Nigerian Women Activists Envision a Society Free of Gender-Based Violence


Eighteen representatives from 16 women’s rights organizations in the southern and eastern regions of Nigeria attended CEADER’s National Training of Trainers workshop in Lagos from May 3 through 6, 2016.

During the training, the participants agreed on a collective vision for the workshop: “A society where there is gender equality, free of gender-based violence.” Recognizing that the prevalence of gender-based violence is a major barrier to gender equality, a number of participants pledged to commit more time to combating incidents of GBV and advocating for gender equality in their constituencies.

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“I understand now that leaders can be anyone, no matter your status.”

CEADER facilitators outlined four main goals of the workshop: to increase the number and reach of WLP-trained facilitators; to establish a mentoring system that would build young women’s knowledge of politics; to establish a network of women leaders who collaborate to advance the women’s human rights movement; and to increase the number of women in leadership positions who are sensitized on gender equality. 

Participants completed leadership exercises from WLP’s curriculum, including Leading to Choices, Leading to Action, and WLP’s latest manual, Beyond Equality. The session on equity versus equality drew passionate discussions from participants on the difference between equity in principle (such as with political quotas) and true gender equality. 

Some participants were at first reluctant to accept the notion that women should be equal players in politics with men. Workshop sessions helped bring to light how Nigerian women were routinely kept from fully exercising their rights in decision-making, and by the end of the training the women’s views on leadership had evolved.

“Before, politics was a man’s thing,” said one participant.* “But now this training has changed my perception about leadership and political participation.”

Upon completing the three-day workshop, participants were eager to replicate the training and a number of them indicated their commitment to mentoring younger women. With guidance from the senior facilitators, the participants collaboratively developed training plans and monitoring tools and strategies for replicating the workshop with their constituencies. 


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CEADER also used the text-messaging app WhatsApp to organize a virtual group where training participants could post their ideas, report replication activities, and encourage each other’s initiatives. Participants have since shared numerous reports, photos, and comments relating to how they have implemented their new knowledge in their communities and organizations. 

*Many of WLP’s affiliates live and work in areas in which promoting women’s issues can be dangerous. For this reason, we do not release identifying information of these women. 

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