I Simply Love this: Young Men Network Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence #EndFGMNG

In my line of work as a media expert, development communication consultant and recently a social media influencer, I have met a number of men who are passionate about protecting women against all forms of discrimination and are advocates of women’s rights. But seeing and meeting a group of men advocating against sexual and Gender Based violence…It is just so thrilling for me. The Youngmen network is made up of active members from all walks of life across the country in Nigeria.

You see this says to me that women are not alone.
It also tells me that men and women can be on the same team.

And then this question also comes to mind: What are we teaching our sons? They are the ones who become men tomorrow and they will treat a woman the way we taught them as families or society. It is time to pay attention to teaching our sons right values; teach them how to respect and appreciate the women in their lives.

There is just no need for the power tussle.
And while I and everyone are pushing for the education and right treatment of girls let us not fail to educate our boys.

How did I arrive here? I have been part of a two day workshop organized by the Young men Network Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence with focus on ending Female Genital Mutilation. It is a down to earth dialogue filled workshop.

Lessons & Discussion Points on FGM
Ending FGMC is not about throwing away our culture as a people, it is about stopping harmful practices.
FGM does not prevent a woman from being promiscuous as is the belief. This is totally hinged on the kind of training and upbringing or how such a child is nurtured.
Culture is not static. It is dynamic and changes from time to time/place to place.
Current data shows that 22 million women in Nigeria have undergone Female genital mutilation.
FGM is so called and not female circumcision because it is not the same as male circumcision. According to medical findings male circumcision has some health benefits and it is only one type – The removal of the foreskin. However in women, cutting is up to four types which mean everyone decides how far they want to go with cutting and scraping a woman’s vagina(Not funny)
Type three of FGM called Infibulation requires that the labia(lips of the vagina) be cut and it is sewn leaving only a small hole for urinating and mensuration! (This leaves me shivering) She is cut open when she gets married to allow sexual intercourse and in some culture when the husband is traveling the vagina is sewn and closed up until the man returns! Come on….this is just too much torture and pain.
• FGM causes mental and physical harm.
• Although at the national level in Nigeria the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) had been signed into law since 2015, enforcing it and adoption by states remains an issue. Under the VAPP law, the act of FGM/C is punishable with a 5years imprisonment or a fine of N100, 000. If you ask me this fine should be like 5million.

The discussion is still ongoing and the way forward is to keep dialoguing with communities and people about FGMC. There is a need for more and continuous education and education about what this practice means to the women and girls concerned and to the family unit at large.

Facilitators/Speakers:

Sola Fagorusi – Onelife Initiative for Human Development

Ayodeji Osowobi – Stand to End Rape

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

#WEAAD – Do pray to live Long and enjoy your Old age? Protect Senior Citizens

The first Gerontologist in Nigeria and his wife

Just because they are old doesn’t mean they are no longer important.
Just because they are old doesn’t mean they do not have feelings and needs.
Just because they are old makes them vulnerable.

How will you like to be treated when you are old?
Treat older persons that way now and you will reap what you sow.

Whether you are family or a care giver treat older persons with love and care. We will all get old if we pray to live long. Life is a circle.

Stop extorting money from that aged person in your care! Remember what goes around comes around. And guess what in my opinion you are only heaping curses on yourself.

Be kind to older persons you meet along the way. God bless you.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Woman to Woman Talk #6 – “Je ki Oko o De” – Empower yourself Financially

This week let’s talk about empowering ourselves as women. “Je ki Oko o de” literally means “A woman who waits and depends on her husband to buy or pay for everything she needs personally or to keep the home running”.

Some time ago I heard of a woman whose husband set her up in a business two or three different times. I will call her Titi(not real name).
Titi enjoys sitting at home and watching movies, shopping for new clothes, visiting and chatting with friends. When it comes to running her business she isn’t interested. And so everytime she starts a business she ruins it losing both capital and profit. Titi is comfortable with just living a flamboyant life and sitting at home. Lucky for  her she has a man who is rich. However the man soon got fed up of having to help her set up any business and losing all the money. This became an issue in their family.

