Every year from Nov. 25, which marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, an annual campaign against gender-based violence kicks off for 16 days. These 16 Days of Activism are used to organise and call on global leaders and individuals to protect and promote the rights of women and girls, and take definitive action against gender-based violence (GBV).

In Nigeria, this campaign is especially necessary because of the increase in GBV during the COVID-19 pandemic. The UN is referring to GBV in Nigeria, and globally, as the "shadow pandemic", with the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team reporting a three-fold increase in the number of telephone calls received through their hotlines in 2020.

The protection of women and girls is becoming more and more crucial everyday, with 1 in 3 women globally experiencing some form of GBV in their lifetime. This 16 Days, we’ve been calling on Global Citizens to join us by taking action to promote and protect women’s and girls' health and rights.

The Women At Risk International Foundation (WARIF), a partner of Global Citizen in Nigeria, has been advocating for better policies and providing support to survivors of GBV for five years. As part of their 16 Days of Activism campaign, WARIF organised an awareness walk against GBV, its annual No Tolerance March, in five cities across five continents: Lagos, London, New York, Sydney, and Bangkok.

Global Citizen joined in the march in Lagos on Dec. 4, attended by over 200 Global Citizens, gender equality advocates, and concerned individuals, which represented a strong sense of unity as Nigerian celebrities, public figures, and citizens took a stand against GBV.

During the walk, Global Citizen asked some of the participants why they think it is important to support women and girls, and how we can all do this. Here's what they had to say.

Read the full article about gender-based violence by Akindare Okunola, and Tife Sanusi at Global Citizen.