November 7, 2019

UNESCO targets 200,000 persons for Spotlight Initiative

UNESCO targets 200,000 persons for Spotlight Initiative

UNESCO building

UNESCO building

Ms Ngozi Amanze, the UNESCO National Programme Officer on Education, says the organisation is targeting over 200,000 persons in Nigeria to benefit from its Spotlight Initiative.

Amanze told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday that the EU-UN joint Spotlight Initiative is a global initiative focused on eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls.

She said 25 countries, including eight African countries, comprising Nigeria, Liberia, Niger, Malawi, Mozambique, Mali, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, would benefit from the initiative.

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Amanze said six states were selected from each geo-political zone, namely: Sokoto, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Lagos, Cross-River and FCT, to champion the implementation of the programme in Nigeria in the next four years.

“Whatever we do in UNESCO, we do it through education, inculcating what should be thorough education, therefore, if we want to prevent, we have to prevent through education, especially from an early age.

“What we are doing now, within the framework of the `Spotlight’ is to strengthen what is already there because Family Life HIV education is already existing.

“In the project document, UNESCO teases out its own target, we are looking at reaching at least 200,000 people including the teachers, students, educational institutions, federal and state ministries.

“We are not going to do it alone, it requires a broad spectrum of partners, we have CSOs, government partners as implementing partners, down to the grassroots CSOs,’’ she said.

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She described the Family Life HIV education as curriculum-based learning with the Ministry of Education, for adolescents and young people “because if you want to prevent something, you will have to start at that early age from school”.

According to Amanze, the Spotlight Initiative is designed to address six selected pillars on ending gender-based violence, which includes policies and legislation, institutional strengthening, prevention of gender-based violence.

“We are ensuring that those affected by gender-based violence receive quality services to begin to live their lives, gathering data and strengthening CSOs and women movements were part of the earmarked pillars.

“We are also working on the majority of the pillars, but our number one entry point is prevention because that is where we have family health life HIV education.

“It has to be mainstreamed in the curriculum, you have to train teachers, you have to train guidance and counsellors, it has to go into policies and all that, so that is where UNESCO comes in.’’

She noted that through the existing Family Life HIV education programme, UNESCO would be able to educate the society more about effects and prevention of gender-based violence.

The programme officer added that the project would be supported by five UN agencies – UNDP, UN Women, UNFPA, UNICEF, and UNESCO.