TRAINING OF RELIGIOUS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS ON THE PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS ENDS WITH A GRADUATION CEREMONY

TRAINING OF RELIGIOUS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS ON THE PREVENTION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS ENDS WITH A GRADUATION CEREMONY

The Capacity Building for Religious and Community Leaders from Adamawa and Sokoto States Towards the Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls in Nigeria held between 13th June 2021 – 7th July 2021 for participants from Adamawa and Sokoto States at Lux Terra Leadership Foundation Complex in Abuja.

It was a project implemented by Lux Terra Leadership Foundation, Development Initiative for West Africa and the Spotlight Initiative to promote equitable social norms, attitudes and behaviours at individual and community levels to prevent violence against women and girls. The activity was an intensive Train-the-Trainer capacity building on the use of the Christian Religious resources and networks in the prevention of violence against women and girls for 20 participants from Sokoto State and 20 participants from Adamawa State.

Gender equality and the cause of women and girls are a big priority locally and internationally. The Church has played a key role in promoting the rights of women and girls and will continue to do so. This training was to expose participants to some of the most important issues regarding the advancement of the cause of Women and Girls and the role that Christians can play based on Christian beliefs and practices to support this cause even further it.

It is a fact that Nigeria is a deeply religious country. Religion plays a significant role in the lives of individuals and the nation. There are two dominant religions in Nigeria – Christianity and Islam. However, lack of understanding of the scriptures, beliefs, and practices of religions and their interpretations among followers of the different religions make it easy for religion to be manipulated for conflict and violent purposes, especially against women and girls in many communities. This causes lack of trust and respect and make religious social coexistence difficult. The complexity and internal diversity within particular religions and among different religions can also create intra- and inter-religious conflicts. It was important therefore, to explore the peacebuilding potential of religions to further equip workshop participants with the skills to build bridges/cultures of peace within and between our dominant religions in Nigeria; particularly in Sokoto and Adamawa states, by drawing on the religious writings, beliefs, teachings, and practices of the Christian faith.
To this end, participants at the capacity building program were exposed to learning around 5 major modules as follows: Christianity and the Promotion of Human Rights. Christianity and the Prevention of Violence: Domestic and General. Intra and Inter-Faith Peace Building. Christianity and the Advancement of the Course of Women and Girls. Strategic Communication for the Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls.

The participants spent 4days in-class on each of the 5 modules. The training followed the form of lectures, scriptural reviews, group discussion, role plays, debates and projects.
The participants had the opportunity to identify several Christian scriptures that promote the equal dignity of women and men. They examined the origin of male dominance in traditional and contemporary societies. Identified some religious and cultural aspects of gender inequality and the issues that challenge Equal Dignity within their communities.

They equally identified Christian principles and values that promote Equal Dignity and Matrimony while highlighting the Christian message as an instrument of women liberation and examined how the Christian Church can engage in the emancipation of women.
They were equipped with knowledge of laws and statutes in Nigeria that protect all Human Rights and how they can utilize this in promoting the well-being of women and girls in their communities.

They were equipped with skills for facilitating group meetings and trainings and equally had the opportunity to network among people from several Christian groups and denominations.

At the end, 40 Religious and Community Leaders (23 Females, 17 males) were trained and equipped with the skills to train other members of their community in Sokoto and Adamawa states, and were also awarded certificates of participation.