Globally, new possibilities are being explored to expand the education ecosystem, especially in developing countries, through the use of Technology (Edu-Tech). The interconnectivity of the Internet makes online learning and collaboration seamless and has ushered a new phase of innovations.
New models and apps are being developed to solve local and global problems, and create new value chains. Global Digitalization means that access to data, information, and communication channels are easier, faster, more efficient and effective.
The world is now in the era of a 4th Industrial revolution, a knowledge-based, value-driven economy, and the core currency needed to compete in this evolving economy is Human Capital Development; particularly in Soft skills, ICT, Data/Digital literacy, E-skills, Creative Arts and STEM education; an interdisciplinary approach to learning where academic concepts are creatively coupled with real-world lessons as students apply science, technology, engineering and mathematics in contexts that make practical connections between school, community, work, and global enterprise, in order to participate effectively in the digital economy, as skilled workers and/or entrepreneurs.
In 2015, with the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs-2030), global leaders confirmed their joint responsibility to contribute to the empowerment of women and girls – also using the potential of ICT-STEM by including two related goals: Goal 4 for Quality Education aims to “… substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship, by 2030” (UN, 2015).
Linked to this, Goal 5 is a complementary target to end discrimination against women and girls, particularly in the economic sphere. In part, this is to be achieved by facilitating use of digital literacy and technologies. They are identified as decisive to the sustainable development goals.
Globally, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), are traditionally not areas of career interest for girls, and it is even worse across Africa, where girls have huge cultural and societal barriers to pursuing STEM-related professions.
The South East region of Nigeria – (Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo) is also affected by the national challenges of the Educational sector –poor accessibility, dwindling quality, lack of equity or inclusivity, gaps in functionality and lack of affordability. World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Nigeria 136th out of 137, in Primary Education in the Global Competitive Index Report (2017 -18). Based on the most recent report for the survey period of 2010 to 2015, there are currently 13.2 Million out of school children in Nigeria (Source: UNICEF). Of this number, there are approximately six hundred thousand are from the South East.
According to National Bureau of Statistics, as at third quarter of 2017, the national unemployment rate was 18.8% (And the combined rate for unemployment and underemployment was 40%). In addition to unemployment, an associated challenge of a dysfunctional educational system is un-employability; Nigerian graduates lack the relevant set of skills, achievements, adaptability, understandings and personal attributes thus, making it difficult to gain employment and to be successful in their chosen occupations or to create jobs. Digital literacy/e-skills and STEM education are keys to improving employability factor.
Gender gap is prevalent in Education and across whole ICT-STEM ecosystem –in access to Education, Start-ups, Technology, and ICT jobs. [In 2017, the ITU -International Telecommunication reported that 12% fewer women than men have access to the Internet].
The militating factors to girl child education in the South East, and Nigeria in general include and is not limited to: poverty, child labour, disability, early marriage and pregnancy, and associated risks of poor healthcare and reproductive rights such as obstetrics VVF, gender-based violence, child labour, cultural practices such as female genital mutilation (Ebonyi has the second highest prevalence rate of FGM in Nigeria), cultural stigma around menstruation, and lack of access to sanitary products (especially in poor, rural and under-served communities).
Other barriers and challenges include poorly trained and poorly remunerated teachers, lack of infrastructure such as toilets and water, degree of proximity of schools to homes, poor Health, Safety & Environmental (HSE) standards, suppressive gender role dynamics, patriarchal societal discrimination and systemic unhealthy attitudes against the status of women and the girl-child. It is important to note that even though the five states in the South East Region have domesticated the Child Rights Act (CRA), the implementation across all five states is still mostly very poor.
The team was led by their mentor, Uchenna Onwuamaegbu Ugwu. [The team was comprised of: Promise Nnalue; Jessica Osita; Nwabuaku Ossai; Adaeze Onuigbo; Vivian Okoye].
It seemed like the Government would finally pay more attention to the issue of Girl-Child Education (including STEM), in Nigeria, specifically in the South East.
However, in a recent interview granted by Uchenna Onwuamaegbu Ugwu on Tech Trends (Channels TV), she more or less disclosed that the Government is still not taking a holistic and urgent approach to STEM Education in its intervention across the region. This begs the question, what needs to be done?
