The Girl Child, An Endangered Specie in the 21st Century Nigeria: Public Lecture & Book Launch by Fill in the Gaps Outreach

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 cross of school girls present at the Fill in the Gap Outreach Public lecture

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 prosecuted which 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 children is 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.

Solutions

The Chairman of the occasion – Dr. Mike Omotosho , PDG, D9125, AKS Rotary International, dressed in his Ghanian royal title in a pix pose with the convener & CEO, Fill in the Gaps Outreach – Princess Aderonke Olajide
  • 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 – bisimodupe1975@gmail.com

Looking Back at My Adolescent Years – Creating Safe Places for Young People

A safe place connotes a conducive and enabling environment to be yourself and pursue your goals and dreams without fear or any inhibition. We all need that safe place to blossom and flourish.

At a Youth Mentoring program by Beehyve Initiative.

What does a “safe place mean to a young person? This takes me down memory lane to my adolescent years. Look I’m not that old *wink… Lol😀.

As a teenager while growing up I and my sisters – we are four by the way, had more male friends than girls. The percentage was 90-10%… I am serious here…. So you can imagine the “fear & terror”, this must have brought to my parents… Hahaha. As African parents or any parent at all there is that extra carefulness you adopt when it comes to raising girls. Often you will hear parents especially mom’s like mine say something like this : “Eyin omo yi, e ma doju timi o!”. Meaning ‘Don’t bring shame to the family “, and by that they mean” do not get pregnant o“! “Becareful with boys”. Are you following my gist? So four teenage girls in the hands of my parents was a huge task in their minds.

Yearly we would organize our special Boxing day party for all the teenagers in our neighborhood and Youth group in church and we would have a hard time trying to get more girls to come to our party. I was the chairman organizing committee leader and sometimes I will hope and pray that my father will not adjust his glasses to access why we had more boys in attendance… “poor me”.

But you know what, admist all the adolescent age drama with friends and parents I felt safe and was able to express myself. I don’t know who taught my parent this wisdom I am about to share but it worked!

Instead of policing us and putting all our activities under a microscope my parents decided to have an open door policy. Our friends whether males or females were allowed to visit our home and they even get to gist with my parents. My Dad will engage us all in a friendly discussion and soon we would all be laughing. My friends back then thought my dad and mum were cool. While dad engages us in a gist, mum will be busy serving snacks or any food available in the pot. Unknown to us it was a strategy to learn more about who our friends were; possibly investigate what we have been up to. Mostly for us, we felt free to bring our friends home and be ourselves.

Now did we ever experienced that parent versus adolescent clashes? Of course plenty… Lol. However our parents open door policy was a check mate for us. Anytime Dad begins to raise some extra questions about a particular friend we were quick to understand that something wasn’t right because he hardly complained about our friends. So without having to breath down our necks, I and my siblings always found ways to cut off such friendship. I found out that I could speak to my mum intimately about my crushes and issues with the opposite sex.

Every time we have a chance to talk about our adolescent years at family reunions, it is usually with fond memories. 💑 Of course life is never perfect but we thoroughly enjoyed those years.

So back to my gist about creating Safe Places for Young People, I say it is doable. Mostly adults have the major responsibility of making young persons feel safe. We can do this by creating an enabling environment where young people can:
1. Be free to express themselves.
2. Have a listening ear who will be there for him or her.
3. Have a loving home environment.
4. Have a space and opportunities that allows them access to information about life: their wellbeing and reproductive health.
5. Give room for them to bring to the table their questions about issues that trouble people in their age group without fear of being judged.

The International Youth Day is celebrated every 12th of August yearly and this year’s theme is “Creating Safe Places for Young People”.

As a parent are you intentional about creating a safe place for your adolescents? Instead of adopting the “body guard” approach create an atmosphere that allows your children to express themselves. Build a relationship that gives room for conversations that will help guide them in making informed and right choices.

