The rural population in Nigeria is reported at 51.4% which accounts for slightly more than half of our total population; 50% of whom are women. Recognizing this fact and the urgent need to address the issue of Gender Based Violence (GBV) on a grass root level in rural and peri-rural communities; the WARIF Foundation in partnership with the ACT Foundation implemented the WARIF Gatekeepers Project.
The project was launched in 2017 with the successful training of 500 traditional birth attendants across 15 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Lagos State who served as first responders to cases of rape and sexual violence. The second cycle the following year was an equal success with the inclusion of law enforcement agents as secondary gatekeepers; these officers were trained on the right protocols to address cases of sexual violence as well as the importance of sensitivity when addressing the affected survivors.
This approach to tackling this issue has had a significant positive impact on the number of cases now being identified and treated in these once hard to reach communities and ensuring that no woman is left behind in addressing this problem.
With the support of ACT Foundation, WARIF has successfully trained 1,000 Traditional Birth Attendants and 100 Law Enforcement Officers for the two implemented cycles of the project.
WARIF is currently embarking on Cycle 3 of the Gatekeepers and has recognized another key stakeholder to be included in this project cycle – Religious Leaders. Sponsored by ACT Foundation, the project fosters good relationships between the TBAs and Law Enforcement Agents to ensuring that survivors receive the assistance needed and cases reported in a timely fashion.