More than 3,000 students were recently trained in Lagos as part of measures to curb sexual violence on Nigerian campuses.
The training focused on sexual violence on campus and the steps being taken to tackle the menace.
Organised by the Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), in collaboration with the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, the programme aims to eliminate all forms of sexual and gender-based violence against women through various implementation programs and partners all over the world.
WARIF said in a statement: “The initiative represents an unprecedented global effort to invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment as a precondition and driver for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The project, which was launched in January 2020 with an aim to increase the awareness of gender-based violence and to design and adopt school related gender-based violence policies in tertiary institutions.”
The online training involved over 3000 university students from 163 institutions across Nigeria. These participating students, it is believed, will now go on to cascade the knowledge learnt and also implement different awareness programmes and activities in their various schools and communities as advocates and ambassadors.”
Speaking on the prevalence of sexual violence in tertiary institutions and the partnership with WARIF, Ms Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS said: “Breaking the silence on sex for grades, and exposing the magnitude of the issue, is the first step to ending sexual harassment and violence in tertiary education institutions. We need laws and policies, both at the level of the institutions themselves and at the national level. As UN Women, along with our partner UN agencies, we remain committed to supporting the government and people of Nigeria to end sexual harassment in tertiary education institutions, and all forms of violence against women and girls.”
Founder of WARIF, Dr Kemi DaSilva- Ibru stated that WARIF is proud to partner with the UN and the EU on the Spotlight Initiative to reduce the prevalence of gender based violence in tertiary institutions by working directly with the student-based organisations and the school authorities in adopting strategies and facilitating mechanisms that will provide the much needed support and safety to all students on campuses across the country.
One of the students who attended the training, Adebayo Olalekan Martin-Rita – a 300level student of Philosophy at the University of Lagos stated that she enrolled for the program to learn how to change the narrative on molestation and rape. The training shaped her views and gave her more insight into the prevention of GBV and how to tackle gender-based violence.