By Sheku Tanga
Humanist Watch Salone, a local NGO has starting sensitizing school going pupils on sexual exploitation under the project titled “Direct Service Provision to Victims of SGBV”.
The Humanist Watch Programme Officer, Christopher Brima said the project is expected to target fifty schools in Kenema and Kailahun districts aimed at increasing the knowledge based of the school pupils especially girls on the negative impacts of early sex, teenage pregnancy including sex in return for grades.
He said the project has three specific objectives which include; increasing the availability of quality and adequate service to survivors, increase societal acceptance of SGBV as a crime and strengthen protection for women’s and children’s rights.
Christopher also underscored the need for a stronger and improved coordination between service providers and communities in response to SGBV. The Gender Programme Officer, Cecilia S. Bayoh said that the ongoing sensitization on SGBV in schools is done in partnership with the Family Support Unit (FSU) and the Ministry of Education officials in Kenema to guide them on sexual offences laws contained in the 2012 Sexual Offences Act of Sierra Leone and to encourage all school pupils especially the girl child to report all forms of exploitations to the legal authorities.
The implementation of the project has taken off grounds in Pendembu (Upper Bambara Chiefdom), Panguma (Lower Bambara Chiefdom), Boajibu (Simbaru Chiefdom), Blama (Small-Bo Chiefdom), Bunumbu (Kpejeh West) including Manowa. The Project is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the period of one year that is expected to increase reporting mechanisms on SGBV incidence among school pupils so that it could be minimized if not eradicated.