PATICIPANTS IN A GROUP DISCUSSION DURING THE WORKSHOP
Girl Child Concerns GCC has taken the lead in organizing a zonal consultative workshop on development process of a National Safe Spaces Curriculum recently. The workshop which attracted many stakeholders was convened in Kaduna. Safe Space is all about making girls relevant. They are places where girls go to learn from role models, access services and become good decision-makers. Girls in poverty often have few friends, little free time and no power. For a space to be safe is must be; Girls only, girls must own the contents and activities, and there must be mentors. In her Remark, Program Officer for GCC Hajia Umma-Iliyasu Mohammed said many organizations work to empower and improve girls access and right to education, health and information in Nigeria. However over the years, safe spaces for girls have been identified as a strong and strategic initiative that provides an opportunity for girls to gain life skills, sexual and reproductive health and
rights related knowledge and enhance their ability to express themselves, negotiate for self-defines goals, learn about local health services, improve literacy and numeracy and build social networks and relationship trust.
She emphasised that through safe spaces girls are able to access life skills that are aimed at developing their confidence and awareness, empowering them to become informed and active members in the communities and gain a sense of social responsibility.
Hajia Umma-Iliyasu also explained that behavioural change in girls who participate in safe spaces has demonstrated that peer group solidarity and effective mentoring can foster a safe environment in which girls reflect on their lives and kind of life to which they aspire.
In the last decade, a number of organizations recognizing the value of safe spaces have designed and are implementing safe spaces programmes in Nigeria. A review of these programmes, however, highlights the use of limited and non-standardized methodology and curriculum (content). In fact some organisations have been operating safe spaces without knowing they are doing so because they are not structured. She added.
Explaining on how the idea of developing a National curriculum development for safe spaces emerged, she said since 2015, Girl Hub Nigeria (GHN) in collaboration with British Council (BC) has been closely working with a wide range of stakeholders including Nigerian government through national Technical Working Group (TWG) which Girl Child Concerns is a member, to improve coordination, knowledge and implementation of safe spaces in Nigeria. The TWG is managed by the Federal Ministry of Education (FME). There are 51 members and 3 working sub committees of the TWG. These are the Evidence, Learning and Best Practice committee, the curriculum development subcommittee and safe spaces in conflict and hard to reach communities.
She added that the subcommittee on national curriculum development is chaired by the Nigerian Education Research and Development Council (NERDC) and the objective of the subcommittee is to collaboratively develop a comprehensive and standardized stand-alone safe spaces curriculum and manuals for girls ages 10-19. To achieve this, members of the TWG were consulted to hold consultations in all the 6 geo-political zones of the country to review the curriculum draft content page that was developed through a harmonisation process of several curriculums are in use by different groups.
THE OBJECTIVES FOR THE CONSULTATIVE MEETING WAS
- To introduce the national curriculum development initiative to key stakeholders in the state.
- To ensure overall community buy in and collaboration of key stakeholders to the initiative
- To ensure the success as well as national validity of the national curriculum.
- To get key state stakeholders feedback on the draft contents page of the curriculum developed by experts.
- To engage with state government institutions and NGOs that will be possibly involved in the initiative
The curriculum upon completion will help NGOs, CSOs, Schools and Government institution have a better understanding and structured Safe spaces.
The workshop drew participants from all works of life, ranging from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Media, religious organizations, FBOs and government agencies such as Kaduna State Ministry of Education, National Teachers Institute (NTI), Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE), All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary schools (ANCOPPS), KPSMB, Kaduna State Ministry of Women Affairs, State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Development partners like UNFPA, Voice for Change (V4C), Mobilising For Development (M4D), State Accountability and Voice Initiative (SAVI) among others.