An integrated, strategic STEM Methodology and roll-out plan, should seek to address the following:
- To overcome the afore-mentioned barriers and increase access of the girl child to basic quality and affordable education in general, and to STEM education in particular, it is imperative for leaders in Nigeria, especially in the South East to invest in accurate data. The South East has a well established network of town unions. This could be leveraged organically, to get the information in each community, match data to actual names, obtain biometrics and develop targeted interventions, through pilots, that are measurable and can then be scaled up;
- A need for all relevant stakeholders to implement the Child Rights Act, Nigeria; this includes the state houses of assembly, social services department, judiciary and police (as first responders when infractions occur). This would require heightened awareness of the provisions and consequences of the CRA, to parents, guardians, teachers, religious bodies and all organizations involved in the care of children.
- People learn better in safe spaces, especially the girl-child. There have been reported and verified cases of cultism, bullying and widespread sexual assault in some secondary schools in the South East. There is a need to ensure there are preventative measures put in place, and rehabilitative processes and professionals to offer psycho-social support to victims and all students. Robust safe school initiatives should be implemented regionally. Currently, across Nigeria, only Lagos has a well developed, responsive and structured Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT). It would be useful for the South East Region to adopt and adapt their methodologies, and possibly improve upon them;
- Provide the enabling infrastructure such as electricity (renewable energy sources), fast, accessible, reliable broadband connection, legally backed, regulatory frameworks, long-term plans and stable policies in order to increase the level of penetration of digital literacy in the South East so that it is adaptive to innovations, technology and trends in Education;
- Improve quality of Early and Basic Education being offered today in the South East to prepare students for a constantly changing & dynamic world. E.g. United Arab Emirates’s education reforms introduced Teacher: Student ratios of 1:15; and an age appropriate ICT curriculum is introduced to children in their formative growth phase (5 years old);
- Build in early childhood encounters with technology to help young girls develop digital literacy neurology and confidence over time. This include, but is not limited to investing in community libraries and maker-spaces; re-defining/re-designing learning environments (offline and online spaces), such that pre- and during adolescence, girls are encouraged to consider employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in the digital sector through curricula (with options in local languages), that stress that STEM subjects are open to all students;
- Improve the life cycle of girls’ and women’s relationship to ICT, as a crucial affective component with implications for their digital sector participation, no matter their ages;
- Fix content accessibility; even when affordable technology access is possible, the challenges for girls and women participating in the digital sector are compounded by content considerations. There is a dearth of localized content for women who are online, that really corresponds to their needs and interests. Address the prevailing distinct lack of content, or of content missing in local languages;
- Address obsolete or non-existent STEM curricula, reform the forming: disproportionate teacher-student ratios, regurgitation, standardized testing, rote memorization, and lack of – equipped laboratories, science kits and hubs, libraries and community centres;
- Narrow the gender digital divide; the economic, cultural stereotypes and socially constructed barriers and inequalities, which impact the ability of girls to study STEM courses and work in the digital sector. In the classrooms, these can be reduced significantly by including age-appropriate Reproductive and Sexual Health, Gender Responsive/Sensitive pedagogies(GRP) in the curricula, from the imprint, formative and socialization phases;
- There is a huge skills mismatch between the training provided to students in the current Technical and Vocational colleges or Tertiary education institutions, and the skills that employers seek/need. Engage education and industry practitioners, and manufacturers to effectively address these labour market gaps;
- Develop a supportive eco-system to absorb students who choose to up-skill and create new areas of opportunities in Agriculture, Agronomics, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Education (Edu-Tech), Acquisition, Fin-Tech, Technological innovations and Entrepreneurship;
- Enhance the ability of girls to create computer programs for various purposes including coding, web development, blogging, mobile apps development, animation programming, simple control circuits, sufficient for self-sustainability of participants, even as secondary school graduates. (Currently, according to JAMB, only 30% applicants get accepted into universities annually, leaving out a huge pool of secondary school certificate holders);
- Address the root factors contributing to poor teacher training for STEM and the recruiting, training and continuous professional development gaps (Education funding, wages and welfare, curricula reforms, accountability, competent operational management, corruption, lack of political will, patronage system, unions);
