By Uchenna Ugwu
The United States Agency for International Development- Momentum Country and Global Leadership Project (USAID-MCGL) has handed over to Ebonyi Government, a temporary Shelter for Gender Based Violence (GBV) survivors in the state.
Mrs Chioma Oduenyi, the Project Director, USAID-MCGL, made the hand over to the State Governor, David Umahi, in Abakaliki on Wednesday.
The handing over and inauguration ceremony of the facility also known as Safe Space, was organized by USAID MCGL in collaboration with Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Oduenyi stated that the facility was crucial way of rebuilding survivors social assets in the country.
She added that the shelter would also give survivors of GBV, space to recuperate and reintegrated into the society.
She explained that the establishment would help to reduce risks, prevent further harm against survivors, who are at risk of immediate danger from their perpetrators.
She noted that the project was funded through USAID.
“The USAID-MCGL is super proud to have partnered with the women affairs in fully equipping the GBV shelter for routine operations through funding from the agency. And through USAID funds, today the GBV safe space is a reality.
“Since 2021, the USAID MCGL, a five years project has being working with the state government through the ministry women affairs, health and indigenous nongovernmental partners to implement a robust GBV prevention and response activity.
“In health, we built capacity of health services providers in over 100 health facilities across the state to provide post GBV first line support to survivors,”Oduenyi said.
She further encourage the ministry to observe strict compliance of standard to operating procedure.
She, however expressed confident that the shelter would serve it purpose of providing and developing supportive services to meet their needs.
She thanked the American people through USAID for financial support, Mr Adetiloye Oniyire, the Jhpiego Country Director and it management for support to deliver.
She commended the state government for enabling environment, provided for the project to strive.
“I appreciate all stakeholders, specially the hard working MCGL team, led by Mrs Nneka Dikeocha for the great feat achieved,”Oduenyi said.
Meanwhile Umahi, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Kenneth Ugbala, expressed satisfaction over the standard and commitments by partners.
He promised continuous partnership and proper use of the centre.
“We want to assure you of proper utilisation of the centre and particularly for the purpose it was meant for and also continue to contribute our quota,”Umahi said.
The governor commended USAID, MCGL, Jhpiego, the state Ministry of Women Affairs, among other partners for their support so far in the state.
Similarly, Mrs Deborah Okah, Commissioner for women affairs, promised USAID, MCGL, Jhpiego consortium partners that the state would ensure objectives of it establishment was realized.
Okah disclosed that the shelter was to enable survivors of GBV take interim succor while awaiting justice to be served as well avail them of opportunity to recover from trauma of violence.
She noted that the centre also would provide room for professional counseling and skill acquisition programmes to enable them fit into the society as they leave the facility.
“With the existence of the shelter, survivors will be more encouraged to report violence cases and be safe.
“We are determined in the fight against all forms of violence meted on our women and girls in the state,” Okah assured.
She appealed to good spirited individuals and philanthropists to assist in ameliorating other challenges.
Mrs Dikeocha, disclosed that the project was embarked upon since March 2022 and stated that a maintenance process known as standard operation procedure would be developed to manage the place.
The Agency reports that the event featured inauguration and handing over of the project to Ebonyi government.
The agency also reports that the facility, which comprises of skilled acquisition unit, GBV situation room with rooms for adults and children, among others was named after the First Lady of the state, Mrs Rachael Umahi GBV safe space.