WD2019 Official Opening Press Conference Press Release – Investing in girls and women will deliver progress for all.

World’s Largest Conference on Gender Equality Opens in Vancouver with a
Call to Redefine Power at Every Level

Heads of state from four nations sat side-by-side young leaders and grassroots advocates as delegates from more than 165 countries kicked off the Women Deliver 2019 Conference

(Vancouver, Canada) – The Women Deliver 2019 Conference, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and wellbeing of girls and women, kicked off on the 3rd of June with more than 8,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists, and journalists gathered in Vancouver, and more than 100,000 participating in a global dialogue around the world through satellite events and WDLive, the virtual conference. 1,400 youth delegates from 139 countries are expected to attend the Women Deliver 2019 Conference, where every plenary program and most concurrents feature a young person.

The conference will focus on power, and how it can drive – or hinder – progress and change; and how societies must redefine the concept of ‘power’ and use it as a force for good.

The conference will examine power operating at three levels:
The Individual’s Power – The Women Deliver 2019 Conference will examine girls’ and women’s individual power, self-esteem and agency. And how to strengthen that power.
Structural power – The Women Deliver 2019 Conference will explore and challenge systems, barriers, and opportunities for progress in power relations, including political, economic, and social structures.

The Power of Movements – The Women Deliver 2019 Conference will dive into the power of movements, and how we can shape critical consciousness and marshal collective action for change.
While the Women Deliver 2019 Conference and global dialogue will place a special emphasis on power, the conference will offer solutions to fill the gap on a vast array of issues crucial to gender equality: economic empowerment, women and the environment, nutrition, education, political participation, preventing gender-based violence, health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, human rights, and much more.

“The Women Deliver 2019 Conference is much more than a conference, it is one important step on the march towards gender equality,” said Katja Iversen, Women Deliver President/CEO at the opening press conference. “We all have power to contribute to a more gender equal world. If we use our individual and collective power – boldly, smartly and collaboratively — progress will follow.”

“The Women Deliver conference will be a truly historic week. I look forward to joining many grassroots leaders and advocates who have dedicated their lives to defending and advancing women’s rights. We know we can’t take our foot off the pedal, not even for a moment. I’ll be at the conference to show Canada’s leadership on gender equality isn’t going anywhere, and that we’re not just speaking up, but stepping up too.”

The conference will take place from 3-6 June 2019 at the Vancouver Convention Center. Additional key speakers include:
Tarana Burke, founder of the ‘me too’ movement
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International
Farwiza Farhan, Leader, Forest, Nature, and Environment Aceh
Henrietta H Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF
Ken Frazier, Chairman of the Board & CEO, Merck + Co., Inc.
Melinda Gates, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Waneek Horn-Miller, Indigenous Olympian
Hina Jilani, Supreme Court of Pakistan
Alan Jope, CEO, Unilever
Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, UNFPA
Angélique Kidjo, Grammy Award winning singer
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Deliver for Good Influencer, Women Deliver
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuko, Executive Director, UN Women
Osvaldo Rudloff, Executive Director, OLACEFS (Latin American and Caribbean Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions)
Ailbhe Smyth, Co-Director, Together for Yes
Theo Sowa, CEO, African Women’s Development Fund
Maysoon Zayid, Actress, Comedian, Writer and Disability Advocate

The conference has sparked a global dialogue around the world through satellite events and virtual participation. To date, more than 186 events on six continents have registered as satellite events, estimated to reach more than 82,000 people.

Canada has especially seen a strong effort to mobilize community engagement around the conference through the Women Deliver Mobilization Canada campaign. With events in every region and most provinces and territories, thousands of Canadians have joined together over the past year to advance the conversation on gender equality.

Anyone can tune into the conference for free through the virtual conference, WDLive, which will be streaming from 3-6 June 2019 on wd2019.org.

About Women Deliver. Women Deliver is a leading global advocate that champions gender equality and the health and rights of girls and women.

Our advocacy drives investment – political and financial – in the lives of girls and women worldwide. We harness evidence and unite diverse voices to spark commitment to gender equality. And we get results.

Anchored in sexual and reproductive health, we advocate for the rights of girls and women across every aspect of their lives.

We know that investing in girls and women will deliver progress for all.

And every three years, we galvanize momentum at the global Women Deliver Conference – our signature event. It’s a bold and diverse gathering, a fueling station of ideas, and generator of action, convening thousands of decision-makers from civil society, governments, the private sector, and international agencies alongside advocates, activists, and journalists to identify solutions and drive change for girls and women.

