Building Futures: The Success of Sokoto’s GBV Survivor Training Project

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In a landmark event, the Vocational Skills and Entrepreneurship Training for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence training project in Sokoto State, North West Nigeria, culminated with a compelling documentary screening. This event, graced by dignitaries such as Alhaji Hayatu Alhaji, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs; Alhaji Shehu Muhammed Goronyo, Director General, Human Rights and NGOs Matters; and Alhaji Musa Wammako, Director International Cooperation, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, showcased the transformative journey of the beneficiaries. Their presence underscored the significance of this initiative, which has been a beacon of hope for many women and girls in the region.

Implemented by Neem Foundation with the support of the Embassy of France in Nigeria, the project aimed to provide a holistic approach to addressing the complex issues of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in Sokoto State. Through vocational skills training, entrepreneurship education, and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), the project sought to empower survivors to rebuild their lives. This initiative was marked by strategic collaborations with local organizations, government agencies, including the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs and the Sokoto State Small and Medium Scale Enterprise Agency, as well as community leaders, ensuring a comprehensive and coordinated approach to its implementation.

Launched on August 23, 2023, the project set an ambitious goal: to directly reach 200 women and girls and indirectly impact 2,000 more. The project team meticulously enrolled and validated 200 beneficiaries, including survivors of GBV, early marriage, and other harmful practices. These beneficiaries, including persons with disabilities, received vocational training in catering, cosmetology, tailoring, and digital marketing. Additionally, the project provided critical mental health and psychosocial support, employing structured clinical psychological evaluation tools to address the needs of the beneficiaries. Despite transportation challenges, the project made significant strides, hosting ten radio programs and two TV shows to sensitize the public about the need to end violence against women and children. As the project draws to a close, its sustainability strategy ensures that the impact will continue, with beneficiaries registered under a cooperative and provided with starter packs to facilitate their entrepreneurial journeys.

The closeout event, held at the Women Development Centre Hall in Sokoto, was not just a celebration of achievements but a call to action for continued support and intervention. The poignant documentary screened at the event captured the resilience and determination of the beneficiaries, serving as a testament to the power of targeted, well-coordinated interventions. As the event concluded, the message was clear: the fight against gender-based violence must continue with renewed vigor and commitment, ensuring that every woman and girl in Sokoto State and beyond has the opportunity to live a life free from violence and full of potential.