Foundation launches Girls’ Safety Initiative campaign in FCT

Australian High Commissioner, Jonathan Richardson at the event

Australian High Commissioner, Jonathan Richardson at the event

TABITHA Cumi Foundation, with support from the Australian government, at the weekend launched the Girls’ Safety Initiative (GSI) with the aim of providing security awareness, peace building, conflict resolution, life- building skills and mentorship among others. GSI also aims at addressing some of the multiplicity of challenges facing girls’ education and widening access to education for them.

At the launch of the initiative in Abuja, the Executive Director of Tabitha Cumi Foundation, Mrs. Adetayo Erinle, said the project was conceived as a result of the state of insecurity in the country which has been unsafe and insecure for young women and girls who have been the most affected in the security challenges facing the nation.

“The country is insecure and girls have been the prime targets. Many of these girls stay in communities that are underserved on the outskirts where accommodation is relatively cheaper than the city. These communities have been found to be places where people from other places can stay for a while quietly before they launch out to do whatever they want to do. These girls are usually the first targets,” Mrs. Erinle said.

“We have brought out these girls to teach them about their environment, security, how they can identify strangers in the community, how they can know what to do when they notice suspicious activities or persons. Besides these points mentioned, in many communities, there are so many isolated areas where girls have been violated and nothing has been done about it.

They can’t speak out, sometimes nobody becomes aware and most often, these experiences affect their lives.” “These girls have also been brought together to learn life building skills so that they can grow beyond their environments because we have found that it is not as if these girls are dull, what they lack is opportunity.

If they have the same opportunities the ones in the city have, they can become whatever they desire to be and more in the future. Because they don’t have the high fences and security that protect the girls in the city, we don’t want them neglected but to have safe places within their communities.”

“These girls have had a wonderful time with their facilitators and have done well through the learning process and I believe that if they take their knowledge back to other girls in their communities, in time, we would have developed hundreds of girls with these life building skills,” Erinle said.

With the GSI campaign the foundation aims to create Girls Clubs in five communities across the Federal Capital Territory to support over 300 girls and young women to provide them with a safe place to grow, learn, have fun and develop confidence in themselves and their ability to stand out and make a difference.

The launch of the initiative signified the end of a three-day training workshop for 50 girls selected to be peer educators and leaders of the Girls Clubs. The girls who have learnt valuable life skills about safety, security, family and health, society and culture are expected to take the skills back to their communities and pass it on to other girls through their clubs.

The Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Jonathan Richardson, who was appointed one of the Girls Safety Ambassadors for the High Commission’s support for the project, said the project is one of the 21 projects his country has supported over the last one year, which he said are worth approximately N110 million.

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