- Ensure that there are stringent laws to protect teachers’ wages, welfare and to ensure consistency, this means that no teacher would be owed salaries. For instance, making it an impeachable offence to owe any teacher. This would also apply to pension payments for retired teachers;
- Create a structured volunteer program for exceptional retired teachers who are still willing and able to teach, train and mentor other teachers, especially new graduate teachers. Create more incentives, professional development programs, awards programs etc., all geared towards making teaching a preferred vocation;
- Ensure there are well-developed networks and supportive structures for continuous mentoring and career advise post training, in order to stay on track and succeed as future Engineers, Technologists, Data analysts and Entrepreneurs;
- Mainstream and implement the SDGs, backed by a robust and long-term regulatory framework, in an integrated, measurable approach in the South East. (SDGs 4 -Education- and SDGs 5 -Gender equality-, are mutually reinforcing efforts, aimed at dismantling the gender digital divide. ICT are explicitly mentioned in four SDG sub-goals (education; gender equality; infrastructure, industrialization and innovation; and partnerships), and the innovative solutions they offer feature in initiatives for achieving each of the 17 SDGs);
- Revisiting the Imuahia model (for females); similar to the existing home-grown Igbo apprenticeship-incubation for boys, this is envisaged as boarding institutions for girls, that combines both formal and informal teaching techniques. Make the curricula relatable and pragmatic, using raw materials and tools in their environment to build science-technology kits, develop innovative and home-grown solutions, and to solve problems in their communities. It is suggested that this apprenticeship model offers a shorter duration for training programs than traditional Universities, – any where between nine months to three years, primarily focused on a curriculum with a strong bias towards STEM, Leadership, and Entrepreneurship.This would have a sustainable business model built around it, which provides seed funding, direct mentorship linkages between established players in the industry and students of the program, even post-graduation. It could also be a good way to absorb the millions of students who do not get admissions into traditional Universities, due to JAMB constraints, the low carrying capacities of Universities and/or those who are unable to attend Universities because of the cost;
- Study other models that have worked in different parts of the world. Adapt and adopt relevant areas and model. Example, Rwanda’s investment in “Leaders in Teaching” Program focused on STEM training. It has Gender Responsive Pedagogies (GRP), included in the curricula. And the training is for both existing teachers and undergraduate students in Education;
- A need to constantly engage with stakeholders in the Education sector (Government, Parents/Guardians, Teachers, Faith-based Institutions, Traditional rulers, organized Private sector, Alumni Associations, Informal sector(s), NGOs, Multi-laterals), in the development and implementation of sustainable STEM solutions for the Girl Child. This requires establishing clear deliverables, painstaking monitoring and evaluations, incentives and rewards for states and/or schools that meet or exceed goals and continuous improvement of the entire education value chain/ecosystem.
- Finally, even though the role of government is critical in the reform of our Public School Education system, Political leaders have not been as responsive as the situation requires. Thus, while different stakeholders continue to advocate and lobby for Government intervention, there is also an urgent need for the Private sector to step in and begin to lead some of these interventions. The world is not waiting for Nigeria or for the South East Region. Even parts of Africa are leaving us behind.
This piece first appeared as a contribution to NZUKO Labs. It is the first of two parts. This first part focuses on STEM and the second part is on the expansion from STEM to STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics – STEAM]- the often missing, but needed topic of Arts, “A” in STEM.
The concluding part would be shared on March 8, 2020.
Juliet ‘Kego Ume-onyido is a Poet, Leadership Trainer-Consultant and a Passionate Advocate for Social Justice, Gender Equity, Youth Inclusivity and Quality Education for all. Follow her on Twitter
Reflections on a nation that is traumatized, fractured, and in dire need of collective healing and forgiveness.
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes
Sometimes, people hurt, malign, disappoint us in unconscionably vile, crippling and painful ways. It may be through their words, silence, attitudes, actions, or inactions. And it is often worse when these acts of commission or omission are done by loved ones, those closest to us, and with the greatest powers to inflict the deepest cuts.
“How can citizens and communities create and improve social inclusion and shared prosperity?”
“How can all children under five develop the critical learning and cognitive skills they need to reach their full potential?”
“Do you have solutions that use innovative technology to improve the quality of life for women and girls?”
These are some of the crowdsourced Solve’s 2019 Global Challenges and they are open for solutions by July 1, 2019. Over $1.5 million in funding is available.
Visit the website for more details: 2019 SOLVE GLOBAL CHALLENGE
Make the leap and APPLY HERE. Good luck and all the very best to all participants!
