I Simply Love this: Young Men Network Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence #EndFGMNG

In my line of work as a media expert, development communication consultant and recently a social media influencer, I have met a number of men who are passionate about protecting women against all forms of discrimination and are advocates of women’s rights. But seeing and meeting a group of men advocating against sexual and Gender Based violence…It is just so thrilling for me. The Youngmen network is made up of active members from all walks of life across the country in Nigeria.

You see this says to me that women are not alone.
It also tells me that men and women can be on the same team.

And then this question also comes to mind: What are we teaching our sons? They are the ones who become men tomorrow and they will treat a woman the way we taught them as families or society. It is time to pay attention to teaching our sons right values; teach them how to respect and appreciate the women in their lives.

There is just no need for the power tussle.
And while I and everyone are pushing for the education and right treatment of girls let us not fail to educate our boys.

How did I arrive here? I have been part of a two day workshop organized by the Young men Network Against Sexual and Gender Based Violence with focus on ending Female Genital Mutilation. It is a down to earth dialogue filled workshop.

Lessons & Discussion Points on FGM
Ending FGMC is not about throwing away our culture as a people, it is about stopping harmful practices.
FGM does not prevent a woman from being promiscuous as is the belief. This is totally hinged on the kind of training and upbringing or how such a child is nurtured.
Culture is not static. It is dynamic and changes from time to time/place to place.
Current data shows that 22 million women in Nigeria have undergone Female genital mutilation.
FGM is so called and not female circumcision because it is not the same as male circumcision. According to medical findings male circumcision has some health benefits and it is only one type – The removal of the foreskin. However in women, cutting is up to four types which mean everyone decides how far they want to go with cutting and scraping a woman’s vagina(Not funny)
Type three of FGM called Infibulation requires that the labia(lips of the vagina) be cut and it is sewn leaving only a small hole for urinating and mensuration! (This leaves me shivering) She is cut open when she gets married to allow sexual intercourse and in some culture when the husband is traveling the vagina is sewn and closed up until the man returns! Come on….this is just too much torture and pain.
• FGM causes mental and physical harm.
• Although at the national level in Nigeria the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) had been signed into law since 2015, enforcing it and adoption by states remains an issue. Under the VAPP law, the act of FGM/C is punishable with a 5years imprisonment or a fine of N100, 000. If you ask me this fine should be like 5million.

The discussion is still ongoing and the way forward is to keep dialoguing with communities and people about FGMC. There is a need for more and continuous education and education about what this practice means to the women and girls concerned and to the family unit at large.

Facilitators/Speakers:

Sola Fagorusi – Onelife Initiative for Human Development

Ayodeji Osowobi – Stand to End Rape

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

#WEAAD – Do pray to live Long and enjoy your Old age? Protect Senior Citizens

The first Gerontologist in Nigeria and his wife

Just because they are old doesn’t mean they are no longer important.
Just because they are old doesn’t mean they do not have feelings and needs.
Just because they are old makes them vulnerable.

How will you like to be treated when you are old?
Treat older persons that way now and you will reap what you sow.

Whether you are family or a care giver treat older persons with love and care. We will all get old if we pray to live long. Life is a circle.

Stop extorting money from that aged person in your care! Remember what goes around comes around. And guess what in my opinion you are only heaping curses on yourself.

Be kind to older persons you meet along the way. God bless you.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Woman to Woman Talk #6 – “Je ki Oko o De” – Empower yourself Financially

This week let’s talk about empowering ourselves as women. “Je ki Oko o de” literally means “A woman who waits and depends on her husband to buy or pay for everything she needs personally or to keep the home running”.

Some time ago I heard of a woman whose husband set her up in a business two or three different times. I will call her Titi(not real name).
Titi enjoys sitting at home and watching movies, shopping for new clothes, visiting and chatting with friends. When it comes to running her business she isn’t interested. And so everytime she starts a business she ruins it losing both capital and profit. Titi is comfortable with just living a flamboyant life and sitting at home. Lucky for  her she has a man who is rich. However the man soon got fed up of having to help her set up any business and losing all the money. This became an issue in their family.

Another category of “Je Oko o De women are young ladies who are not even properly educated or come from a humble background.  They marry a man struggling to make ends meet and simply refuse to work.  The man is expected to take care of her, their 7 children and the home. If she wants to buy salt, sugar, food and even her underwears she waits for her dear husband to pay for everything! (Ridiculous). Such a woman is at the mercy of the poor husband who has to pay for everything. Unfortunately some of these men spend their money on other things and not on these wives.

So woman, lady here is the thing, It is time you make something out of your life! You need to be financially empowered!

It is time you pay attention to minding your business or career.

