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Durumi IDP Camp in Need of Urgent Assistance #WCC2017

Mallam Idriss Ibrahim Halilu is the Coordinator, Government and Public Affairs at the Durumi Camp. Today he told me about some of the biggest challenges they face. Medical is the biggest. They have a clinic but no drugs what so ever. The last time it was stocked was in late 2015 when a governors wife donated drugs. Since then nothing. There are currently a number of medical crisis on their hands – a toddler that drank poison, a man with severe typhoid, some in need of ante natal care. And – a nine year old girl that was raped so brutally the doctors don’t think she will be able to have children.

They have had no government assistance since 2014 when they were given ten bags of rice and the last time FEMA visited them was in 2015 when, according to Mallam Idriss, they dropped 5 cartons of mosquito coils for them. We can and should do better as a nation and as a people.

They need our help. Right now Mallam Idriss writes a letter to the presidency and the Human Rights Commission begging for help every time there is a medical emergency. Sometimes help comes to late and sometimes not at all. The camp chairman has refused to pen a bank account or adopt best practices that will enable the camp receive assistance and share it equitably to every one.

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Our project assistant and Mallam Idriss

Instead of a food drive we are organising a medical drive on their behalf. Donate medicines and if you are a medical worker please volunteer your time. People are suffering and dying. Remember, this can happen to any of us. War and conflict do not discriminate even while they affect women and children disproportionately.

If you would like to help them get in touch with Mallam Idriss directly on 0809 880 0181 or get in touch with us at Denk Spaces, 13 Uyo Close, Area 11, Garki.

Programs

Through The Eyes of Women From the Durumi IDP Camp in Abuja #WCC2017

The second in our series of art therapy workshops went brilliantly.  The young women had so much fun, we all did. I couldn’t help thinking that’s what they should be doing – having fun. Most of them are teenagers and a few of them are in their early twenties. Instead they are in an IDP camp separated from home and family. Many of the pictures they painted today were of houses. I understood.

They were so excited to share their new hobby with their friends in the camp we are planning to hold another workshop at the camp with our first 20 participants acting as trainers to other young women. Our facilitators were impressed how quickly the girls mastered the techniques and some of the paintings reveal talent that should be nurtured. We’ve promised the young women that we will continue to work with them till they all go home.

Our next workshop is in theatre and performance. The young women are eager and excited at the prospect of sharing their stories through song and dance and I for one can’t wait to  see what they come up with.

While our workshops are primarily therapy for the participants they also empower and enable  them to tell their stories themselves. Don’t look away.

 

Peace & Protection. Not Promises

 

Programs

‘Looking Through Her Eyes’ – An Exhibition of Paintings & Photography #WCC2017

Commissions from the sale of exhibits fund WCCs organisational development. Right now WCC’s primary institutional goals for 2018 are a functional work space, recruiting a stellar team and deepening our understanding of our environment.

We want to make this an annual event to continue to encourage the development of arts, to encourage the use of art therapy for victim support and healing and to use art to end violence against women in Nigeria, Africa and globally.

Next years event will be bigger, better and attract a wider diversity of artists – professional, amateur and beginners. We will announce our theme and make a call for submissions in early July 2018. We will also bring you more women’s stories from the other IDP camps that are in and around Abuja.

The community advocates that WCC trained in conflict resolution in Owerri in 2002 to keep the domestic peace used their skills to keep the community peace too and we want to test and scale our model as quickly and prepare more women at the community level for participation in peace architecture which is a key demand of the NGWomen4Peace movement.

WCC will also design and manage a communications campaign for NGWomen4Peace to support the movement meet its goal to reach and mobilise a critical mass of women nationally for a march on International Women’s Day in 2018 demanding peace, dialogue and women’s inclusion in national decision making.

We’re super excited about the future. Join us on this journey as we continue to bring peace to women and girls in Nigeria and all over the world. Join is in our 16 Days of Activism to end gender based violence. Speak out against all forms of violence and especially violence against women and girls. Speak up for the victims of gender based violence. Take a stand.

Peace & Protection. Not promises

Programs

#WCC2017 – Welcome to 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women

 

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you so much for honouring our invitation.

Today is the International day for the Elimination of all Forms of Violence Against Women.

We are here to share and reinforce our commitment to ending VAW and ‘leaving no one behind.’

