UNICEF and C’River Government organize life skills training for adolescent girls in Odukpani


Barely a week after the completion of a 3-day life skills training for in-school and out-of-school adolescent girls in Akamkpa Local Government Area, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Ministry of Justice of Cross River State, under the auspices of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative replicated the training for in-school and out-of-school adolescent girls in Odukpani Local Government Area.

Held between Monday 10 and Wednesday 12 October 2022 at Otimbi Hotel, Okurikang in Odukpani, the 3-day training aimed to equip adolescent girls with appropriate and appropriate life skills that will put them in an advantageous position to face events. . in them and around them and also to improve their decision-making capacity to become agents of positive change in their immediate environment and in society at large.

An official from the State Ministry of Justice, who also serves as the head of UNICEF’s office for child protection, Barr Bajie Ayuk, pointed out that all the knowledge gained by the participants during the training would be shared with their peers in communities, schools and churches to help them broaden the frontlines of the campaign to end violence against women and children.

She said that while UNICEF and other partners will continue to work to support advocacy, other actors who are not directly integrated into the formal advocacy structure, such as male community members, need to step up their efforts. efforts to ensure that the weakest and most vulnerable among them are protected.

Also Read: Anambra roads rank 15th on the list of death trap roads in Nigeria – FRSC

On whether the training would take place in all 18 local government areas of the state, Bajie said, “It would have been a very nice thing to go through it. And not just once, but maybe twice or three times, because the information here is very important. This is information that every child, every adolescent, including boys, needs. But, we will act like Oliver Twist especially since UNICEF is only a development partner that supports us. People shouldn’t start insisting on this, UNICEF is not the state government, UNICEF is a foreign partner helping us. The state government has an action plan on child protection. Let the state government recognize the action plan and do something about it”.

Assessing the rationale for the training, UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Mr. Victor Atochukwu, says, “Life skills training for adolescent girls aims to empower them to become agents of change to eliminate all forms of violence against women and children in their communities of origin”. Akamkpa and Odukpani LGA of Cross River State.

“The EU/UN Spotlight initiative, through UNICEF and other UN agencies, government and civil society partners, engages with everyone – religious leaders, community leaders , legislature, judiciary, executive, men, women and other community stakeholders and gatekeepers. We also speak and engage with children (girls and boys) especially adolescent girls as they are the population we trust so much to join/lead the movement to end violence against women and children in their families, households and families. community.

“So the 3-day engagement with in-school and out-of-school adolescent girls (including those with disabilities and survivors of violence, the event is really about building their capacity, empowering them, interacting with them; discussing about their experiences around violence – how to be alert, how to be assertive, how to report and add their voice on raising awareness and raising awareness on the urgent need to end VFFW/VAC everywhere In fact, the training consists of building a armed with people (adolescent girls) who will say to their peers: “watch out for the violence, report the violence and don’t shut up and be the agent of change for a better society without violence.”

Another UNICEF child protection practitioner, William Arikpo, in his reaction to the life skills training program, said he had been following this process for some time. He said it was actually one of the best things the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative has done to improve girls’ lives by building girls’ capacity to make decisions, negotiate, learn skills that will help them prevent violence against them.

He therefore described the training as timely as it coincided with the International Day of the Girl Child, although he announced the ripple effects it would have on girls and society.

“This month’s theme has to do with giving girls a chance, and it’s actually an opportunity to give girls a chance to learn the skills that will help them build their lives. Negotiation skills, skills assertiveness, value, clarification and all that. It’s actually very important, especially considering that we live in a society where our girls are very vulnerable to attack, especially from men, you hear about cases of rape and all that but with that kind of knowledge and skills it will help empower them, it will help them prevent it, it will help them to report cases of abuse against them and against their peers.

“It’s actually to increase their capacity as peer educators, to be able to teach other girls as well, because they also belong to natural groups like the choir, like the girl brigade, like the girl guides and all that. So, with the knowledge that they acquire here, they go back to their natural environment and they will leave this training and build the capacities of other girls. It is said that knowledge is power, and if they have this knowledge, they are empowered to know that they are truly important in society, and that they are key players and that their destiny is in their hands. So with all this knowledge, it will help prevent violence against them.

Arikpo also expressed his gratitude to the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, UNICEF for the initiative which he said came to alleviate the suffering of the people, especially women and girls who are the most vulnerable in society.

He said that UNICEF has always ensured that all forms of violence against children and girls are ended in society. He also thanked the Cross River State Department of Justice for making themselves available from the pilot phase and throughout the process, for leading so well and ensuring that the children got the best.

Asari Nakanda, a training facilitator, explained that the workshop builds on the Theory of Change that the Spotlight Initiative is currently using to implement its activities. Nakanda, who is also the spokesperson for the Child Protection Network, said that “identifying the issues and the various resources available to address these issues, the channels that can be taken to address these issues have been the framework in which this training was organized and its impact was supposed to be at different stages, but most strongly at the individual, family and community level. We expect the training to have a ripple effect by trickling down to other young people, especially teenage girls. »

Another facilitator, Idara Effiong, said the training was primarily aimed at empowering young girls to identify their values ​​and be able to make decisions that would ultimately guide them through the different stages of social development. and interpersonal.

Regarding her expectations of the participants after the training, the gender equality advocate said: “There is something we call the post-activity evaluation that will happen and we will be able to say the impact that was created, but for now I can boldly say that these girls now fully understand what their rights are and how to identify gender-based violence and how to protect themselves from it. At the level of the participants, we can say that they have acquired knowledge of what life skills are. »

On his part, the camp coordinator, Apostle Leonard Ekpenyong, revealed that a total of 54 girls from 9 communities in Odukpani have registered for the training. He expressed the hope that the adolescent girls would spread the knowledge gained during the training to their different families and communities.

Areas covered by the training include peer education, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights, sexually transmitted infections, gender and gender-based violence, values ​​and values ​​clarification, mutilation female genitals, among others.


Comments are closed.