Leadership Initiative For Youth Empowerment, AWDF, To Implement a 32-Month Project Over GBV Response In Oshodi-Isolo

By Onome Naomi 

Leadership Initiative For Youth Empowerment “LIFE” is an NGO that has been in existence since 2012 and was co-founded by Mrs. Abiodun Rufus to promote equity and development amongst youth in Nigeria with the purpose of improving the lives of young people and also supporting vulnerable females.

The goal and mission of the NGO is to create a society where all rights exist and to empower youths, girls, other vulnerable females with human rights,sexual rights, and economic empowerment. To also build leadership skills through sensitization, advocacy, innovation,wellness creation, and research. To reduce the incidence of sexual abuse and GBV among vulnerable young girls and women through increased access to human and legal rights.

During a conference held at LIFE premises in Lagos, the programme officer of the NGO, Ogechi Jessica Steven, gave pressmen an insight on the operations and achievements of the organisation so far since its establishment in 2012. She noted that LIFE has a crisis response centre to resolve issues such as sexual and reproductive health challenges like HIV and tuberculosis through capacity building by employing professional psychologists.

As part of the movement for community intervention to promote equity and development amongst the youths since 2012, various sensitization programmes involving the police, community leaders, and market women in Oshodi Isolo and Alimosho environs have been recorded.

“In 2016, with the support of the African Women Development Fund, LIFE collaborated with the community structures for health services in Oshodi Isolo, resulting in a 30% increase in S.T.I. treatments.

“In 2017, LIFE was funded by ‘Girl Generation’ in order to focus on the elimination of ancient female gender mutilation practices through engagement with 400 community leaders. The project covered Oshodi Isolo for 10 months.

In 2018, LIFE got funded to develop a pathway for several GBV survivors; however, COVID struck in 2020 and affected most of this project as there were more cases of GBV during COVID.

In 2021, LIFE got support from AWDF to address the needs of women who were experiencing intersectional violence. A three-year grant was secured from 2023–2025 to that effect. The focus is to champion the rights of the vulnerable community, Ogechi stated.

Ogechi also revealed that LIFE, as an NGO, has visited the office of the Minister of Education and given directives to sensitise schools around Oshodi Isolo. She said five government schools have been visited so far. Meanwhile, LIFE has successfully handled a total of 63 GBV cases, sensitising 8400 people between 2021 and 2023. Commends the Lagos State Government for taking gender-based violence (“GBV”) as a matter of interest. Also, religious church leaders and imams have increasingly sensitised members on the need to report GBV cases, she added.

Here’s an excerpt of LIFE press statement over implementation of the 32- month project of GBV response, it reads:

Leadership Initiative for Youth Empowerment (LIFE) Project with the support of African Women Development Fund (AWDF) is implementing a 32-month project to enhance amplifying Voices of Female Survivors for Effective Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Response in Oshodi-Isolo Local Government Area, Lagos, Nigeria.

The project’s overall goal is to improve protection from sexual and gender-based violence for young girls and women through the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPP) 2015 Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The project trains community advocates drawn from existing community groups and local institutions to raise awareness on the provisions of the law for protection from rape, female genital mutilation, domestic violence, and female trafficking among grassroot communities in Local Government Area of Oshodi-Isolo. The project will impact the relationship between community members, the police and key government agencies that work in the field of gender-based violence.

LIFE will work in the one local government area to empower beneficiaries with specific understanding of the legal requirements and reporting procedures to guarantee that communities take a more active role in reporting incidents of sexual and gender-based violence to the police and act as change agents in their local communities.

The project funded by AWDF will provide training for 80 community champions who will return to their communities and conduct knowledge transfer sessions to reach 8000 community members in 4 months in Oshodi-Isolo LGA. LIFE will also conduct sustained advocacy and engagement activities with the Ministry of Justice and the Nigeria Police to improve the support provided to survivors seeking justice. LIFE will produce and disseminate 5000 copies of the law.

Already, LIFE has successfully conducted advocacy visits to key stakeholders in the Ministry of Justice, Local Government Officials, the Nigeria Police in Ijeshatedo police station, Itire police station, Isolo police station respectively.

Read Also:FG Slams $10 Billion Fine On Binance Over Free Fall Of Naira

For additional information on the project, follow our social media handles twitter: @LIFENig2012, Instagram:leadershipinitative, Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/L IFE.NIG, Linkedin:leadershipInitiativeFor Youth Empowerment

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