Start That Thing Now…Step Out – My Personal Story

Starting A Non-Governmental/Non-Profit Organization:
It’s been a long time coming. About 6years ago family, friends, and colleagues began to encourage me about starting and registering an NGO. My initial reaction was, “hey…No way”! But they won’t let me be because as far as they were concerned I was already engaged in a lot of advocacy work at the community level and in the media. And sincerely I wondered too about what kept me going. The cases and issues I led my team to handle still leaves me amazed when I look at the list of projects and lives the Lord enabled us to reach and touched. We spent our money and time and through advocacy efforts got support to –

  • Pay hospital bills of a teenage mum who was a child traffick victim and had just delivered her baby.
  • Got donation from groups like the University of Ibadan cooperative group to provide 50 delivery packs for vulnerable mothers, generator for a primary health centre and also got mattresses from Bode Foam Industry for two primary health centres.
  • Facilitated a seminar for school girls in public schools in Oyo state. Through the support of ARDA 20 of the girls got school support. Other organizations who supported this event were BLUE TAG, Crown Delight Communication etc.
  • We were able to take a homeless teenager and her baby off the street.
  • Two at-risk pregnant mothers were supported and through my team’s effort, they were delivered of their babies safely as we linked them to resources and followed through. I will not forget the organization Self Reliance Economic and Advancement Program(SEAP) who donated hugely to ensure that one of the women who was an accident victim was taken care of at the hospital. These and many other projects were accomplished by the team led by me.
  • Aside what I have led my team to achieve I continue to advocate for social change on issues through storytelling, writing & production of radio drama soap; awareness campaigns on reproductive health, speaking on leadership e.t.c. And I am right here blogging on Femininematerz.

I am grateful to my bosses in the organization I work for, The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria Ibadan who supported my passionate team and I and encouraged us to pursue these projects as community engagement extension of the Abiye (maternal & child health) Radio education program. 

In spite of these success stories, still, I wasn’t convinced and would not budge about starting an NGO. In my opinion, I did not want to start one simply because I was privileged to have been involved in what looked like activities of an NGO. I was just leading my team to do what we could about affecting lives positively in our community. In fact, these activities inspired me to take a Master’s degree in Social Work.

Last year the burden in my heart to do more increase and I got a notebook and started to write down the areas I would like to work on in contributing to social change. I began to read up and ask questions from those working in the NGO space. The funny thing was that I found myself working with a number of NGOs like African Radio Drama Association, IMESO, NURHI, DEVCOMS, Onelife Initiative , UNICEF etc on different issues of social change, still it was a path I was terrified of following. Some of these projects were by association and some directly. And so the whole of last year I kept doing projects and also was finding out more about the NGO space.

2018 came with me being clear that I really needed to kick-start this idea and dream in my heart in order to be able to do more. Amazing things happened when I stepped out in faith. People supported me in no small ways and today Beehyve Empowerment and Development Initiative is registered and we are already recording progress in projects we have set out to do for the year. My team consist of people I call burden bearers and vision carriers. They keep pushing me and are making personal sacrifices to see to the achievement of goals we set out to achieve (Oluwaseun Omoakinola, Tosan Akinwole, Stella Oyebanji, Adeyemi Adetunji & Agnes) 

I believe in mentorship and so I am been mentored by Onelife Initiative and I am grateful for Sola Fagorusi who has a large heart and is showing me the ropes of how to work in the NGO space.

Our accomplishment so far since inception of Beehyve Initiative:

• We have been able to facilitate and give a free training for media personnel in Oyo state on “Creating contents for Social change”.
• We provide and share opportunities for self-development and training with media personnel.
• One of our objectives is to link and provide school support for indigent boys and girls. This we kick-started by procuring an application form to enroll a visually impaired boy in Pacelli School for the blind. This is on-going as we have begun to raise funds to enable us to meet the requirement for his enrolment.

Other Projects:

• Our next task/project is the Mentoring Across Gender project. We will be reaching out and have training for undergraduates, NYSC corp members, and secondary school students. The aim of this is to empower the youth with information and skills required to pursue their dreams, and careers to become great leaders in our society. We also have wrapped in this a project to mentors boys and young men specifically in order to raise men who respect women and speak out against all forms of gender-based violence.
• My passion lies in promoting women and girl ’s wellbeing and
so definitely we have projects designed to promote the health and rights of women.

