Outreach campaign visit to Agape Experimental High School and Tower Hill Municipal School in Godreach, Freetown, Sierra Leone.

To complement the efforts of Governments, NGO's, and International partners including individuals and families working on the reduction and eradication of Gender-Based Violence in schools and other communities, Mercy Path, a child rights organization working on education, empowerment of youth and children and gender equality started its campaign on "ENDING GBV" at the Agape E. H. School and Tower Hill Municipal School today, 6th December, on the theme "TOGETHER WE CAN END GBV IN EDUCATION"

The purpose of the outreach was to empower/educate girls including their male colleagues, teachers and school authorities with information and facts about GBV. It was a great opportunity for school going girls to be exposed and thought about GBV at all levels. Various questions were asked by Ariefa Bockarie Kumara who is the co-founder and national coordinator of Children's Education Foundation and also volunteer of Mercy Path to get the pupils/girls knowledge about GBV in schools and communities. Questions that were asked include: what is gender-based violence, its causes and negative effects, and ways by which gender-based violence can be minimized or eradicated using schools and community-based solutions.

At the Agape school, girls were bold and confident enough to say that, Gender-Base Violence is an act of violence committed against the wish of women and girls. They confirmed this to say that many a time girls are vulnerable to their male friends in schools who treats them badly just because they are girls and are weak in voice and inactions.
Violent acts mentioned by the Agape school pupils/girls includes but not limited to:
- hitting girls on their bottoms or breast 
- insulting girls while in school uniform
- boys and teachers including school authorities having no regards, respect and honour for girls.
forced playing with girls in school by the boys.
- asking girls to go to the bathroom (toilet) while classes are going on just to go and abuse their rights through sexual violence.
- snatching school materials/properties from girls.

Providing school initiative solutions to their problems as victims of GBV in school communities, the Agape Experimental High School female pupils agreed that, in other to reduce or eradicate Gender-Based Violence, girls should continue to be bold and confident enough to:
- reject any forms of violence against their wish
- report cases of violence against them to any school authorities including the prefects, teachers and principal etc.
- always go for counselling on GBV to a trusted counsellor.
- school facilities separation such as toilet, feeding places by the school authorities among boys and girls in order to help minimize gender-sensitive activities.
- boys to consider their colleague girls as their sisters.
- girls to report to their parents on issues that have to with sex for a grade.
- girls should have integrity, believe, honour, vision, priority and much more in life.
- taking actions against boys and male teachers including some female friends and teachers who seem to violate the rights of other girls in schools.
- boys to stop hanging out with girls during school hours including lunch time.
- empowering girls through knowledge and skill building on how to escape GBV.

Complementing the efforts of his female pupils in the school, Mr Kabba who is the vice principal at the Agape junior school told Mercy Path volunteers that GBV is in the school but not on the high increase. This he continues to say girls club are been formed to deal with issues affecting girls in the school. The principal explained there is a provision of the counselling centre for girls available in the school, and school toilet facilities like toilet are separated among boys and girls. Mr Kabba further explained boys who commit GBV crime against girls in schools will be suspended. He concluded by saying he wants to see the participation of Mercy Path and any child right organization in the school to work on issues affecting girls like other organizations has been doing such as Restless Development, CARD working to finding solutions and possibility to end GBV.

See more pictures from the event below!

More on Mercy Path blog