By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
As part of efforts to ensure an effective implementation of the National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence-Free Schools in Kaduna State, some young girls on Wednesday, engaged Ungwan Maigero Community in Kaduna State on their roles and responsibilities.
In May 2015, The Nigeria Government endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration (SSD), which outlines recommendations to better prevent attacks on education, protect schools from military use and respond to and mitigate the impact of attacks on schools.
The Federal Executive Council (FEC), in 2019, followed up by approving the National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence-free Schools to guide the implementation of the SSD nationwide. The National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence-Free Schools in Nigeria provides guidance and sets a standard for implementing comprehensive school safety plans; prevention and response mechanisms at the national, state, local government and school levels.
The Girls between the ages of 10 to 24 who are Advocates for Safe School (GASS) project were trained by Stand With a Girl Initiative (SWAG) with support from Rise Up.
According to them, Ugwan Maigero community, is a home to majority of Kaduna State University students, as such there is need to the community to come up with a strategy to protect girls in the area again every form of violence.
Addressing Traditional, Religious, Youth leaders and community security outfits, at the Palace of Sarkin Yaki of Maigero, Leader of the Volunteers, Fatima Muftau, told them that the essence of their visit was to inform them of the importance of providing a safe and secured space for girls in and around the school environment.
She noted that an enabling environment for girls in schools will not only provide security and protection, it will also Increase enrolment and retention of girls in schools and reduce threats of domestic violence.
Fatima, said girls are more likely to escape early pregnancy and marriage, and get better opportunities to fulfill their highest potential and become self-reliant when the environment is safe for them.
According to her, the time for waiting on government to take action first on issues that concern girls is over, as community also owned it as their responsibilities to protect their girls.
She therefore called on all community leader to commit to their roles in making sure girls are protected in and around school environment.
Stand With A Girl (SWAG) Initiative is youth-led organization dedicated to ensuring that every girl in Nigeria, no matter where she is born or found is empowered to fulfill her maximum potentials with the goal is to promote a safe and supportive environment for the social, economic, academic and healthy development of girls in Nigeria.
GASS project is implemented in Kaduna State. SWAG Initiative trained and mobilized 20 between ages 10-24 to advocate to the Commissioner for Education and other stakeholders to domestic and implement the National Policy on Safety, Security and Violence-Free Schools in the State by December 2023.
Responding, various Speakers at the meeting commended the girls for standing up for other girls, requesting that the advocacy should also be extended to the boys who are the major perpetrators of vices against the girls.
They noted that most crimes against the girls today are being perpetrated most by teenage boys who are under different kinds of influences, calling on government to step up their effort and support communities in their drive to curtail crime in the communities by providing the necessary infrastructure and facilities.
On his part, Head of Maigero Community (Sarkin Yaki), Elisha Wayas, assured the girls that their message was well received and shall be convene to his people to strategize on how to tackle the issue headlong.
He said they are always welcome to the community and that are free to come in at anytime as every necessary support they will need to reach out to schools and and other girls will be provided for them.