Girls are often used as domestic help ; given out in marriage to older persons and manage their parents business, hawking or selling in shops while their male counterparts attend school.
Girls deserve to go to school too.
Educate a girl and you empower a generation.
A little girl speaking up for girl child education. #IYD2019
Adebisi Adetunji – Broadcast Journalist, Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Founder Beehyve Empowerment, and Development Initiative. Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents love their babies and want to see the newborn grow as is expected. Thank God for the campaign of exclusive breastfeeding of children for up to six months which has made many mothers to at least wait and push up to 4 months before introducing regular foods. According to the Child Rights Act, every child has a right to adequate nutrition however feeding should not constitute a danger to a child.
In developing countries and in Nigeria where I come from, it is the practice to try to force food down food especially pap (corn or cereal pudding) or any other liquid meal down the throat of a baby who is perceived to have a low appetite. It is done in the bid to ensure that the child is not starving and gets the required nutrient for his/her development. This is a good intention but the act of force-feeding has led to fatal incidences where food enters into the trachea/lungs and air flow is blocked. Such a baby begins to choke and gasp for breath if he/she does not get quick medical attention; it has led to the death of such an infant.
A case in point, my sister-in-law on the 2nd of May 2019, dropped her baby at the crèche of the school where she worked as a teacher as usual and looked forward to seeing her little girl later in the day but it was not to be so. A distress call came too late after the nanny at the school crèche had forced fed little, Mojolajesu, my sister-in-law’s 10 months old baby. I was at working when I got the news that the baby had been rushed on emergency to two different hospitals. Mojolajesu did not make it. The doctors diagnosed the cause of death to be as a result of food getting into her trachea. Her parents were devastated; we are all very broken hearted.
If you are not familiar with what this practice means and how it is done, let me try to paint a picture. When a grandma, nanny or anyone wants to force feed a baby, he/she will be held tightly and closely to control any struggle or resistance from the child.
Next, a hand will be cupped around the baby/child’s mouth then his or her nose will be blocked with a finger or so to prevent the liquid from getting into the nostrils and force the baby to breathe through the mouth. After that, the pap or cereal pudding will be poured into the cupped hand as the baby’s mouth is forced to be opened. I have watched scenes like this while growing up; it is not a pleasant sight. Such a baby will be crying and fighting to get free and the food will be sliding down his or her throat as the baby struggles and gasp for air. THIS SHOULD NOT BE! IT IS AN ABUSE AND MUST STOP!
Some children naturally have a good appetite and eat well, however, it is not so with some other children.The first daughter of my sister fell into this category; as a growing child, she didn’t eat much and her mum and dad were so worried. So this little girl only wanted to take tea and biscuits, therefore, she was thin. Loads of advice came in from other mothers, friends and the older ones on steps to take to ensure that my niece improves on her eating habit. Vitamins to boost her appetite were also used but this little girl won’t just budge. My niece would refuse any other food or take the barest minimum. Now she is older and the other day I visited their home and my ears were filled with a gist about how she now has a big appetite for food! It was sure nice to see this change in her. One thing I appreciated about my sister was that she did not allow anyone to bully or force her baby to eat. She would pet her little girl and go the extra mile to prepare different meals, testing which ones her daughter took a liking to. All that entire time the little girl only needed someone to be patient with her and soon her eating habits changed.
Think of it this way, would you as an adult want someone to force food down your throat just because you do not have the appetite for food at a certain time?I am sure it is a firm NO…NO for you. So then we should not force food down the throat of our babies, children no matter how good the intentions are. It is harmful and dangerous!
As a Mother ensure the safety of your baby/child. Do not allow anyone to force feed him or her!
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 – email@example.com
The utmost responsibility of any nation is to provide security for her citizens – Prof. Stella Odebode.
As the world marked another “Day of the Girl Child” on 11th October 2018,there were many activities organized by individuals, organizations, and groups to draw attention to the challenges beguiling and preventing girls from achieving their potentials. It was also to bring to fore practices that harm the girl child’s physical and psychological well-being and to seek solutions to ending these inhuman treatments such as rape, sexual violence, abduction and kidnap, sex slavery, early marriage, lack of equal rights to education and opportunities, domestic abuse, child slavery and Female Genital Mutilation(FGM).
