Oluwatoyin Towobola is the Co-founder & Executive Director Women Protection Organisation (WOPO). She is a human rights defender working for women's social, economic and political empowerment while promoting and supporting access to justice against human rights violations. Oluwatoyin is a social work practitioner in the fields of Human Rights and Access to Justice with vast experience working with communities, movements and the state, focusing on bridging the gaps of gender inequality at all levels and respect for human rights.
Her passion for working with women and girls has created visibility and exposure about women and their everyday challenges. She has engaged in the protection of Human Rights issues both at a national and global level. In addition to her primary work, she has been recognised and awarded for her work with women, support towards mentoring youth, and commitment to nurturing emerging young leaders.
In October 2021, I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of the second batch of RSH mentors and learned a lot as a mentor. I learned that organisations should safeguard their beneficiaries, ensuring their safety and protecting them from exploitation while they are vulnerable. I also realised that the organisation's employees should also be protected and not exploited by the organisation's leadership.
I enhanced my knowledge in the field of organisational development during the training. Throughout the 6 months of training, we implemented policies and procedures, formed a code of conduct, conducted a safeguarding risk assessment, and created and used a WOPO Risk Assessment register.
My capacity for survivor-centred response and case management was increased, and I became a totally new person, even as the Director.
Furthermore, as my organisation's mentor, I could pass on the training and learning acquired to the volunteers and staff.
Prior to the commencement of the RSH mentoring program, my organisation had several policies in place. Still, we rarely apply them because they were only on paper. A good example is the Human Resources Policy, which is required when hiring new employees to avoid Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (SEAH).
I am utilising this means to express my gratitude. The RSH safeguarding training and mentorship was a wake-up call for many organisations. I feel that the RSH safeguarding, and mentorship programme is a hope restorer for victims of SEAH by organisations.
In Nigeria, safeguarding is here to stay.