We made Impact despite the Pandemic
Cece Yara Foundation Report for May-August 2020
We made Impact despite the Pandemic
This reporting period was plagued by total to partial and regulated lock-down as a result of the COVID 19 Pandemic, we recorded an increase in the number of child sexual and physical abuse reported to the Foundation as a result of the lockdown measures imposed by the authorities. An average of 15 child abuse cases was reported per week as against the 2 to 3 cases reported pre-COVID 19. The reason for this could not be far- fetched as children were locked-in with abusers and there is limited access to schools and other safe places.
Nevertheless, the challenges imposed by the COVID 19 could not stop our team from providing a one- stop-response to cases of child sexual abuse, though, at the beginning of the pandemic, we struggled to maintain our standard response to children who had been sexually abused. We had to work with government agencies and partners in other states to try and support the children. Thankfully we have re-established our standard response though with much higher costs. We needed to invest in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) materials to cover our three locations – Gbagada and Ajeromi in Lagos and FCT Abuja Federal Capital Territory. Also, we purchased full PPE outfits for extreme and risky rescues. We are grateful to our partners who worked with us during the strict lockdown, ensuring that children were adequately protected.
This period also witnessed a fostered collaboration with governmental and non-governmental organizations in ensuring that the rights of children are adequately protected despite the restriction/lockdown. The Foundation worked with the Ministry of Education, Office of the Public Defender, Ministry of Youths and Social Development, Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team-(DSVRT), National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), and other Civil Society Organizations (CSO) to ensure effective implementation of Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy in Lagos State. We built the capacity of over 1000 school teachers in Lagos State on effective implementation of the Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.
Cece Yara Awareness Prevention Program
Before the pandemic, we had several prevention and awareness programs targeting professionals, adults, community stakeholders, and children that were being taught physically. Our children’s programs have been taught to over 30,000 children in schools, while Cece Yara adult prevention awareness training for adults has trained over 3000 change-makers in communities. The Foundation, due to shut down of schools, restriction of movement, and social distancing measures put in place, had to remodel the majority of its physical programs to virtual ones. Our first online program in commemoration of the International Children Day’s held on the 27th of May 2020 while our Adult Webinar on Sex Education which held on the 16th of June 2020, equipped parents and educators to engage and empower their children on sexuality so that the children could develop knowledge and skills to interact positively. We are currently developing programs that will work within the pandemic guidelines for communities that do not have access to the internet and phones.
Underlisted is highlights of some of the engagements:
- Empowering Teachers at the Corona Schools’ Trust Fund - On June 19, 2020, the Corona Schools’ Trust Fund partnered with the Cece Yara Foundation to virtually educate teachers, parents, and caregivers on protecting children from Sexual Predators. Over 100 participants were equipped with the skill to on how to prevent Child Sexual Abuse; how to make choices and establish safety plans and how to respond appropriately to disclosures of CSA.
Overview of the Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy Webinar
On the 12th of August, 2020, a virtual training of over 1000 secondary school teachers and counselors was conducted via Zoom. The topic of the training was “Overview of the Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy”. The Chief host of the training was the Lagos State Commissioner for Education (Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo), the co-host was the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, and Mrs. Abosede Adelaja.
The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Education, gave an opening remark on behalf of the Commissioner. In her remarks, she stated that the Lagos State Government, as well as the Ministry of Education, is committed to working with teachers and counselors to ensure that child protection is effectively implemented in schools as it is fundamental to the development of every child.
The Permanent Secretary emphasized the support and commitment of the First Lady, wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, in combating sexual violence, child molestation, and defilement, in schools. Teachers and counselors were mandated to implement the Lagos State Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy and report all cases of child protection policy.
In collaboration with relevant stakeholders within the Ministry of Education, another virtual training titled “Teachers! “Their Role as Mandatory Reporters” was conducted via zoom and YouTube on the 20th of August, 2020. The Permanent Secretary in her opening remarks also emphasized the importance of effective implementation of child protection policy to bring about a reduction in the incidence of child abuse, rape, and maltreatment of children in schools. She emphasized that the Ministry is committed to creating and enforcing a management system that provides a safe environment for children in schools. In attendance were over 1000 secondary school teachers. The training program was tailored towards equipping public school teachers and counselors with the state’s Child Safeguarding and Mandatory reporting policy which will make adequate provision for children to make disclosures on resumption, have a dedicated counseling unit in schools which will provide the children with confidentiality, professional counseling, information and care in case reporting.
Lagos State Ministry of Education, Partners Cece Yara on Child Protection
L-R: Mrs. Bisi Ajayi- Kayode, Assistant Director, Cece Yara Foundation; Oluwatosin Williams, Deputy Director Child Guidance/ Counselling & Special Education; Grace Ketefe Executive Director Cece Yara Foundation; the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo; Mrs. Olusola Somoye, the Director Child Guidance/ Counselling & Special Education and Mrs. Abosede Adelaja, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education.
Sex Health Education Talk by Child Aid and Sponsorship Awareness Foundation on July 14, 2020, Mrs. Bola Tinubu, our founder trustee was a guest on a Webinar training organized by Child Aid and Sponsorship Awareness Foundation titled “Sex Health Education: Steering Effective Communications Between Guardians and Their Children”. The event was aimed at empowering parents with factual information to help prepare their minds and open up channels of communication between both parties. It was indeed an enlightening session.
