According to the 2014 National survey on violence against children in Nigeria, in the past year, one out of every three children have experienced physical violence from their parents and teachers and have come to see it as normal. Although Nigeria has recently been mentioned by the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children as of the “pathfinding countries” that have made a commitment to end violence against children, there is nothing in practice that indicates this commitment as laws such as the criminal code South and North penal codes still exist that “permit beating of children for the purpose of correction.” Further, although a few teachers are aware of certain prohibitions to the use of corporal punishment in schools as contained in the 2003 Child Right Act, corporal punishment continues to be used in schools in Nigeria.
Our Schools without violence campaign was created within the context of the SDG 16.2 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children, West Africa’s agenda for children as stipulated by the African child policy forum which focuses on fostering an Africa for children protected from all forms of violence and the safe to learn campaign by UNICEF which was introduced at the World Education Forum in January 2019.
The aim of the campaign is to tackle violence embedded in relations in secondary schools in Nigeria applying an African-centred holistic approach. For teacher-student relations, our focus is on tackling excessive violence against children embedded in the use of corporal punishment and for student-student relations, we are focused on tackling bullying and gender-based violence.
• Training and workshop for school authorities and teachers on effective positive disciplinary methods.
• Assist schools in developing disciplinary codes or school policies that draw boundaries between discipline and violence against children and the creation of anti-bullying school policies.
• Conduct RESPECT sessions with students: A talk with teachers and students about the importance of mutual respect each other.
• The REAL MEN meet-ups: Meetings and sessions with boys aimed at promoting positive non-violent African masculinity.
• Sessions with parents on positive discipline.
Changing Socio-cultural Norms Approach
• Pushing the conversation and narrative of Alternative non-violent effective disciplinary methods and disrupting the narrative of bullying as normal part of school life online and on media platforms.
• Partnerships with other organisations, faith-based organisations to push the campaign to end violence against children disguised under the spare the rod and spoil the child narrative.
Child Protection Approach
• collaborations with the police force/collation of helplines to report school and home cases of violence and abuse of children.
Advocacy at the policy level
• Advocacy/lobbying for change in the government policies leading to the creation and implementation of child right and protection laws – “A Nigeria where children matter.”