A non-profit organisation, Women at Risk International Organization (WARIF), on Thursday, launched a protocol document to combat sexual violence on Nigerian campuses.
The document was developed in partnership with the Joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative and the Lagos State University.
The idea, they said, is to foster the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence in tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
The document, whose preface was written by Comfort Lamptey, the UN Country Representative to Nigeria, covers topics like prevention, response mechanisms as well as the important duties and responsibilities of management as well as students in the prevention of sexual violence.
Explaining the importance of the initiative, WARIF’S Founder, Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, told PREMIUM TIMES that following the rising rates of rape and sexual violence in tertiary institutions across Nigeria, “the document will help educate students, staff, and governing bodies about the steps to follow when faced with these situations”.
She also explained that the success of two cycles of the WARIF prevention of campus sexual violence programme was also a major reason for the launch of the document.
‘‘We realised 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.
‘‘We are working directly with the student-based organisations and the school authorities in adopting strategies as stipulated in the protocol document. We are also facilitating and strengthening existing mechanisms that will provide the much-needed support and safety to all students on campuses across the country.”
Afterward, the document was presented to the Lagos State Commissioner of Education, Folashade Adefisayo, and the Federal Ministry of Education through its Deputy Director; Gender, Abukar Janigo, who commended WARIF’s strides in the educational space.
The Rector of Lagos State Polytechnic, Oluremi Nurudeen Olaleye, as well as representatives of the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education were also presented with copies of the protocol documents at a capacity building session hosted by WARIF in Lagos recently.
Mrs DaSilva-Ibru also told this newspaper that the document has been shared with various Nigerian universities including the University of Lagos, Federal Technical College Lagos, the University of Abuja, Covenant University amongst others.
She, however, added that her organization has been encouraging the schools to adopt and implement the strategies in their various institutions.
‘‘The WARIF School-Related Campus Sexual Violence Protocol 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.”
WARIF was established to raise awareness and address the prevalence of rape, sexual violence and trafficking of young girls and women in communities across Nigeria.
The foundation achieves this through the development and implementation of a series of initiatives targeting the intervention/treatment of affected women, as well as providing preventive measures in education and community service.
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