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AETRIFEST 2017 InterSchools Cultural Annual Festival FOR THE GIRL-CHILD

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

The Girl Child in Nigeria is deliberately discouraged to obtain the Western Education owing to the fact that after educating them, they would eventually end up as housewife to some men, with their place only in the kitchen, bedroom, and for bringing forth children. The northern part of Nigeria most especially the North East and North West has the highest number of out of schoolgirl. It constitutes about 85% of out of school girls in the entire country. Rather than getting their girls educated, the parents of Girl Child in the Northern part of Nigeria prefer them to hawk food items and the proceeds from their hawking kept safe for them, to be used in buying them some housewares if they eventually get married. This age-long tradition has persisted.

The African Ethics and Theatre Reformation Initiative organized a program for the Girl Child tagged “OUR CULTURE, THE GIRL CHILD AND THE FUTURE” which flagged off in the North with over twenty secondary schools in attendance and the aim is to continuously encourage the Girl Child Education.


In Nigeria, violence against women and girls remains a serious issue that must be addressed in view of its traumatic consequences both on the victim and the society in general. Students in most Secondary Schools lack comprehensive knowledge of their fundamental Human Rights especially as it relates to students in our Secondary Schools. This exposes students, especially girls to various forms of vulnerability such as Sexual Harassment, Rape, HIV/AIDS, Child Labor, Human Trafficking, and Early Marriage amongst others.

According to the National HIV/AIDS Reproductive Health Survey conducted by the Federal Ministry of Health in 2012, the HIV prevalence for persons aged 15-19 years old in Kaduna State was as high as 11.7% This is not unconnected to the low-level HIV/AIDS knowledge amongst youths and other sexual reproductive health issues and Sexual Abuse is so prevalent these days; we begin to wonder what has gone wrong. There is an increase in the number of older men known as ‘Sugar Daddies’ and seasoned prostitutes who are sexually exploiting most young girls and exchanging them for sex money in order to pay their school fees. Child Sexual Abuse has resulted in many girls contracting HIV/AIDS due to various social reasons; many ignorant men think that having sex with virgins cures HIV/AIDS and STDs. There are many fathers who have also raped their daughters with ill advice from some Self-Styled Traditional Healers and Prophets. Many girls have also fallen victims of gang Rape, forced marriages under customary law to marry their brothers-in-law and uncles who are living with HIV/AIDS, and other traditional practices. Most girls do not participate in social activities because of gender roles which force them to concentrate on domestic chores and this resulted in a lack of exposure to information which is of great importance to them even in some AIDS awareness campaigns in most cases boys are on the lead in the communities. Most peer educators are male and therefore it is imperative for girls to take leading roles in awareness campaigns against HIV/AIDS and Child Sexual Abuse.

Girls in Schools are shy to ask questions on Reproductive Health in core Schools where the majority of Teachers Teaching the Sciences is Male; they tend to be withdrawn during lessons and limit their otherwise reproductive issues to trivial issues. There is a lack of depth knowledge on the part of girls on Reproductive Health, Sex, and HIV/AIDS. It is even worse for those who cannot afford to go to school because they have no means of accessing the information on HIV/AIDS prevention programs. It has been noted with disappointment that some problems which crop up at an early stage in the girls’ lives like rape, prostitution, and economic over-dependence on men are not adequately looked into when the girls are still young. There is hardly any newspaper of today that we do not have a daily incidence of abuse of a Girl Child. It reads a man 40 molested a girl of 8 years old; a man 60 years old defiles a girl 13 years of age, a 65 years old man impregnated a 14 years old girl. The narrative of the horrors a girl child passes through in Nigeria today is a big cause for concern. In the lower strata of society, the girl child is engaged in child labor, the girl child is made to hawk or gives out into early marriage to be able to make money for the upkeep of the family.

