BUILDING A POWERFUL AND MODERN AFRICA

Guest Post : Written by Jacinta Oghogho Odubanjo – Broadcast Journalist with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria 

International cooperation is critical to world peace and development. It offers opportunities for dialogues on issues of global concern like migration, trade, conflicts, technology and laws governing the international system. It is this crucial aspect of relations that defines the objectives of the Crans Montana Forum.

The Forum since 1986 has been in the vanguard of a “more humane world”. It organizes annual events involving decision-makers the world over to discuss political, economic and social occurrences requiring attention. Being a Non-Governmental International Organization, the Crans Montana Forum promotes good practices that shape the future of the world.

Recently, Dakhla in the disputed territory of South Sahara, controlled by Morocco, hosted the Crans Montana Forum on Africa and South-South Cooperation. The conference of 14-17 March 2019 was a unique opportunity for businesses, organizations, and governments to network and strengthen their relations. The forum brought together over 1000 Africans to debate issues that are of concern to the continent with the theme “Building a Powerful and Modern Africa Dedicated to its Youth”.

This edition of the Forum kicked off with the opening message of the King Mohammed VI of Morocco, read by the president of the Dakhla-Qued Eddahab Region, Mr. Yanja El Khattat. The king wants youths to be encouraged, trained and empowered to turn today’s economic potential to tomorrow’s reality. His message set the tone for discussions on security, health, the digital revolution, leadership, entrepreneurship, and economic cooperation with emphasis on the role of youths and women.

DAKHLA-AFRICA celebrated African Youth and ensured their participation in the various debates as they were officially welcomed in the 2019 class of the New Leaders for Tomorrow.

The New Leaders for Tomorrow are innovative and influential. In a panel discussion on Youth Entrepreneurship and Women’s Leadership in Africa, a 35-year-old youth activist, entrepreneur, and musician, Vanessa Mdee said education should be given to both boys and girls to enable them to reach their full potentials. Speaking at the forum, President, National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Bello Bala Shagari said African youths should abhor violence and embrace technology for smart solutions to their challenges.

Shagari’s call stems from the fact that technology has transformed the workings of world systems. People are more informed with the use of technology today compared to the past. With a smartphone one easily accesses information, communicates and educates. This assertion was buttressed in the presentation of the Director General of the Royal Institute of Strategic Studies, Toufik Mouline who stressed the need for digitization to tackle challenges facing Africa. He said digitization would open doors of opportunities for education, finance, energy, mobility, health, and agriculture.

By entrepreneurship, for example, young leaders show their professional competence and leadership experience. Bringing them from emerging African states to chat a sustainable future for the continent is such that puts the future in the hands of leaders capable of taking Africa to the summit of development. It is this hope that made my experience at the summit exciting. Having to be in the midst of people of different backgrounds, displaying the rich cultures of Africa, gave one a sense of belonging and confidence. It was also a reminder of the role of women in development.

The first lady of the Republic of Guinea, Mrs. Hadja Conde Djene Kaba, a special guest of the African Women’s Forum session dedicated to youth entrepreneurship and women leadership, said everything goes smoothly with women when they are trusted. She gave an example of African women adhering to the terms of loan repayments as a measure of trust and reliability. Some African women are beneficiaries of support loans from financial institutions which they pay back as and when due. By this, Hadja Conde calls for policies that ensure that the needs of women in African societies are catered for.

The First Lady of Gambia Mrs. Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow spoke in the same line when she called for the provision of enabling environment that caters to the empowerment of youths and women.

In her speech, the Vice President of Liberia Mrs. Jewel Howard Taylor covers the relevance of South-South cooperation. Through the South-South Cooperation developing countries exchange resources, technology and knowledge to find solutions to common development challenges. With this aim in mind, the kingdom of Morocco brought together African countries to discuss issues affecting them and also providing solutions to move African nations out of poverty. Mrs. Taylor is however hopeful that innovation, inclusion and economic empowerment will provide space for women and youths to strive in business and politics.

In his remark, the founder of Crans Montana Jean-Paul Carteron, a believer in the abilities of women explained that the Pan Africa women network is an agenda of hope and positivity saying the Africa woman is the true key to the evolution of African societies and integration of the world.