One of such organization, “The Fill in the Gap Outreach(NGO)”, brought together various stakeholders; students, parents and guardians, policy makers, Community leaders, development partners, and the media to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child through a public lecture. The CEO, Princess Aderonke Olajide in her opening remarks said that one of the organization’s goal is premised on filling the gaps created by unexpected pregnancy which occurs in the life of some girls for whatever reason. Fill in the Gaps provide support for such girls through ensuring safe delivery of their babies and ensuring they go back to school/learn a skill.
An interesting, informative and eye-opening lecture titled, “The Girl Child as an Endangered Species in the 21st Century Nigeria was delivered by Prof. Stella Odebode, Director Gender Mainstreaming office, University of Ibadan.
A few take away points from the lecture:
Globally 60% of girls are denied education as opposed to boys who are 40%.
Rape and sexual violence is a global phenomenon that needs to be continually addressed. Students are sexually molested by teachers, headmasters and other people who are supposed to be carers.
Perpetrators are hardly prosecutedwhich promotes the culture of silence.
Parents need to be very sensitive and conscious of any signs that anyone is attempting to abuse their wards particularly extended family members living with them.
Prevalence of Child marriage and young mothers:According to a study carried out by Prof. Stella Odebode in Igbo Ora, Oyo state there is a prevalence of young mothers ages 11, 12 and above.
There is an increased incidence of school dropout and unwanted pregnancy in girls.
1 in 4 childrenis reported as having an incidence of sexual violence.
In some parts of Nigeria, 43% of girls are married off before age 18. In some other parts, 15% are married off before age 15.
Key ailments of girls exposed to early marriage are VVF, Anemia, High Blood pressure, premature births and even death in some cases.
Enforcement and implementation of the law against rape/sexual abuse. According to the Nigerian criminal code- Any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of a girl/woman without her consent; by means of force, threat or intimidation is guilty of an offense of rape/sexual abuse which is punishable under the law.
Formal criminalization of child marriage in all parts of the country in Nigeria.
Focus more resources to provide equal opportunitiesfor boys and girls.
All maternity and orphanage homes should be dully registered to nib in the board criminal activities that expose children particularly girls to any form of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Speak up and do something about that your neighbor who is abusing his/her housemaid or child. If you notice something isn’t right and a life is endangered, do not mind your business. Remember that it could be you or your child.
You are standing under the shade of a tree because someone planted it – Warren Buffet
Dignitaries at the Lecture
Dr. Mike Omotosho, PDG, D9125, AKS Rotary International – Chairman. Her Excellency, Omolewa Yetunde Ahmed- First Lady of Kwara State – Special guest of Honour Prof. Stella Odebode – Guest Lecturer Mr. Oluwarotimi O. Martins – MD/CEO Midway Airlines – Chief Launcher Chief Mrs. Ranti Koiki – CEO, Fawzy Hotels, Nigeria – Guest of Honour Alh. Mohammed Bello – Zonal Director, FRCN Ibadan Zonal station – Guest of Honor Asiwaju Abdlrazaq Shittu – President/Chairman, Skysite Offshore Access (WA)Ltd – Father of the Day Princess Olabisi Sangodoyin
Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Controller Programs (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – firstname.lastname@example.org
As a parent or guardian you have a duty to provide for and protect your child. Do not burden your son/daughter with your responsibility. Plan to have only the number of children you can cater for.
Every child has a right to be cared for and provided for. Every child deserves to live in a safe environment in order to achieve his or her potential. Every child has a right to provision of basic needs Every child has a right to protection Every child has a right to quality life & education.
Say No to Child Labor
Say No to Child Abuse
Now that Schools are in session, ensure that your child is enrolled and regularly attends school.
Adebisi Adetunji (C) Founder Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative. Media content provider, Trainer & consultant-@debisibusybeemedia, Behavioral Change Radio Drama, Communication4Development, Social Media Influencer, Principal Producer (FRCN) Catch me on Twitter – @DebisiBusybee, Facebook & email – email@example.com
Some time ago a man was seen early in the morning when people were rushing to get to work carrying a little child who was kicking and crying. Everyone passed by as they went about their business but one man noticed and decided to challenge the man carrying the child. The man just dropped the child and ran. He had abducted that child as soon as her mum dropped her off at the school gate!
