Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is partnering with the Federal Ministry of Education and the Government of Sweden to develop a protocol for preventing, mitigating and reporting School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) in nine Nigerian states.
The development of the protocol is coming up under the UNESCO’s “Our Rights”, “Our Lives”, “Our Future” (O3) intervention programme in Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Abia, Cross River, Lagos, and Taraba states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Shedding more light on the protocol with newsmen in Kaduna, the Executive Director, Hope for Community Child Initiative (H4CC), a local implementing partner, Hadiza Umar, said UNESCO’s O3 programme is aimed at ensuring that schools and community environments are safer, healthier, and inclusive for all young people no matter their social or geographical status.
Hadiza further said that the training is currently ongoing in five of the nine states which would be extended to the remaining four states within this week.
According to her, some of the participants include learners, School-Based Management Committees (SBMCs), Parent Teacher Association (PTA), teachers, headteachers as well as members of the judiciaries, lawyers, and law enforcement officers.
She noted that uses were to provide all learners with a safe school environment that is free from all forms of violence, and zero-tolerance for gender-based violence as being currently promoted across the world.
‘With the support of the O3 programme, the Federal Ministry of Education was able to develop a National Policy on Violence-Free Schools for Children in Nigeria and the implementation guideline,’ she said
She explained further that ‘SRGBV violates children’s fundamental human rights and is a form of gender discrimination. Children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence, including in their school lives.
‘Experiencing SRGBV can compromise a child’s well-being, their physical and emotional health, as well as harming their cognitive and emotional development.
‘Evidence suggests that SRGBV can also have long-term and far-reaching consequences for young people who have witnessed such violence.
‘This is because victims may grow up to repeat the behaviour that they have “learned” and to regard it as acceptable.’