The youth advocates project against child sexual abuse is a project funded by the French embassy in Nigeria where youth corps members as advocates in the field raise awareness about child sexual abuse and respond to survivors in various Local Government Areas of Benue States.
This project is a partnership between the funders (French Embassy in Nigeria), Sexual Offences Awareness and Victims Rehabilitation Initiative (SOAR), National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and Network of Civil society organization Against Child Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL).
SOAR initiatives being the Implementing organization collaborated with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) on the youth advocates project against child sexual abuse. SOAR Initiative went into NYSC camp at Wannune in Benue State for a one day sensitization and 3 days training of the advocates before they go into the field. The sensitization started about 9:45am and ended about 10:15 am on the 28th Nov, 2017. Corps members and other NYSC officials on camp where briefly introduced to the project and the objectives, they were also introduced to SOAR Initiative where the Executive Director of SOAR shared little about herself and her experience, calling on youths to volunteer for the course. At the end of the sanitization, 149 corps members indicated interest to be trained as advocates.
The Training of Corps Advocates in the camp lasted for 3 days where advocates were taken through series of modules and sessions such as overview of child rights, understanding child sexual abuse, cultural stereo-types and many others. During the training, a pre-test was administered to the advocates before any modules were discussed just to test their knowledge on what was to be thought, after which a post-test was carried out at the end of the training to determine increase in knowledge.
Series of situations were discussed during the training where some advocates were challenged to embrace whatever experiences they must have passed through and some of the advocates were able to voice out what they had bottled deep down for a long time.
At the end of these 3 days intense training, only 107 out of 149 corps members who volunteered were able to graduate to become advocates who will be sent to the field. A graduation celebration was conducted for these advocates where they were advised to get ready for the work ahead of them after they come out of camp. The celebration finally came to an end at about 3:45pm on Friday 2nd Dec, 2017.