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UNESCO takes war to end sexual & gender based Violence to Ebonyi schools.

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By Ruth Oginyi

Group, Association for Reproductive and family Health says it is taking the battle to end Sexual and Gender Based Violence and harmful practices against Women and Girls to schools in Ebonyi State pointing that it is a legitimate fight which everyone should join.

The program is at the instance UNESCO as part of the EU UN Spotlight Initiative in the Ebonyi State.

During an Adocacy visit to Commissioner for Education Dr. Onyebuchi Chima in Abakaliki on friday, the Association said it has become important to involve school teachers in the campaign.

The leader of the team, Mr. Oladeji Adeyemi who is the Project Coordinator at the visit, explained that the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH) was contracted by the UNESCO to implement the project tagged “Activity 4.1.12 of the Spotlight Initiatives”.

He stated that the project will be implemented in six schools in three council areas and health facilities will be identified for the purpose of referral.

According to him, ARFH is supporting Collaboration between schools and health facilities to link schools to relevant services on Violence against Women and Girls/ Sexual and Gender Based Violence/ Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Sexual & Reproductive Health in selected Basic and Secondary Schools in Abakaliki, Ezza South, Onitcha and Ohazara LGAs.

“The battle to end Sexual and Gender Based Violence and harmful practices against Women and Girls is a legitimate fight that calls for all concerted effort of all stakeholders.

“In order to provide relevant services to victims of SGBV/HP, prevent or bring an end to it especially among In-school young people, teachers need to have better knowledge and capacity to deliver quality SGBV & HP information and referral services to their students.

“It is against this backdrop that the Spotlight Initiative, funded by the EU and United Nation Systems included this activity in it programme”. He said

Correspondent reports that the specific objectives of the project are: To Empower In-school girls and boys with information and life skills to resist gender related violence against girls and women, increase the access of abused girls and boys to services through referral to health facilities and other SI implementing CSOs, increase access of In and out of school adolescents to ASRH messages through Peer Education and outreach activities, as well as promote adoption of positive SRH behaviour among in-school young persons with disability and youth corps members in project states through implementation of FLHE for in-school young persons with disability, increased awareness and access to appropriate BCC/IEC materials and SRH services
ARFH will be training teachers on Family Life and HIV Education to reach students with factual information on Adolescent Reproductive Health and Gender issues.

Trained teachers however, will be expected to train peer educators who will be responsible for reaching their peers with information and referral services for VAWG/SGBV and SRH at health facilities and at other service delivery sites.

In his remarks, the Education Commissioner, while commending the EU and Resident United Nation Agencies for the Spotlight Initiative, appreciated ARFH for focusing on In-school young people.

He stressed that cases of Female genital Mutilation/circumcision, Wife beating, Violence against the girl child, Poor reproductive health knowledge, Teenage Pregnancy and consequent School dropout among others are still reported in some quarters.

He therefore expressed hope that the intervention of ARFH will make a lot of impact in the lives of Students in state.

He emphasized on the need to delineate Family Life and Health Education , which is a Federal Government approved curriculum for sexual and reproductive health among young people from Moral Instruction.

Dr. Chima assured them of the state’s readiness to partner with any group that is ready to key into the developmental vision of the present government.

Association for Reproductive and Family Health is collaborating with Safe Motherhood Ladies Association to implement the project in the state.#

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