Watch some highlights below, from last year – “SOLVE at MIT 2018: The Next Solve Global Challenges”
“No culture is older than being human; this is the truth, and until we accept it, our nation will struggle on its broken feet. For the same things can bind us that drive us apart. For the wall and the bridge are both in the heart.”
– Dike Chukwumerije
Parts I & II
To address the gaps in Education and radically reform public schools in Nigeria, it is necessary to study the historical development, the previous and current structure, management, operations, regulatory frameworks, funding models, results, vision, philosophy, and their evolution over the years
“A man who does not know where the rain began to beat him, cannot say where he dried his body.” – Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe [Chinụa Achebe]
Source: AfricLearn [“The number one resource platform for all types of digital education textbooks, general books and a provider of scalable and effective education solutions for learning institutions”].
“AfricLearn is a cloud based e-book and digital learning management system solution driven by a vibrant and innovative company which applies cutting edge technology to, e-book content distribution, schools and other education settings. AfricLearn is underpinned by a flexible digital technology which enables e-books and contents to be easily aligned with the requirements of individual readers, teaching establishments and various curriculums.
The third edition of The Next Einstein Forum will be held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2020. Here’s a recap of the last edition held in the lovely, clean and green city of Kigali, in Rwanda. This blog post below, was culled from the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation website on January 15, 2019. It was written by Regina Mennig and originally published in April 2018.
The spirit of the Next Einstein Forum
In Kigali, the Next Einstein Forum initiative recently hosted the largest science conference in Africa to date. What does this conference mean to African scientists?
In Kigali, the Next Einstein Forum initiative recently hosted the largest science conference in Africa to date. What does this conference mean to African scientists?
In Rwanda, in late March 2018, the air was shimmering with heat underneath the cupola of the Convention Centre. Here, Africa’s brightest minds came together to discuss the latest in research, share ideas, and exchange business cards.
What sets the largest pan-African science conference to date apart from other conferences around the globe? Maybe that a panel discussion about the gender gap in science and technology was opened with a poem? It was recited by Juliet Kego, an engineer, poet, and activist for the cause of encouraging women to enter STEM professions. “Today I will not bow,” the anaphora of her poem, resonated with the audience in the packed Gasabo plenary hall at the Convention Centre. And when she began to sing Amazing Grace, everyone stood up to join her in singing, and swaying along.
#CelebratingWomenWhoDARE! A huge thank you to African Women Power [AWP Network], for celebrating and recognizing forty (40) phenomenal African women with powerful, inspiring, and influential voices. Kudos to all the phenomenal women who were honoured.
And a special salute to honour the resilience, beauty, enterprise, strength and courage of millions of African women across the continent and globe. We celebrate the unsung, and those in under-served and rural communities, who do so much, with so little, to make our society more just, equitable, safe and prosperous for all. And they do it all, with grace and grit, in the face of near impossible odds and barriers. #CelebratingWomenWhoDARE!
Congratulations to one of ours, -Whole WoMan Network’s co-founder, Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, for making the list.
To see the rest of the women honoured, click the link below:
[Culled from African Women Power; on January 3, 2018]
Globally, new possibilities are being explored to expand the education ecosystem, especially in developing countries, through the use of Technology (Edu-Tech). The inter-connectivity of the Internet makes online learning and collaboration seamless, and this has ushered a new phase of innovations.
As we wrap up the year, once again we wish to celebrate the inaugural winners of
- Iheanyi Igboko;
@coolfinesse – His entry was about the Monthly Distinguished Speaker Series – Nkata Umu Ibe by Centre For Memories, Enugu, Nigeria
- Nenye Nwobu;
@nenye_nwobu – Her entry was about her experiences at the stage play “August Meeting”, produced by Raconteur Productions. The play chronicles the lives of the famous Oloko women, after they returned home, following the “Aba Women War.”
Both pieces will be featured on subsequent posts on our blog.
Some of our prizes include best-selling books, cash, and amazing event tickets etc.
iSERVE2050 → iGWEBUIKE! South East Renaissance Volunteer Experience
Re·nais·sance|\ˌre-nə-ˈsän(t)s; a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity – [A REBIRTH, REVIVAL, AWAKENING, RENEWAL]
An integrated, borderless ALAIGBO that is advanced economically, technologically, educationally, and fair to all, irrespective of gender, disability, economic and social strata; retaining and attracting outstanding NDI-IGBO and citizens from Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.