An important side function of DAKHLA-AFRICA is the “Declaration of Dakhla”, initiated by Anass Doukkali, Minister of Health of Morocco, with the support of African Ministers attending the Forum. The declaration is dedicated to Universal Health Coverage and Health Security in Africa. It proposes a reform of the African health system include effective access to quality health services for at least 75% of the population and a reduction in maternal and infant mortality. It also recommends the establishment of an integrated and reactive African epidemiological vigilance system.

Health is wealth, the reason youth and women development is essential to the revival of the African continent. As the programmes of the forum continue to elicit global coverage, one is encouraged to live the dream of a new Africa propelled by transformative leadership. This new Africa is a function of the power of the youths of today to rise up to expectation.

To keep hope alive and encourage women and youths, the Crans Montana Forum came to an end by honoring youths and women with awards, celebrating them for their contributions to their societies.

As the organizers prepare for the next session of the Crans Montana forum holding in Geneva from 26 to 29 June 2019, with focus on restoring security and trust among nations, what is evident is the role of the March forum in addressing the main challenges facing the works of youth organizations, suggesting the most efficient models and tools to boost the participation of youth in the fight against violent extremism as well as working out processes of strengthening the role of youth organizations in conflict management. This involves exploring ways to involve young people fully and effectively in decision-making.

From my participation, I have no doubt that the gathering succeeded in strengthening the solidarity of African states as well as boosting the economic, social and environmental development of the continent. The forum emboldened Africa’s relationships with other countries notably in the framework of the South-South Cooperation.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

#MondayMotivation – Want Results? Put in the Work

Yaayi 🙌 Get excited about the gift of another week! Channel your energy to attend to that important task you have been putting off for a while now. Here is my few lines on how to achieve a restful oriented week

Best Regards,

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

#WomanToWomanTalk – Love And Money

If you were to choose between Love and Money; which is the most important Ingredient in a Relationship? Take a peep at this down to earth chat about this.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

OYO STATE RECORDS SUCCESS IN TACKLING NEWBORN DEATH

Following concerted efforts geared towards tackling newborn deaths in Oyo State, there is a new story to tell now, as the infant mortality rate in the state has greatly reduced.

The Pace Setter State, which was one of the states in Nigeria with high number of newborn deaths before now, has made significant progress in tackling the menace.

This was made known in Ibadan recently at a two-day Media Dialogue on Improving Health Outcomes for Children in Oyo State Through Accelerated Action for Impact (AAI), organised by Oyo State Ministry of Information And Culture and Oyo State Primary Healthcare Board in conjunction with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

Speakers at the Media Parley disclosed that the successes recorded in reducing newborn deaths in Oyo State were as a result of AAI intervention by UNICEF.

Speaking on the intervention, the Health Specialist, UNICEF, Akure Field Office, Dr. Adebola Hassan, explained that AAI was aimed at ensuring that no child dies from a preventableE cause and that all children attain their full potential in health and we’ll being.

According to Dr. Hassan, six local governments, which are Egbeda, Ibadan North East, Ibadan South East, Ibarapa North, Saki West and Kajola had highest rate of newborn deaths in Oyo State.

However, she said the AAI intervention focused on three of these local governments, which are Ibadan North East, Saki West and Ibarapa North where neo natal mortality was prevalent.

Also speaking, the Oyo State Immunization Officer, Mrs. Titilayo Nihinlola, stated that through the UNICEF intervention, the number of unimmunized children in the state had reduced.

The AAI intervention takes care of Health Services such as training of Health Workers, Immunization, Family Planning, Delivery, Post Natal Care and Nutrition.

Report by: Oludare Moses Morenikeji

Register Early for antenatal and ensure that your baby takes all the Immunization dozes 

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

That Story that Says – I Can Make it! Yes You Can!

As a creative person, story writer and producer I can smell a great story miles away. My ears are quick to pick up on a good story. Here we were in the office working and in comes a colleague. She had with her a copy of an admission letter to do her masters at the university. I was so excited for her because I had watched her grow from being a receptionist at the corporation to become an On-Air personality. I just had to get her to tell her story. I promise you,  It is indeed that kind of story that says – “YOU CAN MAKE IT, REGARDLESS OF YOUR BACKGROUND OR STRUGGLES”!

