Walter Reed Program-Nigeria and CDC Join Forces to Empower Adolescents Against Gender-based Violence


The Walter Reed Program-Nigeria (WRP-N), a partnership between the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and HJFMRI, recognizes the positive impact of violence prevention initiatives in creating safe communities for young people to thrive. In light of this understanding, the program collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its partners to implement violence prevention programs specifically designed for adolescent girls and boys in military schools and barrack communities in Nigeria.

Between August 14 and September 22, 2023, the program, with funding from the U.S. President’s Emergency Fund for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) supported 28 teachers and young persons selected from military schools and two Key Population sites to participate in the ‘No Means No’ training in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Jos, and Abuja, where they were equipped with essential skills and knowledge to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), foster assertiveness, boundary-setting, self-defense, and support for SGBV survivors.

Upon completion, these teachers earned their official licenses as instructors, enabling them to effectively deliver the evidenced-based No Means No sexual and gender-based violence prevention curriculum to young people and adolescents in military schools where they work, as well as in barrack communities.

They will in turn equip girls with verbal and physical techniques to defend themselves in potential attack situations. The training for girls will also enhance girls' assertiveness and boundary-setting skills while promoting an understanding of their rights. Training for boys on the other hand will increase boys' comprehension of consent, bystander intervention, and healthy masculinity. It will also challenge prevalent rape culture and encourage the establishment of a culture based on mutual respect.

The No Means No Worldwide curriculum is a comprehensive sexual and gender-based violence prevention program designed for girls and boys aged 9-20. The program focuses on imparting essential skills and knowledge to empower participants, foster self-defense capabilities, and develop a culture of mutual respect. The training spans ten days and is delivered by both international and Nigerian No Means No Worldwide trained instructors. No Means No also creates a safe space for adolescents and young people who have experienced sexual violence to confide in trusted adults. These instructors also play the important role of providing referrals and establishing support groups to ensure that survivors of sexual and gender-based violence access essential medical, legal, and psychosocial support services.

This initiative is part of efforts by the WRP-N to prevent sexual and gender-based violence especially as it relates to the prevention of HIV/AIDS.