By Angela Atabo
A non-governmental organisation, Boys Quarters Africa, in partnership with Connected Development, has unveiled a boy-focused club with the aim of mobilising boys and men in ending all forms of violence against women and girls.
The club was launched at the third edition of the International Boy-Child summit organised and sponsored in Lagos by Voice Global with the theme: “Redefining Masculinity 3.0 — Raising Boys, Reshaping Men and Transforming the Society.”
A statement by the organisers quoted the Executive Director of Boys Quarters Africa, Mr Solomon Ayodele, as saying that the organisation was championing the boy-child initiative to entrench the right values in the boys and ultimately ensure a better society.
Ayodele said the annual summit had birthed partnerships with some states Gender Affairs units including Lagos and Enugu.
He said: “We have been able to engage 10,517 boys, we are mobilising 1,000 boys and men through Project SABI, with the focus of reaching men in the informal sector and also setting up gender-based violence desk in Parks.”
Dr Ruby Onwudiwe, the Executive Director, Technology & Operations 9PSB, was also quoted as saying that boys needed good role models and as such, Boys Quarters Africa, was in the business of bursting myths.
Ruby who declared the summit open said: “What we are doing today is to draw awareness on some of these issues, and to reorient our mind to raise men of good character.
“This year’s boy’s summit is focused on redefining men, and transforming the society; we are looking for change agents and raising boys who are emotionally balanced.
“We need change agents who will break the cycle of domestic violence, aggression and change the rhetoric of what a real man should be,” Onwudiwe said.
The summit also had viewing centres in some states including FCT-Abuja, Adamawa, Ebonyi, Ogun, Bornu, Ondo and Enugu.
These centres had a cumulative number of over 3,000 Boys, who watched the Lagos event.
Guest speaker at the summit, Mr Fela Bank-Olemoh, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Education Interventions, listed drug abuse, social media, peer pressure, weak family institutions as some of the negative influencers of the boy-child.
He advocated for things that could positively affect their lives.
Also, the panelists at the summit also spoke on the issues surrounding the Boy-Child, and how to reshape their mindset toward transforming the society.
Mr AbdulAzeez Musa from Voice — Oxfam in Nigeria, in his goodwill message, said boys were going through a lot of problems and as such needed protection.
“Especially in the north, boys are kidnapped and they are made to join fight; they (boys) need to be educated.
“This summit is a step to help people become advocates in their own spaces, and also to change the narrative on how boys see themselves,” Musa said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that male students from Immaculate Heart Senior and Junior Secondary School, Mende Senior High School and Junior, Community High School Alapere, were in attendance.
Others are: Oregun Junior and Senior, Ajegunle High School, Kosofe Senior High School, Ikeja Junior and Senior High School and Ogba Junior Grammar School . (NAN)(www.nannnews.ng)
Edited by Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma