You are Not Less ; You are So Much More #IWD2019

A short message from my heart to every woman on this special day. Happy International women’s day!

 

#XXFILES women Radio crew on Premier FM 93.5 from the stable of Radio Nigeria Ibadan

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

The First Lady Mechanic in Nigeria – Sandra Aguebor #IWD2019

The International Women’s Day celebration is marked all over the world on the 8th of March every year. It is a day intended to draw attention to the peculiar challenges women face in the society and to keep tab of progress made in achieving gender equality and rights of women.

A few women making their mark in fields otherwise thought to be male terrain caught my attention and I want to bring you the story of one of them.

I present to you the woman, Sandra Aguebor known as the “The Lady Mechanic”. It is a big deal to have a woman working to repair cars and automobiles, especially in the African, Nigerian context. Sandra’s interest in car repair was sparked from as early as age 14. One day she asked her father to take her to the nearest mechanic workshop and fortunately, he didn’t frown about this and obliged her. Against her mother’s wishes and cry of, “this work is for men and not good for a woman”, Sandra started to go every day to the mechanic workshop even after school to watch and learn. Her love for the job grew and she made up her mind to pursue this career path.

Sandra Aguebor went on to become the First Female Auto-mobile Mechanic in Nigeria after graduation from school and started the “SANDEX CARE“, workshop. She offers free training empowering vulnerable girls and women with technical and mechanical skills to give them dignity and improved economic life.

Sandra soon launched the Lady Mechanic Initiative where she runs a skills acquisition programme for women from disadvantaged background and survivors of trafficking and sex slave trade; single mums and child labor victims. Because of her love for empowering girls like her who would want to pursue a career path in engineering, The Lady Mechanic Initiative also began an After School Club where Sandra and her team engaged school girls in outreaches.

Courses/training The Lady Mechanic Initiative offers
• Lady Auto-mobile Technician
• Lady Speed Boat Technician
• Lady Mechanic Professional Driver
• Lady Mechanic Speed Boat Driver
• Lady Mechanic Generator Repair Expert
• Lady Mechanic Summer School Class

The Initiative has a vision to mentor and transform 100 thousand girls/women into role models and change agents in their communities across Africa by the year 2025 through sustained innovative approaches to skill impartation and healthy mental guidance. So far about 17, 000 have benefitted from her training programmes.

Every girl can achieve her dreams – Breaking the glass ceilings. 

 

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

There are No Real Winners in War – Dr. Denis Mukwege #2018NobelPeacePrize

Photo Credit: From the Film – The Man who Mends Women

This piece is written in honour of a man who has done so much to bring healing and hope to women who suffered sexual violence in war. Dr Denis Mukwege was jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize with Nadia Murad. As I said in a previous post, The Possibility of ending Sexual Violence – Nadia Murad 

I could never hope to capture their pain, agony, struggles and tireless efforts at mending others and speaking up to get the international community and everyone in the world to end this war crime – Sexual violence/rape as a tool for war.

But I’d like to simply share their work and story briefly in the bid to say, “I salute your courage; thank you for giving yourself so others can live in a safer world”.

Why do humans engage in war? The very ancient reason centres around conquest of territories; power tussle; supremacy and control. At the heart of it all is man’s insatiable thirst for power and control of resources. A Yoruba saying states, “Ibere Ogun laa ri, ko seni mo ipari e”, meaning that one can only know how a war begins but no one knows how it will all end. This saying is usually quoted as a warning to control a conflict before it gets out of hand.
No one really wins a war because both sides suffer loss ranging from losing men, women and children; structural and economic destruction of their cities. Everyone will need to rebuild again often for many years and they may never fully recover from the effects and impact of the war. More worrisome are the emotional and psychological scars left on both the fighting men and civilian victims.

The Democratic Republic of Congo experienced great conflicts between soldiers and rebels which left the country terribly ravaged. The war lasted for decades and is referred to as the “The great African World War with the highest number of casualties since World War II. Sexual Violence was a weapon of War in eastern Congo for more than 20 years.

Those who suffered more are women and children who are beaten, raped and brutally treated by angry soldiers who use this physical assault as a weapon of war. Records show that in many war situations of various countries or communities sexual violence is increasingly been used as a weapon to inflict pain in war. After the war is over these women and girls are left battered emotionally and physically and even stigmatized by society. According to the findings of UN representative for Sexual Violence in conflict, Margot Wallstrom(2010) –  as a result of the war DRC was labelled the “Rape Capital” 

One man saw this need and decided to commit to providing support for these battered women. He is Dr Denis Mukwege who recently was jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner alongside Nadia Murad.

