By Mary Agidi
The wife of Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu has instructed Counselors of public secondary schools to establish anti-SGBV Club in their various schools.
This follows the completion of the four days workshop on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, SGBV, she organised for Counsellors in Akoko North West and East between Tuesday 17th and Saturday 21st February, 2021.
Arabinrin Akeredolu who organised the workshop through her non-govermental organisation, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation, (BAAF) in support of the Federal Lawmaker representing Akoko North West and East, Hon. Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, noted that the idea of creating anti-SGBV Club in schools was to ensure that the workshop yielded expected outcome.
The BAAF Coordinator, who spoke on behalf of the wife of the governor in Ikare-Akoko, Mr Austin Otabor, emphasised the need for sustainability of the objectives of the workshop which was to eliminate SGBV in the public schools and for the Counsellors to identify early warning signs of violence in their school girls.
He said: “The anti-SGBV Club is another way we are going to evaluate the activities of the Counsellors, because ideally, every Counsellor here has been empowered to go back to their schools and give the girls the yellow card, to give them the information and to sustain the programme, establish the anti-SGBV Club.
“Anti-SGBV Club is more or less like a sustainability plan and through the club other activities like awareness and preventive measures can be implemented”.
According to him, now that the Counsellors had been equipped, it is expected of them to do the needful which is scale up, “by calling the emergency response number for appropriate legal, medical and psychosocial support for victims.”
He added that with the knowledge the participants acquired, it is expected that the number of those who are willing to speak about violence they are experiencing would increase, saying, “we hope that this will lead to reduction in sexual and gender based violence among public school girls in Ondo State”.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Gender, Research and Documentation, Mrs Temitope Daniyan who educated the participants on ethical issues related to SGBV, said if they put into practice all what they learned, the menace would definitely decrease in their localities.
Giving them tips on how to be good Counsellors, being a Counsellor herself, Daniyan urged them to be patient and attentive in order to extract useful information from students, and learn to interpret non-verbal communication.
She described the response of the participants as excellent, while observing that most of them were co-opted into Counselling task in their schools due to the shortage of Professional Counsellor.