Sunday, 16 February 2020

GBV: MDF takes campaign to schools, Launch gender-based intervention club

Obeten Godfrey|16 February 2020 

The Mediatrix Development Foundation (MDF), has launched it's gender based intervention club in Calabar NEGROIDHAVEN has confirmed.

The lauch of the club according to the organisation, is to help promote healthy living and wellbeing among secondary school students in Cross River State.

In her welcome address, the founder of Mediatrix Development Foundation and first Lady of the State, Dr. Linda Ayade thanked all partners and stakeholders for their contributions towards the launch of the initiative.

Mrs. Ayade who was represented by her Special Advisor on Gender, Mrs. Philomina Inyang expressed gratitude for the launch of the intervention club in schools.

"I welcome and thank you all partners and stakeholders who have made out of your busy schedule to be here and all of you who continue to work tirelessly with my team at Mediatrix Development Foundation to make all of these possible.

"School based interventions had over the years impacted very positively on hundreds of students and teachers of schools at global, regional and local levels. The strong connection between health and education is recognised worldwide. Promoting health goes beyond providing health care services and involves social, economic and environmental factors including education, that affect people's quality of life.

"The school-based intervention is one of the initiatives of Mediatrix Development Foundation over the years. Results gotten from the baseline surveys in 2019 have brought about the need for this project to be carried out effectively and efficiently in 2020."

According to Ayade, the initiative will promote healthy living and wellbeing amongst students thereby reducing morbidity and mortality rates.

"The school-based intervention will undoubtedly yield significant results in the areas of health, school Related Gender Based Violence and career development. The project will also integrate programs including Cervical Cancer awareness, physical activity promotion, WASH, personal/menstrual hygiene, Malaria, SRGBV, career development, basis life supporting skills, and Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

"As we join our hands to kick start this project, I want you all to know that from the depth of my heart, I appreciate the effort you all have put in making it possible for us to officially launch this project today and I hope that we continue to work together in reaching out to our young and tender ones all over the State."

Speaking also at the event, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu lauded the wife of the governor, for taking the Gender Based Violence campaign to secondary schools.

According to her, the launch of the club will engender and awaken the consciousness of young people as it relates to their health and well-being.

She described the wife of the governor as a tenacious woman who pushes to ensure that Cros Riverins get the very best at all times.

''I see in her a woman who doesn't give up and a woman who tenaciously pushes to ensure that Cros Riverins can get the very best at all times. She is interested in the adults, she is interested in the children, she is interested in indeed everyone, and that's why she created The Mediatrix Development Foundation as a way to reach out to the less privileged, to the less informed, to those who don't have a voice in society, to give them a voice; that's what Dr. Linda Ayade specialises in doing.

''She's starting something very new and profound and i want every child to leave here today with the understanding of the implication of having an MDF club in your school. It means that you are now a new ambassador of everything health, a new ambassador for well being, a new ambassador to defend other young women against all the ills in society."

She admonished the students to at all times maintain a positive attitude towards their education and health, adding that, this could be the only way they can become change agents in the society.

''You're that new voice. She is trying to make you a global voice, not just a local voice but a global voice to speak such as some of us are already speaking. Educate others, inform others, pull others up. 

"What you learn here today you can go back to your school, you can go back to your community and teach others and it could make a huge difference in the society. That's exactly what Dr. Linda Ayade the wife of the Governor of Cross River State Senator Professor Ben Ayade is trying to do.''

Also lending her voice at the event, the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Health-care Development Agency, Dr. Janet Ekpengyong, advised the students to exhibit good behaviour and focus on becoming the best.

She urged them to take their studies seriously and shun all vices that may mar or hamper their ambitions of becoming great citizens and good ambassadors of the society.

''So your focus right now is to just concentrate in school. Your work must start now. So young girls run away from anybody that wants to introduce you into prostitution. Your parents sent you here to study. So work hard and ensure you come out in flying colours," the Primary Healthcare DG advised.

Speaking at the sidelines of the event, the Operations Manager of Mediatrix Development Foundation, Mr. Jeffrey Adamade said the intervention club is part of the organisation's plans awaken the safety consciousness of young people in the society, 

According to him, the initiative will expand to the Central and Northern Senatorial Districts. He added that plans are underway to establish the club in all secondary schools in the State.

On the target audience for the intervention club, Mr. Adamade said, ''What we have here today is a revamp of Mediatrix Development Foundation Club system. It's a school based intervention. So for now we are taking it to primary and secondary schools, but the projection we have in mind is to take school related gender based violence to Universities, because we have related cases and things that are happening very seriously at the University level. We are still going to access University students but for now we are taking it to Primary and Secondary schools," she added.

"When asked about the sustainability plan of the Foundation beyond the political era, he said, ''So that you know, Mediatrix Development Foundation is a pet project of her Excellency but we've built in our sustainability plan already from the inception of the organisation. So we have a strategic plan that was developed by UN for us. 

"Currently we are a partner with UNHCR so those are not things that are government tied. A lot of persons have this misconception that it is because is the wife of a governor's NGO, so possibly after the four year term, it's going to go off. 

"We have a system that is working, we have a firm policy and those policies and those structures we have in Mediatrix will ensure that Mediatrix survives even beyond the political era," he said.

One of the Students, Miss Precious Edet, thanked the wife of the Governor for taking the initiative to schools. According to her, the club will help them raise their consciousness on issues that relate to their health and wellness.

"I want to thank the wife of the governor for bringing this to our school. They taught us how to take care ouf our bodies, and how to stay away from gender based violence. I have learnt a lot today and I will take this message home so that people around me can also learn about what I learnt here."

The event which held Friday, at the State Housing Secondary School, Calabar, witnessed presentations by partner organisations bordering on Gender Based Violence and children's health.

Other notable personalities present at the event included, the Chairlady Medical Women Association Cross River State; Dr. Bassey Nakada, as well as the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice; Barrister Tanko Ashang; who was represented by Barrister Endurance Asim-Ita.

Highpoints of the event was cultural dances from State Housing Secondary School, as well as photo session with partner organisations.

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