A Glimpse of Dr Denis Mukwege’s life and work 

Denis Mukwege is a medical doctor, who has made it his life’s mission to mend women who are victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo war. Dr Denis was inspired to become a doctor when he accompanied his father who was a pastor to visit various sick people in communities. He then went on to study medicine and specialized in gynaecology and obstetrics with the desire to provide services for women who experience birth complications. Another serious need arose as war ravaged his dear country; many women, girls and children faced a wave of brutality as they were raped by soldiers and rebel warlords. It was during this high conflict period that he founded the Panzi hospital. It is located in Bukavu the eastern part of Congo and was officially opened in 1999 by Dr Denis Mukwege. Panzi hospital is known for support for sexual violence survivors. He and his staff have carried out a gynaecological repair for over 40, 000 thousand women who were sexual violence victims in the Congolese conflicts and war.

His life was once threatened as he faced assassination attempt because of his advocacy work in creating awareness about stopping this war crime – sexual violence and bringing to book perpetrators. Dr Denis had to flee his country for a while before returning but while he was away staff continued treating survivors. At the Panzi hospital, each rape survivor is accompanied by a social assistant who works to create a tailor-made healing pathway which includes repair, psychological, legal and economic intervention programs.

I  once again salute Dr Denis Mukwege for his courageous and sacrificial efforts in bringing healing to these women and for his continued effort in the fight for women’s rights. He sure deserves this award. I end with his response to the award on Twitter:

This Nobel Prize is a recognition of the suffering of women victims of rape and sexual violence; the need for a just reparation in their favour and the hope to draw a red line against the use of rape in armed conflict.

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 – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

The Possibility of Ending Sexual Violence in War: Nadia Murad #2018NobelPeacePrize

The week had been busy and Friday was here, I looked forward to a relaxing weekend. Ready to sort out a few tasks for the day, the TV was tuned to CNN and there written on the screen was – Breaking News- 2018 Nobel Peace Prize to be announced shortly. My interest was immediately turned on and I sat to follow the unfolding story. Soon Berit Reiss Anderson, the chairman Nobel Peace Prize committee, stood on the podium briefing press men and out came the names of two individuals who have been lending their voices and working hard at ending sexual violence and genocides – Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad. I wanted to know more about these two persons and so here I am getting ready to share a few of my findings on their stories in two separate posts.

I could never hope to capture their pain, agony, struggles and tireless efforts at mending others and speaking up to get the international community and everyone in the world to end this war crime – Sexual violence/rape as a tool for war.

But I’d like to simply share their work and story briefly in the bid to say, “I salute your courage; thank you for giving yourself so others can live in a safer world”.

                               NADIA MURAD 

Nadia Murad
Photo Credit: SBS

As I watched a few video recordings that documented a few of Nadia’s speeches, advocacy campaigns and the film, “On her shoulders”; I got a glimpse of her personality and not just her picture. One can see and feel her pain as she struggled bravely to share her story and mostly appealed that something should be done to save the Yazidis from the Islamic State’s (ISIS) determination to eliminate her people. In the documentary film, “On her shoulders”, she wept and had to wipe away her tears so she could be strong for those who looked to her as a voice for their freedom. Tears welled up in my eyes too – there is no amount of telling that will ever be able to explain or paint the picture of what she and other girls must have gone through in the hands of their abductors; not to mention the pain of losing loved ones as well.

Nadia Murad Basee Taha was 19 years old when the Islamic State (ISIS) attacked her community and killed scores of people, abducting thousands of women and girls. Nadia was taken to the city of Mosul where her ISIS abductors did whatever they wished with her and others; she was beaten, tortured and raped. Three months later she managed to escape and ended up in a refugee camp and got lucky as one of those who benefited from the refugee program by Germany.

The horrific story of her experience in the hands of ISIS soon broke out and ever since Nadia Murad has been a voice speaking against the genocide of Yazidis and sex slavery as a weapon of war. She recounts her experience and remembers how her mother, brothers and many other families were murdered.

Tired of re-telling her story as reporters badged her with loads of questions about what happened Nadia In her words said: “Do not ask me questions about how I felt when I was raped but instead ask me about how to stop sexual violence; how women and girls can be protected from being used as sex slaves during wars. “I want justice for the Yazidis”

Nadia’s quest to draw the attention of everyone who can do something to end the plight of her people in the hands of ISIS led her to start the “Nadia Initiative”, to engage in advocacy and provide support for genocide victims in 2016.