They say dream big and here I am pursuing a very big dream to my mind. I will take it one day at a time and hopefully down the line, many changed lives will attest to the worthiness of Beehyve Initiative efforts.
I will keep you posted.

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

Radio Program Series You will Totally Enjoy Listening To: Entertaining, informative & Engaging!

I was part of the team that designed the intriguing and engaging stories by African Radio Drama Association(ARDA) and Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI). Stories were designed for three states and I tell you we had so much fun putting it all together. Now the program is set to begin a new quarter this February.

Find the details in this press release below:

“Get It Together” Radio Programs Return:
Weekly Program to Air in Kaduna, Lagos and Oyo States

Abuja — We are back with a brand new season of the “Get It Together” Radio programs Se’rigbo in Lagos, Ireti Eda in Oyo, and Komai Nisan Jifa in Kaduna starting the week of February 12th, 2018.

The radio programs are part of the Get it Together Campaign of the Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative 2 (NURHI 2) which encourages all Nigerians to KNOW the facts about family planning, TALK to their partner, and GO for family planning services.

In the episodes of these popular radio programs — Se’rigbo in Lagos, Ireti Eda in Oyo, and Komai Nisan Jifa in Kaduna — audiences follow the lives of characters and their interesting journeys through everyday life in Nigeria. The shows also give listeners the opportunity to call-in and speak directly with family planning experts, who will answer their questions live on-air. Listeners also have a chance to win weekly prizes of N1,000 recharge cards.

Speaking about the programs, Dr. Mojisola Odeku, NURHI 2 Project Director said, “Listeners are hooked on the programs’ serial dramas and real stories. Fans calling-in to the program to have their questions answered by family planning experts is one of the more popular features.”

Radio Show premiere dates, radio stations, and broadcast times are as follows:

Lagos Se’rigbo :
-Bond 92.9 FM: Mondays 4-5pm
-Radio Lagos 107.5FM: Mondays 4-5pm
Both start on February 12

Oyo Ireti Eda :
-Fresh 105.9FM: Wednesdays 4-5pm (Start date: February 14)
-Amuludun 99.1FM: Mondays 3-4pm (Start Date: February 12)

Kaduna Komai Nisan Jifa :
-Liberty 91.7Fm: Saturdays 4-5pm (Start Date: February 17)
-Nagarta Radio 747Khz: Wednesdays 3-4pm (Start Date: February 14)

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

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

The NURHI 2 project uses communication to increase demand for family planning among men and women. It is led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP) in partnership with the Center for Communication Programs Nigeria (CCPN).

The Get It Together radio programs build on the success of the previous seasons and the campaign’s 2016 hit song “Get It Together,” featuring Paul ‘P Square’ Okoye and Tiwa Savage. NURHI 2 has also helped establish a network of trained health providers offering friendly and confidential family planning services. NURHI 2 locations can be recognized by the blue, yellow and orange puzzle piece logo with signs that say ‘FP services available here” and the National Family Planning ‘Green Dot logo’.

For more information please visit http://www.nurhitoolkit.org, send an email to cokereafor@nurhi.org or call Chukwuemeka on 0805-334-0599

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Published as released by NURHI

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Safe Motherhood #3: My Personal Eventful Birth Story Prt 1 – Before You Get pregnant

Lending my voice to creating awareness about Safe motherhood I will be doing a few posts on my personal eventful birth story and also share how women can have a safe journey through pregnancy and delivery by preparing ahead even while a single.

The beginning of my own story:

Whenever a couple decides to tie the knot or make a lifetime commitment in Marriage their families say prayers of fruitfulness for them. In Nigeria, you will hear parents and even their pastor offer prayers of twins and triplets if possible.

Often people prepare you for other aspects of marriage but no one talks to the couple about what to do when they are expecting a baby. No one would tell them how to manage the period of pregnancy. As a lady, my eating habits left much to be desired. Often I will only eat a little meal and then of course loads of junk food was the order of the day. I had no idea what this would later mean to my health.

When I got married to my beloved husband or Boo as is the trend now I was excited and happy. We were contented even though we both earned a meager salary. Our mothers will often call and ask how we were doing. By that, they meant, “are you pregnant yet?” My husband and I will laugh and tell them to keep praying and hopefully, soon they would be grandmas.

