African women have long organised for different purposes and so it has been with the pandemic. In different parts of the continent, women have come together to address different problems thrown up by the pandemic. One of the major fallouts has been gender-based violence (GBV). Across the globe, the incidence of GBV has risen in all the countries for which there is available data. State efforts to address this increased rate of violence, particularly on the African continent, have, however, been abysmal. Civil society organisations and women’s rights movements have been at the forefront of advocating for increased attention to the issue of GBV in the midst of the pandemic. One country in which there has been a concerted effort to address GBV is Nigeria. There, members of the Nigerian Feminist Forum worked assiduously to raise the issue of GBV during the pandemic and to insist that states address it in a significant way. A second area of focus for the feminist movement in Nigeria during this period was police brutality, which is clearly linked to human rights and, specifically, women’s rights. In addition to the work on GBV, Nigerian feminists also worked to address the abuse that Nigerian citizens faced at the hands of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) through the End SARS movement. This movement showed the power of women’s activism in action and garnered international attention towards the end of 2020. In this conversation, Akosua K. Darkwah speaks with three active members of the Nigerian Feminist Forum- Azeenarh Mohammed, Buky Williams and Chitra Nagarajan – to gain insight into the work that the Nigerian feminist movement did to address the needs of women during the pandemic. These three women were also instrumental in the production of an OSIWA-funded report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender roles and relations in Nigeria (Nagarajan, 2020), which will also be discussed briefly.
Read the full article below or download HEREFA_Volume-3-Issue-1_Womens-Organising-in-Nigeria-During-the-COVID19-Pandemic