The Covid-19 pandemic brought about an increase in the cases of rape and sexual abuse as survivors were forced to isolate at home, alone with their abusers. As the numbers increased, a growing shadow pandemic became apparent, that needed urgent attention. The WARIF Covid-19 Response in Rural Communities Initiative came to the rescue.
Trained WARIF volunteers participated in the sensitization and awareness program in 3 selected local government areas in Lagos State (Alimosho, Shomolu/Bariga and Lagos Mainland). Women and girls were educated on the dangers of gender based violence, how to report cases of rape and sexual assault, and the free services offered to survivors at the WARIF Rape Crisis Centre. The Community Engagement sensitization program was a very impactful one with almost of 8,500 individuals reached.
The Initiative aims to raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence (GBV) in our communities, and the harmful physical, psychological and societal effects that this menace poses to women and girls of all ages.
Commenting at the close out of the community engagement, Philanthropy Manager, Cuppy Foundation, Ruth Okonya reiterated the Foundation’s dedication to gender-based issues. She said,”In serving the community, it comes down to two things; being accountable and transparent. Our journey with WARIF has been a reflection of these two major components; they have served communities by bringing great awareness on GBV in a manner that has yielded a good measure of impact. We hope that in future we have another opportunity to partner with WARIF”
Responding, the Founder, WARIF, Dr. Kemi DaSilva Ibru said “We anticipated an increase in the cases of violence against women and children by abusers during this shadow pandemic and so we felt it was necessary to raise awareness to this issue as well as provide the necessary assistance in tackling the problem especially in rural areas in Nigeria where services are not readily available”
“WARIF remain committed in the fight against Gender Based Violence thereby ensuring that women and girls can live in a society free of rape and sexual violence”, said Dr. Ibru
According to Dr. Ibru, Cuppy Foundation partnered with the Women at Risk International Foundation’s (WARIF) Covid-19 Response Initiative was initiated in April 2020 to sensitize households and address the issue of GBV in several rural communities.
Women at Risk International Foundation, (WARIF) is a non-profit organization, established to raise awareness and address the prevalence of rape, sexual violence and trafficking of young girls and women in communities across Nigeria. The foundation achieves this through the development and implementation of a series of initiatives which are impactful, measurable and sustainable, targeting both the intervention/treatment of these affected women, as well as providing preventive measures in education and community service to reduce the high incidence.