Media Contacts :
Women Deliver : Bijoyeta Das, bdas@womendeliver.org, 617-953-0755

Copyright © 2019 Women Deliver

Adebisi Adetunji –  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.c

What?! Physically Assaulting A Pregnant Woman?!

Photo Credit: Hellobeautiful.com

Some days ago I listened to the horrifying story of an eight months old pregnant woman who was killed by her husband! My mind could not simply process the senseless act of this man who killed his unborn child and wife. So tempers flared up during an argument or misunderstanding between the couple and the man gives her a fatal punch that led to bleeding. He refuses to take her for treatment in the hospital for whatever reason, maybe in ignorance. How does one even begin to explain and excuse such a behavior?

My Take on this matter:

I believe that this man has probably been physically abusing his wife for a while now. This is why he thought that like other times, he could hit and get away with it. Unfortunately, it ended badly! Thankfully he has been arrested and hopefully, justice will be served.

If you are a woman who has found yourself in an abusive relationship, do not keep explaining the actions of the man away and making excuses for him, GET OUT! It is unacceptable and dangerous behavior. Many ladies still courting a man think that they can change his bad behavior, sorry dear, it doesn’t work that way. People do not change that easily except they want to, it takes more than your loving efforts. Worse still you are putting your life on the line. So if you are still just in the dating stage of your relationship and you notice signs of violence in your partner such as a violent push; a slap, smashing of things when he is angry, then BREAK THAT RELATIONSHIP NOW! It is only going to get worse when he marries you.

And if you have already made a commitment of marriage and your spouse/partner is abusive, get help! Get family, counselor, your pastor or spiritual leader or anyone you trust involved. Do not keep quiet about the matter; this is not the time to follow that advice usually ingrained in the hearts of couples during wedding ceremonies, “Do not let a third party into your marriage”. The idea is to handle your business and conflicts without bringing in others who might escalate the conflict. Hmmmn…Abuse is a matter not to be handled in this manner, SPEAK UP and GET HELP.

Our Role as Family Members, Neighbors, and Friends

It is true that we would want the marriages of our loved ones and acquaintance to last, however, if someone comes to you with a recurring physical abuse then do not tell them to stay in there and weather the storm. This storm may end drowning such a person. Point such a person in the direction of where they can get help. As a neighbor report, any abuse going on in your neighborhood. It is not “poke nosing”; it is saving a life and you can do it discreetly if you do not want those concerned to know. Once my brother reported a neighbor who always beat his wife and the police came and arrested him. Thankfully also the young woman’s family also came in to take their sister and daughter.

A family friend also narrated how he had to wrestle his abusive neighbor to the ground, giving him a few punches to teach him a lesson. That was how the young man realized that he was hurting his wife and stopped his abusive actions. So you cannot afford to mind your business when it comes to physical abuse in your neighborhood. Think of it this way, if you were the one been hurt, would you want someone to step in to help you? I am sure you would.

Back to the Pregnant Woman issue

A pregnant woman is in a very delicate position while still carrying a baby. Pushing, slapping, harassing her is endangering two lives! This should never have to happen. If you are a man who is short-tempered, when your woman upsets you and you cannot control your feelings, please pick up your shirt and go somewhere else to cool off instead of doing what you will regret later.

Life is a gift; no one has the right to snuff that life out! Help protect mums and their unborn babies.

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

OYO STATE RECORDS SUCCESS IN TACKLING NEWBORN DEATH

Following concerted efforts geared towards tackling newborn deaths in Oyo State, there is a new story to tell now, as the infant mortality rate in the state has greatly reduced.

The Pace Setter State, which was one of the states in Nigeria with high number of newborn deaths before now, has made significant progress in tackling the menace.

This was made known in Ibadan recently at a two-day Media Dialogue on Improving Health Outcomes for Children in Oyo State Through Accelerated Action for Impact (AAI), organised by Oyo State Ministry of Information And Culture and Oyo State Primary Healthcare Board in conjunction with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

Speakers at the Media Parley disclosed that the successes recorded in reducing newborn deaths in Oyo State were as a result of AAI intervention by UNICEF.

Speaking on the intervention, the Health Specialist, UNICEF, Akure Field Office, Dr. Adebola Hassan, explained that AAI was aimed at ensuring that no child dies from a preventableE cause and that all children attain their full potential in health and we’ll being.

