The Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA) has launched an initiative tagged: “Purple Project”, created to provide a platform to support and provide succour to victims/survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence through the Family Social Services (FSS) and Heads of Departments of WAPA in all 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas of the State.  

Speaking at the programme held recently at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Ikeja, Mrs. Cecilia Bolaji Dada, Commissioner for WAPA, restated the State Government’s zero-tolerance stance on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), adding that the initiative was designed to create a safe environment for women through a Contact Centre approach and curb the increasing rate of the menace, particularly at the grassroots.

She said: “The purpose of the programme is to demonstrate the commitment of the State Government’s stance against SGBV, discrimination and injustice of any form against women and girls. There is also a need to create avenues for victims, who should not only be encouraged to speak up and speak out but also assist them with all necessary support”.

While urging participants to embrace technology and properly utilise the mobile telephones that would be distributed to them by the Ministry, Dada emphasised the need for change by stakeholders towards spreading awareness of SGBV across various platforms in their communities.

Dada also implored the stakeholders to encourage victims/survivors of SGBV who may be unemployed or underemployed, to enrol in any of the State Government tuition-free 19 skills Acquisition Centres across the State, in order to be equipped with vocational skills that would empower and make them financially independent.

The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Women Affairs, Mrs. Funmi Adegoke stated that the objective of the project is also to enable stakeholders to generate verifiable data which will aid in developing policies and programmes that will directly combat the menace of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Lagos State.

Adegoke said: “The Purple Project will leverage the platform provided by the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) Command and Control Centre, whereby when a victim calls the Emergency number “767”, there will be a first responder before the caller is eventually referred to the nearest LG/LCDA for support as well as provide a two-level standard of care for the victim”.

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, Goldgrade Development Limited, Mr. Tokunbo Adegboye, lectured the participants on adopting the right telephone etiquette, customer service rules, data analytics and standard operating procedures which must be employed as guidelines to effectively curb SGBV at the grassroots.

“To adopt proper telephone etiquette, you must become active listeners, who can properly empathise and engage your callers in a bid to professionally assist them and proffer solutions to their needs”, he stated.

The Deputy Director, Social Welfare, Ministry of Youth and Social Development (MYSD), Mr. Viavonu Jogbenayon, urged stakeholders to encourage victims of domestic violence to adopt Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in reaching a favourable agreement for parties involved, thereby avoiding litigation.

“The goal of ADR is to provide a platform for the parties to work toward a voluntary, consensual agreement, as opposed to having a judge or other authority to decide the case. In addition to serving as a potential means of avoiding the expense, delay and uncertainty associated with traditional litigation, ADR also is intended as a vehicle for improving communication between the parties”, he added.

In the same vein, Deputy Director, Social Welfare, MYSD, Dr. Adekola Oluwafunmilayo, explained the different types of SGBV and urged the participants to curb all forms of violence, especially in the home, which is the foundation for young adults.

The highlight of the programme was the distribution of mobile gadgets to stakeholders as an access tool for victims/survivors of SGBV at the event.