The world has become more complex as our once simpler and innocent way of life is a mixed bag of mistrust, horror, and chaos. We now want to satisfy our appetite at any cost. The syndrome of anything that makes me happy even when it hurts others. Selfishness and wickedness(forgive my strong language) is the picture that we see on our news screens every day. Sometimes even though I work with a media organization, I feel like shutting out the news headlines that evade the social media, TV, radio, and newspapers. This is because fellow human beings seem to craft and carry more terrible wicked schemes. Will this ever end?
Such news as that of the rape and murder of young Zainab Ansari In Pakistan is really disheartening. As I watched her picture on the placards of those protesting in her community, I couldn’t but feel an awful chill. One camera did catch her abductor on tape and the horror of it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. “You dare not trust your child even with a supposed trusted neighbor”, it didn’t use to be so! I thought to myself.
I remember as a child my parents could just leave us in the care of a friend or neighbor while running errands or on days they have a function we couldn’t accompany them on. They did not fear us being molested by anyone. In fact, as a child up to my teenage level, you were afraid of your mum or dad’s friends seeing you engaged in anything that your parents didn’t approve of. They will definitely make sure that your parents hear about it! Now neighbors, friends and even close family members abuse those in their care sexually to a point where organs are damaged or a life is lost!
I also remember times when I was sick as a teenagerwhen our family doctor would examine me. My mother didn’t have to stay in the examining room and the doctor did not take advantage of me! Now I won’t dream of living my daughter or my son for that matter with a doctor alone especially if it has to with getting undressed to examine him/her.
My Advice on ways you can protect your child:
Don’t be careless. Walk with your child to school especially younger children.
Keep an eye on your children.
Stop living your child with just anyone. some of us parents even leave them with a lesson teacher and you go out doing your business… Haaa! I hear some even leave their house key with lesson teacher who sleeps in the house when such parents travel on business! Haaaaaa… Danger raises to power 100!!😱😱
Teach your child what to look out for in identifying predators.
Remind your child about the golden rule of not talking to strangers.
Stop minding your business if you notice something abnormal about an adult holding a child or a stranger taking away your neighbor’s children do Something!!!
Seriously parents pay attention, stop been in hurry to go about your tasks forgetting to take those little but safe precautions.
Njideka had listened to education talksabout the negative effects of female genital mutilation and cutting also known as female circumcision on girls in school and in church. In her community girls must go through the rite of female circumcision to attain womanhood and soon the drums heralding her time to be cut began to sound.
A few days to her being circumcised Njideka ran to protect herself. Two other girls joined her. A series of event took place which finally lead to the IZZI community abandoning FGMC. Njideka is indeed a brave girl and a hero in the fight against a harmful cultural practice. Here is a short video telling her story and that of her community:
Adebisi Adetunji (C) BusyBee Media for Social Change & Development. Email – firstname.lastname@example.org twitter – @DebisiBusybee
The campaign to end female genital mutilation and cutting (FGMC) has been on for many years, yet it is still been practiced by many people and communities across the world. Statistics show that FGMC is practiced in about 28 countries across the world. It is said that 3million girls are at risk of being cut per year. This then is a serious problem.
Why all the hulabulah about ending FGMC or female circumcision as some people say, after all boys are also circumcised? Itis different in the sense that this practice is a violation of the human/sexual rights of the girl child and women on many levels.
A girl is primarily cut in the vagina because society does not want her to be promiscuous; it is a right of passage to womanhood; a guarantee to be able to get married in the community. Cutting her clitoris or other parts of her vagina is meant to deaden any sexual urge that could make her look for a man to sleep with. No wonder then that after she gets married, she cannot achieve sexual satisfaction. This becomes a problem in the relationship as the man becomes also dissatisfied and looks for sexual enjoyment from other women.
