The World Bank-supported Kaduna State Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment project has trained 30,000 academic and non-academic staff of secondary schools on what it tagged, ‘School-Related Gender-Based Violence Safeguarding’.
The AGILE GBV Officer, Hajiya Aisha Mohammed, stated this in Zaria during the training of 1,663 secondary school staff members from the Kaduna North Senatorial District.
She identified the staff as principals of government secondary schools, Grievance Redress Mechanism Officials and Guidance and Counselling Officers.
She revealed that 300 staff members within the Kaduna Central Senatorial Zone have been trained, adding that others within Kaduna South Senatorial Zone would also be trained until the 30,000 staff target has been covered.
This, according to her, is part of efforts by the AGILE project to enshrine SRGBV prevention and mitigation such that all adolescent girls in the state would be able to attend secondary schools safely.
Mohammed explained that the training was critical following the significant infrastructural investments and upgrades being undertaken by the Kaduna AGILE project in 550 secondary schools, with an accompanying increase in the number of workers.
The GBV officer explained that AGILE’s objective is to improve secondary education opportunities among adolescent girls by addressing constraints that limit adolescent girls’ ability to complete secondary school.
Speaking on the state’s SRGBV Safeguarding Code of Conduct, Hajiya Zainab Maina-Lukat, the project’s Technical Assistant on System Strengthening, said each of the 30,000 staff would sign the CoC.
She noted that in all, the CoC has 15 commitments to which all staff and site workers would be expected to adhere to as part of the effort to prevent gender-based violence in schools.
She explained that the CoC was based on the Kaduna State’s Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law, Child Welfare and Protection Law, GBV prevention policies, as well as the State’s and National Teachers’ Policies.
She disclosed that among the CoC’s commitments, staff and site workers were required to refrain from any form of sexual exploitation and abuse, inappropriate sexual behaviour or acts toward students or staff.
The technical assistant also said that the CoC also prohibits the use of sexually suggestive language and inappropriate physical contact with students, including the beating of any student.
“The SRGBV training and CoC is an excellent example of a collective process and action of deepening and safeguarding measures within education sector agencies.
“The agencies include the Teachers Service Board, State Universal Basic Education Board, and the Kaduna State Quality Assurance Authority.
“Other agencies include the Ministry of Human Services and Social Development, Ministry for Justice, and Ministry for Health, as well as the Partnership for Education for All in Nigeria programme,” she said.
Mr. Joseph Damola, one of the facilitators at the training, noted that access to justice plays an important role in the fight to end GBV in schools and communities.
“It is important to have a well-coordinated and integrated justice response system. This will enhance the conviction of perpetrators and contribute to the safety and well-being of survivors,” he added.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the UN said GBV is the most pervasive, yet least visible human rights violation in the world.
It includes physical, sexual, mental, or economic harm inflicted on a person because of socially ascribed power imbalances between males and females.
It also includes the threat of violence, coercion, and deprivation of liberty, whether in public or private.