Nearly one in two adolescent girls across the Lake Chad Basin region feeling “unsafe” in their environment in the wake of the crisis, many have been forced into “survival sex”, a survey has found.
The report “Adolescent Girls in Crisis: Voices from the Lake Chad Basin,” which surveyed girls in Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, found adolescent girls and community members outlined “adolescent girls engaging in relationships and swapping sex for food, money and other items.”
Advancement and Protection Alternative says it is the first time a survey has studied “survival sex in its own right.”
The report also found some proportion of girls in the region feel “very” and “extremely unsafe”.
The survey by the international charity, Plan International, studied how the crisis has affected adolescent girls aged 10 to 19 in particular, for the first time distinguishing them from women or children.
“In humanitarian response, we rarely speak of adolescent girls—adolescent girls are either girls or women,” said Fabian Bockler, a regional programme coordinator for Lake Chad at Plan.
“There are issues specific to them and we need to develop programmes to address that age group.”
The report was launched before humanitarian actors and donor agencies in Abuja.
Girls displaced from their homes and those living with family in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroun—which make up the Lake Chad Basin—took part in the survey.
Some of the fear the girls sited in the study come from harassment by adolescent boys and young men. Eight in 10 girls reported receiving “unwanted touching or kissing”. In more than 80% of the cases, the perpetrator was an adolescent boy.
Half of all the reported harassment occurred “outside on a road” and a quarter of them at school, the survey found.
The report says the finding shows there are few areas untouched by violence and abuse for adolescent girls.
It found child, early and forced marriage has increased across the region in the wake of the crisis. Nearly one-third of girls aged over 15 in Niger and Cameroon married, the survey found, and had less role in decisions that concern them than girls in Nigeria.
“It is important that we listen to children and what they say. When we are adults we think like adults,” said Ben Foot, director of Save the Children Nigeria.
“The understanding that children do know what they want and what they need is my message.”
The perception of insecurity across the region has compelled girls to limit their mobility in public, hampered their access to school and health care and impacted their reach to food security and nutrition.
“All these issues have been there; the insurgency just amplified it,” said Joy Michael of the United Nations Population Fund at the launch of the report in Abuja.
“We know it is there but without evidence you can’t address policy makers.
“A lot of times we do programmes for women and saw we are doing it for girls. But the report shows the categorization is different and their needs are different.”
The study highlights a “strong element of resilience amidst vulnerability,” said Hussaini Abdu, country director for Plan International Nigeria.
“Depsite their challenges, they are striving to ensure their situation does not suppress them and deny them what they are aiming for in life,” he said of the report.
“The other dimension is that most times we associate abuse and vilence to activities of Boko Haram, kidnapping and rape. But this survey is also telling us that in addition to those things, some of these abuses can also be domestic, at home, on their way to school, on their way to get water, from family, neighbours. We need to respond to it.”
He said response must take in immediate and future needs of girls affected.
“The social, economic condition of these girls is not a creation by this crisis necessarily. What the crisis has done is compound it. If we are to respond, we must respond to their immediate need and the underlying factors,” said Abdu.
“If we don’t respond to the underlying factors, even if the crisis ends today, this situation these girls go through may continue.”
The Presidency on Wednesday asked media organisations in Nigeria to focus on issues to be discussed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the United Nations Assembly in New York. This was contained in a statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity on Wednesday. The […]
As the countdown to the 2020/2021 Mindgames Scrabble Premier League Finale continues, organisers of the prestigious league competition have included another tournament which will run side by side with the main event.The MGI Patrons Cup has been created to accommodate individual players who do not belong to any team involved in the Premier League but […]
As part of its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights in Nigeria, and in its continuous exercise to boost the capacity of lawyers, Avocats Sans Frontières France with the financial support of the German Embassy in Nigeria, implemented a training on human rights for lawyers in Nigeria on the 9th – 10th […]
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger State has played host to many prominent personalities and other Muslim Ummah who were present at the three days Firdau prayer for the repose of the soul of the late Emir of Kontagora Alhaji Saidu Namaska, at the Emir’s palace Kontagora. The event which was well attended, attracted many […]
……Appeals for calm after cruel and horrifying killing. Security agencies have reported to the Kaduna State Government the killing of Reverend Silas Yakubu Ali, Pastor of ECWA Church, Kibori-Asha Awuce, in Zangon Kataf LGA, by unknown assailants. The report stated that Reverend Ali departed for Kafanchan on Saturday, and was not heard from until his […]
Eight hundred and sixteen people have died of cholera in Nigeria between January and the end of July this year, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) announced on Monday. The Centre blamed the outbreaks and deaths on poor sanitation and access to potable water by people in the country. About 31,425 suspected and 311 […]
Agency Report Staff of Amuwo Odofin Maternal and Child Centre (AOMCC) during the sensitisation and awareness programme to mark 2021 World Breastfeeding Week on Thursday in Lagos. A Chief Nursing Sister, Roseline Oladimeji, has advised pregnant women to allow their husbands to suck their breasts to prepare them for breastfeeding after delivery. Oladimeji gave the […]
The Police Command in Kaduna State on Thursday confirmed the escape of two of the abducted students of Bethel Baptist High School, Maraban Damishi, in Chikun Local Government Area of the state. ASP Mohammed Jalige, the Command’s Public Relations Officer said in a press statement that information reached the Command about the escape of the […]
The national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has authorised the party’s youth wing to set up zonal strategic lobby committees at the State and Ward levels, ahead of the 2023 general elections. Alhaji Ismaeel Ahmed, the APC National Youth representative in the party’s Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), said this in […]
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has accused the Federal Government of appointing five unqualified persons as rectors in newly established federal polytechnics, in violation of the subsisting Act. The ASUP National President, Mr Anderson Ezeibe, who stated this at the 100th National Executive Council meeting of the union in Auchi, on Wednesday, said […]