Njideka Ekuma Mbam: She Ran and Her Whole Community Had to Make A Decision

There are stories that you hear and it just gladens your heart in a warm way. And when something you were a part of contributes to the success of the story then you get a sense of fulfillment that you have made a difference in someone’s life. The telephone number featured on the FGMC sensitization radio drama “Pim Pim Pim” became a life line to people who attempted to get help for three girls on the run.

Njideka had listened to education talks about 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 – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com twitter – @DebisiBusybee 

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People, Places and Sights From My Travels

Meeting People, making new friends and catching up with old friends and family is the best part of our successes.

Visit to Spar biggest shopping mall in Portharcourt in company of family in-laws
Participants at media review meeting workshop on ending FGMC
Walking to the conference hall for media review meeting on Pim pim pim drama – ending FGMC with a dear friend – Joyce Unegbu
At Spar shopping mall in Portharcourt. Standing beside a television that costs over 2million Naira!! I had to take this photo😀

Places and Sights teach us a lot about the culture and life of others. And most importantly our eyes and minds are more open to the views of others.

A school on mid day break behind my brother in-laws house in Portharcourt. It’s a window zoom in picture 😀
Front view of the Tinapa Lakeside hotel in Cross River, Calabar.
People making jogging and morning exercise a habit in Enugu. I hear it’s the new norm in the state… Really nice.
Former Ebony TV live studios at Tinapa, Calabar
Dinning area at Tinapa hotel
About boarding the aircraft on my way again to another destination. This air line will have to pay for this free advertisement 😀

These are a few of the photos I took while traveling through the eastern part of Nigeria on an assignment.

Adebisi Adetunji (C) 
BusyBee Media for Social Change & Development
Phone: +(234)-07083403146, Email-bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Water is Essential in Health Facilities – SafeMotherhood #6

 

I was at a Primary Health Center(PHC)  to join in on a community mobilization effort to sensitize people about Family Planning and its benefit to women’s health and poverty reduction organized by NURHI Ibadan. While the group gathered I decided to visit the toilet to ease the pressure in my bladder and I asked the nurse on duty to point me in the direction of the toilet. I  was told that there was no water and was advised to pee in the bush somewhere around the back of the health center outside. It wasn’t funny but I had to afterall I have been in rusettings before 😕

It is unthinkable to run a hospital with little or no water supply. Yet that is the case in many primary health centers serving communities in Nigeria. Having worked on a maternal and child health program (Abiye)  for more than five years now many of the PHC my team visited and worked with lack access to clean water. 

Imagine a pregnant woman in labor pains coming to deliver at a PHC where there is no water… 

A few PHC are lucky to have a well or get a bore hole sunk by philanthropist, politicians who need to shine. But most do not have access to clean water to attend to patients.
If there is no water in a facility patients and health workers alike are exposed to serious health hazards.

Water is necessary to keep a hospital environment clean and everyone in it safe and healthy. It’s availability enables constant washing of hands by health care providers to prevent spread of diseases; to have a clean toilet; to conduct surgeries and wash hospital equipments and basically keep the hospital facility clean.

How can we ensure that clean water is accessible to primary health centers? Who is responsible for providing water? What can communities do you help their PHCs access water?

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Speeches & Sounds by “The Dew” – Catching them Young

I was part of a Speech and Sound competition for Students organized by Adewunmi Aluko, we call her “the Dew”. This dear friend and sister is passionate about helping young people to pronounce, speak boldly and correctly the English language. It is also aimed at boosting the self-confidence of children. For my dear friend the Dew, it is giving back to society using her skills as a speech coach, presenter and news reader. Now she wants to catch them young.

I was reminded of my vowel and consonant sounds today even as an adult. See the drama unfold as students tried to pronounce words and make sounds… Hehehe try me and you will understand that It is not easy o!
Kudos to all the participating schools and children. It was fun and intense.

