POWERED BY FHI 360

Four Pillars PLUS Project Supports Cross River State Government to Institutionalize School-related Gender-based Violence Response and Prevention System

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With a vision to create a safe and enabling environment for young people to complete secondary education, protect their health and optimize their potential, FHI 360 Four Pillars PLUS (4PP) project conducted a needs assessment (2016) on “Safe Schools and School-related Gender-based Violence (SRGBV)” in the four project secondary schools in Calabar educational zone. Findings from the assessment highlighted the existence of various forms of Gender-based Violence (GBV), in and around the schools, including violence perpetrated by teachers against students. GBV was equally observed between students and in rare cases, students against teachers.Sexual harassment and Gender-based Violence were also perpetrated by non-school members (hoodlums) prowling outside the school grounds and threatening school girls with abusive behavior. Despite the prevalence of violence in and around these schools, there was no formal reporting and response structure to support SRGBV victims/survivors and hold perpetrators accountable. This therefore made it difficult to collect real data on the frequency and levels of violence perpetrated against girls and young women and its harmful and negative impact on the victim’s health and safety, and consequences on educational outcomes and aspirations.

It is on this premise, and the African Union Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (CRCW) – an international instrument of which Nigeria is a signatory, that the 4PP project supported the Cross-River State (CRS) government to develop an SRGBV Response Algorithm to enhance the realization of Safe Schools Program and the constitution/training of SRGBV reporting, response and prevention guidance committees within schools in CRS. This algorithm seeks to provide a structure for students to report incidences of SRGBV and a response mechanism to enhance the schools’ capacities to escalate reported incidents to relevant higher authorities outside the school while responding to the victim/survivor’s need for medical/psychosocial or legal support. Ultimately, the goal is to prevent SRGBV and create safe educational and living environments for children to thrive in.

On April 20, 2017, the SRGBV Response Algorithm was launched in an epoch-making event by the Executive Governor of Cross-River State, Professor Ben Ayade, represented by the Honorable Commissioner for Education Obong Goddy Etta.  Stakeholders at the event reiterated the need for commitment by parents, schools and communities to ensure a violence-free learning environment where girls’ and boys’ health, safety and positive educational outcomes are realized.  The GE Foundation, whose funding support for the 4PP project contributed to the development and launch of this document, commended the efforts of FHI 360 and the 4PP project in championing transformational programs and further reiterated their commitment to support the project in an effort to eradicate School-related Gender-based Violence.

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