An organisation working to promote gender inclusiveness and safety in Adamawa State has taken campaign against gender based violence to students in their schools.
The Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development, supported by the Spotlight Initiative, is currently running a series of workshops for which 10 secondary schools in the state were selected.
The Foundation was at the General Murtala Mohammed College (GMMC), Yola, on Wednesday when resource persons lectured nearly a hundred students picked from both senior and junior classes on how they are expected to protect gender sanctity.
“Positive social norms include respect for the peculiar ways girls and women behave and how we ought alwaya to try and avoid violence against them,” one of the resource persons told the students of the boys-only school who attended the Workshop on gender based violence (GBV).
The workshop featured lecture presentation on GBV, following which students were given time to contribute their impressions or ask questions, making it an interactive session.
The Programme Officer of the Sultan Foundation for Peace and Development, Dr Ahmed Ibrahim, explained to newsmen that five boys-only secondary schools and five girls colleges were being visited for similar GBV interactive sessions.
“We are by involving students trying to leave no one behind, because these young ones have their part in the quest to inculcate gender safety in our people,” Ahmed Ibrahim said.
He added, “We are sensitising the students to challenge norms that encourage GBV. We are sensitising the students on how not to be perpetrators of GBV and how not to become survivors of GBV.”
He said the reach out to students in the anti-GBV campaign falls within the Phase 2 of the Spotlight Initiative programme.
“In Phase 1, we targeted adults: traditional rulers and religious leaders,” he explained.
He said the concept of leave no one behind (LNOB), a holistic approach towards ending the menace, informed the decision to take the anti-GBV campaign to schools, the aim being to work with all relevant stakeholders to end the GBV menace.
“We implemented the phase 1 last year and we did it on prevention. We targeted men who were encouraged to stand against all forms of violence against women and girls,” he said.
He added that the engagements in the course of the two phases are designed to achieve a shift in gender stereotyping that encourages GBV.
With particular reference to the students targeted in boys-only schools, Ahmed Ibrahim said the ongoing workshops at the different schools will give the schoolboys a new understanding of how to reject norms that do not add value to human life and relationships.