One day I started to feel dizzy and my stomach won’t just settle and the first thing I wanted to do was confirm if I was pregnant. We were advised thankfully not to take any drugs until we confirm with our doctor. You know newlyweds don’t know sometimes that when the woman is not feeling too good she might be pregnant. And so such a woman will assume it is a case of malaria or other mild illness and begin to take drugs that will end up harming her baby and herself.

The funny thing was that I went for a scan and didn’t go for the usual urine or blood test. There I saw my active baby swimming all around. I became excited and then the doctor conducting the scan said madam there is a little problem.

My heart sank. My doctor said my baby was growing with multiple fibroids around my uterus. I was scared but she allayed my fears that since it didn’t prevent me from getting pregnant my baby can still grow normally and be delivered safely.

And so the journey through pregnancy began. My first three months was unexpectedly not turbulent as I went about my normal business going to work and doing every other thing. Still, I wasn’t eating well neither did I register for antenatal care where I could have gotten the necessary information about kinds of rich foods for an expectant mother. Instead, I was eating things like cereal, cornflakes and no serious meals.

When my pregnancy clocked four months the battle began. I became very ill and couldn’t retain any food. You would expect that we would immediately go to the hospital but we were managing the whole situation at home. Our excuse was that we did not have money to go to a private hospital and the general government hospital was on strike.

I was barely eating for three months so it was not until 7 months into the pregnancy that I was able to feel well but my baby had not received the needed nutrition for his development in the womb. Finally, I was able to register for antenatal but rather late.

Wait until you hear about my traumatic delivery experience that almost cost the life of my baby and me in the next post about safe motherhood.

Lessons from My Story

  • Develop a good healthy eating habit now.
  • If you experience distress or fall ill during pregnancy do not stay at home, get to the hospital to see a doctor. A simple drip to help return body fluid I had lost while vomiting continuously could have helped to stabilize me. Also, my doctor would have prescribed something to stop the vomit.
  • Get medical help at a Primary Health center if you cannot afford the secondary or Tertiary government hospital. They are cheaper and almost free.

 

Before You Get Pregnant:

Now is the time to eat right as a single lady or as a couple who plans to have a baby. Your body needs to have all the necessary nutrients because in pregnancy you and your baby will need a double dose to be healthy.

Junk foods and sweets look juicy and feel tasty but they provide nothing useful to your body. Avoid them as they can increase your blood sugar level.

What to eat now that you are not pregnant:

  • Lots of fruits and vegetable – Carrots, Apple, Pineapple, Pawpaw, Water Melon, Ugwu leaf, Green(Efo tete) (Vegetables)
  • Dairy products such as milk, yogurt are rich in calcium
  • Foods rich in protein such as beans, fish, meat, egg. For Nigerians, if you do not really like beans, make akara and moimoi. These will still provide you with the much-needed protein.

Eat healthy to have a healthy baby. And seriously you need to be healthy yourself as a mother.

Know your health status before getting pregnant so that your health care provider can know how to properly manage you.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

 

A Breathing Space for a Mother

Life is already tough for most women so there is need for a woman to really pay attention to her health and needs.

Often in market places and on the street I see a woman backing her baby with a heavy tray filled with wares she is hawking in the hot sun. The mother and baby suffer from the heat and are stressed out at the end of the day.

We met this woman carrying this big heavy Basin looking all worn out at the corner of a street in a community while on a house to house campaign on family planning with the Nigerian Reproductive Health Initiative team in Ibadan.  After chatting with her she was happy to quickly ask for a card that she would take to the family planning clinic to get a method done. Our brief enlightenment was like a rope of hope to pull her out of the troubled waters of having too many children.

I looked at her and wondered what her own unique struggles were? How many mouths she had to feed and how much she earned per day to care for her children. One obvious challenge was poverty.

Giving birth to too many children one cannot cater for will only continue the circle of poverty especially for many women.

Therefore it is our business to encourage that woman who cleans for us; that woman who sells petty things across the street; that woman who struggles with caring for her family. She needs to know how to stay healthy and stress free through the use of family planning. Then we will have less maids or cleaners with ten children that are denied the best things of life.

Save a mother, help a woman to have a richer and stress free life. Let’s help reduce the burdens we bare as women.

Adebisi Adetunji (C)

Dorathy’s Story – Promoting Women’s Health through Family Planning #getittogether

A friend of mine Dorathy (Not real name) has two boys. Often when we talked she admired my little girl and really desired to have a baby girl, someone she could dot on. A girl she could take to the salon to make her hair, fix all sorts of colorful ribbons and hair extension. We would often laugh about this.

