With an intent to address human rights violation and sexual violence against women and girls, Africa’s largest retail bank, Access Bank Plc. – through the Access Women Network (AWN) – and Genesis House hosted the 2019 edition of Orange Lecture recently, at the Bank’s headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos.
A recent study by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) shows that 28 percent of Nigerian women aged 25 – 29 have experienced some form of physical violence since age 15, while nearly 3 in 10 Nigerian women have experienced physical violence by age 15. According to UNICEF, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys in Nigeria has experienced sexual violence before the age of 18.
Describing the statistics as worrisome during her keynote address, Harriet Thompson, British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, lauded the efforts of Access Bank and Genesis House in organizing the lecture saying, “Without gender equality and women playing a full role in all aspects of society, no country can achieve its potential. We must also put an end to the violence against Nigerian children if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”
Now in its fifth year, the event was focused on encouraging stakeholders to lend a voice to the efforts in tackling violence against women, and to support vulnerable, sexually-exploited females by providing information on rehabilitation and support services available to help them overcome their ordeals.
Speaking on Access Bank’s involvement, the Group Head, Treasury, Access Bank Plc., Sunmbo Olatunji said, “With our promise to offer ‘More Than Banking’, the Orange Lecture is an important platform that we have chosen to champion. The Access Women Network (AWN), has maintained a partnership with Genesis House, an arm of Freedom Foundation, to support their rehabilitation programs for survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.”
Genesis House is a female residential rehabilitation and resource centre in Lagos. Since its establishment in 2006, the foundation has gradually expanded its program, and is now structured to support vulnerable young women within the ages of 18 – 25 years’ old who have been sexually abused, exploited and trafficked.
In her address, Adesola Bello, the Coordinating Manager, Freedom Foundation, said “At the Genesis House, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to helping women navigate through their trauma. Therefore, the program is tailored to deliver specific solutions in an intensively-therapeutic and highly-supportive environment that provides physical, emotional and vocational support that they need to get their lives back on track.”
The Orange Lecture featured an engaging panel session, an insightful discussion with a sexual abuse survivor, Kikelomo Wole-Osho, and a goodwill message by Bola Tinubu, Founder of Cece Yara Foundation. The panelists at the lecture include Princess Olufemi-Kayode, Founder, Media Concern Initiative; Daniel Anatokola, Lagos Zonal Commander, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP); Olakunle Orebe, Gender Desk Officer, Police Gender Unit; and Laila St. Matthew-Daniel, Founder, ACTS Generation GBV, while media personality, Ayo Mario-Ese was the facilitator.