In another strategy to prevent Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the State, the Wife of the governor, Betty Anyanwu – Akeredolu, has commenced the training of Public Secondary Schools Counsellors in Akoko Local Government area of the state.
The training, which was organised through her Non-governmental organisation, Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu Foundation, (BAAF), kicked off in Akoko North West, with a special feature being the launch of the SGBV Yellow card initiative in the area.
Addressing participants, the BAAF Coordinator, Mr. Austin Otabor, explained that Counsellors had pivotal roles to play in achieving desirable results in the fight against SGBV, being the ones saddled with the responsibility of encouraging and motivating students.
According to him, statistics show that secondary school girls were susceptible to SGBV but many have continued to suffer in silence.
They can however be motivated by Counsellors to voice out, hence the need to awake the consciousness of the participants with the training.
The BAAF Coordinator noted that First Ladies in the country had adopted different approaches to fight SGBV in their various states.
Training of school Counsellors and the launch of the Yellow card initiative were part of the strategies adopted by Mrs. Akeredolu to curb the menace in Ondo.
He expressed the commitment of BAAF to train all Public Secondary Schools’ Counsellors across the 18 Local Government areas of the state, with support from stakeholders in each local government.
The workshop, sponsored by the Lawmaker representing Akoko North East/West, Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, has facilitators from the State Ministries of Education, Women Affairs, and Justice.
The Director, Evaluation and Counseling, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Olufunke Ademuyiwa , lauded the step taken by the wife of the governor towards curtailing SGBV in the state and assured of the readiness of her Ministry to provide full support by ensuring that the workshop yields expected outcome.
Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Gender Research and Documentation, Mrs Temitope Daniyan, asserted that the issue of SGBV was becoming rampant in the society and calls for prompt intervention from stakeholders, hence the reason the office of the wife of governor came up with the two initiatives to put the crime under control.
State Chairperson of the Federation of Female Lawyers ( FIDA ), Mrs. Bola Ogundadegbe, who took the participants through SGBV legislation in Ondo State, also commended the approach of the First Lady and enjoined the participants to effect changes in their schools with what they’d learnt.
Some of the eight objectives of the workshop include, identify early warning signs of abuse among school children and how to report GBV cases, understand ethical issues related to GBV, incorporate the Yellow card initiative into the school GBV prevention and response efforts, understand the principles of human rights, among others.
The workshop was interractive in nature as participants were made to list out their expectations and what they presumed could serve as obstacles for the fight against SGBV.
They were divided into groups to test their knowledge about SGBV and participated actively in every session.
For day one of the workshop, the participants were taken through terminologies related to SGBV, causes and misconception in Nigeria, Sex and Gender, human rights and its relationship with GBV, and about GBV legislation in Ondo State.