The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partnership with Cross River State Government, under the Spotlight Initiative, has organized a 3-day training on Life Skills for in-and-out of school adolescent girls in Akamkpa local government area of Cross River State.
The event which took place between Monday 3rd – Wednesday 5th October, 2022 at Obasi Hotel, Akamkpa, had participants drawn from 9 communities in the local government area.
The training, according to the organizers, was targeted at enhancing girls’ capacity to become change agents towards ending violence against women and children in their various families and communities.
Speaking during the training exercise, a Law Officer with the Ministry of Justice and Desk Officer for UNICEF Child Protection, Baje Ayuk, said “Before now the advocacy on violence against girls, women and children were usually done on stakeholders in the society such as religious leaders, traditional rulers, market women and even the who is who in the society.
“But with the Spotlight Initiative, which is an initiative of the EU-UN, a turn of event was experienced, where it was decided that instead of speaking to these stakeholders, why not talk to people who may be vulnerable, people who are prone to these abuses we are shouting about. So the call changed – speak to the girls.
“This 3 days training is a life skill to equip this people who we think and know – may be the ones that are prone to this violence we are shouting against, give them knowledge to help them. The whole thing is circled around prevention being better than cure. The training is to equip them with the right tools to be able to stand up for themselves.”
Ayuk stated that the participants would pass down the knowledge acquired in the course of the training to their peers in their communities, schools and churches so as to help them push further in the fight to end violence against women and children, even as UNICEF and other partners work to sustain the advocacy.
She said while government was doing a lot on its part to eradicate violence against women and children, the men need to step up efforts to ensure that the weak and vulnerable members of their communities are protected.
Also speaking, one of the facilitators, Asari Nakanda, said the training workshop builds on the theory of change which the Spotlight Initiative was currently using to implement its activities.
Nakanda who is the Publicity Secretary of Child Protection Network, explained that “identifying what the problems are and the various resources available to address such problems and which channels can be taken to address such issues were the framework which this training was organized and its impact was supposed to be at various stages, but more strongly at the individual, family and community stage. We expect the training to have a ripple effect by trickling down to other young persons, especially the adolescent girls.”
While expressing satisfaction with the high turn out for the training, Nakanda said the choice of Akamkpa for the project might not be unconnected to high prevalence of sexual abuse in the LGA.
On her part, the Child Protection Coordinator, Akamkpa Local Government, Egeh Ukara, expressed happiness over the success of the training. She said 6 girls were drawn from each of the 9 communities that took part in the 3 days training, adding they would put to practice the knowledge gained from the workshop.
Some of the participants who spoke at the end of the 3 day programme, thanked UNICEF and Spotlight Initiative for availing them the opportunity to learn and become equipped with knowledge that would help them towards self-improvement.