. . . Pledges to create Awareness on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights among Students
By Chioma Ndife
A student of St. John of God Secondary School, Awka, Anambra State, Miss Veronica Memsoma Nnalue has won the second edition of the Essay Competition organized by the Civil Resources Development and Documentation Centre, CIRDDOC, Nigeria, for Senior Secondary School Students across the South-East and South-South States.
Nnalue received the gift and cash prize attached to the competition on Tuesday, March 19, through the CIRDDOC representatives in Anambra State. The gift presentation held at the Assembly Ground of St. John of God Secondary School, Awka.
The essay competition on the topic, ''Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights are Human Rights'', was put together in collaboration with Coalition of Eastern NGOs (CENGOS) with support from Amplify Change.
Speaking to Fides, the Anambra State Co-coordinator of CIRDDOC, Prof Mercy Anagbogu, commended the winner of the competition, Miss Nnalue, who received a collection of books, laptop and a cash prize of forty thousand naira for her excellent performance during the competition.
She explained that the competition received entries from over 150 schools across the nation, noting that students who entered for the competition were expected to discuss the essay topic in relation to experiences in their immediate environment in a bid to determine their knowledge on gender based violence and abuse.
She noted that the organization, through the competition, had connected the young ones together with other connections they had established in the past with government ministries, school teachers and parents. She stated that the connections were aimed at creating awareness on violence, especially as it concerned women.
She maintained that the success recorded by the student of St. John of God Secondary School had brought about wider publicity of what CIRDDOC did. She explained that the girl who was declared winner of the competition demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of what sexual and reproductive health right entailed.
Addressing students of St. John of God Secondary School, Awka, before the presentation of the grand prize to the winner, the Anambra State CIRDDOC Project Manager, Mr. Oluebube Ngige, explained that the competition which received entries from over 150 schools across the South East and South-South states in the nation, was held in two parts. He noted that the first part was at the state level, while the second part involved winners from across the 9 states in the Eastern Region.
He noted that the competition was geared at sensitizing people within secondary school age on their sexual and reproductive rights and disclosed the various achievements which the NGO had recorded in combating violence against women, among others.
Welcoming the CIRDDOC Team, the School Manager, Rev. Fr. Chigozie Jidere, described the success of the winner as the cumulative effort of the school teachers who had contributed in training the student who came tops. He disclosed the readiness of the school to participate at subsequent competitions that would be put up by the NGO.
Fr. Jidere congratulated the winner on her excellent performance at the essay competition, noting that her willingness to learn necessitated the success. He advised students to understand their primary responsibility as students and engage in affairs that would project the school in positive limelight.
For her part, the winner of the competition, Veronica Nnalue, who was visibly happy, noted that she picked interest in the competition after seeing a poster designed for the competition by the NGO. She attributed her success to God who made her determined and to surmount the difficulties encountered during the competition.
She revealed how she wrote the essay for over 10 times before it was accepted by the teachers whom she showed it to for corrections. She regretted that some cultural practices and societies had made it difficult for people to stand up for their rights in respect to sexual and reproductive health right. She disclosed her intention to assist in educating her fellow students on their sexual and reproductive health rights to avoid violation and abuse.
She stated that the effort of the NGO would help to save lives and recalled a case of Sophia, her next door neighbor, who killed herself because she was raped by her master, saying that rape victims would be able to seek legal actions.