According to Dr. Hassan, six local governments, which are Egbeda, Ibadan North East, Ibadan South East, Ibarapa North, Saki West and Kajola had highest rate of newborn deaths in Oyo State.

However, she said the AAI intervention focused on three of these local governments, which are Ibadan North East, Saki West and Ibarapa North where neo natal mortality was prevalent.

Also speaking, the Oyo State Immunization Officer, Mrs. Titilayo Nihinlola, stated that through the UNICEF intervention, the number of unimmunized children in the state had reduced.

The AAI intervention takes care of Health Services such as training of Health Workers, Immunization, Family Planning, Delivery, Post Natal Care and Nutrition.

Report by: Oludare Moses Morenikeji

Register Early for antenatal and ensure that your baby takes all the Immunization dozes 

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

Progress Made in The Abandonment of FGM in Nigeria

FACTS ABOUT FGM

Female genital mutilation refers to all procedures that involve the partial or total removal of the female external genitalia or other injuries to the female genital organ for non-medical reasons. Effects of female genital mutilation also known as female circumcisions are enormous and have long term physical, emotional, psychological effects on women and girls. These include bleeding, shock, infections, leakage of urine/feces (VVF), genital tissue swelling, birth complications, emotional trauma, sexual health issues, problems with their partners/spouses and death.

About 200 million women and girls worldwide are living with the effects of female genital mutilation according to
Female genital mutilation violates the rights of women and girls. It is a form of gender-based violence.

6 states have a high prevalence of female genital mutilation in Nigeria: Imo, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti, Ebonyi, and Edo States.

 

PUBLIC DECLARATION BY COMMUNITIES TO ELIMINATE FGM

Members of the Oyo Messi Elders Council at the Oyo state public declaration to Abandon FGM

Izzi Clan, Ebonyi State

At Izzi community, a young girl in the company of two other girls fled from home one night as they were about to go through the initiation rite to womanhood which included female genital mutilation. Their brave attempt to escape led to the intervention of the child protection network, UNICEF, Ministry of women affairs and this started the process of engaging the custodians of culture in Izzi community in a sensitization effort. On the 16th of June 2017, 26 communities in Izzi clan and three other LGA (Abakaliki, Ebonyi, and Izzi) made a public declaration on the abandonment of female genital mutilation. The declaration was signed by the traditional ruler’s forum and custodians of the Izzi culture and royal fathers.

Imo State

On the 23rd of November, 2018 the several sensitization and education of many communities by UNICEF, NOA and other partners culminated into the public declaration of 28 communities in Ngor-Okpala Local government to abandon Female Genital Mutilation. At the event were the State Director NOA, Mr. Vitus Ekeocha, UNICEF Consultant on FGM for Ebonyi and Imo, Mr. Benjamin Mbakwem, traditional rulers, groups of women, men and the youths representing the various communities.

Oyo State

One of the traditional practices upheld by some parts of the Yoruba land is the act of female genital mutilation also known as female circumcision. On the 20th of December 94 communities in Oyo from Oorelope 49, Kajola 24, and Oyo West 21(LGAs) made a public declaration to abandon the practice of FGM.
After several community engagements with community members and public enlightenment with various stakeholders( artisans, youth, men and women’s groups, traditional and religious leaders) communities in Oorelope, Kajola, and Oyo West made the decision to henceforth protect the future of girls and women by putting an end to FGM.

The public declaration of these communities took place at the palace of His Royal Majesty Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III. The Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Oyo state, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu; representatives of UNICEF , Dr. Olasunmbo Odebode, Child Protection Specialist for UNICEF and Mrs Olutayo Aderonke , the UNICEF Consultant for FGM in Ekiti, Oyo and Osun explains and High chiefs of Oyo Messi were all present at the public declaration to eliminate FGM.

Benefits of public declaration: Endcuttinggirls website

Osun State

Similarly, 38 communities in Osun state held an event in 2018 where community members and stakeholders signed an undertaking to eliminate the harmful cultural practice of FGM. Osun state has the highest prevalence of FGM practice in southwest Nigeria. In the words of the UNICEF consultant on FGM for Osun, Oyo and Ekiti, Mrs. Aderonke Olutayo, “the event rewrites history and marks a new chapter for the next generation of girls and women in these communities”. The state director NOA, Osun, Mrs. Yomi Olasinde and other partners were present at this historic event.

