UNFPA, Canada partner to address women, girl challenges in Nigeria

THE United Nations Fund for Population (UNFPA) says it is collaborating with the Canadian Government to address Gender Based Violence (GBV) and other challenges facing women, young and adolescent girls in Nigeria.

Dr Eugene Kongnyuy, the Acting Country Representative of UNFPA Nigeria, said this at the opening of a three-day workshop on addressing gaps in GBV and harmful traditional practices in the country.

Kongnyuy listed the Traditional Harmful Practices (THPs) as Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV), Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) as well as Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM).

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He said participants were drawn from three pilot states of Bauchi, Sokoto and Oyo to change the narratives.

Other delegates are Implementing Partners (IPs) including the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Federal Ministries of Budget and National Planning, Health, Women Affairs and Education as well as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) from the selected states, the UN Official said.

He explained that the project was in line with UNFPA’s “strategic direction of the three transformative goals of ending the unmet need for Family Planning (FP), ending preventable maternal deaths and ending violence against women and girls’’.

According to him, the project will contribute significantly to delaying child marriage and closing the rising unmet needs of FP in all the three affected states.

Kongnyuy added the project would improve the legislative and policy environment for SGBV, FGM, CEFM and HTPs to international best practices.

He said the Canadian Government would fund the three-year project through Global Affairs Canada to reduce the prevalence of SGBV, ECFM, Obstetric Fistula, FGM/C and HTPs in Nigeria.

While pledging UNFPA’s readiness to work with government and other partners to address underlying contributory factors to poor maternal health outcomes, he stressed the need for every woman to have a skilled birth attendant and reproductive health services.

The representative of Global Affairs Canada, Ms Emilie Milroy, explained that Canada was concerned with the rising cases of THPs in Nigeria, hence the intervention which would generate much-needed data to address harmful practices and norms in Nigeria.

In a goodwill message, Mrs Margaret Dibigbo from the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, underscored the significance of the forum and pledged the support of the Nigerian Government to interventions aimed at curtailing THPs in the country.

She enjoined the participants to address the culture of impunity as its concerns women and girls by raising more awareness on the challenges and improving reproductive service delivery.
NAN also reports that no fewer than 60 participants are attending the workshop.

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