By Mary Agidi
The Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation, BAAF, has captured six out of the 18 Local Government areas of Ondo State for the distribution of 400,000 Sexual and Gender-Based Violence’s Protective Yellow Cards for secondary school girls, and the training of Schools’ Counsellors.
At the latest two days workshop for Counsellors from Ese-Odo and Ilaje LGAs, held in Igbokoda the Ilaje local government headquarters, each participant was given 250 cards to share among girls in their schools.
In an interview with this writer, some participants expressed satisfaction with the initiative of the wife of Ondo State governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu for taking it upon herself to prevent school girls from being molested sexually.
In her comment, a Counsellor from the C&S Academy Ilaje, Mrs Eke Folasade disclosed that prior to this workshop, incidents of sexual Violence used to be swept under the carpet by the Community people but now she has been empowered by BAAF on the necessary step to take immediately.
She said: “This workshop is very interesting, it’s one of the programmes that I have been expecting to come to our area here so that our people will know what is going on about the issue of rape. I so much like this programme because in our secondary school cases like this do happen but we teachers don’t have much to say because we don’t have power.
“It is most of the time handled by the community, but now that we’ve been thought the necessary steps to take, and with all these lectures we are bold enough to help victims”.
Mr Michael Adeyemi from Community high school Kiribo said: “This is a very nice programme, it develops teachers and when we get back to school we will impact the knowledge to our students, the management and the staffers”
Another Counsellor from Derimobo Model College, Agadagba-Obon, Mrs Owei Inaidou also expressed satisfaction with the approach adopted by the Ondo First Lady to tackle the menace, saying, ” the presentation and the interractive session was very good, and the welfare aspect of it is commendable”.
Also speaking, Mr Iganah Festus from Community Grammar School Igbobini said” We find this programme interesting and we will take the message to our various schools and see it implemented; while Mr Omotehinse from Community Grammar School Araromi seaside Ilaje affirmed that incidents of SGBV had gone beyond normal in our current dispensation and lauded the decision to take the campaign to school settings.
Taking the participants through Ethical issues related to GBV, the BAAF Coordinator, Mr Austin Otabor noted that Counsellors need fairness, impartiality, and respect for privacy of victims of sexual and gender based Violence.
While explaining the objectives and the usage of the SGBV Card, he hinted that the initiator targeted provision of 400,000 Public Secondary school girls with the protective yellow cards.
The Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Gender Research and Documentation, Mrs Temitope Daniyan charged them to be patient, good listener, knowledgeable and maintain confidentiality.
She gave them the do’s and don’t of GBV response, noting that as Counsellors, they are to respect and protect the right and need of all person and should not make assumption or judgement while attending to an issue.
She reminded them to be mindful of the victim’s background, level of education, and identify where they are coming from in order to know the appropriate step to take about their issues.
The participants were made to practical ise dramatic demonstration of how to respond to SGBV complaints by their students, while the Emergency response numbers were therefore released to them and also certificates of participation.