#16Days on Rural Pulse: ‘Listen More Than you Talk’

Every year, from November 25 to December 10, the world unites to speak and work towards preventing/ending against violence against women.

Violence against women is a global issue that touches everyone, without distinction of race, sex, class or religion.

According to a United Nations statistics, one in three women globally encounters one form of gender-based violence, one of which is rape.

This week on rural pulse, we spoke to Osowobi Ayodeji, the founder of Stand To End Rape initiative (STER), a Nigeria-based organisation working to end rape and other form of gender-based violence in the country (Nigeria) on the best development practice when working to end sexual reproductive health violence in rural communities.

Osowobi Ayodeji (middle) at a workshop. Photo Credit: STER

Here is Ayo’s thought:

Identify the project and tailor your target audience. Not all projects work in rural communities. In our case, we go to the rural communities and get the idea of how and why rape occour. Different communities have different reasons why rape occour. Some communities will tell you it is because it is a tradition. Some will say you need to sleep with the virgin to appease the gods and when the virgins are not willing, they get raped. Some will say the girls are indecently dressed. When you find out the reasons, you can be able to tailor your programme based on the reason such things occour in their communities. Also, listen more than you talk. While you have information you intend to pass to them (people in the community), it is good to listen and learn from them to have what they have in their head so that you can know how to correct their perception; because if you are just giving them information, they won’t be giving you adequate feedback.

Also one of the things I have noticed is that use means of communication that works for them. Maybe you have posters, strategically position them in market place. Even if they don’t remember your face, they will be exposed to the message on the posters and with time, they will have it in mind the message you are trying to pass across.

Also, use traditional leaders. They are custodians, they are influencers and they and they make your work easier.

Imagine if you have an Oba (king) advocating your message. People respect their Obas, their Baales and Kabiyesis (traditional rulers). But if an outsider comes to tell them what to do, they look at him or her as an alien. You can also use the youth leaders.

So find these people and use them to pass for your message.



Busayo Sotunde is a prolific writer with special focus on Business, Entrepreneurship, Reproductive Health and other development issues in Africa. Her articles have been published by different outlets including Investing Port and Ventures-Africa.com. She has a penchant for reading and sustainable development. Follow Busayo on Twitter @BusayomiSotunde

Subscribe to our mailing list