V4C - Voices 4 Change Nigeria

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About V4C

About V4C

Voices 4 Change is a programme funded by UK aid, working to strengthen the enabling environment for gender equality in Nigeria. It commenced implementation on 1 October 2013 and will run until 2017. The programme combines learning from development, learning from communications, behavior change and social marketing.

V4C takes a fresh look at young Nigerians as individuals, not just ‘beneficiaries’. The programme capitalizes on current trends in Nigeria, such as the growing access to digital/mobile technology, while seeking also to change some of the more entrenched formal and informal barriers that prevent girls and young women realising their potential.

While V4C’s vision is change that benefits all of Nigeria’s adolescent girls and young women, including the poorest and most vulnerable, it does not set out to directly reach and benefit a sub-set of these. Rather, the ambition is to equip a wide range of young women and men to ‘speak up and speak out’ to challenge gender stereotypes and discriminatory social norms.

V4C will identify and support key influencers and enablers to build momentum for change, including changes in how laws are developed and passed. The programme will generate and disseminate evidence to help catalyse and speed the process of change.

Problem Statement

Poverty and insecurity are part of the daily reality for many Nigerian girls and women. They experience discrimination all through their lives – at home, school, work, and in society – just because they are female. Their access to healthcare, education and economic security is severely limited. As a result, while only 2% of the world’s population live in Nigeria, the country accounts for 10% of the world’s maternal deaths.

Similarly, a significant number of girls in northern Nigeria do not complete secondary school. And whilst 85% of men have a bank account, or own a house or land, only 15% of women do.[1] Girls and women do not take up leadership positions even when they have skills and capacity to do so. Of 24 post-secondary institutions scoped by V4C – including those with a majority of female students – only two had any female student leaders. The cause of these inequalities between men and women are found in a complex mix of economic, historical and social factors.

The answer to such issues is not simply to provide more services (other programmes have tried this) but to change societal attitudes that create barriers to gender equality and entrenched, negative social norms across Nigerian society. We believe that when this is done it will lead to improvements in the quality and use of services by adolescent girls and young women, thereby also improving the standard of living in Nigeria.

[1] UKaid ‘Gender in Nigeria Report 2012: Improving the lives of girls and women in Nigeria’ 2012 pg. 1-2