Two United Nations (UN) organisations have called for the inclusion of Comprehension Sexuality Education in school curriculum in Nigeria.
The UN bodies that made the appeal are the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The stakeholders made the call on Thursday in Abuja through a digital dialogue on prevention of School-Related Gender Based Violence (GBV) with students in secondary and tertiary institutions.
The digital dialogue was organised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
UNESCO’S National Programme Officer for Education, Mrs Ngozi Amanze, said that it was important to implement an accurate, age-appropriate, culturally sensitive and gender transformative sexuality education in the country.
According to her, early sexuality education will equip children with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will promote good health and well-being, respect for human rights and gender equality.
Amanze said that UNESCO had evolved a global strategy for ensuring that children and young people had access to safe, inclusive health-promoting learning environment to check GBV.
She also said that plans were underway to develop a protocol for preventing, responding and reporting school-related GBV in three focus states.
Amenze enjoined youths to lend their voices to calls for the passage of the pending Acts and Bills on Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill that had been domesticated in five states and others.
“Be the change you want to see by becoming change agent, do not be complacent. Ensure that you report any form of violence to the necessary authorities or a trusted fellow, and do not be rape apologists,” she urged.
The Regional Director of UNESCO in Nigeria, Mr Ydo Yao, had encouraged the youths to speak out against any form of violence, as well as contribute towards achieving gender equality in the country.
“This is your opportunity, as part of the solutions, to get your voices heard, to contribute to achieving gender equality and a world where women and girls, men and boys live free of gender based violence,” he said.
According to him, UNESCO will incorporate outcomes of the dialogue in its implementation strategies.
Similarly, a UNODC official, Ms Lulu Asaad, said that the dialogue would provide a platform to get young people to share their experiences on issues of gender-based violence, and school-related gender based violence.
Asaad also said that the dialogue would enable the participants discuss and share ideas on how to prevent, respond and report GBV as well as proposed ways government should tackle it.
Ms Hadiza Umar, the Executive Director of Hope for Communities and Children Initiative, an NGO, admonished youths to know and understand laws on their rights and protection.
Umar further advised youths to be cautious of the sites they visit on the internet, friends and codes used to send messages.
The executive director also called on youths to be provided with spaces that would enable them express their views, learn and be included in decision making.
Dr Ugochukwu Ufoegbune, who represented the Federal Ministry of Education, reiterated government’s commitment to addressing GBV and ensuring a safe place in school environment.
Ms Rukayat Raheem, a 25-year-old undergraduate, called on parents and the society to pay attention to the education of the male child, who were usually the perpetrators of violence against women and girls.
Raheem also called on governments to enact laws that would reduce violence against women and girls as well provide empowerment programmes for women and girls to reduce inequality.
Another student, Ms Abisoye Onajirin also advised parents to develop a code that would enable their children communicate messages to them when faced with difficult situations.
Ms Ikeoluwa Ogunbosoye, a 13-year-old student,however, decried the spate of gender based violence, especially during the lockdown when there was high number of rape cases.(NAN)