Reports of gender-based violence (GBV) across Kaduna State is bothering the administration of Governor Nasir El-Rufai and other key partners, Commissioner, Human Services and Social Development, Hajiya Hafsat Mohammed-Baba has said.
The commissioner, who said this while receiving Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) team currently working on Preventing Gender-Based Violence Project, added that the state government has put in place laws and policies to reduce the cases of GBV.
With laws such as Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP), Child Welfare and Protection and Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI), it is expected that the cases of violence against persons especially women and children would have reduced drastically – no thanks to weak awareness on these good laws and policy by the state government.
The commissioner appreciated the contributions of AMDF towards preventing GBV in the state, noting that it was “one of the key issues that concern the State Government and other key partners”.
After acknowledging the low level of knowledge of the existing VAPP law amongst residents, she called on relevant organizations to support the government’s efforts in creating awareness of the existence of the law and efforts to tackle GBV.
“Though VAPP law is in existence, we still have a lot to do. I agree that there is a gap in terms of people knowing and even believing in the existence of the VAPP Law.
“This is a huge gap because of the level of literacy, and also lack of constant community engagement. But as you all know, the government cannot do it alone, that is where we need organizations like yours to support government’s effort”, she said.
She applauded the involvement of community volunteers in the AMDF project, noting that as members of these communities, the volunteers will work towards adding value to their communities.
“We are in support of the work you are doing, we believe it will go a long way in reducing the cases of GBV we have in the state”, she added.
Earlier, Executive Director, AMDF, Iliya Kure, said the visit was to officially introduce the project to the commissioner to seek commitment from the ministry and the government to continue with the same vigour its support in preventing gender-based violence in the state.
Kure noted that the 12 months’ project on preventing Gender-Based Violence in Kajuru and Kaduna North Local Government areas of Kaduna State centres on “advocacy and community mobilisation around violence against women and girls”.
“We are also establishing a system in the community which we will strengthen around reporting cases; where community people on their own can start reporting cases against the norm of covering up because certain community members are involved”, he said.
The Project titled: Advocating for the Prevention of Gender-Based Violence is being implemented by AMDF with support from RiseUp, a project of Public Health Institute, John Hopkins University, USA.