From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The ActionAid Nigeria (AAN) in partnership with Global Peace Development (GPD), with funding from Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), is working to establish safe spaces for secondary school girls in six Local Government Areas of Nasarawa State.
This is one of the programmes of Structure Strengthening Approach Against Radicalisation to Violent extremist (SARVE 2) project which is aimed at reducing violence in Lafia, Obi, Nasarawa Eggon, Akwanga, Nassarawa and Toto Local Government Areas of the state.
The Executive Director of GPD, Mr Ebruke Esike, made this known recently during a state two-day workshop on girls safe space held at Kini Country Guest Inn, Akwanga Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
Mr Esike said that the training was to build the capacities of the young girls and their mentors for the establishment of safe spaces in their schools in order to mitigate violent extremist and gender based violence against women and girls.
He further stated that the training will strengthen young girls and build their capacity to be able to speak up when faced with challenges that undermine their growth and development.
Mr Ebruke maintained that rape was one of the major components of the United Nations Security Council which specifies that women and girls must be prevented against sexual and gender based violence in the country, stressing that to end this, safe spaces must be established in academic environments.
He therefore, called on the Nasarawa State Government and other critical stakeholders to support the advocacy and ensure that perpetrators of rape are arrested and prosecuted according to the law.
Also speaking, the programme officer, SARVE 2 Project, Mr Aliyu Adamu, said that the training will build the capacities of the secondary school girls in leadership and communication skills as well as bring out their good attributes to enable them mentor the younger ones in their school.
He further encouraged the school girls to pursue their developmental careers and explore other potentials that would enable them excel in life.
In her remark, the Desk Officer, Ministry of Education, Nasarawa State, Mrs Salamatu Abdullahi, said that with the introduction of the safe spaces, the ministry will create clubs in different schools in the six LGAs of the state.
She further stated that teachers would serve as mentors while the ministry will monitor all the activities and make sure that the girls’ rights are protected.
Some of the students who spoke with The Voice include; Goodness Odeh of Government Secondary School, Akwanga and Kauna Danladi of Azuba Community Secondary School, Lafia, who both expressed happiness for being part of the training.
They appealed to the organisers of the programme to implement same to other states of the federation to enable other school girls stand for their rights.
Over 36 secondary schools girls were trained alongside their mentors during the programme.