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Reducing stigma against those affected by Boko Haram

This project helped to address the stigma and negative perceptions associated with women and girls who have escaped Boko Haram, as well as any of their children born out of sexual violence, in Borno state in northeastern Nigeria.

Women and children have suffered from large-scale abduction, recruitment and sexual violence during the conflict in northeastern Nigeria. On returning home, they now face suspicion, rejection and even violence by their families and communities. Children born out of the sexual violence face further stigma.

Addressing the obstacles to women and children’s reintegration is therefore critical for their survival and long-term peace in the country. We hoped to improve understanding of the challenges faced by women and children returning home by holding community workshops in internally displaced peoples camps and broadcasting radio programmes on stigma and sexual violence.

This pilot project allowed us to assist 4,927 women and girls who were survivors of sexual violence by Boko Haram. We also conducted workshops to reach 4,889 family members who struggled to reintegrate survivors of sexual violence. Our activities also reached 3,393 community members through dialogues about how to reintegrate women and girls affected by sexual violence by Boko Haram. We will also improved the reintegration of women and children by supporting their referral to support services.

The project was able to demonstrate positive attitudinal and behavioural changes within the community and as a result, has been extended in geographic scope, donor funds and partnerships since 2016.

This project ran from December 2015 to March 2016.

FEATURES

Life after Boko Haram

Global outrage was sparked three years ago when 276 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in northeast Nigeria were kidnapped by the insurgency group Boko Haram. They are just some of the 8,000 women and girls, and many boys who have been abducted in Nigeria, the majority of whom remain in captivity, largely forgotten. Watch Jummai's story about her life after escaping from Boko Haram.