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Press Release – British High Commission and USAID Mark The Start Of 16 Days of Activism
December 7, 2023

British High Commission and USAID Mark The Start Of 16 Days of Activism With ‘Women on The Frontline – Tackling Gender Based Violence’ Roundtable

  • The 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is an annual international campaign that starts on November 25 (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and ends on December 10 (Human Rights Day).

On November 28, the Deputy British High Commissioner, Ms. Gill Atkinson and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Deputy Mission Director, Ms. Sara Werth, hosted a panel discussion with women-led Gender Based Violence (GBV) prevention and response service providers that operate across Nigeria.

The roundtable called for continued efforts to support women led GBV prevention and response service providers who are supporting victims and survivors across Nigeria. Discussions focused on the increasing rates of GBV as a result of the increase in criminality and banditry in the country.

Participants included a forensic examiner from a sexual assault referral center in Jigawa, a social worker from a women’s shelter in Kaduna and a legal expert from the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Nigeria, amongst others.

  • USAID Deputy Mission Director, Ms. Sara Werth said: USAID will use its convening power to strengthen coordination for the GBV response. To start, we are looking at how to better integrate GBV interventions across all our programs. We will also work to address the programming gaps we identified today in partnership with the government of Nigeria and the private sector.”

“In March 2023, USAID updated its Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment policy. The policy strives to eliminate GBV and mitigate its harmful effects on individuals and communities so all people can live free from violence. All too often violence against women and girls becomes normalized. For each rape reported in connection with a conflict, the United Nations estimates that between 10 to 20 cases go unreported. Impunity, silence, and stigma are part of the problem.

  • Speaking at the roundtable, Acting British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Gill Atkinson said:  We need to remember that gender-based violence does not occur in some distant place, it is happening in our local communities, potentially to our colleagues, neighbors, or even family members. Ending gender-based violence is a top priority for the UK Government and a cornerstone of our new International Women and Girls Strategy.

“Our 2023 International Women and Girls Strategy outlines ending GBV as a top priority, and we have most recently supported the creation of the Mirabel centre in Lagos, the first Sexual Assault and Referral Centre (SARC) in Nigeria. Through our programmes, we also support victims and survivors of GBV in the Northwest and Northeast states. This includes legal advice, psychosocial support, and police investigation training.

The UK also has supported the Nigerian Government to integrate GBV-related information and services into broader social protection systems, in particular a referral system. This has included strengthening GBV service directories and training government officials. We continue to work closely together with the Nigerian Government to protect human rights, with a special focus on the rights of women and girls of Nigeria.


Notes to Editors

  1. The Government of Nigeria is a signatory to the 2015 Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act, which aims to address Female Genital Mutilation and wider GBV, and 2015 Trafficking in Persons Law Enforcement and Administration Act. In 1984 Nigeria also signed the Convention for the Eradication of Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
  2. In November 2021, Nigeria endorsed the UK call to action to ensure the rights and wellbeing of children born of sexual violence in conflict. They also committed to champion the Murad Code to organizations gathering information from survivors and review how the Code can strengthen government best practice. They also made commitments to the ‘Call of Action’ on the Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies.
  3. In June 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, a state of emergency on GBV was declared in Nigeria due to the enhanced incident reporting and nationwide protests on violence against women The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) launched the announcement.
  4. In November 2020, the Government of Nigeria launched the National GBV Data Situation Room and Dashboard which sits in the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The dashboard provides a platform in monitoring and evaluation of GBV incidences and service delivery in Nigeria. The database shows incidents, GBV services available and contacts nationally and by state. USAID continues to support this effort.
  5. Since 2014, the UK has provided £25.5 million to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. The UK’s ‘What Works’ programme will also allocate in the next phase grants to Southern-led WROs. The UK is also providing £38m to strengthen grassroots WROs and movements globally, including in conflict and crisis contexts.
  6.       In 2023, the U.S. government through USAID supported fistula prevention and repair in selected states with high fistula prevalence and other severe complications of childbirth and will continue to support communities and organizations to address the drivers of Child, Early and Forced Marriage.
  7.       USAID supports enrollment and progression of girls in school, and quality education for the deaf. We continue to support prevention of violence against women in elections, prevention of violence for adolescents, inclusion of persons with disabilities within the electoral system, household economic strengthening interventions for women, etc. We provide post GBV clinical and non-clinical care services, and safe spaces and equitable access to relief materials for survivors of violence and for inclusion of women in conflict mitigation efforts.


For additional information, please contact: abujadoc@usaid.gov

ABOUT USAID:  USAID leads international development and humanitarian efforts to save lives, reduce poverty, strengthen democratic governance, and help nations progress beyond assistance.  In Nigeria, USAID supports humanitarian assistance, health systems strengthening, transparent and accountable governance, basic education, and a more market-led, trade-friendly economy. For more information about USAID and its programs, please visit www.usaid.gov/nigeria  and follow us on Facebook and Twitter @USAIDNigeria