Name of Project: European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative Project

Location of Project: Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Commencement Date: 1st October 2019

Status: Ongoing

Brief description of Project:

Sexual and Gender-based violence (SGBV) is a major public health and human rights problem globally. The extent of this problem has not been explored in Ebonyi State and Nigeria at large. Data available suggests that one in five women report sexual violence by an intimate partner and up to a third of girls report forced sexual initiation. Sexual assault encompasses a range of acts, including coerced sex in marriage and dating relationships, rape by strangers, organized rape in war, sexual harassment (including demands of sex for jobs or school grades), and rape of children, trafficking of women and girls, female genital mutilation, and forced exposure to pornography.

It is important to understand the ramifications of sexual assault, as not only a physical act, but also could be verbal or visual sexual abuse or any act that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Sexual assault is also not discriminatory to sex; both males and females are affected but studies have shown that the number of female sexual assault victims (and assault perpetrated by males) is far greater than male victims

Overview of Spotlight Initiative:

Implementation Strategy: The Initiative aims to reduce violence and harmful practices against women and girls in Nigeria by addressing the linkages between SGBV and HP with related aspects of SRHR as a cross-cutting issue. Focus will be on prevention efforts, particularly addressing the root causes of the two most prevalent harmful practices in Nigeria; child marriage and FGM) through interventions aimed at transforming social norms, attitudes and behaviors (Pillar 3); and ensuring access to inclusive, timely and quality services (Pillar 4) for GBV survivors, providing women and girls with safe spaces and access holistic responses.

Through a comprehensive approach with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners, ESERC is working in Ebonyi State to ensure that all women and girls, particularly the most vulnerable, live a life free from violence and harmful practices. The vision will be realized by 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.

ESERC is focusing on addressing Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 of the Spotlight Initiative which are:

  • Laws and policies - Promoting laws and policies that prevent gender-based violence, discrimination and address impunity
  • Institutional capacity building - Strengthening Federal, State, Local Government and Community institutions.

ESERC is implementing the Spotlight Initiative project in Ebonyi State starting with 2 LGAs (Abakaliki and Ezza South) as pilot LGAs.