NGO Uses Drama, Poems in Campaign Against Sexual Harassment

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NGO Uses Drama, Poems in Campaign Against Sexual Harassment

NGO Uses Drama, Poems in Campaign Against Sexual Harassment

The Empowering Women for Excellence Initiative (EWEI), an NGO, has displayed an art and cultural event, featuring drama, poems and music, to campaign against sexual harassment in Kaduna.

The colourful event brought together various stakeholders from academia, civil societies, MDAs and students.

The event, which revolves around arts and culture, is meant to reduce sexual harassment in public spaces.

It is under the ‘We For Them’ (WFT) project, an initiative by EWEI.

Salome Yakubu, the Focal Person of the WFT project, said EWEI, founded in 2008, has been steadfast in its commitment to providing multisectoral interventions to empower and support women and girls.

She said the WFT, spanning from April 2022 to March 2024, received valuable support from the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF).

Yakubu said the primary objective of the programme was to address and reduce sexual and gender-based violence, with a special focus on combating sexual harassment and abuse in public spaces.

She said in pursuit of combating sexual harassment and abuse, EWEI collaborated with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Kaduna State Polytechnic Branch.

Yakubu, therefore, said the partnerships with the organisations underscored the importance of collective efforts in combating sexual harassment and promoting safer public spaces.

Mr Mendie Jeremiah, the Assistant Focal Person for the WFT, said the project worked with 130 direct beneficiaries cutting across 50 from ASUP and 80 from the NURTW.

Jeremiah explained that the NURTW was a male-dominated union, where the project worked in collaboration, to reduce violence in motor parks.

“We identified these bodies because, like the ASUP, they are one of the strongest unions in polytechnics.

“We aim to see that our beneficiaries in the ASUP and NURTW serve as champions and advocates against sexual harassment in the institutions and motor parks.

“In Kaduna Polytechnics, for instance, they have the 2019 sexual harassment policy. what we are doing alongside is looking at any gaps if any, and making recommendations when ever the policies are due for review.

“In the course of our seminar with members of the NURTW who are our direct beneficiaries, the NURTW came up with a by-law, marrying their constitutions with the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPPL)

“The by-laws do not in any way supersede the NURTW Constitution nor the VAPPL, but a working template for them within the motor parks to know and be aware of repercussions when one is found wanting.

“The NURTW will step it down to their loaders, drivers, shop owners within the parks and others on the need for safe motor parks devoid of sexual harassment, “Jeremiah said.

Also, Mrs Fatima Ahmed, a member of ASUP, Kaduna Polytechnic, commended EWEI for the initiative towards ensuring that sexual harassment was drastically reduced in public places.

She said that sexual harassment could not be eliminated, but could be addressed in many ways.

“At the academia, we engage with staff and students; the students and staff can be harassed. with the WFT, we are optimistic that violence against women and girls, sexual harassment of both genders at homes, places of work and even within family circle is reduced to the barest minimum,” Ahmed said.

Some of the drama plays were sensitive in passing messages about “Who a woman is” and sexual harassment which cuts across the genders.

The dramas, poems, dance and other displays, were solution-driven, thereby communicating what to do, where to go, and who to report to when sexual harassment or violence happens. Arts Forum Enlightens Students on Innovative Digital Tools

A panel of discussants was featured in the event.

The forum discussed barriers like cultural beliefs and stereotypes that hindered the prosecution of offenders of sexual harassment.