How better data is helping to prevent gender-based violence in Nigeria

Men and women pose in front of situation room sign
Photo: UNDP/Aniekan Bassey
April 17, 2023

ABUJA, Nigeria - The Spotlight Initiative-supported Gender-based Violence (GBV) Data Situation Room has significantly improved the ability of Nigerian civil society organizations to respond to violence against women and girls, according to local NGOs.

The data situation room is a critical tool for monitoring the prevalence of GBV and related trends in Nigeria. It provides a centralized database that collects, collates and analyses data on gender-based violence, including types of violence, locations of cases and the demographics of survivors. It does this by collecting data from various sources, including police reports, healthcare facilities and civil society organizations. 

"As a community-based non-governmental organization, gaining access to recent and comprehensive real-time data on violence against women and girls has always posed a challenge," said Christina Uzo-Okamgba, Founder & Executive Director of Tabitha Empowerment Centre. "This narrative changed following the flag-off of the National Dashboard for reporting cases of gender-based violence in 2020. With this laudable initiative, Tabitha Empowerment Centre can interface with data at all levels, while developing and implementing programmes that will address the prevalent trends of violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) in Abuja."

The data situation room was developed by UNDP in collaboration with the Nigerian Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development. It is a crucial tool in the fight against gender-based violence in Nigeria, as it enables policymakers and service providers to identify trends, patterns and areas with a high prevalence of gender-based violence in real time.

The launch of the data situation room in November 2020 by the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina Mohammed was a significant milestone in Nigeria's efforts to address gender-based violence. UNDP supported the establishment and expansion of the GBV data situation room from the initial 6 Spotlight Initiative states to 36 states of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory in 2022. This expansion was designed to ensure that GBV data reportage is well coordinated for  national response and policy making.

"We can interface with data at all levels, while developing programmes that address the prevalent trends of violence against women and girls." - Christina Uzo-Okamgba, Tabitha Empowerment Centre

Data-driven policy
Since 2020, the situation room has helped to inform policy decisions and interventions, including the Spotlight Initiative's own focus and interventions in areas that are GBV "hotspots".

The Executive Director of the Foundation for Resilient Empowerment and Development (FRED) Rosemary Ngozi Echewe noted that their major partner, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, uses the data from the National GBV Dashboard as an advocacy tool for other government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). Using the data, the Ministry is able to initiate and strengthen GBV reduction programmes and strategies in their areas of jurisdiction. “Through the dashboard, we can easily generate data for service delivery to clients and assess progress reports for clients,” Ms. Echewe added.

Furthermore, the data situation room has helped to increase accountability for ending gender-based violence by making it possible to track progress.

“The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, through the National GBV dashboard, has been able to see the prevalence, the unfavourable effect [of GBV] and gaps in service delivery on GBV in Nigeria," said Sunday Agbabiaka, Assistant Chief Statistician, Federal Ministry and Women Affairs Headquarters Abuja. "This information is disseminated regularly to the top management of the ministry for informed programming and decision-making, as well as to the public based on authorized requests and newsletters."

By Ikechukwu Uzor

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