Sofadondo, a non-profit advocacy group, which campaigns against Sex for Marks and Marks for Sex in Secondary and Tertiary institutions, commends BBC Africa for the investigative documentary recently released. We are glad to know that Sofadondo is no longer a lone voice against Sex for Marks, as other organizations of like minds have joined in being a Voice for the Voiceless.
We salute the BBC undercover journalist, Kiki Mordi, who courageously undertook such task, as well as all those who made that investigative documentary possible. The outcome of their work is already at play in several positive directions.
Before now, a team of Sofadondo Volunteers in Lagos reached out to the Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Lagos (Unilag) with requests to carry out Sex for Marks awareness campaigns in the campus. The Dean turned down their request claiming that Sex for Marks does not exist in Unilag and that the school will not allow any Sofadondo student group.
Surely, the BBC report proves otherwise and vindicates Sofadondo’s desire to create a positive impact in that university. The BBC report and other reports that have emerged afterwards, show that we are dealing with a global and chronic problem. Nonetheless, its seeming normalcy within various academic communities and institutions does not entrench it as an accepted norm.
The scourge of sexual advances and harassment, seduction, student abuse, rape, molestation, sexual intimidation, oppression, blackmail, abuse of power, and flirtatious/inappropriate behaviors among staff and students paint a picture of the rampant situations in relation to Sex for Marks in institutions of learning.
The resultant failing standards of education, psychological trauma, depression, suicide attempts, and perpetuated moral decadence point to the need for widely known and enforced Sexual Harassment Policy in institutions. It is necessary to have orientation programs which actively include sensitization on the policy and unbureaucratic reporting mechanisms for sexual misconducts, reminder of the policy to staff, and the need for school management to help break the culture of impunity and root out this menace.
Educational institutions are meant to be places where people (more often young people) go to learn, cultivate good character and prepare themselves for their future. Hence, managers of institutions, faculty members, male and female lecturers and teachers, church leaders within learning institutions, academic and non-academic staff have an obligation to conduct themselves professionally. They have the duty to be genuine mentors, guardians, educators who truly have the good of the students at heart.
Sofadondo is aware that sexual predators abound in many campuses and schools and this threatens the conducive learning environment for our students and pupils. Hence, the mission of Sofadondo remains to combat the scourge of sex for marks/marks for sex in tertiary institutions using the tested tools of Advocacy, Campaigns and Education.
There are currently about 300 members who have signed up as Sofadondo Volunteers across 13 States in Nigeria. Our work is based on three thematic areas - ACE:
Advocacy: Propose or Identify [existing] sexual harassment laws and ensuring they are implemented; work with partners and victims to seek justice.
Campaigns: Sensitization/awareness campaigns, advocacy, engage school authorities.
Education: Thematic training, literacy programs, town hall meetings and empowerment trainings.
We have a provisional registration with the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and are looking forward to fostering more of such partnerships with sister bodies to take up cases of abuse that reach us. We encourage like minded persons to join us in this advocacy.
Are you a victim? Do you know a victim? Please report any case of abuse to us. Our numbers are: +234 701 225 4532 and +1 469 431 4733.
You can also reach us by email at: email@example.com, twitter and facebook - @sofadondo.
To join us as a volunteer in this campaign against “Sex for Marks and Marks for Sex”, sign up on our website..