Ending the Bullying of Girls
Fellows Michael and Daniel were distressed to observe occurrences of bullying of girls by the boys in their classrooms and schools. They noticed that this made their female students uncomfortable, resulting in low self-esteem and impacting their academic performance. As a result, they organized a one-day sensitization against girls’ bullying.
The event took place in July and brought together over one hundred students from classes 4-6 in two schools at Imo Methodist Primary School and Our Lady of Apostles Primary School. The students were first presented with a definition of bullying that involves a person intentionally inflicting injury or discomfort upon another person through words, physical contact or in other ways. Short dramas were then presented to highlight verbal and physical bullying of girls. The aim was to urge students to stop teasing, harassing, insulting, threatening, using mean words and name-calling, and instead show care, kindness, compassion, and support.
In addition to the drama, an expert from the Child Protection Network, Mr. Olakunle Sanni, encouraged girls to be proud of themselves and hold their heads up high among the boys. They were also encouraged to avoid speaking back unkindly in the event of bullying and instead report incidents to their teachers. A representative of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Mrs. Obi L. A., was also present at the event. She advised the boys and girls to always show love and respect to one another to grow to become individuals who would bring solutions to the problems of their communities and the world as a whole. She also asked students to always report bullies to their teachers and promised that the board will set rules to discipline those who bully their classmates.
Towards the end of the program, the boys made a pledge to stop the bullying of girls – to see girls as their friends and sisters, to talk to them kindly, and to speak up and protect girls against bullying when they witness it. They all signed copies of a pledge to this effect.