Hon. Taiwo Ayedun
The office of Civic Engagement which operates under the Deputy Governor’s Office is saddled with responsibility of enhancing interface between the Lagos State Government and Lagosians. Among its duties is to enable the government have better insight into peoples’ challenges, needs and peculiar problems; and on the other way, to let the people know how they can deploy government’s apparatus to help them solve their problems and engaging in mutual partnership and cooperation on public matters.
One of the ways in which government is tackling women related issues is by addressing gender-based violence in the State. Gender based violence is on the increase and below are the strategies with which Office of Civic Engagement has been working to reduce the menace:
1. Counselling: The OCE provides counselling supports for women who come out to report any anticipated case of gender violence ranging from rape attempt, to domestic violence, forced labour, forced prostitution and many more; while the office provide referrals on already blown cases or mild cases to Domestic and sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), Office of Public Defender and Citizens Mediation Centre (both under the Ministry of Justice) accordingly.
2. Advocacy Supports: The OCE in some cases engages Civil Society organisations focusing on Human Rights issues to carry out advocacy against violence against women. The OCE has register of civil society organisations across the state and encourage the organisations to provide voluntary supports to the victims and advocate for positive changes in behaviour to end violence.
3. Financial Supports: The OCE provides soft funding to women who are going through various difficulties, some of the problems traceable to one form of abuse or the other in the past but which has continually affected their psychic and physical well-being. This financial supports help them in the rehabilitation process or starting life again.
The office also mediates at addressing issues capable of snowballing into violence against women, sometimes community related or family matters. We should bear in mind that when issues concerning men but with reflex impacts on women are addressed, gender violence has also been addressed. A good example is if a major crisis breaks out among commercial transport operators in a park, women become victims of attack and rape, so we act to prevent such scenario in order to save women from being violated and molested.
5. Public Enlightenment
The office also carries out seminars and symposiums from time to time in partnership with other ministries and departments and do invite women to benefit from matters that concerns their rights and well-being. This is another way to nip in the bud matters capable of affecting the women in our community.
The Office of civic Engagement is committed to working in synergy with all stakeholders to end all forms of Violence in Lagos state.
Hon Taiwo Ayedun is the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Lagos State
on Civic Engagement