At age 27, eight years later Nadia’s courageous efforts at ending genocide and sexual violence get her the prestigious award of 2018, Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Dr Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Her response to the award reveals a woman who is resilient in her mission to end the persecution of the Yazidi communities:

“I am incredibly honoured and humbled by their support and I share this award with Yazidis, Iraqis, Kurds, other persecuted minorities and all of the countless victims of sexual violence around the world:

“As a survivor, I am grateful for this opportunity to draw international attention to the plight of the Yazidi people who have suffered unimaginable crimes since the genocide by Daesh, which began in 2014. Many Yazidis will look upon this prize and think of family members that were lost, are still unaccounted for, and of the 1,300 women and children, which remain in captivity. Like many minority groups, the Yazidis, have carried the weight of historical persecution. Women, in particular, have suffered greatly as they have been, and continue to be the victims of sexual violence…” Nadia Murad. Click on this link to find her full statement”

The Possibility of ending sex slavery and sexual violence as a weapon of war

I am reminded of a personal experience my mother shared with me many years ago. In her heydays as an adolescent just like Nadia, an inter-tribal conflict arose between our community and another. She and other young girls became a target as the conflict escalated; the warriors/fighters of each community would raid homes and carry away young girls like her to become brides of the warring men. My mother was hidden by her parents for a while but soon it became apparent that she was no longer safe. Lucky for her they managed to sneak her off to the city where it was safe. My mother who is now over 70 years was one of the lucky girls, some of her friend’s lives were changed forever as they did not escape.

Sexual violence as a weapon of war is as old as our great, great, great forefathers and mothers. Will this ever end? I believe the answer is to find preventive measures and resolutions to conflicts before they escalate into wars. I believe also that we humans must give room for others to live and be for we all deserve to live peaceably and flourish. great and mothers. Will this ever end? I believe the answer is to find preventive measures and resolutions to conflicts before they escalate into wars. I believe also that we humans must give room for others to live and be for we all deserve to live peaceably and flourish. Laws should also be put in place to punish perpetrators of such heinous crime.

Nadia’s dream and goal is aptly captured in the last line of her statement: “We must not only imagine a better future for women, children and persecuted minorities, but we must also work consistently to make it happen – prioritizing humanity, not war. work consistently to make it happen – prioritizing humanity, not war.

Insight to keywords

War Crime: Torture, inhumane conducts or acts carried during a war which is against international rules guiding wars.

Yazidi: a community of people in Iraq but Yazidis can also be found in Turkey, Iran, Syria and Georgia. They are a closely knitted community who believed differently from the Islamic communities where they are situated. Hence, the reason for the Islamic State attacks and attempts to destroy them.

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 – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Feminism: What It is; What It isn’t #Opinion

Credits: Alamy Photo Stock

I am writing this post in response to a number of misunderstandings I see in discussions about Feminism. There are arguments for and against this subject matter and I sense a lot of anger versus misconception. I will try to clear the air a bit in my discussion here.

Now note, you may not agree with all the points I will make here but it promises to be interesting, down to earth and straight from my heart. So please indulge me as I take you true “the blue waters of the world of feminism”.

My definition: “Feminism” is all about celebrating womanhood. It is a movement to give girls and women a voice where they have been relegated to the background. Feminism is empowering the female gender with opportunities and skills required for her to achieve her purpose and dreams. It is fighting for the rights of women and girls. So first of all as a woman you should revel in your gender, it is who you are by the creator’s design.

In recent times the line has become blurry and feminism has become something men feel it is all about losing control and therefore they resist almost in fear or should I say bitterness. On the other hand, some ladies use the movement of feminism as a tool to raise false alarm where it is not necessary or as means to witch hunt a man in their black books.

I believe in having a balanced view of the issue of feminism. It should not be about having a world without men simply because some of the male genders hurt women or because society tends to be a patriarchal one. Come on we all have fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and even male friends who are good people. Society will lose its balance should it try to operate with only one of the genders.

Also some weeks ago the social media was agog with a backlash against a renowned Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adiche because she challenged Hillary Clinton about why she started her Twitter profile page with the word “wife” instead of “mother” first. The argument was that her husband Bill Clinton didn’t even have the title “a husband” as an identity on his twitter page. As much as Chimamanda’s argument is valid I feel it brings up a core understanding of what feminism might mean to this dear lady that I hold in high esteem. It sounded like there was something wrong with Hillary wanting to be identified as a “wife”, on her twitter page. Interestingly I hear Madam Hillary Clinton did change that identity on her twitter page.😊

My Take on this: If a woman chose to be identified as a wife in her profile, seriously it is her right and prerogative. Is Chimamanda trying to make Hillary think less of her husband or not hold dear her family or role as a wife just to show that she is a feminist who must prove a point to her husband and society?  I don’t know, she has a right to her own opinion on the issue.

When it comes to family life we must as women recognize the role each partner has to play in the relationship and respect and love each other. If you are a Chief Executive Director in your office or organization don’t go backing orders at home to your husband! You are courting problems because one of the men’s needs is the need for respect, especially in a marriage setting. So please, by all means, write whatever you wish to be identified as in your profile and don’t let anyone bully you into his or her mold of thinking.

