As part of plans to put a stop to the rising incidence of sexual violence in Nigeria, a nongovernmental organisation, Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF) has kicked off the second cycle of its Boys Conversation Café (BCC) initiative.
Speaking to journalists in Lagos recently, the Founder, WARIF, Dr. Kemi Dasilva-Ibru, said the project aims to instil the role that boys have to play in the reduction and prevention of rape and sexual violence in the society.
Ibru said the first BCC recorded huge successes as 40 boys between the ages of 13 – 17 years in Surulere Secondary School were trained on the identification of the signs and prevention of gender-based violence in their communities.
“The four-week intervention program impacted a significant success rate in terms of immediate behavioural change. Some of the notable changes in the boys were: Pornography addiction dropped by 41 per cent of about 85 per cent.
“The beneficiaries strongly agree that consent of a girl to have sex is important and should be respected, and 98 per cent of the beneficiaries strongly agreed to take a stand in any case of sexual abuse rather than be bystanders.
“As an extension of this success, the second cycle of this project, sponsored by SAP Nigeria will train 160 boys across selected secondary schools in Lagos in 2019. The conversation takes the form of informal dialogue sessions with groups of secondary school boys, where well-trained male volunteers serve as facilitators and mentors at these sessions.”
Ibru said she believes that educating boys with a view to changing their existing mindset and perspective about the notion of rape and sexual violence will be transformational in their lives which will ultimately lead to a reduction in the cases of sexual and gender-based violence recorded.
She said: “WARIF is reinforcing its call for everyone to raise their voices against rape and sexual violence of young girls and women in Nigeria and beyond. Parents and teachers need to play an active role in the education of their sons about appropriate sexual behaviour and conduct. Male role models and father figures should also maintain positive influences on the lives of young boys.”