Another category of “Je Oko o De women are young ladies who are not even properly educated or come from a humble background.  They marry a man struggling to make ends meet and simply refuse to work.  The man is expected to take care of her, their 7 children and the home. If she wants to buy salt, sugar, food and even her underwears she waits for her dear husband to pay for everything! (Ridiculous). Such a woman is at the mercy of the poor husband who has to pay for everything. Unfortunately some of these men spend their money on other things and not on these wives.

So woman, lady here is the thing, It is time you make something out of your life! You need to be financially empowered!

It is time you pay attention to minding your business or career.

Lady forget that gist that a man us solely meant to be the provider. Some of my friends will say do you want to kill him in this economic recession! 😀.

And seriously you need to be free and able to meet some of your own financial needs. It is unfair to yourself and your husband to depend on him for everything. It is frustrating in my own opinion.

Why you need to earn your own money:
1) It enables you to be financially free,
2) You get that rewarding feeling that you can contribute to the upkeep of your family.
3) You have a sense of dignity being able to make some money no matter how little.
4) You are able to give your aged parents money without hassling your man to do it.
5) It eases money tension in the home and saves you the embarrassment of not been able to handle even simple money needs of your children.
6) God forbid anything happening to the man...I mean people die so what happens to you and your children. Especially if the man’s extended family are the type that will come and take over the man’s property leaving his wife with nothing.
7) Say your man even loses his job or business what will you all fall back on?Your own earnings can save the family financial embarrassment before your man finds his feet again.

The virtuous in the book of proverbs was a hard working business woman who provided for her household and her husband was respected in the gates of the city. STOP Being Lazy!

Time to pursue your dreams, time to mind your business and career.

In another post we will take a look at ways to make money as a woman. Till then enjoy your everyday life and know that you are special, woman.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Remembering Lessons from Social Studies – Why Family is Important

Remembering Social Studies – The Family is the smallest unit of society… Hahaha 😀. Hope you still remember that definition.

Here is the “koko” (as we say in Yoruba) or “point” (in English) of this post.
If something goes wrong with the smallest unit of society then society goes really wrong.

Fight for your family… Don’t give up…work it out. You can enjoy peace and love with a mix blend of selflessness, forgiveness, and prayers.

Many families are broken and hurting I pray for healing in our lives and homes.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Fade’s Touch – Reignite Your Beauty: How to Harness Your Child’s potential

Meet Federera Okunubi at work:

Fade doing makeover for a client
Finishing touches to the makeover

She is the daughter of my 16years hair stylist….really I am amazed that I have stayed with her for this long. The secret of course is good service and a good customer relationship. We are like family now I believe. It is difficult to get me into the salon of another hair stylist to make my hair.

Fade and mum braiding my hair

I first met Iya Fade as we all call her in 2001, then Fade the all grown lady wasn’t even in secondary school yet. This post is set to promote the need to pass down your skills to your children. You will be simply equipping them with tools for a better future. She has grown to become a very beautiful lady and I imagine the suitor’s queue is really long. This is her story as I chatted with her while she and her mum braided my hair.

At first, Fade was not interested in learning how to make other people’s hair. She was young and did not understand why she had to get her hand all dirt in wet waters. However an unce and aunty of hers convinced her that it was good to acquire this skill alongside getting an education. At least she did not have to pay to learn. Slowly and grudgingly at first she began to pay more attention while in her mother’s salon. Soon she picked up interest and became passionate about making hairstyles for customers.

What I admire  Iya Fade for is that she is got taste and is classy; she is creative, hardworking very good at her craft. She seems to thrive on all handy craft as often she makes hair creams, soaps, body cream to cater for the hair needs and treatments of her customers. And she uses natural products to make the blend. If you’ve got issues with your hair Iya Fade is a hair stylist you need to see.

