Awareness raising activities on the ground

AWARENESS RAISING ACTIVITIES ON THE GROUND

During the summer of 2019, the Nigerian Women Association’s Lagos Chapter has started the first activities of INSigHT Action dedicated to raise awareness in Nigeria, targeting both local institutions, victims and potential victims.

On July 30th, 2019, it organized a public event (as part of the ‘on the road awareness rising’ activities) at Kosofe Local Government Council Hall (Lagos) in the framework of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Nearly 40 participants – including representatives of local authorities, social workers, civil defense corps, members of NGOs and CBOs, as well as civil society – have actively discussed on key topics related to human trafficking and awareness raising.

After introducing the Action and the challenges it is tackling, participants confronted each other to try to find concrete suggestions to two crucial questions on very practical challenges the phenomenon poses at the local level, namely on how to Increase Awareness on Combating Human Trafficking at the local level ways to support the socio- economic reintegration of Human Trafficking Returnees victims in local communities.

The debate was very useful to collect concrete suggestions on sound local actions, practices and strategies to be envisaged for prevention and reintegration, as well as to build collective awareness among participants on the need for their direct engagement to effectively cope with the phenomenon.

On September 2nd, 2019 NWA opened the Help Desk in Lagos for awareness raising against human trafficking. Victim returnees and their families, as well as potential victims now have a permanent reference point in Lagos where addressing their needs, questions, fears and problems. Conceived as a safe, friendly and open space, the Helpdesk is run twice a week by expert social workers of the Institute of Social Work, with which NWA has since long developed a fruitful collaboration. To widely disseminate information about its existence, services and scope, NWA engaged its large local network of NGOs and CBOs already active on anti-trafficking and rehabilitation, while door-to-door and road campaign in the Ikeja neighbourhood – where the HelpDesk is located – is being conducted to further reaching the target population.

A visible presence on the territory, the Help Desk – which will run for 12 months within the framework of INSigHT Action, but will be then self-sustained by NWA Lagos Chapter – is expected also to become a strategic hub for key local stakeholders advocating for effective local, state and national policies and sound approaches towards the phenomenon. To promote ownership, recognition and legitimization, a formal opening ceremony is being programmed for November, to which local and national authorities and institutions, as well as relevant global stakeholders and key religious bodies, will be invited.