Some Men’s Perspective On the other hand: I have a friend on one of my social media platforms who seems to have drawn a battle line against every female in my opinion and not just us feminists. He practically attacks women and even uses words that I find insulting. I am wondering whether he is married or intends to get married. Looks like someone broke his heart and he hasn’t forgiven whoever that is and every other woman gets the backlash. I also sense that the way some of us feminist brand the flag of fighting the rights of women sounds like men are actually now our enemies. So now on the two side of the divide instead of bridging the gap we are widening it by our actions and misconceptions.

Here is my Take on what Feminism Is and Isn’t

What Feminism Is:

  • It is allowing girls to mature biologically and ensuring that she is given an opportunity to acquire the skills for a meaningful and profitable life before marrying her off. So “Child Marriage or Adolescent marriage” is an act that steals the future and life of a girl.
  • It is giving equal rights to boys and girls to get an education
  • The voice of feminism argues that equal opportunities should be given to boys and girls; men and women to flourish and become all they ever dreamed of. What this means is that If men are going to space a woman should also have the same opportunity to fly to space as long as she is got what it takes. When men are in a leadership position and a woman is got the same skills then she shouldn’t be denied stepping into that position simply because she is a woman.
  • Men and women on the same job should earn equal pay, there should be no discrimination based on gender bases.
  • Feminism promotes the well-being of girls and women and speaks against all forms of cultural, traditional and religious beliefs that cause harm to the female gender. These include issues like the right to own property and land; the right to work even though she is a wife; reproductive health rights ( Ending discriminatory and harmful practices like female genital mutilation);
  • Feminism drives and speaks for social justice

Now to what Feminism is not:

  • It is not a war with men; as women, we have fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons.
  • Feminism is not a tool of blackmail against any male a woman wishes to take advantage of.
  • It is not a flag women wave every time we want to have our way.
  • Feminism is not an excuse to not acquiring the necessary skills required to occupy a leadership position. You have got to work for it and be better than the men even so that any male chauvinist in the room will have no choice but to respect your skills and guts.
  • Feminism is not a magic wand in a marriage relationship. Be careful how you use this in a marriage situation. Except in a situation where abuse is the other of the day then a woman can speak up and say no to the injustice and harm.

As we say in debate clubs in my secondary school days: “I hope I have been able to convince and not confuse you with my arguments”. 😀Hey …I am only saying we should take things easy; we need each other. Let us all reach out across the table and try to understand one another as men and women and work together!

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

#NAWOJ Ibadan – International women’s day Celebration 2018 in Pictures

The Nigerian Women Journalists Ibadan chapter commemorated the 2018 International women’s day with a lecture which brought together women at the community level ; female politicians, Intellectuals, religious leaders and a good number of men who support women any day.

The event took place at the Nigerian Union of Journalist conference hall Iyaganku Ibadan today, 9th March 2018.
Theme: Progress For Women in Governance.

In a next post I will update you about the highlights and interesting points of view for now enjoy The Event in Pictures:

Honourable Mulikat Adeola – Mother of the Day /Chairman
Mrs Foluso Lala – NAWOJ president, Oyo state
Guest Lecturer : Mr Soji Eniade Executive assistant to Governor Abiola Ajimobi on administration
Mrs Adekiitan Adeegbe – immediate past chairperson NUJ Oyo and Mrs Morenike Tony-Esan National Vice president B Zone NUJ.

NUJ chairman Oyo State – Mr Adewunmi Faniran presenting an award to Hon. Mulikat Adeola

Mc : Jade Inspiration FM
A journalist from Premier FM 93.5 – Bukola Adesakin – reading the citations of Awardees

Me, Stella Oyebanji posing with Honorable Mulikat Adeola

Female Journalists posing in a picture with Hon. Mulikat Adeola

 

Adebisi Adetunji (C) Project Director Beehyve Initiative. Consultant Dev. Communication, Creative writer, journalist. 

International Day of The Girl Child, 2017

The International Day of the girl child is celebrated on the 11th of October every year, the world over.

The general theme according to the UN Women is tagged, “Empower girls: Before, during and after conflict. Many parts of the world in recent times have various forms of conflicts and war. No continent is left out of the heart wrenching mindless killings. Families and everyone who find themselves caught in these conflicts suffer so much loss no doubt.

In Nigeria, we have the Boko Haram conflict in the northeast and many girls and women have been abducted. They are made to cook, clean and carry out the menial chores for the terrorist. Aside these,  the girls are forced to become young wives and mothers. I can not imagine the emotional trauma and conflicts that go on in the minds of these victims. Thankfully some have regained their freedom. How much of rehabilitation work is being done to reintegrate them into society is another matter entirely. But many other girls were used as child suicide bombers and others caught in between the crossfire lost their lives.

It is my hope and great heart desire that the war against insurgency and terrorism will be won in the northeast Nigeria and the world over. (This feels like a very tall dream). But we can still make the world safer for every girl and everyone as we each person begins to value peace and other human beings.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)