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

 

Different Isn’t Bad or Less Important or Superior #CultureShock

Credits: Dreamstime.com

Have you ever found yourself in a different place or clime from yours and you were confused, felt lost and shocked by the lifestyle of people in that place or society? It is called culture shock.

 

 

How do you prepare for or handle culture shock?

  1. When planning to visit a new place either for a professional or fun visit read up about the culture, beliefs, and practices of the people living in the place you are visiting.
  2. Find out from others who have been to such places or simply Google…the information hub for the modern day society.
  3. Get interested in and engage people living in the new culture about their way of life, soon you will make friends and you become more comfortable.
  4. Come to respect the culture
  5. You don’t have to lose yourself in a new culture; be yourself and show others what your own culture looks like by wearing your attire sometimes if appropriate in the setting.
  6. Know what is acceptable and unacceptable in the new culture in order to know how to behave appropriately and not come across as rude or offensive.

People are different and believe differently this doesn’t make them superior, less important or bad. Understand that your way of life is one out of many other cultures in the world.

As we celebrate another World Cultural Day, let’s reach out across our table and learn more about others.

Understanding and acceptance help to promote peace and development.

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

XX-FILES Debut on International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGMC.

Me interviewing our guest on radio for FGMC zero tolerance day.

I am excited to be a part of the ideas team for XX-FILES a radio program that inspires women to reach for the sky and beyond.

We wanted to do a special package to educate listeners about the negative impact of female genital mutilation and cutting on girls and women for the 6th of February. This is the international day of Zero tolerance for FGMC.

All the morning shows were not suitable so I shared the idea of doing a one-off women’s program only for that day with my bosses. The idea got a positive nod. However as we sat down to plan and give the program a title out came the phrase XX chromosomes and then XX-FILES! Everyone liked the idea and that was how I got myself into extra work o… Meaning that my work load had simply increased. Just when I was thinking of shedding something off *wink.

Right now XX-FILES is now going to be a weekly live program… All about the female gender. A splash of the different aspects of women’s lives ranging from lifestyle, leadership, politics, empowerment, fashion, relationship, family life, career issues and more.

So thanks to the International day of Zero tolerance for FGMC – we gave birth to a brand new program. My guest for the debut edition was Ms Abimbola Aladejare – Founder and Executive director of The New Generation Girls and Women Development Initiative.

Ms Abimbola Aladejare on red t-shirt, me, her team & radio stations staff

She is an FGMC survivor and is passionate about ending this harmful cultural practice.

Female genital mutilation and cutting is not a campaign slogan it is an issue that affects many girls and women. Many live with the consequences of having been cut. Let’s keep the discussions going; let’s keep educating those who hold tenaciously to this practice in ignorance.

Together we can end FGMC in a generation!

XX-FILES comes up every Tuesday at 10am on Premier FM 93.5.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

She Needed A Chance to Believe Part 2

Catch up on the first part of the story: She Needed A Chance to Believe Part 1.

Alexandra is the second born of her siblings. She saw her older sister, Esther get enrolled in the university while her closest younger siblings were getting ready to also get into college. She felt left out and a bleak future stared her in the face. She badly wanted to continue her education but this WAEC mountain refuses to give way to her dreams. To challenge her father’s plan to enroll her in learning a trade was out of the question. Her father was revered and his authority was not to be challenged. He wanted so badly that his children succeeded and Alexandra’s case left him feeling like all his hard work to provide was wasted.

If only I would be allowed to attempt the exams again”, Alexandra thought to herself but even she didn’t believe that she could pass any more than her parents.

Days, weeks and months pass by and then one day her father announced that she would be sent to her grandma’s place in the village to enroll in something. Alexandra’s heart was torn in a different directions.  To her it felt like a plan to abandon her far away from home. She was not ready to leave her siblings and all that was familiar to her. Her self-esteem took a deeper downturn.