Photos from the event which took place at the Institute of African Studies University of Ibadan:

American Christian Home School Students
Deril Academy School
Aunty Mary’s Head Start School.
Living Spring School
A cross section of students participating in the speeches & sound competition
Panel of Judges comprising of speech coaches & Quiz master: Earnest Odirri, Chinelo Obidike, wunmi Aluko.
Some of the school girls taking a selfie with Wunmi Aluko and me… Girl power!
Panel of judges – Stella Oyebanji, Ernest and Chinelo
We didn’t forget to take a selfie with the boys. They are very dear to our hearts too😀💓

Contact Wunmi Aluko for speech & sound training for students & teachers; for anyone or group who wishes to speak right and sound confident. 080126262814. 

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

PRESS RELEASE: “IRETI EDA” Radio Program Returns: Weekly Program to Air in Oyo State

The “Get It Together” Campaign, led by the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 2 (NURHI 2), will launch 26 new episodes of their weekly radio program – Ireti Eda – during the week of July 14, 2017.

The new episodes of Ireti Eda in Oyo continue the captivating drama it was known for intermixed with real-life testimonials from community leaders, health service providers, and program listeners. This combination of entertaining and educational content encourages all Nigerians and Oyo people, in particular, to KNOW the facts about family planning, TALK to their partner, and GO for family planning services – the key message of NURHI 2’s Get It Together campaign.

“I like the radio program, Ireti Eda, because it educates us on Family Planning, especially through the drama characters, highlighting the need, importance, and methods of Family Planning. I do not miss any episode as I have learned a lot from the expert that answers questions also, as some of the things they said are things I have experienced as a woman. The program is very good and It it should be continued.Bunmi.

As in the previous three seasons, this radio program will feature the latest jams, real-life stories from satisfied family planning users, and the chance to win the weekly prize, which will be N1,000 recharge cards. The programs will also offer listeners the opportunity to call-in and speak directly with family planning experts, who answer their questions live on-air.

Dr. Mojisola Odeku, NURHI 2 Portfolio Director said “Listeners are hooked on the programs’ serial dramas and know they can trust the project to provide factual and accurate health information. Fans can even call-in to the program to have their questions answered by family planning experts, one of the more popular features.”

The new episodes of Ireti Eda radio program build on the success of the first seasons, NURHI 1’s popular radio programs, and the campaign’s 2016 hit song “Get It Together,” featuring Paul ‘P Square’ Okoye and Tiwa Savage. At the same time, NURHI 2 has helped establish a network of trained health providers offering friendly and confidential family planning services. NURHI 2 locations can be recognized by the blue, yellow and orange puzzle piece logo with signs that say ‘FP services available here.’

The new episodes’ premiere dates, radio stations, and broadcast times are as follows:

Oyo:
Splash 105.5FM: Fridays 3-4pm (Start date: July 14)
Amuludun 99.1FM: Mondays 3-4pm (Start Date: July 17)

Radio listeners can join in the conversation and see what other fans are saying on Get It Together’s official Facebook page: @getittogetherng

For more information please visit http://www.nurhitoolkit.org, send an email to info@nurhi.org or call Toyeke on 0905-261-5272.

About the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 2 (NURHI 2):

The Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 2 (NURHI 2) funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation/T. J. Mather is using communication to increase demand for family planning among men and women. It is led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (JHCCP) in partnership with the Center for Communication Programs Nigeria (CCPN).

Published as released by NURHI

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)

#World Cultural Diversity Day – Celebrating the Nigerian Way

Every 21st May has been set aside as world Cultural Diversity Day by the United Nations. 

Diversity brings variety it should be a strength. Someone may come from a different cultural background from you but you can both work together as a team and achieve great success. 

On my way to the Cultural center at Mokola in Ibadan for a program I met this cultural display train. I jumped out of  the vehicle I was in to take pictures.

So this how we celebrated the cultural day in Oyo State, Nigeria.

Drummers beating their drums during the cultural match at Mokola, Ibadan

 

Igbo Attaire
Ladies in Red Adire iro and baba Attaire.

 

Celebrate your cultural heritage and respect that of others. We are all unique and special in our own way. 

Adebisi Adetunji (C)