From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
ActionAid Nigeria has concluded training of 24 women peer education facilitators from 12 communities as part of its System and Structure Strengthening Approach against Radicalisation to Violent Extremism (SARVE) project in Kogi.
Ms Nkechi Ilochi-Omekedo, ActionAid Programmes Manager, Women’s Rights, disclosed this while speaking with Our Correspondent at the end of the two-day training programme in Okene at the weekend.
The Programme Manager said violent crimes arising from extremism were on the increase with women and children often at the receiving end and there was need to curb it using human development strategy through empowerment and Knowledge of rights.
Ilochi-Omekedo said the training was informed by the realisation that violent extremism had become rampant, assuming a dangerous dimension and affecting everyone.
“The increased number of violence we see in the society is huge and if we do not curb it by using a strategy that looks at human being and at human development, we will continue to experience violence and conflict everyday.
“Part of the the content of this training is looking at violence and managing conflict, it’s looking at emergencies and how we respond.
“So we are hoping to see that through this training, women are more empowered and they can go back to their communities and begin to cause those changes to happen, creating safe spaces.
She said that training was a holistic package that looked broadly at women’s issues, how to demand and negotiate their rights and build capabilities to positively impact their families and the wider environment.
Ilochi-Omekedo quickly noted that the essence was not to disrupt homes but build better relationships saying it was a constructive empowerment thing rather than destructive.
Mr Anicetus Atakpu, Humanitarian and Resilience Program Coordinator for ActionAid Nigeria, also speaking with Our Correspondent on the training programme, said ActionAid was currently taking a lead on the SARVE II project in Kogi and Nassarawa states.
He said the work entailed building community resilience against violent extremism and planned to provide a platform for women to discuss issues of their safety as the most vulnerable group.
“We plan to establish in the 12 project communities, safe spaces for women and young female adults where they can come together to discuss issues around their safety. Issues around reducing their vulnerability to violent extremism.
“So we are establishing safe spaces in those communities to ensure that women are protected, provided with the needed support and are given the atmosphere to air their views and build capacity towards reducing their level of vulnerability.
Hajia Zainab Ibrahim, Head of Department, Health, with Kogi Local Government and one of the peer education facilitators said she learnt from the training that peace in any society must starts from the family and women should strive to ensure peace at their homes.
Akowe Victoria and Maria Abuh, facilitators from Igalamela-Odolu Local Government said they learnt more about hygiene in the home, child spacing, care for the elderly and effects of climate change among others.
Mrs Dorcas Yahaya, Women Leader from Ukowa in Ihima, commended ActionAid for the opportunity provided her to learn, saying she had always been very hostile to her son but had had a change of mind after the training and would try to be friendly with him from now.