The lack of economic resources generally makes women and young girls who married as children, particularly vulnerable to violence. The poverty within families sees many girls sent to work as domestic workers, thereby increasing susceptibility to various forms of violence.
The lack of economic empowerment is a key issue as it reduces women’s choices of negotiation of leaving or remaining in abusive relationships. This makes livelihood interventions necessary to confront underlying causes and factors related to poverty, economic inequalities, and control over resources that contribute to Gender Based Violence (GBV).
In a targeted effort to empower women and girls and eliminate GBV, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, provides livelihood support and life-building skills to enhance self-reliance for women and survivors of GBV. Over 20 women in FCT have been enrolled at the Red Dish Chronicles Culinary School where they are learning to be seasoned, professional chefs.
Elizabeth (not real name), is a single mother of 3 children and a resident of the FCT, struggling to provide for herself and her children with no support in a severe economic crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking, she recounts how she lost her cleaning job which made her unable to support her children after escaping an abusive relationship. In her words “I struggled and could barely feed after I lost my job. I had to send my children to go stay with their grandparents”.
Elizabeth is one of the 20 beneficiaries of the livelihood empowerment on culinary training from the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative project. Elizabeth says her life has changed positively and expresses her gratitude for being a beneficiary. In her words “a weight has been lifted off me, my life has been put back on track with this opportunity”
Speaking on her learning experience at the culinary school, Elizabeth says “What I have learned from this training is that even my children and unborn grandchildren are going to benefit from this. I have been finding it very difficult to sponsor my children in school because I am a single mother and with this opportunity, even in my community, I believe I am now able to provide the support they need.”
On her plans after the training, Elizabeth hopes to start her own catering business and employ other women and girls to help empower them, “It is my wish to stand on my own and start my own business where women like me can learn and be empowered too”.
Through this initiative, UNDP and its partners aim to improve strategically, the economic and living standards of GBV survivors in Nigeria.