So you can begin to understand the rich skills Fade stand to gain from her mother by paying attention. Thankfully she did pay attention. Right now Fade is competing well with her mum and even doing more.

Fade got admission into the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife to study the course: English Language. In school she was learning and making some change making fellow students hair. So that means she is never broke.

Right now Fade is done with her University education and waiting to go for her National Youth Service Corp(NYSC) but she got busy going to a makeover school and also started to attend a business management school in order to be able to manage her own business.

Fade is now the CEO of Fade’s Touch. Her business provides these services for clients:
1) Hair-do – All kinds of hair styles ranging from braids, dread, weaves, natural style, natural hair care, fixing of weavon.

Looking cool in my newly braided hair by Fade & mum
Fade styling the weavon of her customer

2) Makeover – Bridal makeover, home services, Owanbe-party make up, dinner makeover, casual makeover
3) Pedicure/Manicure
4) Sale of Make-up products
5) Sale of shoes & Bags
I told Fade that she will probably soon start employing her colleagues😀😀👍

I am so pleased to see that this young woman has carved a niche for herself. She will not be under pressure in the labour market looking for a job. She has become an employer herself.

Allow your children get more than a school education. Harness that gifting and talents. Let them acquire skills that will put more value on them in the labour/business market.

You can reach Fade’s Touch for your beauty services on:
Phone No: 08164423645
Instagram : Fade_rera
Twitter: @fade_rera

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

Begging For Alms: Babies for Hire – What We Must Do!

 

While in the salon making my hair I scrolled through messages on the Advocacy for family planning WhatsApp group page I belong to and then came across this video – (Nigeria Beggar Abandon 3 Babies) that someone had posted. My mouth was agape all through while I watched the story unfold. Here was a woman begging on one of the bridges in Lagos with three babies wearing identical caps. One would have thought they were triplets and most people will be moved to give this “poor woman”, money to care for her “suffering innocent children”. Guess what…these babies were not triplets and she was not their mother either. How did she get these babies? Their mothers hire them out to this “beggar woman” every day and in return get some change at the end of the day. You need to have seen these babies crying their hearts out wrapped in pieces of cloths lying on the ground. The mother heart in me went out to them and then this anger against their mother and the woman using them for alms arose in me.

Some women should simply not be mothers!!! How could they be that heartless all in the name of making some money? I hear that they make some good money as much as N10, 000, N15, 000. Their foolish mothers get like N1, 500 at the end of the day for exposing their child to the elements and weather (come rain, come the sunshine). The particular “woman beggar” in the video ran away when authorities tried to question her but thankfully she was caught. Ask me what happened after that? I believe these babies should have been taken over by the social welfare and then these women should be arrested and prosecuted! How far they went with this I don’t know.

The sad thing was that when I checked Google to find out more about this story I discovered that the act of hiring babies to beg alms has been a practice for some years now.  This is a criminal offence. There was a time the Lagos government clamped down on people doing this but they found means of escaping and moving to new places to continue this inhuman act. It is now known as baby trafficking, using babies as slaves to make money! What is our world becoming?

One wonders why these women engage in this act. Is it because of poverty or Laziness? Yes, we can say poverty but seriously hiring your baby out to be used for alms begging?! I think laziness is also part of it and of course the problem of giving birth to too many children that they cannot cater for. A Punch newspaper story shared the story of cash- hungry mothers who loan  out their babies for begging. One of such women came to Lagos in search of a good life with her four children from Ibadan. She then had another baby whom she rents out to a “woman beggar” every day. This woman works at as a food vendor and earns N300 while also collecting N1, 500 daily pay for hiring her baby out. The annoying thing is that this baby is given out at 5 am and returned at 7 pm. Come on this is crazy! (Forgive my language). It is so unfair.

I don’t want to just write about this story like every other disturbing societal issue; we need to do something about this.

Every one of us has a part to play in educating people that there are other things they can do to make money; that they can control the number of children they give birth to through the use of modern family planning(FP) methods.

