The second phase of the lend a voice project organized by Youthcare Development and Empowerment Initiative that held at Reol Events Events Centre, Ashi, Ibadan, Oyo State, began at 8:50 am with the calling of the dignitaries present consisting of; The Executive Director Dr Adefunke Ekine, The Chairperson of the program Professor Esther Oduolowu, Professor R.O Akinbote, the representative of the YcDEI board members Pastor Adesola Adesokan, Mr. Fowowe Simeon, Dr. Temitayo Ogunsanwo, and SUBEB representatives Mr. Raji and Dr Adeosun to the high table. The national anthem was then sung to officially start off the program.
In the welcome address delivered by Dr Adefunke Ekine, she expressed her appreciation to the members of the high table for being present at the occasion, and then went on to expatiate on the reason behind the Lend a Voice training. She stated that an earlier study conducted on university students showed that many Gender Based Violence cases begin at the stage when children are in primary school, and that most stakeholders such as parents, teachers and religious leaders have no training on how to handle such cases. She explained that the gap in such an essential field birthed the Lend a Voice Project organized by Youthcare Development and Empowerment Initiative (YcDEI), which aims at ensuring the safety of primary school pupils by providing stakeholders involved with adequate education on the prevention and case management of School Related Gender Based Violence (SRGBV) in primary schools.
The Chairperson of the program Professor Esther Oduolowu then gave her speech which she began by appreciating the organizers of the program and congratulating the participants. In her speech, she highlighted the vulnerability of children and their dependency on adults to care for, and protect them before expressing hopes that the training will empower all present with the capacity to protect children by properly combating SRGBV. She concluded by encouraging the participants to be open minded and actively be involved during the training sessions.
In the goodwill message delivered by SUBEB representative Mr. Raji, the importance of respecting the rights of children was expounded. While OMEP Representative Mrs Segun Dipe, emphasized on gender equality and urged the stakeholders to be open minded in their learning in her goodwill message. Afterwards, the gifts to SUBEB were presented. Professor R. O Akinbote then presented his goodwill message which he used to state the need to combat all forms of violence against children.
The opening remark was then taken by Ms Olufunke Baruwa, Program Officer Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice, Ford Foundation. She began her speech by outlining the effects and importance of combating SRGBV. She also commended YcDEI for taking the initiative of looking into such afflicted area, before speaking against all forms of child abuse and domestic violence in particular. In conclusion she urged all present to have a sense of a community by being vigilant and reporting all forms of violence against children.
After the speeches, the pre-test was taken and all representatives from the schools present were recognized before the reading of the general ground rules guiding the program were read by Mrs. Oluwatoyin Adebayo. A short video clip about a female child whose mother discouraged her from speaking out after being abused by a family friend was played for the audience. Participants were then asked to share what they felt the mother should have done in such a situation. 3 males and a female participant expressed that fear, bribery, position and power are factors that contribute to the behavior exhibited by the mother, and then concluded that the mother was wrong to not encourage her daughter to speak out. Professor Oduolowu rounded up the discussion by stating agencies that could be of help in such instances, and encouraging stakeholders to help protect children by speaking out.
The first module titled: Overview of School Related Gender Based Violence (SRGBV) and Gender Issues was then taken by Dr Adefunke Ekine. During this session, participants were taught extensively on the meaning, forms and causes of SRGBV. They were further equipped with the necessary information to aid them in preventing and managing cases.
After the tea break, an invigorating ice breaker was conducted by Dr Temitayo Ogunsanwo to help participants loosen up and get to know one another. Mrs Bolaji the representative of the Minister of Education Barrister Olaleye Olasukkunmi began her speech by encouraging all present to spread the awareness and desist from all forms of child violence. She also stated that the ministry had a response team that can be contacted to help combat SRGBV. In her speech lauded such trainings and stated that curbing SRGBV is a collaborative effort and that parents, teachers, religious institutions and the government have to do their part. Afterwards the gifts to the Ministry of Education were presented.
The second module titled: Child’s Right and SRGBV was taken by Mr. Fowowe Simeon. He started with a song to help participants loosen up, and then moved on to the aspect where stakeholders were taught on the image and characteristics of a child in primary school, and the responsibilities of a teacher, parent and community leaders to the child. The representative from the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion Mrs Ilori Oladele Funmilayo delivered her speech stating that Gender Based Violence knows no race or social standing, and urged all involved to desist, she called out a toll free line to be contacted in cases of School Related Gender Based Violence. The gifts for the Ministry, these include 10 copies of pupil’s training manual and 10 copies of stakeholders training manual were presented.
The third Module titled: Case Management on Sexual Violence and Caring for Victims was taken by Barrister Deborah Collins. She provided guiding principles for service provision for SRGBV victims, referring victims for medical attention, the rights of victims, and where to seek for help regarding cases of SRGBV. The program was then brought to an end at some minutes past 2:00 pm by Dr Adefunke Ekine, the Executive Director of Ycdei.
The day two of the training began with the singing of the national anthem, and then moved on to the ice breaker conducted by Dr Temitayo Ogunsanwo. Afterwards, participants were quizzed on what they had been taught the previous day by Mrs Toyin Adebayo. Both male and female stakeholders shared points on the rights of children, case management and agencies to be contacted in cases of violence against children. Dr Ogunsanwo rounded up the recap session by appreciating the stakeholders for their responses, and urging teachers to keep learning about the rights of children so they can help prevent their violation by parents and teachers alike.
The first module for the day titled Stakeholder’s Responsibility was taken by Mrs Oyeteju Odufuwa. Participants were taught how to identify a stakeholder, the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder in the care of SRGBV survivors, and the interconnectedness and interactions among stakeholders. The participants were also equipped with the reporting mechanism of SRGBV cases, as well as how to ensure confidentiality of information provided by survivors. Participants were grouped by category to have closer interactions and then presented the thoughts and discussions of each group. A play on SRGBV scenarios was conducted among the participants to provide practical experience with handling cases of SRGBV and providing adequate support.
The second and last module for the day titled: Power was taught by Mrs Oyebola Oni who enlightened participants on its types, when and how to use it, and the limits and effects on SRGBV. During the session, stakeholders shared their opinions on, and asked questions about the subject at hand.
After the session, the post test questionnaires were answered individually and the gifts to schools as well as certificates of participation were presented to all participants. The program was then brought to an end by a brief address and vote of thanks from the Executive Director.