WARIF Boys Conversation Café

In Nigeria today, 1 in 8 boys would have experienced at least one violent sexual encounter before the age of 18 and 61% of the affected boys do not know where to seek help.

WARIF’s recent pilot project surveyed 1000 students in 10 schools in secondary schools in Lagos, with 40% of respondents being boys, noted :

  • 52% of boys surveyed are of the opinion that the types of films (pornographic/sexualized images) are contributing factors to why boys rape
  • 1 in 6 boys who have witnessed a girl being harassed believed she was harassed because she dressed provocatively

With existing support structures that are available in the schools and communities that we work with; the Foundation has set up informal sessions with cohort groups of young secondary school boys between the ages of 12 and 16. These sessions, referred to as “conversation cafes” with the assistance of vetted male volunteers  recruited from the Law Enforcement, Ministries of Justice and Education as well as other organizations serving as mentors/role models at each session.

Implemented through dialogue and with the assistance of skilled WARIF facilitators, a curriculum designed with the assistance of focal group discussions with the young boys,  to influence peer-to-peer education is  administered. Shared discussions on identifying and measuring the prevalence of sexual violence as well as to educate and change the mind-set of the young boys in their attitudes towards gender inequality that already exists in our society today is highlighted.

This preventative initiative has been found to have  a positive measured impact on the attitudes and behaviour patterns towards Gender Based Violence exhibited by these young boys. There is a  reduction in the rate of adverse activities displayed, such as alcohol and drug use  as a result of these sessions and a decrease propensity towards violence against women that these boys  already exhibit in their activities and attitudes as they grow into adulthood.