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A USD 2 million project –the largest ever funding from the Republic of Korea to IOM Nigeria– gained some important visibility last week (24/03) when the International Organization for Migration (IOM) kicked off a new project in Yola, Adamawa State.
The project aims to prevent gender-based violence (GBV), address its root causes and improve the provision of skill-building services for women and girls. With the establishment of the Multi-Purpose Community Hall (MPCH), IOM will provide a safe space for activities such as lay counselling, basic emotional support, skills development and other activities targeting especially children and teenagers.
The objective is to reach 100 persons per month while observing all COVID-19 prevention protocols. The MPCH will ultimately support women’s and girls’ psychosocial wellbeing, create social networks to reduce isolation or seclusion, enhance integration into community life, and generate conditions for their empowerment.
“The Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus is critical for addressing the humanitarian crisis across north-east Nigeria,” said Ambassador Kim Young-Chae of the Republic of Korea. “I hope that the MPCH will contribute to reducing the risks of GBV and addressing its root causes, while better providing capacity-building services for the vulnerable groups such as women and girls,” he added.
For over a decade, north-east Nigeria has grappled with an armed conflict which has left 2.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and worsened the living conditions of many more in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Adamawa is home to 209,125 IDPs.
According to the Nigeria Humanitarian Needs Overview 2020, GBV, including sexual violence, is widespread in the region, in part due to the ongoing conflict, insecurity, and living conditions in camps for IDPs and informal settlements and host communities. Generally, women and girls in Adamawa State have restricted mobility due to the ongoing conflict, exacerbated by the prevailing gender norms that tend to discriminate against women and girls.
“This project aims to benefit mainly women and girls, but also caters to the needs of other community members such as husbands, parents, religious leaders, and boys,” said Olga Rebolledo, IOM Nigeria´s Programme Manager for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). “Engaging with these groups is important to mobilize community support so that women and girls are able to safely participate in all activities and also understand the purpose and benefits of the Multi-Purpose Community Hall,” she added.
To support the handover process of the Multi-Purpose Community Hall to the national authorities, a transition plan will be developed in close consultation with the community and other stakeholders, particularly the Adamawa State Government, who will be responsible for the centre following the completion of the project.