Dorathy my friend soon got pregnant again and we were all very excited about this new baby but it would turn out to be a turbulent pregnancy. She was in and out of the hospital and almost lost her life. Dorathy had to undergo a Caesarean section. As soon as she was delivered of her baby Dorothy got a family planning method done. When I asked her if she still had plans to have more babies in the future she vehemently rejected the idea, saying that she wants to be well and alive to care for her children.

Every time I see my friend Dorathy she looks chicky, young, alive and beautiful! She has time to pursue her dreams and handle her business. Her boys are doing well too.

Family Planning helped my friend to handle the fear of getting pregnant again after an eventful pregnancy.
How Family Planning can help promote a woman’s health
• She can rest in between births. This allows her to recuperate properly before getting pregnant again.
• A woman/her family can choose to have babies when they are ready.
• Family planning gives a mother the time needed to care for and nurture her baby as she doesn’t have to face the challenge of been pregnant while still nursing a 3 -6months old baby. This can be emotionally and physically draining for her, her baby and the family.
• Family Planning is one sure way of saying “I have enough children”. This means that a woman can stop having children if she is satisfied with the number she has while still in her reproductive years.
• When a woman keeps having children with barely enough time in between births she cannot pursue her dreams and goals. With family planning, a woman can meaningfully contribute economically to her family and the society.

A healthy woman, a productive woman
A healthy woman, a happy woman
A healthy woman, a more relaxed and beautiful woman
Family Planning promotes women’s health and wellbeing.

Adebisi Adetunji(C)

Too drunk to get her pregnant

Funny-Drunk-People-Picture-10
Typical drunk guy

“Women Protest for lack of men to make them Pregnant” – I came across this news article on my Facebook wall, and so i clicked on the link to read more about the story. It turned out that the men were actually available but are always too drunk to get their women pregnant. The story sounded funny that women could take to the street because their men have “killed all their fertile sperm” with too much alcohol in their blood stream. These women desperately wanted to become mothers.

This brings to mind the many African women who are blamed for their inability to give birth to children.  3months into a marriage, a wife begin to get stares and questions like,”how far”, meaning are you pregnant yet? By six months, the question becomes, “i hope everything is alright”. A number of women struggle to keep their marriage when the babies are not forthcoming as expected. In-laws begin to taunt such a woman, making life unbearable for her. Friends and family suggest that the man should marry another woman to  give him children. If the woman is lucky she may have the privileged knowledge of this, if she is not, she finds out at the man’s graveside. I remember the story of Susan (not real name). She and her husband battled for many years to have a baby but fate didn’t smile on her. Her husband died and all his family could think of was “their brothers property”. In their culture since Susan didn’t give birth to any child for her husband, she had no right to any inheritance. Susan’s in-laws left her with nothing, leaving behind an emptiness and a bitterness.

When a couple is having difficulty with having children both of them should look inwards to find out what actually needs fixing. Some men would even refuse to go for a fertility test,claiming that they are perfectly ok and capable of impregnating their wives.  Going for such a test as far as he is concerned is saying he is “impotent”. Another couple that i know comes to mind. They already had a child but it was taking too long for a second baby to come.  It spanned through 7yrs. All the while Funbi(Not real name) had been the one going for medical check and doing so many tests/procedure that even got her sick. After much insistence and appeal, the man, Aderopo(not real name) finally showed up at the hospital for a fertility test. It turned out that he had a serious case of low sperm count. Their doctor prescribed a treatment and the man seemed interested in trying out the plan. Soon afterwards he refused to take his medication and follow the treatment plan. Frustrated this Funbi had to report to a family member who prevailed on Aderopo. It was simply a case of his ego  refusing to accept that he was the one responsible for their  long wait. The good news was that the treatment worked and they had another baby. Imagine if Funbi didn’t have understanding in-laws.

A healthy life style is important to raising a family. Too much of anything is bad and this is no less for too much intake of alcohol whether by the woman or man. An Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr Patrick O’Brien , says: “Excessive alcohol lowers testosterone levels and sperm quality and quantity in men. It can also reduce libido, and cause impotence.”Too much drinking can greatly reduce a couple’s chances of conceiving, therefore a couple working at having babies should start with a life style change.

Photo credit: http://www.funnypica.com/top-33-funny-pictures-of-drunk-people/funny-drunk-people-picture-10/

By Adebisi Adetunji