Solidarity Center in collaboration with Federation of Informal Workers’ Organization of Nigeria (FIWON) organized a two-day training program on Gender Based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) in the informal sector at Wuse market, Abuja.
The event which held on Tuesday 7th November, and Thursday 9th November, brought together different leaders in Market such as the Market Management, Security Agencies within the market and the Market Task Force.
Janet Anaele, a GBV specialist at Solidarity Center told The Qualitative Magazine (TQM) that the event titled “Market Awareness Campaign on GBVH, came to be as a result of the research that was done in 2021 which shows that 57.6% of women has experienced GBV and out of that percent the largest number was from the informal sector.
“The informal sector has over 80% of workers according to the world bank and they have limited protection, they only protect themselves from GBVH, that was why Solidarity Center started this campaign” she added.
She also said that the campaign started from the Mile 12 market which they were able to sensitize the market on GBVH, they also created an anti-gender based violence and harassment task force with the name “Anti-GBVH Task Force” within the market task force and their tasks were investigating and identifying GBVH cases. They integrated their activities into the market and build trust among the market vendors, so the success of Mile 12 market led to expansion to Trade Fair, Lagos as well as Wuse market, Abuja.
She narrated the objectives of the campaign which is to mitigate, reduce and create awareness about GBV as well as the recently ratified convention of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the ILO convention 190 on violence and harassment in the world of works, this legal framework frowns at GBV and Nigeria has ratified it which means Nigeria has a law against GBVH in the world of work.
She said that this is the first of many to come, it is the initial meeting they are having with key leadership of the market that is the police in the market, the Wuse market management, and other relevant stakeholders in the market and associations operating within the market.
She concluded by stating that at the end of the campaign, Solidarity Center want to see increase in awareness of GBV and also to ensure that workers are able to identify issues associated with GBVH and respond through the “By Stander Intervention”.
“It simply means when GBVH is happening what is your role, because everybody has a role to play when it comes to GBVH, and there would be those that we will assign roles and responsibility as GBVH field champions or anti-GBVH market champions”.
DSP. Adaku Chukwuemeka (NPF Wuse market outpost) while speaking with TQM correspondent said that it is important to deliberate on issues of GBVH and how to curb the menace in our society. She said in the outpost, they have recorded so many forms of GBVH that has taken place in the market such as Verbal abuse, Physical assault, Exploitation of workers, and even Molestations of staffs and hawkers by the market task force and these have been a daily occurrence and they have been trying to treat the issues of GBVH squarely.
She informed that when cases of GBVH is reported, they ensure that the cases will be treated in accordance with the eye of the law.
She slso said that as a police officer, her advice is for parents to empower their children both male and female so that they will not be preyed in the hands of their abusers, educate them to live independent life so that their rights will not be tampered upon.
Speaking further, she also said that individuals should have self-discipline because when we are disciplined, we will not be moved by a woman’s dressing and we will avoid harassing people based on gender which will make the world a better place.
Comrade Paul Ode, FCT Coordinator FIWON, who is also a trader in Wuse market told TQM that GBVH has been reoccurring issue day in day out in the market, it has happened between traders and customers, employers and employees and even among neighbors in the market, and he thinks that the ways to reduce issues of GBVH to the barest minimum is advocacy, people should continue to advocate on the issue of GBVH, awareness creation on the issues of GBVH because some victims do not actually know that they are being abused or violated. Despite the work of some NGOs and other Government workers, the informal sector should also be conscious of these issues and have a way to tackle GBVH in market places.
Mrs. Florence Oromoseli, a trader and a participant at the 2day training and campaign told our correspondent that most issues are between the traders and customers, the way traders talk to their customers and the way some customers talk to the traders and sometimes they do this based on gender. They use words that are demoralizing.
She also said in her own opinion, government should create a law that will help them rectify issues of GBVH in informal sector, more sensitization should be done in the informal sector and the Solidarity Center should extend their campaign to other markets and also create a response team within the market to help respond to GBVH issues in the market.
She appreciated Solidarity Center and FIWON for engaging the traders and also bringing the campaign to the informal sector and she hopes that the campaign will help in reducing the issues of GBVH in the informal sector.
The group took the campaign around the market engaging traders, buyers, shop owners, hawkers and the management of the market on issues of GBVH and promised to continue engaging them.