Women and girls with disabilities face a disproportionately high risk of violence, including sexual assault, physical abuse, and emotional abuse. They are often isolated, vulnerable, and marginalized, making them easy targets for abusers. Many of their experiences are left untold and unattended. The fact remains that there is no available or adequate data buttressing the violence trends mated to women and girls with disabilities (WGWDs) in Nigeria.
On March 20, 2023, with support from the Ford Foundation, the Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) established an Interagency Taskforce on Violence Against Women and Girls with Disabilities in Oyo State as a precautionary measure to address gender and disability-based violence in the state.
This task force comprises representatives from various agencies, youth, market women, religious institutions, traditional institutions, and organizations working in areas of Gender violence.
Giving a remark to organizations and agencies present at the meeting, the Amplifying Voices project officer, Ms Sussan Ihauma highlighted the compelling need for organizations to work together to achieve a common goal to end violence against women and girls with disabilities.
“IFA is committed to ensuring that women and girls with disabilities are empowered and have a voice in this process. But how can we achieve this? we recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this complex issue, and we are committed to working collaboratively to identify effective strategies that can be tailored to individual communities and contexts. IFA recognized the ain’t strides your organizations are making to curb violence against women and girls. We are here to coarse you to deepen your intervention to affect women and girls with disabilities. But this time, we will work together as a consortium, a task force to arrest the issues at hand holistically. We are here to seek your buying and corporation for the sake of the most marginalized among the marginalized groups.“
The Interagency Taskforce will collaborate to develop and implement strategies to prevent, intervene, and respond to incidences of violence mated on women and girls with disabilities.
At the inauguration ceremony, the Chairman of the State Taskforce Mrs. Toritseju Ikime (State lead FIDA) commended the initiative and committed to championing the consortium optimally to ensure effective service delivery.
“I am honored to be elected by my fellows as the Chairman of this great initiative. I wish to at this juncture commend IFA for this expedient initiative. We assure you of an optimal service in the task given to us. Issues of VAWG especially on women and girls with Disabilities should be dealt with squarely. We buy into this agreement and initiative to rescue Oyo State. We will work to improve intervention, prevention, and response to violence when it occurs, ensuring survivors receive the support and care they need to heal and recover”.
The Taskforce will engage with disability rights organizations, advocates, survivors, and other stakeholders to develop evidence-based strategies that address the unique needs of women and girls with disabilities.
Establishing this Interagency Taskforce is a critical step toward addressing the issue of violence against women and girls with disabilities. IFA is committed to working to create a world where all women and girls, including those with disabilities, are safe, empowered, and valued.