Manual on gender mainstream training for higher institutions launched in Nigeria

Gloria Essien, Abuja

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The United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), says Nigeria ranks 118 out of 134 in the gender equality index globally.

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The UNESCO Regional Advisor for Higher Education and ICT, UNESCO Regional Office Abuja, Mr Salifou Abdoulaye, gave the figure at the launch of Gender Mainstream Training Manual for Higher Institutions in Nigeria, held in Abuja.

He said that the inadequate inclusive of women and girls’ perspective in policy making decisions, resource allocation and implementation in economy and social sector continues to challenge the advancement of gender equality in Nigeria.

He said that at the higher education level, gender based violence, especially the worrisome issue of sexual harassment and sex for marks syndrome has drawn the attention of education policy makers.

Therefore this manual could not have come at a better time than now. To this effect, taking into account the quality of this manual on critical issues such as gender based violence and sexual harassment in higher education injections and the need to sensitise millions of students and academics” Mr Abdoulaye said.

He also said that UNESCO proposes for the production of the manual in Massive Open Online Courses format for wide desimination within and outside Nigeria.

He appealed to the Nigerian Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission to take leadership and support the institutionalisation and domestication of the manual and make it available to universities.

The manual on Gender Mainstream Training Manual for Higher Institutions in Nigeria, is a collaborative effort between the International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH), Spotlight Initiative and UNESCO.

Speaking on the manual, the Executive Director of ISMPH, Mrs Moji Makanjuola, said that the manual aims to drive conversations on the issue of gender based violence in Nigeria Tertiary Institutions.

She says the world is daily indunteded with news of gender based violence against women, girls and other person’s.

Globally, it is estimated that 1 in 3 women experience either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their life time. In Nigeria, these figures are mirrorred with 30% of girls and women aged between 15 and 49. Increasingly, sexual abuse has grown to involve minors“. Mrs Makanjuola said.

She muted that the COVID-19 pandemic and its restrictions had profound impact of the welfare of women and girls in Nigeria.

While the full extent of the damage done has not been fully ascertained, statistics show that the lockdown increased Gender Based Violence cases” She noted.

The Executive Director also said that she strongly believes that the manual will be a potent tool in re-orienting Nigeria’s young generation and go a long way in the struggle to eliminate Sexual and Gender Based Violence and harmful practices, while enhancing the Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights of Nigerian women.

She added that an E-copy of the manual would be made available to students within and outside Nigeria.

On her part, Prof. Mabel Evwierhoma of the University of Abuja, says the manual is a welcome development as it would increase the tempo and add value to the efforts to reduce gender based violence.

She said that the Gender Mainstream Training Manual for Higher Institutions in Nigeria would further educate students on what to do to protect themselves in the face of violence.

Students at the launch said that they will study the manual and equip themselves with more knowledge.

Stakeholders at the launch agreed that the Gender Mainstream Training Manual for Higher Institutions in Nigeria would go a long way in elimination Gender Based Violence in the country, particularly when properly put to use.

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