*As BTO sponsors training of School Counsellors from own constituency
Wife of Ondo State governor, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has given out 25, 000.00 Yellow Cards to Secondary school girls in Akoko North East and North West as both defensive and preventive tool against sexual and gender related abuses.
The cards were shared to the school girls through the secondary school counsellors for whom capacity building workshop on Sexual and Gender- Based Violence Workshop was organized. Fifty schools were represented through their counsellors and each counsellor took away 500 cards for own school.
The workshop held at Akoko Northwest Local Government Secretariat, Oke-Agbe, was sponsored by Member representing Akoko North East/ West Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon. Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, while resource persons were drawn from Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation (BAAF), Ministries of Women Affairs, Justice and Education.
According to the Director of Operations, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation, Austin Otabor, the training is essentially to build the capacity of school counsellors towards identifying early signs of abuse in school children, particularly the girls.
He said, “Studies have shown that cases of sexual and gender abuses are more prevalent with young girls of secondary school age and that they spend most of their time in schools, hence, the school counsellors constitute critical stakeholders in identifying girls who are proned to sexual and gender related abuses, and in identifying those with signs of abuse among them.
“Instead of randomly distributing cards to school girls, the cards were shared among the 50 counsellors who represented 50 secondary schools. And apart from distributing the Awareness Cards to 500 girls in each school, the counsellors are also to establish anti-gender based violence clubs in the 50 schools represented.”
Irabor added, “Expert trainers were drawned from Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation and the various ministries to train the participants who at the end of the workshop are expected to: understand the principle of human rights in relation to GBV legislations in Nigeria, importance of the violence against persons prohibition act.(VAPP)
“While the Yellow Card contains, among other features, toll-free numbers that potential victims of abuse could call to report tendencies of abuse, it is meant to enbolden school girls to report cases of abuse. Also, participants are also expected to establish and successful anti GBV clubs in schools; Incorporate the yellow card initiative into school GBV prevention and response effort, and develop a plan for the next step to build prevention and response to GBV for follow up and continuing action after the workshop.”
The State Chairperson of the Federation of Female Lawyers, FIDA, Mrs Bola Ogundadegbe, educated the participants on SGBV legislations in Ondo State and commended the model adopted by the First Lady in combating cases of sexual and gender-based abuses.
Director of Evaluation and Counseling in the Ministry of Education, Mrs Olufunke Ademuyiwa, commended the initiative and give assurances of that the ministry will provide requisite support and ensure that the training produces good results.
The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Gender Research and Documentation, Mrs. Temitope Daniyan, said the issue of SGBV has become a major threat to the society and one requiring prompt intervention from relevant stakeholders. She applauded the First Lady for providing leadership in this regard by coming up with initiatives to put the sexual related crimes under control.