SOLIDARITE ET COOPERATION POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT INTEGRAL DES FEMMES ET ENFANTS
(SOLIDARITY AND COOPERATION FOR THE INTEGRAL DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN)
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The significant communities and organizational costs of rectifying the consequences of Rape or Violent Sexual Assault in Africa prompted the women within the SOCOODEIFE organization to address this issue right where it starts – Harassment and Discrimination.
Patriarchy remains deeply entrenched within the fabric of the African society. In practice, the concept advertently places less value on the woman. Generally, families accept that as the norm – a normal way of life. The African women are trapped in that mentality right from the time they are born. That mentality is reaffirmed growing up as they see it practiced within their immediate and extended family circle.
Women therefore accept as fact the misguided concept that they have less to offer society than men do. And they also tend to accept that being discriminated or sexually harassed is part of everyday life.
Patriarchy, unfortunately, continues to breed and legitimize sexual harassment and discrimination against women.
SOCOODEIFE is well aware of the plight and daily struggles women face in the African society. Ignoring harassment and discrimination does not make them go away. Instead, the perpetrator may view the victim’s silence as a tacit acceptance of his behavior. The behavior will likely continue and even escalate, compounding its detrimental effects.
SOCOODEIFE it tackling this issue of woman harassment and discrimination head on. The dynamic leaders and members of this organization is resolved to alleviate the suffering of women by all means. The organization is determined to see positive results initially within its area of operation, which hopefully spill over into the whole country and the neighboring countries in the not so distant future.
As part of its strategy, organization will recruit an appropriate agency to conduct an investigation where there is a report of harassment. The harasser will be informed of the findings as well as the sanctions that will be imposed upon him as soon as the investigation arrived at the conclusion of guilt. When the investigator and firm find harassment has happened, the harasser will be subject to discipline.The investigator will also promptly communicate the findings and intended actions to the complainant.
SOCOODEIFE understands that this age-old problems of harassment and discrimination will not go away overnight. Much needs to be done to effect a change. But it is the organization’s resolve and strong commitment to make that change.
SOCOODEIFE has decided to contribute to the counselling of both the alleged harasser and the victim. The aim of this counseling is two-fold.
First it aims to turn around the perpetrator so that he does not continue with the behavior.
Secondly, it aims to empower the victim so that she is able to protect herself from being victimized further in the future.
SOCOODEIFE understands that this age-old problem will not go away overnight. Much needs to be done to effect a change. But it is the organization’s resolve and strong commitment to make that change.
Improving Health Care
One of the important ways in which women can feel freedom from discrimination is through improved health care services.
SOCOODEIFE women are collectively calling for a profound rethinking of approaches to improving women’s health in Africa. A woman’s well-being needs to be on the list of priorities in the national agenda.
For this to happen, SOCOODEIFE has to be involved in women’s health matters. The women leaders within the organization can lead in the coordination of the various initiatives needed to bring about a change on a large scale.
It is essential for SOCOODEIFE, therefore, to mobilize communities and for women leaders to commit to support large scale investments in women’s health. Efforts will be needed to initiate and coordinate the required investments and long-term health commitment is required to sustain them.
Only when the importance of the role of African women in the Region’s development is understood will the Region begin to realize its full potential in terms of healthcare stability, social, and economic prosperity and better health outcomes for all.
Although African women are already making an enormous contribution to social and economic activities of the continent, the evidence presented in this experience shows that they can achieve much more.
However, they cannot fully achieve the goals they have set out to accomplish without the full support and commitment of healthcare practitioners and national leadership.
Leaders seeking to improve the health and socioeconomic status of African women have no better ally than the African women themselves.
This support can help break the cycle of poverty, disease and disempowerment that prevent an African woman from enjoying the health and socioeconomic status that is her birthright. It can break the chain that shackles and restricts the tapping of her immense physical and intellectual potential.
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