UNESCO moves to develop reporting protocol for GBV in schools in 9 states

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UNESCO is working on developing a protocol for preventing, mitigating and reporting School Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) in nine states.

The Executive Director, Hope for Community Child Initiative (H4CC), Hadiza Umar, made this known in an interview with our Correspondent in Kaduna on Tuesday.

The H4CC is a partner for UNESCO.

Umar explained that the protocol was being developed under the UNESCO Our Rights, Our Lives, Our Future (O3) Programme, in partnership with the Swedish Government and the Federal Ministry of Education.

She identified the states as Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Ebonyi, Abia, Cross River, Lagos, and Taraba states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

She explained that the O3 programme aims to ensure that schools and community environments are safer, healthier, and inclusive for all young people.

She said that the training was currently ongoing in five of the nine states, adding that it would be extended to the remaining four states within the week.

She identified some of the participants to include learners, School-Based Management Committees, Parent Teacher Association, teachers, head teachers as well as members of the judiciaries, lawyers, and law enforcement officers.

According to her, the goal is to provide all learners with a safe school environment that is free from all forms of violence, and zero-tolerance for gender-based violence.

“SRGBV violates children’s fundamental human rights and is a form of gender discrimination. Children have the right to be protected from all forms of violence, including in their school lives.

“Experiencing SRGBV can compromise a child’s well-being, their physical and emotional health, as well as harming their cognitive and emotional development.

“Evidence suggests that SRGBV can also have long-term and far-reaching consequences for young people who have witnessed such violence.

“This is because victims may grow up to repeat the behaviour that they have ‘learned’ and to regard it as acceptable.”

Umar said that with the support of the O3 programme, the Federal Ministry of Education was able to develop a National Policy on Violence-Free Schools for Children in Nigeria and the implementation guideline.

She said that a comprehensive prototype school rules and guidelines that incorporates all forms of school related gender-based violence had also been developed.

Our Correspondent reports that in Abia state, the Commissioner for Education, Dr Kanaelechi Nwangwa, had during an advocacy visit by the O3 team, thanked the UNESCO_O3 partners for the initiative.

Nwangwa expressed support for zero tolerance for school-based gender violence.

Similarly, his counterpart in Taraba state, Mr. Johanes Jigem, equally declared the government’s support for zero tolerance to gender-based violence in schools.