Her Story

My name is Lilian Onianwa(Née Ukandu)

My story is long I’ll try as much as I can to shorten it

I finished secondary school at  age16. I had everything planned out that is, get admission into the university to study medicine; finish up; get a masters degree and get married. Things didn’t work out as I planned.

I wrote the JAMB examination and got admission into Ebonyi State University to study Microbiology but only spent 2 years in the course and couldn’t continue. My father was in far away South Africa and somehow we were not getting any money from him because my stepmom was keeping it all for herself.

I had to drop out and moved to my grandmother’s house in Ibadan, Southwest Nigeria. I didn’t get tired of looking for admission because for me getting admission into school meant living…”How can I not go to school”?

I wrote many exams and got admitted into various tertiary institutions-OAU Ife, FUTA, and Wesley University Ondo. Each time the admission came through for me there would be no money to pay school fees. But I couldn’t just stop and fold my arms…NO. I knew that I didn’t have money to pay school fees but I just won’t stop! The joy in my heart each time I get these admission letters is immeasurable. I was hopeful and each time I’ll say to myself “at least it’s just money that is the remaining ingredient in my educational pursuit”. ‘I just wanted to go to school and I didn’t have a job either to support myself. I was living on a monthly allowance that I got from my Uncle.

In 2011, I finally got a job as a receptionist in a media organization, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) with my Senior Secondary School Certificate and was earning 17,300 at the time barely enough to fend for myself. Life as a receptionist in FRCN was a different ball game. Half the time, people looked down on us a lot because to them “she is just a receptionist “. In fact, I was the staff with the lowest grade level and I was constantly bullied and degraded for that. There were times I would cry and cry but I kept telling myself that one day ‘I will bag a Ph.D.”.

Finally, I got an admission into the University of Ibadan to study Psychology in 2012. It was a Part-time course and I had to combine working at my job and studies. It was challenging especially when I became pregnant with my daughter. At times, I will be on duty and I’ll have to leave the office to go and write my exams and come back to work after the day’s exams…but I kept pushing.

In 2013, I wrote a letter to the management for Redeployment to the programmes department and with the help of  Mr. Gabriel Onafurume, the Deputy Director Programmes (DDP) at the time I was considered for it. I got redeployed to the Library because that was the only unit in the department that can take a low-level staff like me. I was a Level 4 officer. However, I knew I could do more so I joined a production team and began to feature on a programme called ‘Campus Beat’. This gave me an exposure to the art of presentation and programme production and it worked in my favor.

I have had 3 promotion interviews since I started working with FRCN. Each time I go before the interview panel and I’m asked to bring my credentials, and as I hand them my O’levels result, I die 30 times over. To the glory of God in the last promotion interview which held in January 2019, I went there with my B.Sc certificate! I graduated in 2018  with a 2.2. I was 0.1 shy of a 2.1.

After graduation, I wanted more, I had to go to the next phase and the Post Graduate school, the University of Ibadan will never take me with my Pass in Mathematics(which was graciously waved during my undergraduate level). So I went back to Secondary school and wrote NECO(July 2018) exams again after 14 years. Fortunately, I made all my subjects in that one sitting and now I’m on my way to studying a masters degree in Personality and Social Psychology. and I’m not stopping there as I intend to eventually bag a Ph.D.

What motivates me: Success
I want to be a very successful woman. I have a beautiful daughter and someday I want her to read the Newspapers and see something about her mother. There was no way that was going to happen if I didn’t go to school. No matter how wealthy I am as a ‘business’ woman with no degree I will never be fulfilled if I didn’t get my degrees.

All the while, I was alive but I wasn’t living. Getting a degree gave me a new life..now I’m fulfilled. I feel like I can tackle anything life throws at me now with confidence. But then some people may say ‘it’s just a degree’; to me, it’s not just a degree, it’s the key to a new life, a new ME and a breath of fresh air.

My dreams:

  • I want to become a Criminal Psychologist and I’m already working on that.
  • I hope to own a Television show that will focus on criminals especially the ones serving time for murder/homicide, investigation of the 24 hours leading up to when the crime was committed, what triggered that action and rehabilitation for the prisoners during and after prison. And this dream is very VALID!

You can Make it ; Yes you Can! 