One day in the midst of all this her older sister who was in the university shared a hopeful news with Alexandra. There was an opportunity at the university where her sister was enrolled in to do certificate courses that did not require scoring up to 7credits in WAEC. Alexandra had a few passes and probably one credit, she wondered if she would be admitted to do the course. Her sister insisted that it was possible but they had one hurdle to cross, convincing their father who by then had lost hope of Alexandra getting into the university.

Her sister, Esther summoned the courage to speak with their father but the meeting took place at his office. Convincing their father was not easy as he argued that Alexandra was terribly weak in learning and so it would amount to a waste of money. Her older sister, Esther pressed harder and had to promise that she will ensure that Alexandra pays attention in school. Esther had to agree to be held responsible if Alexandra fails again.

When Alexandra got the news that her father was willing to give the certificate course in Library science a try, she was ecstatic! Her siblings celebrated this news in their room. The next step was to actually get her admitted into the course. For some reason, the university didn’t give her any hassles as she was admitted. It was a lifeline for Alexandra, she gave the course her best shot, studying so hard and getting her brilliant course mates to teach her. Many nights she will sleep in the class studying and learning as far as she was concerned she was now a university/college student. Never mind that people wondered what good could come out of such a not so “prestigious course” of the times. It wasn’t even a degree or diploma just a certificate course. Alexandra did not care she kept at it and when her one year course was over, she scored 4points, she was an A student. Alexandra wept as she looked at her result, it was unbelievable.

She never believed that she had what it takes in her to succeed as a student talk more of coming out with an A grade. Her parents and siblings celebrated this victory and all voices and ideas that said,  she wouldn’t make it through school were debunked.

Alexandra went on to study nursing, midwifery and became the only medical person in the family. None of her brilliant science-oriented siblings ended up in the medical field and there were high hopes for at least one doctor…hahaha; although there were engineers, biochemistry who ended up as bankers and more.

Well, this story is not about her siblings but about Alexandra, a girl whom many thought couldn’t make it through school and she started to believe it herself too until she faced her mountain squarely in the face. Interestingly years later Alexandra would write her WAEC and scored credits and As in science subjects that she never did while in secondary school. She wanted to make her papers in one sitting and she did it.

Believe in yourself; Believe the best of your children and others. Never give up.

This is my immediate younger sister’s story and I am the older sister who had to face my father to get her to continue her education. I look at her today and marvel at the great woman she had become. Never give up on anyone, keep believing the best.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Did you ever Have a Female Physics or Chemistry Teacher👓📚?

Hello there, today 5th October is world teachers day. Yippee… Celebrate and appreciate all the teachers and mentors you ever had! 🎶🎶🎷🎺🎸🎹

On a humorous and serious note let me ask you this question : Did you ever have a female physics and Chemistry Teacher while in secondary school? I only had women as my biology teacher or home economics…. Haha where were all the ladies who studied physics and chemistry in college? Someone said that they landed big company jobs… OK now😀😀

But seriously I am curious,  was I the only one who didn’t have a female physics, chemistry or technical drawing teacher?

Please share the name of yours if you had one and give a shout out to her in the comments section. And if you are or were a teacher tell us what you teach/taught. Share your fondest memories from your teaching experience or about your teacher. 

My teaching memories/experience : I once taught English language and social studies in a secondary school. Those kids were a handful but I  had fun doing my job. Some work days were hard*wink 😀. Once I miss pronounced the word, “Bouquet”….my version of it “bucket”😀😀😀 Imagine o even as an English teacher! Not funny but it taught me to gain mastery of my subject.  Then I was a children Sunday school teacher. Now I teach/train/mentor others in the media profession. 

Of course we are celebrating every hardworking teacher on this beautiful day.

Here is a tribute to all teachers:
Teachers are molders, working hard to churn out great men and women into the society. Many times we forget and do not appreciate you. We want to say thank you for all you do. May you be rewarded grately for your many sacrifices.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)