Concept of 2004 “16 Days Activism
against Gender Based Violence”

One of BAOBAB’s objectives is collaborating with like-minded organizations in mutually agreed campaigns and programmes, such as the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence worldwide.

The 16 days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an International Campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25th, International Day Against Violence Against Women, and December 10th International Human Rights Day, for activities worldwide in a concerted effort to highlight the variety of heinous crimes of violence committed against women. The November date was chosen to commemorate the violent assassination in the Dominican Republic of the Mirabal sisters, (Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa), political activist and highly visible symbols of resistance to the Trujillos dictatorship, on that date in 1960 by the secret police of Rafael Trujillo. In 1999 the United Nations officially recognized November 25th as the International day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Previously, in 1948, people and states the world over had celebrated the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These dates are commemorated together in order to symbolically link violence against women and Human Rights, and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.

For the past eleven years, over 1, 000 individuals and organizations from over 100 countries have sponsored activities in their communities during the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence, November 25 - December 10, to raise awareness about all forms of violence against women.  Activists have used this 16-day period to create solidarity movement that raises awareness around gender-based violence as a human rights abuse.  The movement works to ensure better protection for survivors of violence and calls for the elimination of all forms of violence against women.

For the past decade BAOBAB has joined the rest of the world in marking the “16 Days…” through various programmes such as press briefing, media interviews, solidarity trek, popular theatre, thematic workshops, distribution of BAOBAB’s publications, etc. These have created awareness and have contributed in expanding BAOBAB’s network.

The mobilization and advocacy working group is proposing a number of activities for this year’s “16 Days…” which has the theme “For the Health of Women, For the Health of the World: No more Violence.”

1- Press Briefing: We believe that BAOBAB’s partnership with the press in the past has been fruitful but could be further enhanced through more collaborative programmes such as the 16 Days global campaign.  BAOBAB plans to start off this year’s campaign with a press briefing which will be accompanied by a press statement for wider coverage in the media. A few representatives from NGOs will be invited for solidarity.  After the press briefing, there will be a debate by a small group of teenagers with a few secondary school students as supporting audience. The topic of the debate will be around the theme of this year’s 16 Days…. The Judges will be from BAOBAB and perhaps one or two of the NGO friends interested.

2- BAOBAB has a culture of sensitizing youth in the area of women’s human rights. This year, BAOBAB plans to have a number of students from selected schools in Lagos to debate on the topic “Sexuality Education: A way of Addressing Sexual Abuse?” This event is aimed at creating a space for teenagers and young adults to discuss and be further informed about the importance of sexuality education. It is also intended to erode the misconception that sexuality education is solely educating about sex as well as broaden the possibilities of the topic being introduced in schools’ curriculum.

3- A one-day gender awareness raising popular theatre presentation with the Police in Lagos State. This is in view of the importance of the Police in law enforcement as well as protection of women’s human rights. The drama will focus on violence against women issues. We hope to build a relationship with the Police in the area of protecting women from domestic and other forms of gender based violence. In this regard, discussions will focus on the concept of gender relations in the society and the link between gender stereotypes and lack of recognition of violence against women (especially domestic violence) as a human rights violation. We plan to do this at the Police Training College.

4-   Popular theatre campaign at a strategic Bus Stop.  The drama will highlight various aspects of violence against women and be structured in such a way as to encourage debate and create awareness amongst the audience.

5- Outreach Activities – BAOBAB’s community based outreach teams will be very much involved in this year’s event. The idea is for one outreach team in each of the geo-political zones in Nigeria, to carry out activity/activities in line with the theme of this year’s 16 Days activism. Activities planned by the teams include solidarity trek, debates, media advocacy etc. We believe that the concept of the “16 Days…” should reach the communities through the outreach teams. This will create more awareness within these communities which a large proportion of women have limited access to information about such issues. 
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