SLOC-VAWG PROJECT CLOSEOUT DOCUMENTARY
The Strengthening Capacities of Local Women’s Rights Organizations to Combat Violence Against Women and Girls (SLOC-VAWG) Project, fully funded by Ford Foundation, was implemented from June 2020 to May 2023 by ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) in partnership with indigenous community-based Women’s Rights Organizations (WROs) across Gombe, Imo and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) of Nigeria.
Targeting vulnerable women and girls who are at high risk of Gender-Based Violence (GBV), the goal of the project goal was to contribute to reduced incidences of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) for women and girls through effective implementation of women-led Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) programming across project locations.
To achieve this, the project strengthened the systems of WROs through consistent needs-based technical and funding support which enhanced their GBV programming capacities. Employing evidence-based programming approach that match contextual realities to challenges, the WROs effectively challenged and addressed norms and practices that violate the safety and development of women and girls in project locations.
At project inception, prevalent GBV issues identified across project locations included rape, domestic violence, harmful widowhood practices, disinheritance of land and property (especially for widows), intimate partner violence, female genital mutilation, denial of access to economic opportunities, and women’s exclusion from decision-making platforms at the family, community, and state levels.
Understanding the multi-faceted nature of harmful sociocultural norms and practices in different communities and regions, ActionAid and its partners adopted a multi-pronged programmatic approach encompassing system strengthening, male engagement, agency building, economic empowerment, community campaigns, and informal education to achieve its goal.
Evidence of impact is reflected in how WROs strategically engaged community leaders, women’s groups, adolescents, men’s groups and the media resulting in the establishment of 50 women peer education groups, 25 men peer education groups, 46 girls’ clubs, and 10 boys’ clubs across project states. The synergy of purpose among these community structures resulted in landmark achievements such as the inclusion of 13 women into the traditional councils, the abolishment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Ozuh Omuma community, and the repeal of harmful widowhood practices in Oguta community. Worthy of mention is the indirect project outcome which saw the review of community by-laws in 19 communities towards eradicating norms that suppress the rights of women and girls. In its 3 years of implementation, the SLOC-VAWG project directly reached 8,764 women, 3,234 men, 4,812 girls, 3,387 boys and 92 Persons Living with Disabilities, and indirectly reached 221,240 persons.
Compared to baseline findings at project commencement, the endline evaluation revealed significant improvements in community GBV response encompassing increased reporting of GBV incidents, women organizing and challenging harmful cultural norms, enhanced capacities of community members to respond to and refer GBV cases to appropriate actors, increased male engagement in identifying and combating VAWG, reduction in harmful practices against women and girls, decreased exposure to VAWG due to economic dependency, improved economic opportunities for women, increased access to formal and informal education for women and girls, reduced incidences of rape and domestic violence, decreased fear of such violence, and increased participation of women in decision-making at the family, community, and state levels.