Group Advocates for School Safety in Ebonyi

To achieve safety in Ebonyi School system amidst insecurity in Nigeria, an Non governmental organization; Inspiring Generation and Humanity Support Foundation (IGHUSUF) has concluded a one day  training of students, CSOs, Media, Security officers, community leaders and other education stakeholders on achieving safety in Schools in Ebonyi State

Speaking at the step down training and stakeholders engagement held at Federal Government College (FGGC) Ezzamgbo, on 22nd February 2022, the Executive Director IGHSUF Africa Mr. Darlington Onwe, explained that the Education Stakeholders Engagement and Step-Down training on Safe School Declaration is a project of development Research Programme Centre (dRPC) with funding from Ford Foundation and implemented in Ebonyi state by Inspiring Generation and Humanity Support Foundation (IGHUSUF) Africa. He noted that it was designed to enhance the capacity of CSOs and  transfer demonstrable Safe School Declaration knowledge, skills and practice to education stakeholders and SBMCs/CBMCs at community level, and to as well conduct Safe School Declaration step-down activities and to perform other engagements relating to Safe School Declaration in Ebonyi State .

"Similarly, it targets to build Capacity of indigenous Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working to end Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Ebonyi State. This program is designed to increase the success and sustainability of CSOs and CSO networks working across programming areas to address and respond to GBV through deliberate capacity building, evidence generation, sharing and cross learning". 

He stressed that the engagement was expected to mobilize support on stakeholders involvement in safe school declaration, adding that the safe school initiative is targeted at ensuring that schools in Nigeria are safe and secured for academic activities.

The  Executive Director noted that at the end of the program, there would be formation of a coalition to sustain advocacy on school safety in the State.

In their goodwill messages, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Education, Elder Sunday Okike, representative of the Secondary Education Board, Mrs. Ngozi C. Kalu and the Principal of Federal Government Girls College Ezzamgbo, Mrs. Onuoha I.N all commended IGUSUF Africa, dRRCP, Ford foundation and the federal government for the policy on safe school declaration. The ministry of Education said they placed security of students, teachers and their environment on their priority list, and have deployed the State security team (Ebubeagu) and civil defense personnel to different schools in the State, and promised to consider for implementation the resolutions that would be presented at the end of the engagement.  

Participants during the interactive session pointed out some actions that will assist in making schools in Ebonyi State safer to includes; parameter fencing of the school, presence of security unit with trained security personnel in schools and ensuring safety preparedness for all schools in case of emergencies.

On factors that encourages or exposes students to insecurity in schools, participants identified sexual abuse, bullying, cultism, kidnapping, vandalization of school property, accidents, religious or communal crises. Others are lack of fence and better infrastructures, lack of conducive environment for teaching and learning, absence or inadequate presence of trained security personnel, non availability of safe communication channel and or functional guidance and counseling units in school.

They called for availability of basic facilities such as toilets, water, light, sickbay, parameter fencing, security post, well equipped library, effective communication gadgets and safety signs in schools.

Participants however resolved to take actions in ensuring safe school in Ebonyi State through formation of a coalition that will continue to engage and advocate for safe schools and protection of students rights in the State, to create a WhatsApp group for immediate response to issues of security and abuses in schools. And in addition, launch a collective campaign against violence, student’s rights violation, unsafe schools and other related issues. 
The engagement and training programme had in attendance five (5) all girl Secondary schools, eight CSOs, members of the School Based Management Committee (SBMC), local vigilantes, Faith Based Organization, members of the PTA and the Media.

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