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THE fight against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence will yield greater results if teenage boys and young adults are engaged in the campaign, says Chinyere Eyoh, the Executive Director of the Sexual Offences Awareness and Victims Rehabilitation Initiative (SOAR Initiative).
Eyoh made this known at a training workshop in Abuja which is part of SOAR’s project aimed at engaging adolescent boys to end sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The project is being organised with support from the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) with funds from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).
The workshop focused on building participants’ knowledge around SGBV, gender norms/roles and unequal power relations which have been revealed as root causes for the prevalence of gender-based violence.
Participants at the workshop were made up of male teachers selected from various public and private schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), as well as some youths. They are expected to mentor and provide support to their male students who will, in turn, be mobilised and empowered to advocate and campaign against the menace of SGBV.
“SGBV will end when men and boys, who have power and decision-making ability tilted in their favour, play an active role in denouncing the actions of some men who commit sexual violence against women and children,” Eyoh said.
Also speaking at the workshop, the Consultant Coordinator of the University of Abuja Law Clinic, Chima Madu, took participants through an interactive session on Human Rights, SGBV and the laws in Nigeria.
This was intended to increase the knowledge of the participants on the existing laws and how these laws can be engaged in addressing SGBV. Provision for access to justice and psychosocial support has also been put in place for boys who will disclose abuse during the project.
Also in attendance at the workshop were the Deputy Director, Gender, of the FCT Education Secretariat, Rashida Apahade, and Nafisat Kote, from the FCT Universal Basic Education Board. They both gave their support for the project and stated that it is long overdue since most intervention projects which partnered with schools against sexual violence focused on the girl-child.
Apahade further encouraged the teachers present to give their personal commitment in ensuring that schools in the FCT are violence-free.