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NGO Trains Military Wives On Mental Health, Psychological Support in Abuja

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Joel Ajayi

In its effort to support and equip Nigeria’s women on mental health, psychological, a non-governmental organization known as ”The Support Nest Initiative” has trained officers’ wives in Abuja to help them navigate through peculiarities of military marriages as well as life.

 

The 5-day training which took place inside the Lungi Barracks focuses on the mental health of the Nigerian Military wives and will enable them to become first respondents and lay counsellors in their communities.

Speaking on Friday at the end of, the awareness, the Director of the organization, Bukola Ugbuji said that objective of the training is to the mental awareness and support to a person suffering from mental health illnesses, especially service, women, and their families.

She lamented that the mental health of the military wife has been neglected and as one of the officer’s wives who know the pains and would not want others to pass through the same.

According to her, while the military has psychologists and psychiatrists to look after the men, it seems as their families are neglected. At the end of the day, there are not enough military psychologists to go round.

“We are going to set up groups and distribute fliers and notification to people across the Barracks. We will tell them to call a particular number if they need to talk. The number will be routed to the women who will then be able to offer to counsel.

“Living and caring for the family member experiencing Pos-TrumaticStress Disorder PSTD could be challenging, that is why we have compiled the list of ways to support the affected family member.”

She revealed that that the organization also holds sensitization workshops and campaigns within the barracks and military formations to raise awareness of mental health issues particularly those common within the military.

Mrs. Ugbuji, the mental health enthusiast added that the 24 women have been trained to become lay counselors who will go into their communities and offer the first line of support to members of their community.

Speaking earlier, the facilitator and Special Programmes Coordinator for ILERA Community Health Initiative, Nigeria, Yomi Oloko revealed that its programme which was funded by the African Foundation for Development, UK was aimed at supporting training on mental health, a topic which is necessary especially with the trauma and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He stated that the women are trained to be lay counselors, explaining that the lay counsellors were ordinary people who want to be a helper or support people who have mental issues by listening to them and urging them to open up and talk to find their own solution to the issues they face.

“Lay counsellors are important particularly now that we had a lot of issues around depression and anxiety, especially with the COVID-19. A lot of people are worried and they need people they can talk to sometimes, they need independent or neutral people.”

One of the participants, Kauna Ottah, commended the organization for the training saying it will go a long way to help her handle people with mental health issues.

“Also, our personnel who are out there in the Northeast and Northwest might come back with trauma because of what they have experienced. The training is a welcome development because it is going to have a positive impact on our soldiers, we the spouse and our families.”

 

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Nigerians Call For More Women In Governance, Say It Will Reduce Corruption

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Exasperated by rising corruption in Africa’s most populous country, stakeholders in the fight against corruption in Nigeria have identified adequate inclusion of women in governance as an antidote to public sector corruption while lamenting the government’s effort in implementing the revised National Gender Policy (NGP).

The call for the inclusion of more women in governance had been necessitated by the low representation of women in Nigeria’s governance structures.

Human rights lawyer Mary Musa led the call during PUBLIC CONSCIENCE, an anti-corruption radio programme produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, Wednesday in Abuja.

Speaking during the programme, Musa stated that Nigeria would be heading in the better direction if more women are deliberately handed opportunities in political leadership and public service as they embody the values, character and integrity, which is needed in building a corrupt-free nation.

She noted that Nigerian women are prudent and have been equipped to instill prudence, character and integrity in the mind of their children and can replicate these virtues in leadership positions.

“If we (government) put more women who are prudent in the government spaces, political spaces, corruption will reduce drastically because they are coming with values, character and integrity. We are not saying take any woman because she is a woman, we are saying take women who know what it means to be in political offices.

“If we select those women knowing they are influencers in their spaces doing fantastic and credible jobs with excellent value systems, Nigeria is headed for a better place.

“We have credible women, but they face barriers like sexual harassment at workplaces. Even in politics, we have a lot of women going into politics, but there are god-fathers who want to take advantage of the young women coming into politics. It’s beyond being credible and competent. It’s about creating an enabling environment for the woman to thrive,” Musa stressed.

On the government’s lacklustre approach on implementing the revised National Gender Policy, she revealed that the most effective tool in persuading the Federal Government to implement the policy remains sensitization, advocacy and peaceful protest.

Musa also regretted that implementation of the National Gender Policy is stifled by a lack of political will and urged the government to enforce the policy and place punitive measures on public offices that fail to align with the provisions of the revised NGP.

On her part, Communications Manager Mujidat Agbabiaka backed Nigerian women to do well if given more opportunities in leadership, emphasizing that women have what it takes to participate in leadership and make the country better. She added that women must be encouraged and empowered to take charge of administration because of their discipline and integrity.

Agbabiaka said, “We’ve seen women out there doing well in their leadership capacity and their homes are not broken. They still perform their maternal roles. They still take care of their families, their husband and children, immediate and extended families.”

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, she advised women not to sell their votes to politicians, urging them rather to study the manifestos of political parties and candidates in order to make informed decisions.

“We know the roles the politicians play in impoverishing the women further by giving them seasoning cubes and wrappers as if those things matter in politics and electioneering. We have said that these things are wrong and women should desist from accepting gifts but rather look inward into candidates and see what they are offering based on their manifestos.”

Some Nigerians who phoned into the programme from Abuja, the nation’s capital, alluded that Nigeria would be better governed and less corrupt if women were given more leadership opportunities owing to their antecedents from the home front.

PRIMORG and the Women’s Rights Advancement & Protection Alternative (WRAPA) are collaborating to promote the revised gender policy of the Federal Government for more opportunities for women in Nigeria.

Public Conscience is a syndicated weekly anti-corruption radio program used by PRIMORG to draw government and citizens’ attention to corruption and integrity issues in Nigeria.

The program has the support of the MacArthur Foundation

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