The women peer education circle of Etutu community in Igalamela Local Government Area of Kogi state with support of PIBCID through the implementation of the local right program of ActionAid Nigeria recorded a success story in a successful reduction of mourning period from five months to three months which is one of the harmful traditional practices that affects the women in the community.
Etutu Women Peer Education Circle (Session)
The members of the peer circle carried series of advocacy visits to the Madaki of the community, Ali Shaibu and the Gago. These advocacy visits which took about five months finally put smiles on the faces of women in Etutu community, when the Gago (Oldest traditional leader) of community gave his consent to the reduction of the mourning period from five months to three months. The Gago said that he could consent after due consultation with the elders of Etutu.
Ali Shaibu (Madaki of Etutu community)
In an interview with one of the members of the Etutu women peer education circle, Fatima Ali, she pointed out one of the reasons for the advocacies was because of the enormous sufferings widows of Etutu go through during this five months mourning period. A mourning widow according to her is not expected to step out of her house during this period of five months. The widow after mourning for such a long period is expected to provide 8 tubers of yam, fish, and 20 liters of plam oil, he-goat, one carton of beer, and one gallon of palm wine. Fatima Ali pointed out that unless in cases where the widow’s parents are alive to provide food for her and her children these widows experienced serious hardship. She also pointed out that a widow who has been indoors and not allowed to engage in any economic activity how was she expected to provide these ritual items unless with support from her family members.
Fatima Ali (member of the women peer education circle in Etutu community)
In an interview with the Gago (oldest traditional leaders) of Etutu, he pointed that the mourning period for widows was reduced to alleviate the suffering that widows experience but insisted that based on tradition the items listed above must brought to appease the spirit of the late husband if not provide would lead to the death of the widow and if she remarries the new husband would also die.
Ojomaje (Gago of Etutu community)
The harmful traditional practice of the mourning for five months according to all that were interviewed was initially twelve months and was reduced to nine months. However after series of advocacy the nine months mourning period was reduced to five and finally the current three months mourning period.
The women of Etutu were very happy that this has become a reality and in their gratitude to ActionAid Nigeria and PIBCID, they pray that God continue to give the organization the power to touch lives. The women however look forward to further reduction in the mourning period.