As part of activities marking the recent 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the Centre for Children’s Health Education, Orientation and Protection (CEE-HOPE) partnered two other NGOs to sensitize children at Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest slum settlement.
The NGOS, Jabez Place, a sexual violence awareness organization and the Children, Youth and Women Empowerment Initiative (CHIYOWO) engaged the over 60 children drawn from Makoko and other places across Lagos.
Jabez Place led by Adesola Alamutu, a gender rights activist and founder of Children and the Environment (CATE) and Iquo Diana-Abasi, a poet and writer, enlightened the children on how to stay safe and avoid being sexually violated, stressing that the COVIV-19 period has led to increased rates of rape and other forms of sexual violence. Also in attendance and giving similar advice was Yemi Oni, Head, Legal Services, Lagos State Ministry of Justice.
They also encouraged the children to be alert, self-aware and confident and to report attempted violation or persons to adults or their teachers and other authorities figures around them.
CHIYOWO Initiative’s representatives, Onyeka Titigbe and Lameed Opeyemi, sensitized the children, both boys and girls, on the need to imbibe a good reading culture as it helps to widen the horizon of their knowledge and also imbues them with a heightened sense of self-awareness about their rights and the confidence to report and prevent potential child abuse.
CHIYOWO also donated 300 copies of books including story books and those on various topics to CEE-HOPE.
Betty Abah, CEE-HOPE founder expressed gratitude to the speakers for coming to enrich the children’s lives. She also described CHIYOWO’s gesture as life-enhancing.
“The sensitization –talks on sexual violence prevention to these teenagers are simply priceless considering the high incidences of sexual violence especially against young persons that we face in the course of the pandemic.” She said “the books donation from CHIYOWO is equally priceless, as you never can tell the extent of impact of these books, and as we say, ‘Readers are leaders,” she added.
The books, Abah said, would go to CEE-HOPE’S community libraries in Makoko, Monkey Village (Lagos) and Agbado Ogun State.
ChiYoWo’s founder, Tokunbo Ifaturoti said they are glad to partner with CEE-HOPE on the ’16 days of Activism’ event in Makoko community.
“We are also excited to donate various books to ICT centres set up by CEE-HOPE in Makoko, Monkey Village and Agbado Oja, Lagos State, as part of our Book Drive activities. This we believe will compliment your effort in creating opportunities for the poor and underprivileged communities in Nigeria.
“Through the Book Drive Nigeria Project, which ChiYoWo started in 2017, over 10,000 reading and educational books have been donated to schools and communities in the six geopolitical zones across Nigeria.
ChiYoWo looks forward to more partnerships with CEE-HOPE in 2021,” Ifaturoti said.
The event also marked the official opening of CEE-HOPE’S new ICT and Youth Hub at Makoko. The youth centre is also CEE-HOPE’S sixth opening for the year. The other five are located in Monkey Village (Lagos) two in Benue, one in Kaduna, one in Jos, Plateau State. Out of the six, three are located in orphanages across Jos, Makurdi and Kaduna while the rest are in marginalized communities.
CEE-HOPE works with vulnerable and at-risk children in marginalized and hard-to-reach communities across the country.