The Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) has completed the first ever virtual online classroom training programme on the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Nigeria.
This programme is in partnership is with the joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative -a global multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of sexual and gender-based violence against women through various implementation programs and partners all over the world.
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. Following the high and increasing rate of sexual violence and harassment in these institutions; it was necessary to implement a program such as this to break the culture of silence, offer solutions and ensure the overall reduction of these cases.
The revolutionary online training programme involved over 3000 university students from 163 institutions across Nigeria. These participating students will now go on to cascade the knowledge learnt and also implement different awareness programs and activities in their various schools and communities as advocates and ambassadors.
The training ended with a symposium in Yaba, Lagos which reiterated the knowledge learnt and gave the students the opportunity to network, interact and brainstorm on the various ways to prevent gender based violence in their schools and communities.
One of the students in attendance, Adegoke Olawale; a 300 Level Student of the Lagos State University stated that it was good to know that there were solutions available for survivors of sexual violence and he would continue to create awareness to reduce sexual violence in his direct community.
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 stated that “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 said: “ WARIF is proud to partner with the UN and the EU on the Spotlight Initiative to reduce the prevalence of gender based violence in our tertiary institutions by working directly with the student based organizations 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.”