U.S. Diplomatic Mission Honours Usiobaifo As Woman Of Courage

US Priscilli
L-R: Ms. Priscilla Ikos Usiobaifo receiving an award from the Acting Deputy Chief of Misson, U.S. Embassy, Art Brown.

As part of its commitment to advancing women’s rights, the United States Diplomatic Mission in Nigeria named the executive director of Braveheart Initiative for Youth and Women (BHI),Ms. Priscilla Ikos Usiobaifo as its 2024 Woman of Courage. 

The award ceremony, held on March 27 in Abuja, recognised Usiobaifo’s two decades of unwavering dedication to reforming laws and dismantling socio-cultural norms perpetuating gender-based violence in Nigeria.

In his remarks at the award ceremony, the acting deputy chief of mission,Art Brown highlighted preventing and responding to all forms of gender-based violence as a cornerstone of the United States government’s commitment to promoting democracy and advancing human rights. He emphasised the collaborative efforts with Nigerian partners to dismantle barriers and impediments to gender equality.

“This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress.’ I’m proud of the United States’ government’s longstanding investment in women. Together with the government of Nigeria and our local partners, we’ve made significant investments in the lives of Nigerian women and girls, particularly in health, enterprise and ending all forms of gender-based violence,” stated Brown.

The U.S. Embassy conferred the award as part of activities celebrating the 2024 Women’s History Month, aligning with the U.S. government’s commitment to recognise and celebrate individuals advancing gender equality and equity. Brown emphasised the importance of prioritising women and girls, stating that ending gender-based violence requires a comprehensive approach to address socio-cultural norms underlying such violence in Nigeria.

In her acceptance speech, awardee Priscilla Ikos Usiobaifo thanked the U.S. Mission for spotlighting her work and pledged to continue advocating for women and girls. She highlighted the often-overlooked contributions of young women, especially those working in rural communities, emphasising the importance of recognising their efforts. Usiobaifo expressed hope that the award would inspire government accountability and promote justice for survivors of gender-based violence in Nigeria.

Senate Committee chairperson on Women Affairs,Senator Ireti Kingibe commended the U.S. Embassy for the recognition, noting its potential to motivate other young women to excel. FCT Mandate Secretary for Women Affairs, Mrs. Dayo Benjamin-Laniyi congratulated Usiobaifo for her courage and reiterated the commitment of the Federal Capital Territory to end gender-based violence.

The Woman of Courage award recognises women who have taken unusual risks, surmounted significant obstacles, challenged harmful practices and fought discrimination or disinformation in their efforts to defend and promote progress in their societies. It serves as a testament to the resilience and determination of individuals like Usiobaifo in championing gender equality and equity in Nigeria. 

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