Spotlight Initiative

The Population Council is working with the Nigerian government and partners to strengthen the country’s response to gender-based violence (GBV) through a bottom-up community data generation and validation strategy, as well as the development of an innovative central reporting and data visualization platform for real-time data on GBV in the country.

The Issue

In 2020, the restrictions to movement imposed by the government during the COVID-19 pandemic precipitated an aggravation of GBV within the country. This dire situation created an urgent need to collate validated data from reliable sources to support, monitor and better understand the typology and prevalence of violence across the country. The availability of real-time, validated data became necessary to inform evidence-based approaches to programs and interventions that address violence against women and girls (VAWG).

Whilst there has been an increase in the generation of statistical information on socio-demographic variables for VAWG in recent years, there is a paucity of data as it relates to the understanding of key issues relating to access to justice and services for victims and survivors of GBV.  The two main available data sources are the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) and the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS); neither of which provide disaggregated data nor cover the full spectrum of harmful practices. They are survey-based and focus on traditional data, leaving out civil society data and qualitative or anecdotal data. This limits evidence-based programming, as critical data for decision making is unavailable.

Other issues that have been identified as responsible for the lack of real-time data for GBV programming and decision making in Nigeria include fragmentation of data collection tools, poor coordination of the data collection process, the absence of a harmonized platform for reporting, and weak capacity for data analysis.

The Progress

In response, the Council worked closely with the Federal and State Ministries of Women Affairs to institute an innovative monitoring and evaluation system to allow for efficient reporting of VAWG and to strengthen measurement and methodologies for data collation in Nigeria.

The key objectives of this data management system include:

  1. Improve and strengthen measurement and methodologies for VAWG data collation in Nigeria;
  2. Strengthen the capacity of national, state and local governmental institutions and data gathering organizations to collect disaggregated VAWG data in line with international standards;
  3. Make disaggregated data (e.g., age, location, socio-economic status, disability) user-friendly and accessible; and
  4. Disseminate user-friendly data to decision-makers and program implementers to shape context specific evidence-based programming and policy response in Nigeria.

The Council is a partner to UNDP on the Spotlight Initiative project, a global multi-year partnership between the European Union and United Nations to eliminate all forms of VAWG by 2030. Through this EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, the Council supported the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (FMWA) to set up a VAWG Situation Room and data dashboard. A physical hub embedded within the ministry hosts the data management infrastructure, including collation, analytics, monitoring and the innovative online reporting platform.

The dashboard is a novel, user-friendly platform that was designed to allow for the systematic collation of GBV data through a bottom-up approach from the community to the state and the national level. It provides timely analytics and real-time visualization of validated data on GBV from various sources across the country, which can be used for GBV surveillance and response.

The Impact

The National Gender-Based Violence Data Situation Room and Dashboard was launched by the Government of Nigeria, European Union Spotlight Initiative, United Nations, and other key stakeholders in November 2020. The reporting platform is currently being piloted in six Spotlight Initiative projects states across the country: Adamawa, Cross Rivers, Ebonyi, Federal Capital Territory, Lagos, and Sokoto State.

It is expected that this harmonized GBV data management system and approach will be scaled up to cover the thirty-six states of the country. As of March 2021, 483 personnel from 180 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and GBV service-providers organizations have been trained from the six states to collate and capture data on the platform. Twenty-eight personnel from the FMWA and 38 personnel from the State Ministries of Women Affairs have been trained on data validation from local to state to federal level for transmission to the national dashboard. Over 3,500 cases have been captured on the National GBV Dashboard, and the Council develpped a user directory to improve GBV reporting.

At the community, state and national level, there has been improvements in decisionmaking regarding GBV policy and practice, including relevant messaging on the state radio against wife battering. The Honorable Minister and Federal Ministry of Women now use available data on VAWGs in advocating for an effective legal framework to promptly convict perpetrators of GBV in Nigeria.

Principal Investigator