Know and Say No

 

Overview
The Know and Say No project is primarily concerned with raising awareness about gender based violence as well as strengthening institutional capacities to address the pandemic of gender based violence. Know and Say No provides a platform for effective action towards the protection of minority rights and a voice for vulnerable groups.

Cultural and religious misconceptions about girls have led girls to expect to be abused in one way or the other as they grow up and this has resulted in high levels of violence against women particularly in northern Nigeria.

The Problem
Violence against women has been described in Article 1 of the United Nations Declaration on the elimination of violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty whether occurring in public or private life”. Women who form more than half of the population in Nigeria have made so many contributions to national development and have the potential to do so much more.

The struggle to end violence against women is clearly still a long way off. While the most commonly identified are domestic violence and rape, there have since been several more specific forms of acts identified as gender -based violence. These include women in conflict situations, trafficking in women, widowhood rites, early marriage, female genital mutilation, sexual assault etc.

Our women have had these acts inflicted upon them by male folk under the guise of religion, cultural practices and other forms of social discrimination. Others are a result of merely inflicting mental, economic and physical superiority over a woman. The patriarchal nature of many of our societies permits women to be subjected to many of these practices. In some communities the elders will look you straight in the eye and say that what the world terms as violence is actually a valued cultural practice. Take female genital mutilation for instance. It is erroneously believed to be a way to curb promiscuity amongst young girls. As a matter of fact the practice has proven to be a health hazard and hindrance to a fulfilling sexual life.

In the critical debate about violence against women, it is very clear that the fight can only be won in joint partnership with men. Hence it makes perfect sense to call upon men to become partners in the journey to fight some of these heinous practices. This conviction is clearly demonstrated in this year’s theme. But from recent events in our nation a lot of work still needs to be done.

Incorporating gender awareness programmes and initiatives into aspects of our lives, education and society in general has become imperative. We have witnessed sustained campaigns in the fight against narcotics, road carnage, HIV/AIDS etc.

The fight against acts of violence on women can only be successfully fought if we all join hands. Women and men can stand side by side on this issue and present a united front. This is an issue that should be kept burning in the public domain.

Activities

Activity Convener Date Venue No. of Beneficiaries
Know and Say No Capacity Building Workshop EWEI 16th  November, 2011 KD North LG Chambers Hall, Magajin Gari Kaduna, Nigeria 13 Social Welfare Workers of Kaduna North Local Government
EWEI NEWS Special Feature: Violence and Your Rights EWEI March 2012 EWEI NEWS 1,000
Exchange Forum For Social Welfare Workers and Legal Personnel EWEI 26th November, 2012 International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA- Kaduna Chapter), Zaria Road, Kaduna 14 Social Welfare Workers
16 days of Activism towards the Elimination of Violence Against Woman EWEI 25th November, 2013 Television Community, Kaduna 15 Community Women
Know and Say No  Capacity Building

16 day of Activism towards the Elimination of Violence Against Woman with Social Welfare Officers

(Kaduna North and South Local Government )

EWEI 25TH November, 2014 ABANTU for Development,

YA Ahmed House

Kaduna.

13 Social Welfare Workers, 2 Resource persons, 2 Staff and 2 Volunteers
Know and Say No workshop on Gender Based Violence (Theme: Tackling Gender Based Violence) EWEI/NSRP 8th to 10th September, 2015 The New Treasure Hall

No. 2, Baka Street Opposite Polytechnic Quarters, Angwan Television, Bye-Pass, Kaduna

60 women from  both communities (Down Quarters and Television)
Know and Say No capacity building on Gender Based Violence. (Theme: Strengthening Institutional Capacities) EWEI/NSRP 14th September to 16th September, 2015 Media Center Ahamadu Bello Stadium, Kaduna. 30 Social Welfare Officers of Kaduna South Local Government
School Pep Talk and Peer to Peer (Theme: Creating Awareness and Sensitization on Gender Based Violence) EWEI/NSRP 9th , 16TH , 23RD , and 30TH October, 2015 and 6TH, 13TH, 20TH and 27th November, 2015 Government Secondary Schools Mekera, Kakuri and Television, Kaduna 150 Students (SS1 to SS3) and Staff
Know and Say No Outreach on sensitization on Gender Based Violence EWEI/NSRP 13TH October to 14TH October, 2015 Down Quarters

Community, Kaduna

Community Stakeholders, Men and Youths, Women and Girls
Know and Say No Social Media Campaign EWEI/NSRP Quarter Four 2015 Facebook, Twitter, Website and other Social Media platforms. 1000 and above targeted social media users

 

Women’s activists have marked November 25 as a day to fight violence against women since 1981. On December 17, 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women(Resolution54/134).  The UN invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designated to raise public awareness of the problem on this day as an international observance. Women around the world are subject to rape, domestic violence and other forms of violence, and the scale and true nature of the issue is often hidden.

This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo(1930–1961).  More information on this can be found at http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/news/vawd.html.

UN Women  also has a regular observance of the day, and offers suggestions for others to observe it.

Premise
Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which on December 10, 1948 was adopted by the general Assembly of the United Nations of which Nigeria is signatory to acknowledges and provides for the basic rights of all humans. Article V of the Universal Declaration of Human rights states that,

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”

The African charter of Human and People’s rights has also made provisions for the protection of persons against violence. Article III provides that

“Every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent in human being ……… All forms of exploitation and degradation of particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel inhuman or punishment and treatment shall be prohibited”

The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 in chapter IV provides for the fundamental rights of the citizens irrespective of gender. Specifically section 34 (1) states

“Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and accordingly no person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.”