..we’ve been alerted, ready to rise against SGBV- Participants
As the four days workshop on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), for Public Schools Counsellors in Akoko North West and East ends today, the wife of Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has instructed the participants to go back to their various schools and effect changes by establishing anti-SGBV Club.
The Ondo First Lady who organised the workshop through her non-govermental organisation, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation, BAAF, in support of the Federal Lawmaker representing Akoko North West and East, Hon. Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, noted that the idea of creating anti-SGBV Club in schools was to ensure that the workshop yield expected outcome.
The BAAF Coordinator, who spoke on behalf of the wife of the governor in Ikare-Akoko today, Mr Austin Otabor, emphasised the need for sustainability of the objectives of the workshop which was to eliminate SGBV in the public schools and for the Counsellors to identify early warning signs of violence in their school girls.
He said: “The anti-SGBV Club is another way we are going to evaluate the activities of the Counsellors, because ideally, every Counsellor here has been empowered to go back to their school and give the girls the yellow card, to give them the information and to sustain the programme, establish the anti-SGBV Club.
“Anti-SGBV Club is more or less like a sustainability plan and through the club other activities like awareness and preventive measures can be implemented”.
According to him, now that the Counsellors had been equipped, it is expected of them to do the needful which is scale up, “by calling the emergency response number for appropriate legal, medical and psychosocial support for victims”.
He added that with the knowledge the participants acquired, it is expected that the number of those who are willing to speak about violence they are experiencing would increase, saying, “we hope that this will lead to reduction in sexual and gender based violence among public school girls in Ondo State”.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Gender, Research and Documentation, Mrs Temitope Daniyan who educated the participants on ethical issues related to SGBV, said if they put into practice all what they learned, the menace would definitely decrease in their localities.
Giving them tips on how to be good Counsellors, being a Counsellor herself, Daniyan urged them to be patient and attentive in order to extract useful information from students, and learn to interpret non-verbal communication.
She described the response of the participants as excellent, while observing that most of them were co-opted into Counselling task in their schools due to the shortage of Professional Counsellors.
She, however, enjoined them to see it as a service to humanity and discharge the additional duty as expected, saying, “I commend the school Counsellors, they all came and cooperated so well, and we have seen that this kind of workshop is not something that is regular because some of them told us that this is the first workshop they would be attending; so, it is an eye opener and something that excited them”.
Some participants who spoke with JATS ONLINE NEWS described the initiative as a unique training, noting that it’s evident that government is really concerned about the welfare of its citizens.
“We have been alerted on how to stop sexual based violence, I appreciate the wife of the governor for this”, says Mr Adigun Ikinijo from Comprehensive High School, Ikare-Akoko.
Also speaking, Mr. Anthony Gbadamosi from Agolo high school said, “This training is fantastic, this shows that government is actually doing something about social vices in our society”.
Mrs. Jayeoba Aderonke from Community high school Iboropa Akoko said she was really enlightened and assured of her readiness to ensure that number of victims were reduced in her environment.
BAAF therefore shared 12,500 Yellow awareness cards among the participants to distribute among their students and also presented them certificates of participation.