Lady forget that gist that a man us solely meant to be the provider. Some of my friends will say do you want to kill him in this economic recession! 😀.

And seriously you need to be free and able to meet some of your own financial needs. It is unfair to yourself and your husband to depend on him for everything. It is frustrating in my own opinion.

Why you need to earn your own money:
1) It enables you to be financially free,
2) You get that rewarding feeling that you can contribute to the upkeep of your family.
3) You have a sense of dignity being able to make some money no matter how little.
4) You are able to give your aged parents money without hassling your man to do it.
5) It eases money tension in the home and saves you the embarrassment of not been able to handle even simple money needs of your children.
6) God forbid anything happening to the man...I mean people die so what happens to you and your children. Especially if the man’s extended family are the type that will come and take over the man’s property leaving his wife with nothing.
7) Say your man even loses his job or business what will you all fall back on?Your own earnings can save the family financial embarrassment before your man finds his feet again.

The virtuous in the book of proverbs was a hard working business woman who provided for her household and her husband was respected in the gates of the city. STOP Being Lazy!

Time to pursue your dreams, time to mind your business and career.

In another post we will take a look at ways to make money as a woman. Till then enjoy your everyday life and know that you are special, woman.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Remembering Lessons from Social Studies – Why Family is Important

Remembering Social Studies – The Family is the smallest unit of society… Hahaha 😀. Hope you still remember that definition.

Here is the “koko” (as we say in Yoruba) or “point” (in English) of this post.
If something goes wrong with the smallest unit of society then society goes really wrong.

Fight for your family… Don’t give up…work it out. You can enjoy peace and love with a mix blend of selflessness, forgiveness, and prayers.

Many families are broken and hurting I pray for healing in our lives and homes.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Fade’s Touch – Reignite Your Beauty: How to Harness Your Child’s potential

Meet Federera Okunubi at work:

Fade doing makeover for a client
Finishing touches to the makeover

She is the daughter of my 16years hair stylist….really I am amazed that I have stayed with her for this long. The secret of course is good service and a good customer relationship. We are like family now I believe. It is difficult to get me into the salon of another hair stylist to make my hair.

Fade and mum braiding my hair

I first met Iya Fade as we all call her in 2001, then Fade the all grown lady wasn’t even in secondary school yet. This post is set to promote the need to pass down your skills to your children. You will be simply equipping them with tools for a better future. She has grown to become a very beautiful lady and I imagine the suitor’s queue is really long. This is her story as I chatted with her while she and her mum braided my hair.

At first, Fade was not interested in learning how to make other people’s hair. She was young and did not understand why she had to get her hand all dirt in wet waters. However an unce and aunty of hers convinced her that it was good to acquire this skill alongside getting an education. At least she did not have to pay to learn. Slowly and grudgingly at first she began to pay more attention while in her mother’s salon. Soon she picked up interest and became passionate about making hairstyles for customers.

What I admire  Iya Fade for is that she is got taste and is classy; she is creative, hardworking very good at her craft. She seems to thrive on all handy craft as often she makes hair creams, soaps, body cream to cater for the hair needs and treatments of her customers. And she uses natural products to make the blend. If you’ve got issues with your hair Iya Fade is a hair stylist you need to see.

So you can begin to understand the rich skills Fade stand to gain from her mother by paying attention. Thankfully she did pay attention. Right now Fade is competing well with her mum and even doing more.

Fade got admission into the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife to study the course: English Language. In school she was learning and making some change making fellow students hair. So that means she is never broke.

Right now Fade is done with her University education and waiting to go for her National Youth Service Corp(NYSC) but she got busy going to a makeover school and also started to attend a business management school in order to be able to manage her own business.

Fade is now the CEO of Fade’s Touch. Her business provides these services for clients:
1) Hair-do – All kinds of hair styles ranging from braids, dread, weaves, natural style, natural hair care, fixing of weavon.

Looking cool in my newly braided hair by Fade & mum
Fade styling the weavon of her customer

2) Makeover – Bridal makeover, home services, Owanbe-party make up, dinner makeover, casual makeover
3) Pedicure/Manicure
4) Sale of Make-up products
5) Sale of shoes & Bags
I told Fade that she will probably soon start employing her colleagues😀😀👍

I am so pleased to see that this young woman has carved a niche for herself. She will not be under pressure in the labour market looking for a job. She has become an employer herself.

Allow your children get more than a school education. Harness that gifting and talents. Let them acquire skills that will put more value on them in the labour/business market.

You can reach Fade’s Touch for your beauty services on:
Phone No: 08164423645
Instagram : Fade_rera
Twitter: @fade_rera

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)