There are various methods that can be used. Short FP methods (Condom, injectable for 2 – 3 months) and long lasting methods (Implants 3 – 5years, IUDs and so on; permanent methods – Tubal Ligation and Vasectomy). These are available at Primary Health centers at affordable prices)

What Should/Can be Done:
1) Well-meaning individuals, organizations can invest in establishing shelter homes and facilities to house such babies or less-privileged mothers. This caters for their housing need. Most importantly skills acquisition programs should be organized and a start-up money given to empower these women.

If you are rich perhaps instead of sharing money on the streets in bales wasting resources engage in such enduring philanthropic activity.

2) And seriously, our government need to step up in putting in place policies that can protect such children and punish their mean mothers. And perhaps from my social work point of view empower these women so that they can stop begging on the streets or hiring their children out as tools for alms begging.

If we continue to ignore:
Many babies will die as a result because of being starved of proper nutrients and getting exposed to diseases that kill infants. They will end up increasing the statistics of infant mortality rate (IMR) in Nigeria. According to WHO  2013 data, infant mortality rate in Nigeria stands at  100 children per 1000 live births. The latest data for 2015 according to world Bank development indicators from recognized sources shows  IMR for Nigeria at 69.4 per 1000 live births. Still very high, every child, every life counts.

We will also be raising adults who become hard and callous. If they do survive they become street wise and engage in all kinds of vices. They end up becoming problems to us all as they will grow up feeling cheated.

No one knows what the future holds for a child. A lot of great things are possible. We will be losing individuals who are probably endowed with answers to our world’s problems.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Dear Fathers…✍️✍️✍️

We celebrate every father who is working so hard to put food on the table
Every father who works hard to educate his child/children.

We know it is tough but you still make out time to make us and mummy smile. You put us first and spend time with us.

You have dreams and goals but pursue them making space for us at the center.

Wait until you begin to reap the fruit of all your labor.

Dear Father now is the time to build a solid relationship with mummy and us your children so mummy will not run off in the name of nursing her grand babies just to have some space and peace.

Hip… Hip… Hurray to all father’s who are doing their best and more.

Shout out to my own Yemi Adetunji. You have been doing so much for us and we see it… Won’t forget either. And when the grand children come rolling in by his Grace…I won’t run off for long🌷💓💓

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Hurting – Fiction in Five Sentences

When daddy and mummy fights guess who is hurt the most? This fiction in five sentences by Jacqueline says it all. Create a peaceful, loving and safe environment for yourself and children. It is a choice worth making.

a cooking pot and twisted tales

Image result for images of a sad child and a dog

Tears ran down the bridge of Jane’s little nose and fell on Captain.

Huddled near her best friend Captain she tried to drown out their screaming voices.

She never liked it when they fought and they seemed to do it more and more.

Dad would storm out and disappear for days and mum would go round the bend all teary and mad.

She wished she was back at her gran’s house.

© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha

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Cries in the Cold Rain…

There was no warm blanket
No warm and loving hands to hold
No soothing voice
Her cries almost blocked her lungs
She was breathless, so cold

It was a wet day, no shelter
Her mother hurriedly dropped her in a dark corner
the rain continued to pour on
There she lay on a cold hard ground in the dirt

She cried even louder still stained with blood from the womb
Suddenly a shadow stood over her, a rough trembling hand picked her up

A warm cloth, not a blanket wrapped around her
This hand held her tightly to her chest and for the first time she felt the flesh of another human
A good Samaritan found her

Instead of giving birth to a baby that you will throw away use a condom.
Instead of snuffing out life from such innocence use a contraceptive pill.

Instead of dumping your baby give him/her up for adoption. Someone out there is willing to love and nurture that child. 

This poem is dedicated to all babies dumped in unthinkable places after being delivered by mothers who were not prepared and never wanted them.

