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WARIF trains varsity students on sexual violence

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The Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) has completed the first ever virtual classroom training on the prevention of sexual violence in Nigeria.

This programme is in partnership is with the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, a global multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations to eliminate all forms of sexual and gender-based violence against women through various implementation programmes and partners across the world.

The initiative represents a global effort to invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment as a driver for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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The project was launched in January 2020 with the aim of increasing the awareness of gender-based violence, and to design and adopt school-related gender-based violence policies in tertiary institutions.

The programme involved over 3,000 university students from 163 institutions across Nigeria.  The participating students will now go on to cascade the knowledge learnt and also implement different awareness programmes and activities in their various schools and communities as advocates and ambassadors.

The training ended with a symposium in Yaba, Lagos, which reiterated the knowledge learnt and gave the students the opportunity to network, interact and brainstorm on the various ways to prevent gender-based violence in their schools and communities.

One of the students, Adegoke Olawale, a 300-level student of Lagos State University, said it was good to know there were solutions available for survivors of sexual violence and he would continue to create awareness to reduce sexual violence in his community.

Speaking on the prevalence of sexual violence in tertiary institutions and the partnership with WARIF; Ms Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said: “Breaking the silence on sex for grades, and exposing the magnitude of the issue, is the first step to ending sexual harassment and violence in tertiary institutions.

“We need laws and policies, both at the level of the institutions and at the national level. We remain committed to supporting the government and people of Nigeria to end sexual harassment in tertiary institutions.”

Founder of WARIF, Dr Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, said: “WARIF is proud to partner with the UN and EU on the Spotlight Initiative to reduce the prevalence of gender-based violence in our tertiary institutions by working directly with student-based organisations and school authorities in adopting strategies and facilitating mechanisms that will provide the much needed support and safety to all students on campuses.”

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