The Federal Government has been urged to include gender studies in academic curriculum from primary school up to tertiary level.
Making the call during a sensitization awareness on gender based violence, principal of Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) Yola, Rifkatu Magaji said the call has become imperative in view of the rising cases of sexual and gender based violence in the country.
The program was organized by the Sultan foundation for peace and development with support from spotlight initiative, Wednesday.
The principal who was represented by Gilando Yohanna Kwem, a teacher in the school promised to step down the knowledge learnt to other students of the school.
“The government should include gender studies right from primary, junior and senior secondary schools and even tertiary institutions.
“The students should also be encouraged to speak any form of gender based violation whether in school or outside the school. We should also come up with suggestion box where girls can drop their concerns in respect of the gender based violence,” he said.
He called on the authorities to ensure stringent punishment on perpetrators of gender based violence as they constitute a menace to the society.
Also speaking, Amina Mohammed Ali, the program assistant of the foundation in Adamawa State noted that the aim of the project is to work with relevant stakeholders including traditional, religious and youth leaders to end the menace which has become rampant over the years.
“We are implementing the spotlight initiative project on ending all forms of violence against women and girls. This is the phase 2 of the project. We implemented the phase 1 last year and we did it on prevention. By that we are talking about the male engagement component where we targeted men who will be champions of women and they will stand against all forms of violence against women and girls.
“In phase 2, we are targeting girls in secondary schools and girls in tertiary institutions. We shall discuss, interact with them and engage with them on gender equitable norms.
“We shall also engage them in discussions about some of the cultural norms that are perpetrated against them leading to the occurrence of gender based violence. So basically this engagement will bring about shift in gender stereotyping with regards to women and young girls,” she said.
She noted that the 250 girls that will be covered will be selected from Yola north and Mubi North local governments of the state.
She noted that the Wednesday’s activity is the second in the series of activities involving 60 schoolgirls.
She noted that at the end of the project, it is expected that there will be monumental shift in gender stereotyping and other social norms that bar the girl child from achieving her potentials which also exercerbate gender based violence.
“There will be a shift in gender stereotyping or some of the social norms restricting or limiting the girl child from achieving her potentials there by leading to the perpetration of SGBV against her,” she said.
She called on the general public especially parents not to hesitate in reporting any forms of gender based violence noting that the lethargic disposition of communities towards such cases make perpetrators to be emboldened to commit more of such atrocities in the future.
“We have a referral pathway, people should not hesitate to report any case of gender based violence because some of them don’t even know that these things are punishable. If we keep quite nothing will be achieved. The communities should stand up and ensure perpetrators are punished,” she said.
Some of the students interviewed by our reporter including Rejoice James, Binta Musa and Bwangsiki Gilbert noted that they were positively impacted by the knowledge acquired.
They vowed to be good ambassadors of the campaign against any form of gender based violence as it is inimical to the well being of those afflicted.
Also speaking, the representative of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Fatima Mandara, urged the schoolgirls not to hesitate in reporting any form of sexual based violence to the authorities adding that her organization is always ready to recieve and act on any form of human right violation.