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

#HappyNewMonth Celebrate Your Milestones

Just like that, the first quarter of the year 2019 is gone! It’s a new quarter and a new beginning, get yourself set mentally, emotionally and physical to make it count! How do you do that? Take a step back ; take a pause and appreciate your milestones. Be #Grateful.

There is always more and the best will yet happen for you! But remember –

If you can not appreciate where you are now then you will not be satisfied when you get to your desired destination!

Enjoy your week and have a truly blessed April.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Progress Made in The Abandonment of FGM in Nigeria

FACTS ABOUT FGM

Female genital mutilation refers to all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organ for non-medical reasons. Effects of female genital mutilation also known as female circumcisions are enormous and have long term physical, emotional, psychological effects on women and girls. These include bleeding, shock, infections, leakage of urine/feces (VVF), genital tissue swelling, birth complications, emotional trauma, sexual health issues, problems with their partners/spouses and death.

About 200 million women and girls worldwide are living with the effects of female genital mutilation according to
Female genital mutilation violates the rights of women and girls. It is a form of gender-based violence.

6 states have a high prevalence of female genital mutilation in Nigeria: Imo, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ebonyi, and Edo States.

 

PUBLIC DECLARATION BY COMMUNITIES TO ELIMINATE FGM

Members of the Oyo Messi Elders Council at the Oyo state public declaration to Abandon FGM

Izzi Clan, Ebonyi State

At Izzi community, a young girl in the company of two other girls fled from home one night as they were about to go through the initiation rite to womanhood which included female genital mutilation. Their brave attempt to escape led to the intervention of the child protection network, UNICEF, Ministry of women affairs and this started the process of engaging the custodians of culture in Izzi community in a sensitization effort. On the 16th of June 2017, 26 communities in Izzi clan and three other LGA (Abakaliki, Ebonyi, and Izzi) made a public declaration on the abandonment of female genital mutilation. The declaration was signed by the traditional ruler’s forum and custodians of the Izzi culture and royal fathers.

Imo State

On the 23rd of November, 2018 the several sensitization and education of many communities by UNICEF, NOA and other partners culminated into the public declaration of 28 communities in Ngor-Okpala Local government to abandon Female Genital Mutilation. At the event were the State Director NOA, Mr. Vitus Ekeocha, UNICEF Consultant on FGM for Ebonyi and Imo, Mr. Benjamin Mbakwem, traditional rulers, groups of women, men and the youths representing the various communities.

Oyo State

One of the traditional practices upheld by some parts of the Yoruba land is the act of female genital mutilation also known as female circumcision. On the 20th of December 94 communities in Oyo from Oorelope 49, Kajola 24, and Oyo West 21(LGAs) made a public declaration to abandon the practice of FGM.
After several community engagements with community members and public enlightenment with various stakeholders( artisans, youth, men and women’s groups, traditional and religious leaders) communities in Oorelope, Kajola, and Oyo West made the decision to henceforth protect the future of girls and women by putting an end to FGM.

The public declaration of these communities took place at the palace of His Royal Majesty Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III. The Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Oyo state, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu; representatives of UNICEF , Dr. Olasunmbo Odebode, Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF and Mrs Olutayo Aderonke , the UNICEF Consultant for FGM in Ekiti, Oyo and Osun explains and High chiefs of Oyo Messi were all present at the public declaration to eliminate FGM.

Benefits of public declaration: Endcuttinggirls website

Osun State

Similarly, 38 communities in Osun state held an event in 2018 where community members and stakeholders signed an undertaking to eliminate the harmful cultural practice of FGM. Osun state has the highest prevalence of FGM practice in southwest Nigeria. In the words of the UNICEF consultant on FGM for Osun, Oyo and Ekiti, Mrs. Aderonke Olutayo, “the event rewrites history and marks a new chapter for the next generation of girls and women in these communities”. The state director NOA, Osun, Mrs. Yomi Olasinde and other partners were present at this historic event.

Edo State

In January 2019, Edo State passed the Violence Against Persons Bill into Law. This law makes provision for perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation to be sentenced to “life imprisonment”, without a fine in the state.

Media campaign on Radio, TV and social media have greatly contributed to increased awareness about the long term effect of FGM on women and girls. There are ongoing education and sensitization among school students. This is to equip the young generation with the necessary information so that they can be empowered to say NO and also prevent their own children from being cut in the future.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com