Following the passage of the Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Bill by the State House of Assembly in Kebbi State on September 30, 2021, Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER), with support from The Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), a non-political program established by The High Commission of Canada to Nigeria, will implement a two-phased #PassVAPPAct project in the state and across Nigeria.
The VAPP Act was passed at the Federal level in 2015 by the then President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, which seeks to prohibit all forms of violence against all persons in private and public life, and provides maximum protection and effective remedies for victims and punishment for offenders. The first phase will drive efforts towards implementing the VAPP Act in Kebbi State, scale-up advocacy for enhancing gender equality and build the knowledge of state and non-state actors on the VAPP Act to fulfil their obligations to reduce impunity, aid access to justice and provide holistic support for survivors. This will also involve legislative, policy and social advocacy for increased gender budgeting.
STER successfully implemented a similar project in Adamawa State in 2021, which led to the passage of the VAPP Bill in the state alongside efforts from stakeholders. STER focused on stakeholders’ engagement and capacity development through training of state and non-state actors, including community leaders, religious leaders, disability rights groups, women and youth-led organisations, the Nigeria Police Force, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, and media advocates, among others. The training engaged the actors on the content of the VAPP Law, disadvantages of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in SGBV cases, and communication strategies to sensitise communities on their rights as enshrined in the VAPP Law. STER will equally leverage this experience for a successful implementation in Kebbi State.
For the second phase, and in line with evidence-based prevention of violence against women and girls’ strategy, STER will improve the knowledge of SGBV prevention and response among adolescents who primarily source information from untrustworthy and unverified sources such as peers and the internet by developing a web-based consent education learning platform to increase awareness and address growing misconceptions and myths around SGBV issues among Nigerian adolescents. To achieve the widespread dissemination of this educational material, STER is partnering with education-focused state and non-state organisations to reach in and out-of-school adolescents.
STER is pleased to collaborate with The High Commission of Canada to Nigeria and CFLI Nigeria on this notable program to aid functional systems and provide adequate information for the safety, security and well-being of women and girls in Kebbi State. Through this collaboration, both institutions will foster the improved implementation of the VAPP Law and SGBV prevention.
In closing, we extend our sincere gratitude to the media houses present for honouring our invitation. Thank you very much.