This project will mobilize communities to prevent child sexual abuse by establishing and strengthening the capacity of Child Protection Committees CPCs to address child sexual abuse cases in Benue State. The project will use the traditional Nigerian folktale culture that involves the use of animal costumes to educate children about all forms of abuse in a less threatening approach that provides a safe space to discuss this sensitive and taboo topic.
The predominant culture of stigma and silence in reporting or discussing issues around child sexual abuse is a limiting factor to addressing this issue in many communities across Nigeria. Recently, there has been an increase in cases of child abuse reported, which is mostly by a third party. Hence, there is need to empower children to protect themselves and report such incidences. Also, the capacity of communities need to be built to protect their wards and children and to treat reported cases.
This project will:
1. Educate children particularly girls on various ways abuse can occur and what to do when such occurs
2. Build the capacity of adults in communities on child protection issues and principles
3. Work with community structures such as child protection committees to take action or address cases of child sexual abuse
The culture of silence and stigma will be broken as children who are either survivors or in a potentially threatening situation will be better informed about what to do when in abuse situations and express themselves appropriately.
Parents and community members will also be more responsive and vigilant to potential abuse situations and have the capacity to handle cases of abuse appropriately.