Edo State

In January 2019, Edo State passed the Violence Against Persons Bill into Law. This law makes provision for perpetrators of Female Genital Mutilation to be sentenced to “life imprisonment”, without a fine in the state.

Media campaign on Radio, TV and social media have greatly contributed to increased awareness about the long term effect of FGM on women and girls. There are ongoing education and sensitization among school students. This is to equip the young generation with the necessary information so that they can be empowered to say NO and also prevent their own children from being cut in the future.

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

16 YEAR OLD GIRL MENTORING OTHER GIRLS – LAUNCHES AN “ALL GIRLS MUST GO TO SCHOOL PROJECT ”

In Nigeria, it is estimated that 23% of women aged 15-19years have begun childbearing and 32% of teenagers in rural areas have become young mothers, according to the Demographic Health Survey of 2013. One of the focal points of discussion at the just concluded family planning conference in Nigeria which took place on the 3rd – 6th of December, 2018 in Nigeria is the prevention of teenage pregnancy and promotion of adolescent reproductive health rights.

Youth and Adolescents were given the opportunity to speak up about their health needs so policymakers can put in place services to meet these needs. As part of efforts to make visible the works of young people making an impact in their communities, 5 young people shared their innovative work as it relates to reproductive health needs of adolescents and young persons. The youngest of them, to give a pitch about her work was 16 years old, Peace Ayo Adegbola. It was heartwarming seeing this young determined girl doing something to make the lives of others better.

Peace giving a pitch about her work with girls in her community.

Peace Adegbola is a role model to other adolescent girls in her community. She equips girls with life skills and information necessary to curb teenage pregnancy. She shared the story of her journey into becoming girls advocate in this interview with me.

A.A: Tell us your name

Peace: My name is Peace Ayo Adegbola

A.A: So are you a student?

Peace: Yes I’m a student. I just wrote my WAEC, waiting for admission into the university. I am a girl advocate and I’m 16 years old.

A.A: What steered you up in that direction?

Peace & Her Dad

Peace: My daddy works with Society for family health and so he goes to rural communities to educate these young girls about the importance of family planning. Sometimes he normally takes me along. When I go to these communities I find that the majority of these adolescent girls are not in school. Boys are going to school and a majority of the girls are at home. I was just 10 years old so I started asking questions, became anxious and wanted to do something about this. I felt like if a 10year old girl Like me is outspoken, I wanted other girls to be too and I decided to be an advocate. And my dad inspired me, the communities I have been to and what the girls are passing through.

A.A: That was how you started the girls club?

Peace sharing her story in a quick interview with Adebisi

Peace: The girls club actually started as a self-esteem session with the girls. I launched a project on “All Girls must go to School” which targeted girls that are not in school to ensure that these girls go to school. We have about 200 girls are now in school as a result and come this September more girls will be enrolled. I needed a sustainability plan to keep these girls in school. I found out that something so simple as self-esteem makes them drop out of school. So I created a small group where I talk to these young girls. At first, it was just the girls we were sponsoring to school.

A.A: How are you funding this sponsorship?

Peace: Strong Enough Girls are my key partners, Youth Hub Africa, and so many partners and some individuals that buy into the idea.

A.A: Going forward where do you see this? Are you intending to fully make a career of development work?

Peace: Yes! Because my partner, who happens to be my dad, and I currently jointly own an organization. It is something I want to do for life; it’s something that even though I do other things, this is one thing I will never leave. This is service to humanity and girls like me. I believe so much in their potentials.

A.A: Your advice for girls, adults and especially parents.

Peace: My advice to young girls is that there is time for everything; take it one step at a time. And if you have made some mistakes don’t use it to judge yourself or pull yourself back. The thing about making mistakes or falling down is for you to know the right way to take. My advice to parents is that they should have a close relationship with their kids and to actually open up. Tell them about sexual reproductive issues. Talk to your child about hygiene, menstrual hygiene. Do not code things and give wrong information, for example, say that “if a boy touches you, you will get pregnant, No! Tell them that it is sex that gets a girl pregnant. Prepare them so they will make the right choices.

Adolescent and youth health needs is a must attend to.

Someone mentored Peace Aydegbola right and now she, in turn, has become a mentor and role model to other girls in her community, nipping teenage pregnancy in the bud and inspiring girls to go to and finish school.