BRIEF OF THE INITIATIVE: AETRI thought it necessary to embark on a campaign to Private and Public Secondary Schools in Kaduna State to Sensitize and Create Awareness within the youth on issues that affect the Girl-Child and on Human Rights related issues via a cultural festival that will bring different Schools together to participate in competitive events within a central theme ‘’OUR CULTURE, THE GIRL CHILD AND THE FUTURE’’. Events such as Drama, Traditional Dance, Children Painting, Traditional Fashion Parade, Arts Craft Exhibition, and Traditional Carnival, as well as a Workshop, was presented during the two-day school cultural festival, which displayed the impact of Violence Against Women and the Girl-Child among others. Furthermore, these initiatives were explored by using various competitive events at the AETRIFEST 2017, to curb the menace and bring hope to the Girl Child, Youth, and our Women especially


The main objectives of the festival are:

  • To build the capacity of participants in addressing issues on moral values and ethical conducts using non-violence approaches.

  • To expose participants to the negative impact of Violence Against the Girl Child such as Rape, Sexual Harassment, Prostitution, Child Labor, Child Trafficking, and Early Marriage

  • To build knowledge of participants on HIV/AIDS for increased awareness and prevention

  • To expose participants to the negative effects of Discrimination of the Girl-Child to enable them to fight against it

  • To create awareness on the Rights and Responsibilities of Students/School Managements for peaceful coexistence amongst them


The festival was a non-residential. It was conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Kaduna States, and the National Orientation Agency.


1. The Capacity of participants built in addressing issues on moral values and ethical conducts using non-violence approaches.

2. Participants have a good understanding of the negative impact of violence against the girl child such as rape, sexual harassment, prostitution, child labor and Child trafficking,

3. Increased knowledge of participants on HIV/AIDS and prevention

4. Participants exposed to the negative effects of Discrimination on the Girl-Child.

5. Increase Participant’s awareness on the Rights and Peaceful Coexistence.


AETRIFEST 2017 was a festival we implemented that brought different Secondary Schools together to participate Socially and Culturally in a competitive event on this year’s theme ‘’OUR CULTURE, THE GIRL-CHILD AND THE FUTURE’’ which includes Drama, Traditional Dance, Children Painting, Fashion Parade, Arts Craft Exhibition, and Carnival. The process also includes a seminar on the subject matter and the event was held for (2) two days and it serves as a pilot project. Schools participation were open and free, entries were accompanied by script and synopsis, the Carnival/Opening Ceremony Color Code was a general awareness on the School Corporate Image as well as the Country’s Color via Cultural Attires to project the image of the country as well as the School they were representing and there was adjudication/criteria for every competitive event. The seminar incorporates the use of various facilitation and learning techniques, facilitators adopted a participatory approach that enabled the participants to learn through doing – sharing feelings, concerns, and experiences; discussing and analyzing issues, problem-solving and taking action, Powerpoint presentation, and use of energize. Command performance cultural troupes were also invited.


The target beneficiaries of this project were youth/students and stakeholders in the city of Kaduna State in Nigeria. The participants experienced effective and changing transformational processes articulated in the administration of the governor.

The overall winner of AETRIFEST 2017 Inter-Schools Annual Cultural Festival for the Girl-Child was Government Junior Secondary School Ungwan Romi Kaduna South of Kaduna State; Nigeria with six hundred and five points (605) Conclusion Barriers to girl-child education in Nigeria especially in the north have been tied to several factors such as poverty, early marriage, cultural and religious misconceptions or misinterpretations, as well as teenage pregnancy Various studies have also been enumerated which identified religious misinterpretations, cultural practices and economic factors as issues militating against girl-child education in Nigeria especially in the north. It has also been revealed that the inability of parents to provide adequate and basic education for their girl-children by sending them to school which is their sole responsibility, either as a result of illiteracy, poverty, cultural or religious misconceptions has created inequality between the male and female children enrolment in schools and the local government area at large.

See attached Pictures from the AETRIFEST 2017 in Kaduna State:



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