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WRAPA trains volunteers, partners to champion women’s rights in South West

The Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA) has successfully trained a cadre of volunteers and strategic partners across the six South West states of Nigeria.

This impactful initiative, themed ‘Women at the Centre, Strengthening Capacity and Resilience for Women’s Rights Advancement,’ was conducted in Ibadan, Oyo State, with the support of the Ford Foundation.

The intensive training program aimed to fortify the capabilities of participants to advocate for and protect women’s and girls’ rights.

Zainab Abdurasheed, WRAPA Programme Officer, highlighted that the objective was to bolster social accountability support groups, enhance membership structures, and foster community involvement in women’s rights advocacy. Each trained participant is now equipped to train an additional 6,000 volunteers across the South West, amplifying the reach and impact of the program.

“WRAPA is collaborating with locally-based civil society organisations by identifying women-led groups to build technical capacity as well as learn from them,” Abdurasheed stated.

She also underscored WRAPA’s role in contributing to national statistics on abuse and violence against women and girls in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.

The organisation is fervently committed to eliminating harmful practices that hinder women’s access to healthcare, education, and communication, with the ultimate goal of enhancing their overall well-being.

Abiodun Ogidan, Deputy Director of Outside Broadcast and Sports at the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in Ibadan, served as one of the facilitators for the three-day zonal training.

He emphasised the critical need for volunteers to set aside personal biases while advocating to eliminate Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). Dr. Ogidan educated the trainees on the importance of thorough research, stakeholder engagement, understanding community norms and values, and ensuring volunteer safety.

Olafunmilayo Akinpelu, Head of Unit at the Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs, stressed the importance of training volunteers on the best response approaches to support survivors. She advocated for the establishment of gender desks in all ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to expedite actions on reported cases of SGBV.

Mercy Olumakinwa, WRAPA Acting Coordinator for the South West and Oyo State Coordinator, noted that the training was aimed at a diverse group of participants, including students, particularly abused females, civil society organisations, and community and religious leaders. She emphasized that trainees had been instructed on safety measures and the use of legal and governmental support to overcome resistance.

The training was met with positive feedback from participants such as Professor Olubunmi Ashimilowo, Ogun State Coordinator; Alhaja Sherifat Taliat-Arafat, a partner from Oyo State; and Miss Dunni Riches, Ekiti State Coordinator of WRAPA. They praised the enriching sessions, which introduced new methods of community engagement and underscored the importance of synergy in advocacy efforts to combat SGBV.

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