LAUNCH OF THE EARLY WARNING AND RESPONSE CENTRE IN ANAMBRA STATE
1. ANAMBRA STATE
Ahead of the Anambra State gubernatorial elections, WILPF Nigeria on Thursday 31st of March 2021, organized the official launch of the early warning and response centre on preventing violence against women in elections in Anambra state called on stakeholders to work collectively towards preventing VAWG.
The launch had representatives from stakeholders who joined both virtually and physically. The launch was well represented by stakeholders from UN Women, ECOWAS, the permanent secretary ministry of women affairs and social development in the state, ministry of justice, national orientation agency, Nigerian police force, Nigerian social and civil defence corps, federal road safety corps, Nigerian correctional service, immigration commission, media stations, CSOs and coalitions working on peacebuilding in the state.
The decision to establish an early warning and response centre came as a result of the reports we received from our observers during the Ondo and Edo elections. We identified the need to have an EWAR system that helps informs peace and development stakeholders on emerging gendered violence. Being that election related violence in Nigeria can be grouped into pre-election, election and post-election violence. Pre-election violence occurs before election; election violence occurs during polling while post-election violence starts from collation of election results. Early Warning systems have been discovered to be a major strategy and weapon to curbing outbreak of violent conflicts. This creates the justification for the creation of an early warning centre on preventing violence against women in elections ahead of the gubernatorial election. The importance of an early warning centre should not be overlooked as data from the centre will help in developing strategic responses by key stakeholders in mitigating possible conflict and violence before they occur.
The welcome remark was done by Jane Siesi, the program officer for WILPF Nigeria who welcomed the guest and appreciated them for gracing the event. She further spoke on the WSRN and achievements of the network so far while also appreciating the funders of the project (NORAD).
During the launch, the keynote address was read by Iyom Josephine Anenih former minister women affairs and the founder/President General Nkata Ndi Inyom Igbo. In her address she appreciated WILPF Nigeria for the great work being done and spoke on the need to have an initiative as this working towards promoting women participation in politics.
A paper presentation on the topic “The Relevance of Early Warning in Mitigating Violence against Women in Elections” was read by Barr. Ebere Ifendu, the President Women in Politics Forum. In her presentation, she highlighted the issues women in politics face, the challenges and the way forward. Part of the solutions she mentioned in her presentation is the need to have a collective support from all key stakeholders for women in politics.
Goodwill messages were given by representative of the ministry of women affairs some selected network of men and women groups, CSOs, security agencies and national orientation agency each stating their support to the process and willingness to provide necessary assistance when the need arises.
Prof Joy Onyesoh the country director of WILPF Nigeria gave an overview of WSRN/ Early Warning Centre on Preventing Violence against Women in Election in her remarks, she welcomed everyone and appreciated funders and key stakeholders ( UN Women, ECOWAS) who has been providing some sort of support to the network since inception in 2015. She also highlighted the achievements of the WSRN network while stating the objectives of the WSRN and the EWAR centre which will be launched in the state. She also spoke on the forms of violence that are ben experienced by women in elections and what the EWAR centre will be doing after the launch. She listed some of the activities of the EWAR centre which includes capacity building of relevant stakeholders, media monitoring, data collation and analysis ahead of the election, advocacy and lobbying amongst others.
The vote of thanks was taken by the coordinator of WSRN Madam Philomena Zamani and group photographs/interviews of key personnel present at the launch which officially brought the meeting to an end.