Some of the paricipants at the sensitization workshop on the Spotlight Initiative (Photo, UNDP Nigeria)

The European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) in Nigeria recently concluded a series of inception workshops on the Spotlight Initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls in Nigeria. The workshops took place in four locations across the country including Sokoto, Cross River, Lagos and Adamawa State.

UNDP in Nigeria in collaboration with UN Women Nigeria, UNFPA Nigeria, UNICEF Nigeria and UNESCO Regional Office Abuja are working with the European Union in Nigeria, Government and Civil Society partners on this Initiative.

Through a comprehensive approach, the Spotlight Initiative aims at realising a Nigeria where all women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable, live a life free from violence and harmful practices. Addressing the linkages between sexual and gender-based violence and harmful practices with related aspects of sexual and reproductive health and rights as a cross-cutting theme will require consented efforts from a broad range of stakeholders, from individuals all the way to community and national government leaders.

The engagements in the States brought together stakeholders and partners who were provided with critical information about the initiative, its goals and implementation modality. The participants were also enlightened on key elements and issues around violence against women and girls, potential barriers, risks, and mitigation strategy. The meetings were also used as platforms for sharing knowledge and information on the various cultural, political and socioeconomic factors associated with harmful practices against women and girls.

The Spotlight project is being implemented in the Federal capital territory and five other States including Lagos, Cross-river, Sokoto, Adamawa & Ebonyi. The project is focusing on prevention efforts, particularly addressing the root causes of gender-based violence and harmful practices against women and girls; and ensuring access to inclusive, timely, and quality services for victims and survivors.

The Initiative will address legislative and policy gaps, strengthen institutions, promote gender-equitable attitudes, and provide quality services for survivors and reparations for victims of violence and their families. Interventions will also strengthen systems.

In line with the ambitions and human rights obligations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Initiative will provide largescale, targeted support, leverage partnerships and galvanize high-level political commitments to engender transformative change and tackle the root causes of violence against women (VAWG).

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