Father Becomes HeForShe Champion, Saves Daughter From FGM
02 June 2022
His commitment to prevent gender-based violence began from his household where he refused the traditional arrangements to circumcise his eight-year-old daughter
Ibrahim Babangida a beneficiary of UN Women’s northeast programming lives at Teachers Village Camp in Borno State as a committed HeForShe champion advocating for COVID prevention and against gender-based violence within his community.
Through the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) -COVID Emergency Window project implemented with technical support from UN Women which seeks to train women’s groups and leaders to play a stronger role in advocacy and accountability, Ibrahim received sensitization on the prevention of COVID-19 and gender-based violence (GBV).
The father of four lived happily with his family in Baga in northeast of Nigeria until armed insurgence attacked his home eight years ago. He and his family escaped to Teachers Village camp for shelter and safety. Ibrahim lost his source of income and had to depend on government support which was infrequent and insufficient to sustain his family.
“I was a businessman travelling to Lagos for buying and selling of electronics before we were attacked. My family and I had to run for our safety. I lost everything and was rendered jobless overnight. We have lived in this camp since then depending on government support and benevolence of friends.” he recounted.
According to Ibrahim, thoughts of losing his source of income made him frustrated to the point where he at times transferred his aggression unto his wife until he became a beneficiary of the UN Women’s northeast programme. “I received sensitization on the negative effects of gender-based violence (GBV) and ever since, my wife now has an equal say in every decision, we make concerning our family”, he said.
Ibrahim is now an advocate in his community where he also educates other men on the implications of being infected by COVID-19, rape, female genital mutilation (FGM), forced and early marriage, and all forms of violence against persons. He and other HeForShe champions are known for pursuing cases of GBV and ensuring offenders are punished.
His commitment to prevent gender-based violence began from his household where he refused the traditional arrangements to circumcise his eight-year-old daughter. “Traditionally, plans and arrangements had been made for my daughter, Fatima to be circumcised at a certain age. After I encountered the project and received all the sensitization, and knowing the risk associated with FGM, my wife and I decided not to go ahead with the practice anymore”.
Knowing how early and forced marriage can affect girls, Ibrahim commits to protect his only daughter from all forms of violence. “My daughter, Fatima always tells me she wants to become a medical doctor in future, and I am going to educate and support her in order to achieve her dreams”, Ibrahim said.
WPHF is supporting women in Nigeria to contribute to lasting peace by financing a range of local CSO projects that aim to end sexual and gender-based violence, protect women’s rights and respond to COVID-19 in settings of conflict and crises.
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women