A story in point: A man got married to a woman, not from his tribe where girls are circumcised. At first, this wasn’t an issue for him as he simply loved her and wanted to marry her. Many years later after they have both had children he suddenly wakes up one day to say that he wanted her to get circumcised. What changed? His family put pressure on him that it was their custom to cut their girls and women therefore since she is married to their son, she had to go through it. In order to save her marriage, this woman went ahead to be circumcised. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain she went through at such an adult age. Soon afterward the couple began to have issues with their sex life. As I write this the marriage collapsed as the man went in search of sexual satisfaction elsewhere. This woman was whole why cut her and create problems?
Why Behavioral Change is difficult: Points of discussion in the Workshop
Behavioral or attitudinal change takes time because it has to do witha belief system which would probably have been in practice for a long time. People do not change easily but with continuous dialogue and sensitization then a change is possible.
There is need to also understand why people or communities practice FGMC.Contrary to beliefs it is not intended to harm the girl but to celebrate her womanhood in many communities. Unfortunately, the adverse effects on the life of women, girls, and families are enormous. This include birth complications.
Engaging in dialogue andcontinuous intervention programs with practitioners will help to convince and change stereotype minds.
Medicalization of the practice of female genital mutilation and cutting : it has been discovered that some health workers in some communities encourage this practice. This is because they also come from such background and believe in upholding this culture. Messages targeted at making it clear it is unethical was designed to reach this group.
To achieve Behavioral change on any issue or practice there is need to create effective messages in appropriate formats in order to reach the target audience.
It is necessary to make an assessment from time to time the progress made in bringing about the attitudinal change.
At the workshop on Advocacy & behavioral Change messages to accelerate the abandonment of FGMCparticipants’ drawn from various groups, professions from different parts of Nigeria assessed old messages to know whether they are appropriate and effective as new ones were developed.
If the practice of killing of twins and tribal marks could be abandoned then it is possible to end FGMC
Benjamin C. Mbakwem,
FGM/C Consultant for Ebonyi & Imo State
UNICEF Enugu Field Office
Toyin Afachung, Communication for Development Consultant
Recently while talking to Mariam(not real name) who was delivered of her baby girl a few months ago, she revealed something that surprised me and I was touched. We were simply talking about certain cultural practices that are harmful to the wellbeing of our children. After she had her baby, a discussion between her mother-in-law and some older women took place. There was a plan to circumcise Mariam’s little girl but there was, however, a stumbling block. Mariam’s mother-in-law knew that she was stubborn and wondered what to do about ensuring that the old custom is upheld in the interest of her granddaughter or so it seems. One day this mother-in-law finally presented the matter to Mariam who stood her ground in refusing to have her daughter cut in the vagina. An argument ensued but Mariam prevailed. She points blank told her mother-in-law that she would not allow anyone to cut her little girl! And I must also commend Mariam’s husband here who supported the decision not to allow their daughter to be cut. I mean he could have sanctioned the plan to do this in the name of not wanting to offend his family.
I was surprised that this practice of mutilating girls in their vagina was still been practiced amongst the educated elites.Often we think that some harmful practices that we try to create awareness about with the intention of ending it, is simply a problem common among the uneducated rural. This is not the case many times.
So dear woman,do not sit on the fence thinking that there is nothing you can do about ending any form of abuse or practice that can be harmful to your child. Yes, a lot of times, particularly in our strong African cultural heritage men, decide something’s but this is not to say you should not speak up when it is a matter of what could harm you or your child.
Speaking up and saying NO, is the first step in protecting our girls from child marriage, female genital mutilation and cutting(FGMC) and other forms of harmful practices.
This post was inspired by discussions from a workshop on Advocacy & behavior Change Messages Development to abandonment of FGMC that I am participating in. It is put together by Civil Source Development & Documentation Cenre(CIRDDOC) Nigeria in partnership with UNFPA
The Day of the African child is celebrated June 16th every year. It is commemorated In memory of students in Soweto, South Africa who were massacred during a protest demanding for quality education on 16th June, 1976.
Theme: Accelerating protection, empowerment and equal opportunities for Children in Africa by 2030.
Photos from the 2017 celebration organized by the South West Zone of Radio Nigeria Ibadan Zonal Station.