To mark National Children’s Day, thousands of people from all
over Nigeria including celebrities will march to shine a spotlight on the
plight of the millions of children who suffer violence every year in Nigeria,
calling on communities to break the culture of silence.
The  Nigeria  Violence Against Children Survey (carried out
by the National Population Commission, with the support of UNICEF and US
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), launched by Government of Nigeria
in September 2015, highlighted the  prevalence of sexual, physical, and emotional
violence suffered by  children in
Nigeria. The survey estimates that half of all children in Nigeria experience
physical violence, one in four girls and one in ten boys experience sexual
violence and one in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional
violence before they reach the age of 18 years.
The majority of children
never tell anyone what has happened to them. Less than 4% get the help they
need to recover.
“This culture of silence
must be broken”, said Oluwadamilola Apotieri-Abdulai, Convener of the
iMarch4Children and CEO of Playback Nigeria.  “At the launch of the Presidential Year of
Action to End Violence Against Children on 15th September 2015, His
Excellency President Buhari called upon every Nigerian to play their part to END
VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN in Nigeria. #iMarch4Children is our response to raise
social awareness of this acute problem facing millions of children and to mobilize
communities to take action”.
Playback Nigeria, with the
support of UNICEF, has partnered with Civil Society Organizations across 12 Nigeria
states and the FCT to march for children.
The #iMarch4Children art-based
project will take place in Lagos, Kaduna, Gombe, Cross River, Plateau, Ebonyi, Abia,
Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Delta, Rivers State, and Abuja on the 27th of May
2016 by 8am, bringing together children and young people of different age groups
and backgrounds, religious and cultural leaders, the general public, celebrities
and public figures who have been identified as #iMarch4Children Ambassadors.
All participants will dress
in a way that depicts the impact of violence against children, in order to shed
a light on the silent suffering of millions of Nigerian children. A communique
would be delivered to the Government in each state and at the Federal level on
behalf of the CSOs after which a Die-In activity would be conducted, a process
which will involve participants lay on their back to reflect on millions of
children that have died as a result of violence against children. A daily
tweet-meet was launched on social media through tweeter handle @iMarch4Children
on the 1st of May 2016 to afford different stakeholders the
opportunity to share their views on issues related to VAC.
“No one Ministry or Organization
can effectively address violence against children alone”, said Jean Gough,
Representative UNICEF Nigeria, “Violence against children can only be ended
through a united and concerted effort by Government, CSOs, religious and
traditional leaders, the media, communities and families”.
To participate in the march,
citizens are encouraged to contact their state mobilizing partners or contact
Playback Nigeria on twitter: @iMarch4Children, @PlaybackNigeria or call 08038288609,
08056579266, 08053287588. or email envacng@playbacknigeria.com.
About Playback Nigeria
Playback Nigeria is an art-based organization dedicated to using
interactive arts for psychosocial support, community interaction, enhancement,
development and capacity building. It is one of the leading organizations in
promoting mental health awareness, community engagement and alternative therapy
through art in Nigeria, Playback Nigeria runs interventions in fields including:
sanitation and hygiene; transitional justice; human rights; refugee and immigrant
support; disaster recovery; climate change; HIV/AIDS education; conflict
resolution; good governance; and development.
Partners

The nation-wide #iMarch4Children is being anchored by Playback Nigeria,
with support from UNICEF as part of the Year of Action to End Violence Against
Children. Implementing partners across states include Media Advocacy and
Development Initiative (MADinitaitive), Office of the Deputy Governor of Rivers
State, Budget Transparency and Accountability Initiative Nigeria (BTAN),
Nigerian Child Advocacy Initiative. THE HAVIDS Centre for Environment &
Development, Foundation For Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD),
Women United for Economic  Empowerment, ZERO TOLERANCE, ANPPCAN Nigeria, Gombe
State  Ministry of Women Affairs And
Social Development, Gombe State Child Protection Network.