Kidjo has been visiting Liberté VI in Dakar since 2006 to advocate for girl’s education, and was horrified to learn of school violence problems in Senegal. Girls are often warned not to be alone in a room with groups of boys or even teachers, with violence problems ranging from bullying to rape.
“Kids trust adults to protect them,” Kidjo said. “That trauma lasts a lifetime.”
The UNICEF ambassador is urging school officials to respond to violence in schools in the country, where there are no formal procedures for teachers to report abuse.
UNICEF reports that there are only 6 literate women to every 10 literate men in Senegal.
“I have something to tell the boys,” Kidjo said. “I encourage you to be the next generation of strong Senegalese men, to fight against practices like female genital cutting and early marriage. I want you to remember that women are not objects.”