The Women’s Crisis Centre started out in Owerri, Imo State in 2002 as a community based organisation empowering the community to end VAW as part of a MacArthur Fund for Leadership Development Grant. Since then it has grown and has provided legal and counselling services and training to more than 5000 men and women around the world.

In 2002 we set up the first shelter for victims and trained community advocates to mediate domestic conflicts in Owerri, Imo State. In 2010 we ran a series of lectures and a free family law clinic in Abuja that reached hundreds. Since 2011 we have counselled and advised thousands online. In 2012 we set up a women’s legal defence trust fund and contributed to Wasila Umar’s legal defence in 2013 (Wasila Umar was a child bride in Kano accused of murdering her husband and 3 others. She was acquitted.) Earlier this year we successfully evacuated two foreign children caught up in an abusive situation in Nigeria.

Our attention was increasingly drawn to the security situation nation wide and the impact it is likely to have on women and we called on our sisters across the nation to start a movement and speak out as one under the hashtag #NGWomen4Peace.

As our November 25 event drew nearer it became clear that we needed to use the coming 16 Days  of Activism to amplify our message for peace, dialogue and continue to build a critical mass of women’s voices for the movement.

What better way to remind ourselves just how important it is not only to include women’s voices in peace and conflict resolution architecture but also for women as a group to continue to speak up for peaceful resolution of national conflict than to hear the stories of the women currently in IDP camps. So we chose to bring you their work and their stories to be told through photography, painting and performance at our closing ceremony on December 10.

While planning this project and exhibition I was also rather forcibly reminded how important it is for us in the development sector to do more to protect and safeguard the many women from all over the world that work in our sector. Seven years ago I was summarily dismissed as country director for OxfamGB in Nigeria by my line manager who had a three months earlier sexually assaulted me. Oxfam did nothing to protect and restore me then and nothing to punish my assaulter who stills enjoys their patronage till today.

It was a Life Changing Experience. We must ensure that the women whose compassion draws them to this work are just as protected as the women that are the beneficiaries of our work. And we must ensure that sexual predators are made unwelcome among us.

Tonight is not only the marking of the International Day for the Elimination for Violence Against Women. It is also an introduction to and fund raising for WCC’s programs for the next year.

In 2018 WCC intends to

  1. Collaborate with Alliances for Africa to train an additional 100 community peace advocates across 26 communities in Imo State and scale up nationally
  2. Collaborate with AWWAS (A Woman With a Story) and Abuja Literary Society to train and empower an additional 100 young women from the IDP camps in photography, arts and crafts, and performance AND
  3. Continue to collaborate with the #NGWomen4Peace Movement to ensure that women are included in and have an impact on national and local peace building and conflict resolution efforts across the country

Our 16 days advocacy message is ‘Peace & Protection, Not Promises’

Once again, thank you for coming.

Welcome Comments from Lesley Agams, founder of Women’s Crisis Centre at the opening ceremony of  “Women Finding Peace in a Conflicted World” on 25 November 2017 with an Exhibition of paintings, photography and performance titled ‘Looking Through Her Eyes’

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Programs

Opening Night: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence #WCC2017

We had such a short turn around time but my team pulled it off. I couldn’t have done it without them. I want to say thank you to each one of them. Kelvin, Sunny, Tony, Miracle, Martin, Tare, Akila, Dante, JohnBull, Kem, and Eddy.

And our amazing performer – Augusta, Chisom and Moses. I think we’ll bring them back for the closing ceremony. They can only get better.

It was a magical evening.

Our special guest of honour was Cleo Wilson, Deputy High Commissioner for Australia who very gamely made chit chat while we finished our installation and sound checks.

Our guests were the Australian High Commissioner, Paul Lehman and his parents. Osai Ojigho, country director for Amnesty International, Dr. Eleanor Nwadinobi from the British Council and Haye Okon, celebrity photographer and initiator of AWWAS (A Woman With A Story). We also has Victor Anoliefo from the Abuja Literary Society and Miriam Turaki.

I wish I could say we started on time. We didn’t but we started at the perfect time anyway. Our guests were happy. So are all of us at the Women’s Crisis Centre.

 

 

 

 

We also had the first in a series of art therapy workshops for young women at risk. This year we are working with young women from the Durumi IDP camp. We will bring you more details about them and how you can help them later.