Ground-breaking and innovative approaches to improve security for marginalised and excluded groups
SDDirect is one of three consortium partners managing the DFID-funded five-year Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme (NSRP). The programme is itself ground-breaking and innovative because it combines a multi-disciplinary approach to addressing issues of security and governance through a variety of methodologies. Furthermore several of the programme’s initiatives have delivered new thematic thinking and approaches. The SDDirect team of international and national gender and inclusion experts provides technical expertise on gender, social inclusion and conflict issues, leading the output on including women in peace building and reducing violence against women and girls.
One of the new approaches that NSRP has developed to increase the capability, accountability and responsiveness of national, local & community level security architectures and structures; improve security for marginalised and excluded groups, including women and girls; and build state and non-state accountability mechanisms has been the creation of the observatory platform. The observatory is an internet-based tool that documents information on incidents of violence against women and girls (VAWG), its trends, prevalence and the response by state and non-state actors. It demonstrates incidents of VAWG as they are reported and fed into the internet based platform. This gives an opportunity to vulnerable people to speak up, report incidents of VAWG thereby breaking the culture of silence that prevails in Nigeria with regard to VAWG. Through this observatory, victims can now speak up without fear of repercussions. Reports of incidents will are sent in through mobile phone SMS to a dedicated phone number. An observatory steering committee has been set up to support the functions of the observatory by ensuring that cases reported on the platform are reported to relevant institutions responsible for action. Unlike other mapping initiatives, in addition to tracking incidents, we also map Peace Agents across the country who can serve as first responders, including civil society and community leaders from the education, health, justice and security sectors in the use of a conflict framework for reporting incidents of VAWG. The 2014 DFID Annual Review of NSRP noted that the observatory design is “a model which has attracted significant international interest”.
The observatory is a component of an interlinked “safe space” initiative which also includes Peace Clubs. These are clubs that enable boys and girls to interact effectively and learn skills that will help them combat violence against women and girls. NSRP has established Peace Clubs with over 2,600 members in 26 “clublets” in four states. There are numerous examples of how the clubs have had impact. For example, one girl was able to use the Peace Club to mediate with her parents and decline an early marriage proposal in order to continue her education. The Peace Club was able to use its resources to outline career options, and the girl now has admission to a nursing school. Peace clubs have also been particularly transformative for children with disabilities, helping to build confidence of disabled attendees and challenge community attitudes to disability.