Data Phido is the Executive Director at African Radio Drama Association, Lagos, since 1996 to present (19years) She Studied Theater Development at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Ibadan babe is what she calls me sometimes. We have met on phone and communicated via e-mails/social media but every time we connect there is something so warm about her personality. Her voice tells me that she cares deeply for people and her actions lend credence to this. Data Phido is talented and has created a number of development oriented radio drama all geared towards achieving social change. She is a trainer and a mentor who continues to share her experience in various parts of Nigeria and the world.
My experience with her is something I want to share in this post. I and a few of my colleagues at work have this maternal and child health education programme ( Abiye) we produce for the grass root on radio. Our passion took us into working with community hospitals and health workers and invariable we were faced with a number of helpless cases. It was heart breaking to meet a 16year old girl who was said to have been impregnated by her boss’s husband. She was a child trafficking victim and a house maid. At the time we met her she had being delivered of her baby and we found her in the hospital with no one to care for her. A Good Samaritan brought her in as an emergency case. My team and I put heads together to think of how to handle the situation. Data Phido played a key role in helping us get this young mother out of the hospital.
This young mother’s case was to be the first case of teenage mothers my Abiye team would meet. It started to bother us and this gave birth to a seminar for girls in public schools who were the vulnerable group. Again Data Phido and her NGO, ARDA supported 12 vulnerable girls giving them education support. She and her organization in no small way ensured that we got the needed transportation to get the girls to the venue of the seminar. The smiles on the faces of these girls I would remember for a long time.
Yet again we needed school support for a 5year old blind boy who was a victim of measles. He had being enrolled in a school for the handicap to equip him with skills for a brighter future but his parents didn’t have enough resources to purchase materials needed for school. This time again, Data Phido and her team joined others to support this young boy and another boy who is an orphan to get the much needed educational support.
It would seem that Data had abundant resources but no she only sacrificed out of her meagre means. In fact at some point I felt she should have just said no to our asking again and again but a YES to make life better for another girl, boy, baby or mother came. Data Phido for me is a woman making a difference through her skills as a writer, trainer, and her little resources to make the world a better place in her own little way.
On top of all the development project work, travels, writing she has to deal with, she makes out time to be loving wife and mother. She is a good cook who delights her family’s palate with delightful dishes:
All work and no play they say, makes Jack a dull boy. If you are a hardworking person, you must know how to rest. Data knows how to take time off to relax.
Still haven’t met her in person but she inspires me and many other girls, boys and women.