Photo Credit: Original picture from Flicker

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

Woman to Woman Talk#5 – Se Onje Ni? Is it Food? What…SEX

Now don’t let this post’s title confuse you simply hear me out on this matter. And seriously you are welcome to air your views and opinion on the matter even men. Yes …Men say your mind o I know you are stealing a look at this out of curiosity. Happy to have you read.

Ladies especially my Yoruba sisters you must be familiar with the phrase “Se ounje ni”? Hun…hun Is sex food? Many times during women gisting time you hear all kinds of stuff about what’s up in the bedroom between them and their husbands. Lots of laughter and chuckling when you hear stories…I mean me and my Girls talk now.

Often on a particular morning, evening or afternoon, a woman turns down/off her husband’s sleek move to have sex. “I am tired”; you pissed me off”; “I am not happy right now about something not necessarily about you, my partner…something is on my mind”. These and many more issues make a woman not be in the mood for sex.

For our men, sex is seriously food o 😀. When a man becomes cranky about everything around the house hmmm madam has not cooperated in bed niyen o! (Chuckling).

Do women enjoy sex all the time with their spouse, certainly not. I am curious if you are a man in what instances don’t you enjoy sex with your wife?

Now to my dear sisters…heee get it now sex is not only for procreation. What happens when those children leave home and they will! Sex is meant to help foster intimacy between husbands and wives. I mean that is one of the major reasons we marry now …from my church mind point of view… “Honour the marriage bed”…meaning no sex before marriage. So girl if you both have been waiting all your life to consummate your union, to finally be free…why deny each other? Why deny him?

Some women may not enjoy sex because they have no proper orientation about it or have had a bad experience. Sex is not meant for only men to enjoy. It for is for both of you to enjoy therefore learn the art by reading good healthy, books not Pornography o! You can also engage in a discussion with older couples who sabi the thing *wink*

And seriously men you need to slow down for us your wives if you are reading this. Take the time to caress her, learn the art and let her enjoy it too. It is not all about you just achieving ejaculation and that’s all.
My dear woman, when it comes to sex it is  not just about your mood, be available and prepare your mind ahead knowing that “Bros”  can suddenly initiate action.

And this one: stop using sex as a punishment weapon for your husband abeg!!! You put yourself under lock and key for 6 months, 1year, 2 years and you are wondering why your man has eyes elsewhere. For God’s sake how will that marriage work? I know marriage is not all about sex, I mean there is so much else about it to make it work. But stop complicating your life and blaming someone else when trouble comes.

I am not always in the mood but I learn to work around it with my husband. If night time will not work then early in the morning is a good time before getting out of bed. And who says you can’t initiate sex with your man! I beg spice up your marriage. Remember sex is food for men o(metaphorically very important and a necessity) …that is how they are wired.

Understand What Sex means to men:
Sex means “She loves me” – This is why a guy is dating you and he is thinking of when action will happen. And unfortunately some ladies have fallen for the lines: “If you love me you would…”, “Show me you love me”. Be careful girl don’t let someone use and dump you. Waiting is worth it.
Sex is a pressure release for men o: If a man has had a busy long hard day he wants to unwind and relax through sex. And I know women when we are tired it is a “Please leave me alone”! We have to find a way around that o as we cannot be tired every day. May God help our men to be sensitive and understanding too some times.

One thing you need to do to enjoy sex with your spouse:
Talk about your sex life with your husband. Tell him what you want and enjoy. Initiate it and don’t be shy about it. This will help you both to better understand and satisfy each other. We do that in my house o. At first “the husband” will be frowning when I turn him down but we had to talk about it and decided what works for us both. We are still growing and learning.

Sometimes be satisfied in the fact that your partner gets to release the pressure and hold you now *wink*. Seriously it is not every time that you will experience orgasm. Enjoy the opportunity to curdle at least… It is a whole learning process and it is continuous.

I do not claim to be an expert on this issue but simply creating a platform of discussion. I am just a sister wanting you to enjoy your intimacy life with your spouse.

If you don’t mind let’s talk about this. How do you make it work even when you are not in the mood?

Adebisi Adetunji (C)