UNESCO Launched the Accelerated Second Chance Education Component for Survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence at the Spotlight Initiative One Stop Shop Center and Women Shelter in Abuja

The Spotlight Initiative is a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and United Nations to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. UNESCO’s implementation of the Spotlight Initiative in Nigeria brings forward the wealth of knowledge engendered in the field of education by her essential contribution to Pillar 4: Women and girls who experience sexual and gender based violence and harmful practices use available, accessible , acceptable, and quality essential services including for long term recovery from violence.

On 16 August 2020, UNESCO, under the framework of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative in Nigeria, launched the integration of the Second-Chance Education component as an added service to the Spotlight Initiative One-Stop Shop Center and Women Shelter located at Kurudu, Abuja. The women shelter was established in December 2019 objectified to provide a comprehensive and holistic survival care for women and girls that cuts across psychosocial counselling, protection services, legal services and their capacity building on basic inclusive health and livelihood skills. The incorporation of the UNESCO Non-Formal Education is aimed at providing empowerment services to survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) who are taking shelter, including those living with HIV/AIDS, disabilities, victims of early and unintended pregnancy, child marriage, female genital mutilation, and the rural poor.

Integrating the Non-Formal Education into the One Stop Shop Centers and Women Shelters has become imperative for an integrated approach to ending violence against women and girls. This programme will support survivors of SGBV in gaining necessary skills and competencies required for getting over the shock of abuse and going on to live a more gainful life.
Bridget Nwagbara, Associate Director of FHI360

The accelerated Second-Chance Education programme is an essential arm of the Spotlight Initiative that objectively assesses the situation of girls and women education in the focus states (namely Adamawa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Lagos, Sokoto and Federal Capital Territory (FCT))  through a comprehensive situational analysis that bridges the gap in their education. So far, over 60,155 women and girls, including boys and men have been enrolled into the accelerated second-chance education (non-formal education) program.

At the non-formal education centers across the country, sexual and gender-based violence survivors who have never been to school or  dropped out of the school system but wish to continue their education will be exposed to basic literacy and numeracy. Access to education has been seen as one key protection against future victimization and perpetration of sexual and gender-based violence. Survivors who pass through the accelerated Second-Chance Education will be empowered with the Family Life Health Education and Life Skills curriculum, developed by the Education Today for Sustainable Development Initiative, one civil society organization affliated to UNESCO under the Spotlight Initiative, in collaboration with key government stakeholders and with the integration of UNESCO’s International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (a guide that fosters the acquisition of factual information, formation of positive attitudes, beliefs and values as well as development of skills to cope with the biological, psychological, socio-cultural and spiritual aspects of human living).

During the commissioning of the Non-Formal Education component, the Kurudu community head, Chief Ezra Gumna, who was present at the ceremony, expressed his appreciation to UNESCO and its partners for all the activities of Spotlight Initiative in his community. He stated, “we are the beneficiaries of this project” while adding that he will continue to support the initiative by providing additional conducive centers where the Non-Formal Education programmes for women and girls can take place.

The FCT Zonal Coordinator, Department of Mass Education AMAC Zone, Mr. Azubuike Joseph, took the honor of officially commissioning and declaring open for use, the Non-Formal Education component.

In conclusion, the Spotlight Initiative supports One Stop Shop Centers and Women Shelters in all the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. UNESCO, through its partner Grassroots Entrepreneurship Skills Acquisition (GESA), will continue to expand the scope of education and learning by integrating the non-formal education component in to all Spotlight-Initiative-supported One Stop Shop Centers and Women Shelters across the country, so that no survivor is left behind.