The Cece Yara Chat Foundation’s sexual abuse prevention toolkit mobile App
In commemoration of the 2020 Children’s Day celebration on May 27th, 2020, and in a bid to curb the high rate of child sexual abuse and violence in Nigeria, the Cece Yara Foundation launched an innovative solution to empower children and adults with resources, skills, knowledge and to provide direct access to child protection professionals in form of an App.
The Cece Yara Foundation App is an innovative way to spread awareness of child sexual abuse. The app provides practical information and guidance on how to recognize and prevent sexual abuse and exploitation.
This App also has a chat feature for children to discuss freely with a professionally trained child counselor about issues that bother them and make a disclosure about unsafe touches without fear of being judged or reprimanded. Users can also make a direct report by clicking on the “Make a Report” button”.
Some unique features of the app include; Learning functions that allow users to have access to trivia to test their knowledge of body boundaries, body private parts, assertive skills, safe and unsafe touches as well as whom to report and how to report unsafe touches. It also includes the Cece Yara Safe kids Directory which is the very first child protection service portal in Nigeria. The App users can search for the nearest child protection service providers, including primary health centers, police stations, courts, child-centered NGOs, and Government agencies in Lagos State. Users can find their exact location using Google maps and give step-by-step directions to find the provider navigating from the user’s present location.
Through the App, the Foundation can provide emergency intervention for any child within Lagos State and Abuja, while referral services are provided to reliable partners from our network for children in other parts of the country.
Partnership with Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT and Lagos State Judiciary
Immediately the Lagos state government declared a lockdown to reduce the cases of infected persons with the disease, CYF Foundation knew there would be a high rise of sexual abuse cases. Hence the need to protect uninterrupted services to survivors of abuse. This informed the decision to partner with child protection service providers in other states and Lagos State (DSVRT) to respond effectively to cases of abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cece Yara Foundation in partnership with Lagos State Judiciary and Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team provided emergency rescue 40 children and shelter to 19 children aged 6-17 years who experienced sexual violence during the Covid-19 pandemic. The COVID 19 pandemic lockdown resulted in a spike in the incidence of sexual violence amongst children and adolescents in the state.
The spike in sexual violence also resulted in the Lagos State Government declaring a state of emergency, with civil society proposing stricter measures in addressing sexual violence.
Children Shelter a Top-notch amongst Others
The Cece Yara shelter is one of the few shelters that provide counseling services with shelter services. This has made the shelter to stand out amongst others. Thereby more children were referred by the government and other non-governmental organizations. The shelter has also been able to reunite children with their non-offending family members.
CYF partnering with the Nigeria Communications Commission- While internet opportunities are endless, if not properly handled, it could do a lot of damage, most importantly to our children as they do not understand the social and technical complexities of the internet. This is why the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Cece Yara Foundation are partnering to educate parents caregivers on how to keep children safe online during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Our helpline is also included on the NCC’s website
Read Aloud Lagos
Our Founder Trustee, Mrs. Bola Tinubu, in the company of His Excellency, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and others was at the virtual Launch of reading Aloud Lagos to celebrate Children’s day on May 27. This event was organized to inspire creative curiosity in children and make them believe that future dreams can become a reality. Mrs. Bola Tinubu inspired children with a book titled “Do you have a secret?” We appreciate the Lagos State Government for this for the opportunity.
Child Helpline- Inclusivity and multicultural Support
Our trained helpline counselors currently receive an average of 350 calls per month. We are proud of our 10 multicultural and multi-religious counselors who communicate fluently in Yoruba, Hausa, and Igbo language, and who are of Christian and Islamic faiths. We ensure that every caller receives help without any language or religious barrier. We added male counselors to support little boys or men who feel more comfortable speaking to the same gender.
Our Multi-Disciplinary Team at work - A Unique Way of Caring for our Clients
Our Multi-Disciplinary Team interfaces with child protection stakeholders; and enable a coordinated multi-disciplinary approach by lawyers, counselors, forensic interviewers, social workers, child advocates, medical personnel, the police, State Child Welfare Departments, and the Ministry of justice. During this reporting, the Team has attended to over 100 cases of child sexual and physical abuse involving children from a year old to 18 years old.
A group photograph of some members of Cece Yara Foundation Staff
We had to Scale-up Staff’s Capacity to effectively respond to Cases during This Pandemic
Staff participated in several national and international Webinars for capacity building and collaboration during the lockdown. Webinar training included those facilitated by Child helpline international (African region), UNICEF, Government agencies, ROLAC roundtable of NGOs, etc. More partnerships were gleaned from these Webinars.
In conclusion, we want to express our profound to all our health workers who are in the frontline of health care delivery to combat this rampaging COVID 19 Pandemic. We hereby state that we are appreciative of the huge sacrifices you are making to protect the health of the populace. We also seize this opportunity to appreciate those who partner with us in our collective bid to rid the society of child abuse even in this unusual period of COVID 19 Pandemic. Our appreciation also goes to all our stakeholders who manage to form a common front with us as we Labour to overcome all the odds, especially these challenging times. Thank you all.
Overview of the Lagos State Webinar
Lagos State Ministry of Education with Staff
CYF partnering with the NCC
A photograph of some members of Cece Yara Team