering issues of keeping safe, knowing the forms of GBV and their role to prevent it as well as keeping busy and making plans for self-reliance through engaging in productive activities like light businesses that don’t interfere with their studies.