One person can make a huge difference

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 Public hearing of the Oyo State Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternal Services Bill, 2017

According to World Health Organization(WHO) Sexual and reproductive health and rights encompass efforts to eliminate preventable, maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity, to ensure quality sexual and reproductive health services including contraceptive services, and to address sexually transmitted Infections (STI) and cervical cancer, violence against women and girls and sexuality and reproductive health needs of adolescents.

The Public hearing of the Oyo State Family Planning, Reproductive Health and Maternal Services Bill, 2017 held on Wednesday, 17th October 2018 at the Western Hall, Oyo State House of Assembly Secretariat, Ibadan.

 The basic reason for a public hearing is to elevate a democratic procedure for adopting laws involving the people in lawmaking and achieving a more complete implementation of the oversight functions, increase transparency of the work of the legislators – Rt. Hon. Joshua Olagunju Ojo Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly.

Rt. Hon. Joshua Olagunju Ojo, Speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly and other legislators at the public hearing.

The Bill had gone through the 1st and 2nd reading and is on its way to been passed into law. The Speaker of the Oyo state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Joshua Olagunju alongside other lawmakers, top government officials, the Attorney General –Barr. Seun Abimbola, and commissioner for Justice and other stakeholders from, Ministry of health, The Nigerian Bar Association, Medical practitioners, NGOs, religious organizations, Association of traditional birth attendants, Civil societies, and others attended the public hearing in order to make their contributions towards improving the Bill.

Hon. S.O Okunlola, the Chairman, Committee on Health in his welcome address said that the aim of the Bill is to promote and protect the right of people of Oyo state especially women to enable them to have access to reproductive health and adequate maternity services. He stated further that, “for any reasonable government, the health of citizens should be a priority as such the health policy of government at federal and state and local government levels should be in tandem with international best practices”.

Deliberations at the public hearing were aimed at having a sustainable framework for reproductive health and maternal care services in Oyo state through a legislation.

The Bill is a private members bill which was sponsored and brought to the attention of the legislators who received it with open arms. It is intended to complement the efforts of the executive arm of government in the state in the area of providing quality healthcare to the people in the state. Hon. Okunlola assured all stakeholders present at the public hearing that the memoranda compiled and submitted will be painstakingly looked into in order to come out with an implementable document.

A cross section of stakeholders at the public hearing.

The Import of the Bill was presented by Hon. Mrs. B.O Oladeji, Chairperson, Committee on Women Affairs, Community Development, Social Welfare, and Poverty Alleviation.

“It has been observed that most women do not have access to adequate reproductive health and maternal care services in the state, as a result, many women suffer complications during childbirth which in turn contributes to increased maternal mortality. This bill intends to promote and protect the rights of women in having access to adequate reproductive health and maternal care services in the state. It also intends to put in place a structure for upholding standards and monitoring maternal care services provided in the state and Local government levels. It intends to promote women’s health, safe motherhood and reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rate amongst our women. Sections in the bill provide for the establishment of committees to monitor the level of antenatal and postnatal care as well as activities of health care providers in the state and local governments. Clause 8 of the bill provides major standards and regulations of which health care providers need to comply with and there are equally penalties for contraventions. It is believed that this bill will go a long way in improving the health of women in terms of putting in place regulations and standard for monitoring, provision of family planning and provision of safe healthcare services in Oyo state”.

One of the stakeholders the State Team Lead (NURHI) Oyo state, Mrs. Stella Akinso in her contribution to the memoranda had this to  say:

“Women of reproductive of age by definition starts from 15 -49 which means young people who are sexually active have been factored in. Young people need access to quality family planning and maternity services. This Bill will become ineffective without budgetary allocation and release for the implementation. There is also the need for the provision of adequate human capital (skilled and trained healthcare providers/birth attendants) to be able to implement all the things stated in the bill”.

Mrs. Akinso advised that after the Bill gets passed it should be translated into the local language so that everyone can have access to the information therein. More than anything she said, there is the need for a total overhaul of health facility and system in Oyo state.

The maternal mortality rate in Nigeria stands at 645 per 100,000 births and in Oyo state 262 women out of 100, 000 that deliver will die. That translates to mean that about 3 women will die out of 1000 births.

This is unacceptable as No Woman Should Die Giving Birth to Another Life and this is the essence of this bill. Mrs. Akinso ended her contribution to the memoranda with these words, “I do hope that this bill will be adequately funded, monitored and implemented”.

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 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