The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a new project that seeks to reduce child and maternal mortality by increasing host country’s commitment to provide quality health care.
The four-year, $3 million Momentum Country and Global Leadership in Nigeria (MCGL) is to prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV) in Sokoto and Ebonyi states.
GBV is a health and social concern with far-reaching consequences affecting mostly women and girls.
At the launch ceremony, held in Abuja, attended by the Nigeria Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Sadiya Farouq and Minister for Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires, Kathleen FitzGibbon, said the new activity will assist the benefitting communities to transform discriminatory and social norms and mitigate the impacts of violence against women and girls.
“This new activity from USAID will strengthen GBV response mechanisms, help communities transform discriminatory gender and social norms that continue to subordinate women and make them vulnerable, and uphold and defend women’s health and human rights.
“It will increase women’s voice and agency and reduce their vulnerability to gender-based violence.” Ms FitzGibbon said in her keynote address at the launch which was posted on the agency’swebsite.
Ms FitzGibbon said the MCGL is already working in the two states to engage communities, elected and traditional leaders, and a growing coalition of stakeholders to explore social norms that drive GBV.
She explained that the agency’s partner, Jphiego, will lead a growing consortium of Nigerian organisations to implement the activity in the two states due to their statistically high rates of GBV incidence and the presence of other USAID activities working to improve health outcomes.
In her response the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Mrs Farouq pledged the commitment of her ministry to ensure the success of the new activity.
“We are committed to working together for a safer society for women, girls and the vulnerable,” Mrs Farouq said. “No time is more appropriate than now to adopt a policy of zero tolerance for gender-based violence in Nigeria.”
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