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Official launch of the spotlight initiative project in Ebonyi and Cross River State

The Women’s’ International League for Peace and Freedom an implementing partner of the Spotlight project in Cross River and Ebonyi States carried out the official launch of the project on the 11th of February 2020 in Cross River State and on the 13th of February 2020 in Ebonyi State. The launch was the ground breaking event that set a stage for the official commencement of the project in both states and to facilitate collective ownership of the process.

The event had in attendance participants ranged from Clan/Village Heads, Youth Leaders, Religious Leaders, Community Influencers, Young Female Leaders, representatives of key government agencies like: Ministries of Health, Women Affairs, Budget & Planning, and CRS Primary Health Care Development Agency and Representatives of Civil Society Organizations including organizations of women living with disabilities.


In Ebonyi state, The launch event had in attendance  representatives from the ministry of women affairs and social development, ministry of budget planning and monitoring, commissioner of police, traditional rulers from the two LGAs ( Abakaliki and Ezza south ), religious leaders from both LGAs and CSOs.


The objective of the launch was to formally kick off the implementation of the Spotlight project which will feature different level of capacity building on SGBV/SRHR programme for CSOs and women’s movement in Cross River and Ebonyi States. The launch also featured the identification of different stakeholders who will the form the steering committee, coordination committee, support groups and the networks which will form a critical piece of the project implementation.


In Ebonyi state, the welcome address was given by the Country Director WILPF Nigeria, while

In Cross River State the welcome address was done by Jane Siesi, program officer WILPF Nigeria.  In their remarks they thanked all participants for taking out time to attend the launch which was done after carrying out a mapping of key CSOs, government as well as community stakeholders. Spoke on WILPF Nigeria implementation plan for the spotlight initiative project.

The launch also featured presentations on WILPF existence at the global level and in Nigeria, goodwill messages from various partner organizations like:

Center LSD -Cross River State

Ministry of Budget Planning , Research and Monitoring – Ebonyi State

Cross River State Child Protection Network -Cross River State

Basic Rights Council Initiative (BRCI) -Cross River State

FIDA – Ebonyi branch

Center for Social Training – Ebonyi State

GPI – Cross River State

Ministry of Women Affairs in Cross River and Ebonyi States gave the keynote address. In their address, they gave the assurance of supporting the project in both states by collaborating and providing necessary assistance when needed to make the project a success.


In Ebonyi state, a representative from UN Women in person of Ms Patience Ekechukwu graced the occasion and gave a speech at the event.


Highlight of the launch was a panel of discussion on “Ways of enhancing CSOs capacity in demanding accountability from key government institutions on addressing SGBV/VAWG/HP in the state”. The panel discussion featured lead CSOs advocates, representatives of line ministries in both target states.

The highlight of their discussion were on;

  • The need to have CSOs capacity enhanced on how to involve these government institution. As there exist a great Communication gaps between CSOs and government officials involved.
  • Understanding the roles and responsibilities of these government institutions, coordination mechanism, the need for CSOs to have information and to track and monitor budget expenditures within the state.  As most time CSOs are ignorant of budgetary information, what are they doing, the procedures,
  • Issues of CSOs not being thoroughly independent of government just few that can boldly come out to speak / say their mind thus making it difficult to hold the government accountable.

While in Calabar, the panelist spoke on;

  • The prevalence of the above-mentioned issues was very high in Calabar especially in Calabar South, they identified the inadequate response mechanism as a key gap in responding to these incidences in the state and Ministry of Women Affairs represented identified inadequate coordination of data of incidences and responses of these cases as a key issue. Some suggestions given as ways to enhance CSOs capacity for demanding accountability included:
  • CSOs should be trained on different advocacy techniques
  • A collaborative forum between government agencies and CSOs should be developed and maintained
  • Sensitizations should be done to assist CSOs understand the issues they are advocating for and get the needed documents.

The high point of the event was the official launch of the  “SGBV/SRHR PROGRAMME CAPACITY STRENGTHENING SUPPORT FOR CSOS & WOMEN’S MOVEMENT”. The guest were asked to bring out their T-shirt raise it up and read the inscription on them after which the country director WILPF Nigeria said the program has been successfully launched in Ebonyi and Cross River state.

In Ebonyi state, the vote of thanks was given  by Chief Adagba Simeon representing the chairman traditional rulers council of Ebonyi state. In his remarks he spoke on eradication of the differences in gender in communities in the state, appreciated the organizers of the event and hoped that the traditional rulers will play a good role in dissemination of the  information gotten there.

Closing prayers were done by religious rulers present at the event in both states followed by group photograph which brought  the event to an end.