Through its Know Your Community Initiative, Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) successfully sensitized 500 youths at the Makoko Community in the heart of Lagos, on the prevalence and effects of rape, sexual and gender-based violence that is a frequent occurrence in communities such as this. This program was sponsored by USAID and was in collaboration with Slum2School Africa.
This initiative by WARIF is designed to enlighten members of all communities about rape, sexual assault and abuse, to sensitize them to its occurrence and to equip them with the tools to fight its prevalence. In collaboration with Slum2School, the organisation was able to reach out to adolescent boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 19 who reside in Makoko.
The recipients were educated on recognizing the signs of sexual abuse affecting girls and boys and were encouraged to speak out against rape and sexual violence in their community. The importance of visiting the WARIF Centre to receive free services such as medical treatment, counselling and to report the cases to the proper authorities was also emphasized as well as the availability of the WARIF 24/7 confidential helpline for survivors.
Dr. DaSilva- Ibru, Founder of WARIF speaking at the outreach said “At WARIF, we continue to emphasize the importance of tackling cases of rape and sexual abuse at the community -level, where access to knowledge on these issues and the services offered by Foundations such as WARIF and Slum2School are not readily available. We hope to continue to collaborate with other organizations and to expand our outreaches to as many communities like Makoko as possible, across the country. By sensitizing these communities and offering counseling and healthcare services to all survivors – we can change the narrative of our youths to a more positive one and transform the lives of many, one community at a time.
Also commenting about the event, Ruth Ebe, Head of Operations at Slum2school said, “It was a timely and worthwhile partnership between Slum2School & WARIF to create awareness on rape and gender-based violence as well as the interventions/support readily available to survivors. The children and youth understand that they have a right to say “NO” to abusers, to be unafraid to seek help from the right people in the case of any form of violations, and to remain advocates against rape and gender-based violence wherever they find themselves”
The WARIF Know Your Community has previously visited Sabo Market, Yaba and the Oyingbo Brothel, for sensitization programs for men and women in those areas, and the initiative also intends to expand its program to more underserved communities in the near future.
WARIF, through its initiatives, has continued its fight to address violence against women. With its ongoing #NoTolerance campaign which was launched on International Women’s Day 2019, WARIF is calling on collective voices to take a strong stand against rape and sexual violence in Nigeria.