Alliances for Africa, AfA, has coordinated her second quarterly review meeting for the Imo state Committee on Ending Violence Against Women and Girls (ISCEVAWG).
This is part of her strategies to galvanize and sustain efforts towards ending violence against women and girls in Imo state.
Recall that the ISCEVAWG is a multi-sectoral committee instituted by AfA with support from the United Nations Trust Fund, UNTF and is comprised of state actors and non-state actors who provide frontline services for survivors of violence, especially women and girls’ survivors.
The meeting which held at Rockview hotels on the September 30,2022 was to assess and document progress, challenges and re-strategize ways to push for the implementation of the Imo state Violence against Persons Prohibition Law, VAPP, towards ending violence against women and girls in the state.
The level of implementation of the VAPP, will be tracked based on data garnered from case management, successfully litigated cases, budgetary allocations and the establishment of infrastructures as contained in the VAPP
Addressing members of the committee, AfA’s Programs Manager, Blessing Duru stated that paucity of funds, lack of commitment by state actors to implement provisions of the VAPP that provide services and safe spaces to survivors, particularly the Sexual Assault Referral Center and shelter homes, has been challenging in the spreading of awareness, dissemination and implementation of the Imo VAPP law.
She however informed that, the women’s August meeting, community engagements and Public hearing on the VAPP, were platforms leveraged by AfA to spread knowledge and awareness on the VAPP law, while urging the ISCEVAWG to use their collective voice and writing power to call the government to account for its failures, pointing out that simply passing legislation is insufficient to solve the problem.
Lending her voice, the ISCEVAWG Chairperson, Ms Marjorie Ezihe, informed that the current reality impeding progress is that structures provided for by state actors are no longer there, there is professional laxity on the part of the police, particularly on matters of SGBV, high extortion from state ministries, and lawyers colluding with court clerks to extort victims. She advised members to learn how to incorporate paper trail to their interventions as well as for CSOs to leverage on proper documentation of cases.
Members suggested that for effective information dissemination and implementation of the VAPP law, that state actors should mandate traditional rulers and town unions to localize the VAPP, need for strengthening Alternative Dispute Resolution with support from lawyers/FIDA, and need for collaboration with state actors.
Members agreed on some strategic action plan and timelines which include amongst others, a media conference to show displeasure on the slow implementation of the VAPP. Summarily, CSO’s shared how they managed reporting and documentation of cases for their organization and in delivering the ISCEVAWG mandate.