BY SAMUEL ABULUDE, Lagos
Women at Risk International Organization (WARIF) in partnership with the Joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative and the Lagos State University (LASU) has developed a protocol document to foster the prevention of sexual and gender based violence in tertiary institutions across the country.
Following the success of two cycles of the WARIF prevention of campus sexual violence program, the organization realized the need to develop a document that will guide not just students but also faculty and administration of these tertiary institutions on tackling the menace of campus sexual violence.
The document which has its preface written by Ms. Comfort Lamptey, the UN Country Representative to Nigeria covers prevention, response mechanisms as well as the important duties and responsibilities of management as well as students in the prevention of sexual violence.
A presentation of the document was made to the Lagos State Commissioner of Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo and to the Federal Ministry of Education through its Deputy Director; Gender – Mrs Abukar Janigo who commended WARIF on the incredible work being done in the educational space.
Speaking on the importance of the document, WARIF founder, Dr Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, stated: “with the rising rate of rape and sexual violence in tertiary institutions across Nigeria, a document like this is necessary to educate students, staff and governing bodies about the steps to follow when faced with these situations. WARIF is proud to partner with the Joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative as well as the Lagos State University School Related Gender Based Violence Response Team to reduce the prevalence of gender based violence in our tertiary institutions by working directly with the student based organizations and the school authorities in adopting strategies as stipulated in the protocol document and facilitating and strengthening existing mechanisms that will provide the much needed support and safety to all students on campuses across the Country.”
The document was also presented the Rector of Lagos State Polytechnic, Dr Oluremi Nurudeen Olaleye as well as representatives of the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education at a capacity building session hosted by WARIF in Lagos recently. The document has been shared with various tertiary institutions across the federation including the University of Lagos, Federal Technical College Lagos, the University of Abuja, Covenant University amongst others, encouraging these bodies to adopt and implement the strategies in their various institutions.
According to WARIF, the document will chart a path to creating safer spaces for students in tertiary institutions through a detailed prevention mechanism and response to campus sexual violence. It also outlines the proper steps in addressing accountability and punishment for those who contravene the laws against sexual violence on campuses thereby reducing the extremely high incidence.
Women at Risk International Foundation, (WARIF) is a non-profit organization, established to raise awareness and address the prevalence of rape, sexual violence and trafficking of young girls and women in communities across Nigeria.