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European Union and UNDP World Premiere of “Deafening Silence”

Deafening Silence Premiere

The European Union and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria have hosted a world premiere of the feature film “Deafening Silence” which is a result of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative that advocates for gender equality and women empowerment in Nigeria. The Spotlight Initiative aligns strongly with the Government of Nigeria’s gender priorities as well as the European Union’s and the United Nations’ Gender Action Points. The intervention is on gender equality, women’s empowerment, and combating SGBV and Violence Against Women (VAW).

“Deafening Silence” produced by the UNDP within the framework of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, leverages the power of storytelling to explore themes of Gender Equality, Gender Empowerment, and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Nigeria. The film aims to foster deep and honest conversations around these critical issues, with the goal of incentivizing social change.

This transformative initiative is part of a broader gender norm result-chain intervention developed by the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative in Nigeria. This film seeks to raise awareness and inspire action to combat GBV, promoting a society where gender equality and empowerment are fundamental values.

L-R: Onyinye Belinda Ndubuisi, Executive Producer, Deafening Silence Movie; George Eluwa, Country Director, Foundation for Resilient Empowerment and Development ( FRED); Rosemary Echewe, Project Director, FRED; Reuben Alba Aguilera, Acting Head of Cooperation, Team Leader/Head of section Democracy, Governance and Migration, European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS; Bamidele Osibo, Director Monitoring and Evaluation, Foundation for Resilient Empowerment and Development (FRED); Ugo Sokare-George, the Public Affairs Officer, EU, delegation to Nigeria, and ECOWAS; Laolu Olawunmi, Programme Manager, Political Govenance and Democracy Section EU; and Willian Tsuma, Head of UNDP, Lagos Sub-Office at the Premiere of Deafening Silence Movie in Lagos on Wednesday

Speaking during the world premiere, H.E. Samuela Isopi, European Union Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS said: “Art is a powerful tool to promote behavioural change, fight stigma and create awareness around negative social norms. It is therefore my hope that this film will contribute to promoting gender equality and prevent gender-based violence in Nigeria and build a more inclusive society”.

In her remarks Ms. Elsie Attafuah, Resident Representative of UNDP Nigeria, stated that “Deafening Silence” is more than a film. It is a comprehensive communication, media and visibility intervention designed to challenge biased gender norms and inspire transformative conversations.” She further added, “It harnesses the power of storytelling, communication, and mainstream media to catalyze societal change and promote gender equality.”

 “Deafening Silence” is in three components: Film: A compelling, impactful, and thought-provoking movie that will spark broader discussions in Nigeria about gender equality, empowerment, sexual and gender-based violence, and violence against women. This movie will captivate audiences emotionally and intellectually, providing a forum for critical debate and action. Limited Series (8 Episodes): In collaboration with Netflix, episodes were created to delve deeper into the movie’s narratives and themes. These episodes aim to educate viewers about the complexities of gender-based violence and empower them to effect positive change.

Television series: A three to five-year television series, beginning with a one-year series, will expand on the stories told in the movie and Netflix episodes. It will advance the narrative, question traditional roles and expectations, and advocate for a more inclusive and equitable society.

The joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, funded by the EU, is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence and harmful practices against women and girls by 2030. It sought to pull together substantive work that has been done around GEWE and SGBV, leveraging on the power of storytelling and media to create a transformative impact in Nigeria, a country where gender-based violence and harmful gender norms persist.

In Nigeria, the Spotlight Initiative was implemented in five states: Sokoto, Cross River, Lagos, Adamawa, and Ebonyi, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and ended in December 2023

The EU and UN system in Nigeria will remain engaged in support to the Nigerian Government to promote gender equality, women’s empowerment and fight against gender-based violence.

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