With a clear understanding of children’s role in societal development, the Lagos State Government has certified 400 additional school children as Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) ambassadors, to curb the menace in society.
The 400 additional school children, who have also been given badges through its Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), would serve as advocates against SGBV within their schools and communities, sensitizing Lagosians on how they could avoid becoming offenders and join the fight toward achieving a society free from such violence.
These new ambassadors from Education District III & IV were inducted yesterday into the Kings and Queens Club, a forum established by DSVA to build young advocates for a better society free from Sexual and Gender-Based Violence.
At the induction ceremony held after six weeks of intensive training simultaneously at the Lagos City College, Yaba District 4, and Dolphin Secondary High School, Lagos Island District 3, the school children were charged tasked with the mandate to bring the required change to society.
At the Lagos City College, Yaba, the Executive Secretary, DSVA, Titilola Viviour-Adeniyi, who gave the charge, stressed that the aim behind the training was for them to internalize all they have been taught into their daily lifestyle as well as inculcate it into their peers.
She added that the state government’s desire to put them through anger management, sexual and gender-based violence, masculinity, and others, was to build an army of citizens that would grow up to become responsible individuals in society.
Viviour-Adeniyi, who was represented by the Programme Officer for Kings club, Damilare Adewusi, said that young people were faced with various challenges including violence and crime that undermined their potential and rights, adding, this violence and crime against young people consequently created high social and economic costs for society.
According to Vivour-Adeniyi, the Agency formed the Kings and Queens Club in the schools to help them know their rights and tackle issues of sexual and gender-based violence when confronted with such instances
”Gender-based violence (GBV) is violence involving men and women, in which the female is usually the victim; and is derived from unequal power relationships between men and women. As a state government, we are unrelenting in our stance to rid the State of SGBV and we are also committed to creating systems/organisations that prepare both genders to thrive in a world riddled with SGBV.
”Any child in Nigeria is entitled to some rights as a child and these rights are enshrined in Section 3 to Section 14 of the Child Right Law, 2015. Some of these rights include – Right to freedom of Discrimination (Section 9) and Right to Dignity of a Child (Section 10),” She added.
According to her, I will like to encourage the beneficiaries to see this as an opportunity to brace up and enlighten their environment and enlighten their colleagues because they are supposed to be peer educators.
”So they are supposed to go back to their schools, established the Kings Club and the Queens Club, and make sure that they continue to pass on the message. Domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault are crimes against the state and they should not be tolerated. Perpetrators should not be encouraged, they should be punished and victims should not be subjected to any form of punishment.
”They should actually be shielded, be covered and they should know their rights, they should encourage their peers to speak up in the case of any form of gender-based violence or sexual abuse or domestic violence,” she said.
A mentor for the project, Taiwo Amusa, who said that the club would help to renew the society by impacting the required knowledge on the students in Lagos State, appealed to other state governments to emulate Lagos State, so as to renew the environment to be crisis-free, domestic violence free, war free, and abuse free, hence, having peaceful society for ”forward Nigeria”.
One of the ambassadors, Agomo Augustina from Birrel Avenue Senior High School, Sabo Yaba, promised to inculcate the idea she had learnt into her peers by setting up a Queen’s club where they would be exposed to the dangers of SGBV.
“When I get back to school, I will set up a club where schoolchildren will be exposed to the danger gender-based violence poses to society and how they can become a change agent for the state”.