Empowering ONE Million Youth as SERVANT-LEADERS to TRANSFORM ALA-IGBO, one sustainable community at a time (A Nation of Leaders).
“The trouble with Nigeria is simply a failure of leadership…The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.” – Chinua Achebe
“No culture is older than being human; this is the truth, and until we accept it, our nation will struggle on its broken feet. For the same things can bind us that drive us apart. For the wall and the bridge are both in the heart.”
– Dike Chukwumerije
The following piece, “The Days of Small Beginnings”, written by Dike Chukwumerije, was culled from Africa Travel News -ATQ
In January 2016, on my way to Nnewi, I stopped to see the Radio Nigeria South East Zonal Director in Enugu. Ken Ike Okere had an idea, to replicate the sort of literary society he had helped nurture in Abuja, and wanted to know if I was game.
And so began a love affair with the Coal City, flying in to attend the monthly Enugu Literary Society meetings, till the whirlwind of MADE IN NIGERIA struck. And, still, Enugu was my 2nd stop. I tell you. Not till Maiduguri, a year later, did I find an audience as embracing as the one I found in 042.
So, in 2017, when I bumped into Patrick Okigbo III in Abuja, and he told me about this thing he was doing in Enugu – this Centre for Memories, conjuring images of ghostly figures striding out of the harmattan mist on a cold December morning – I told him, if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.
And he did – after he’d run a rousing campaign for Osita Chidoka in Anambra, and Nnanna Ude had called to ask me to speak for 10 minutes at the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, and he and Nnanna Ude had started a Guest Speaker Series, ‘Nkata Umu Ibe’, in Enugu – after all this, Patrick Okigbo III called to know if I would be their 4th ‘distinguished speaker’.
Me? True. This is not an easy path to follow, you know? After Professor Okey Ndibe, and Professor Chidi Odinkalu, and Dr. Okey Ikechukwu, and knowing Chief John Nnia Nwodo would be 5th, me?? So, I went first – as every child in troubled times is guided by our culture – to my mother’s hut. And she put a few words in my mouth and said, Speak from the heart.
And then I went to Enugu. To Enugu Sports Club, to be exact, where the history etched into the timber columns and the high ceilings had me staring. You see? Ben Etiaba, Chairman of the Club, gave me the tour himself. Stopping on the way to introduce Stan Okoronkwo, ex-Enugu Rangers from the legendary ‘70s squad, and Professor and Professor Okoronkwo, the pleasant parents of Ndidi Nwuneli. And I thought again – me??
Because there to listen, in a hall quickly filling up, was Dr Joe Nworgu, former Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. To his far right was an old friend of my mother’s, and former FRCN boss, Chief Kelvin Ejiofor. And to his immediate left was an old friend of my father’s, and former DG of the National Orientation Agency, Professor Elo Amucheazi.
You see? I am as I am. The jeans I feel most comfortable in, and the shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbows. I am often awkward in Nigerian social circles because I am not great at protocol and so can offend without meaning to. You understand? But Professor Amucheazi sat me close, even before the lecture, and said, ‘I am very proud of you’. And this is the confidence Love gives – to validate first.
So, I went to the lectern, where the speaker stands alone. From there I saw the amazing Igbo poet, Amarachi Atama, who had come from the screening of her latest documentary, ‘Biafuru’ to be present. Further back, Osinayah Prince Agu, who I knew had come all the way from Aba.
From there, I remembered the warnings of Nnanna Udeh and Patrick Okigbo III, to expect an expectant crowd, for the hall had erupted in spontaneous applause when they were told I was coming, how Nnanna then laughed at the look on my face and added, ‘No pressure!’ And so, I gripped the lectern with two hands, took a deep breath – thought of my mother and the grey that charges like smouldering fire through her hair – and began to speak.
“We must, even in the face of excessive provocation, maintain our demand for a more meritocratic society where people are judged not by their tribe or religion but by their competence and ability. Because it is only this that can release the potential of this nation and all of its constituent parts.
That is why Meritocracy is an Ideal worth fighting for. That is why it is an Ideal worth dying for. That is why we cannot give up on it simply because of the odds stacked against it, or because other people are acting differently and succeeding thereby. No. It is in times like these, in the face of frustration and overwhelming resistance, that we must remember proverbs like ‘mberede ka e ji a ma dike’.
Because if apartheid could end in South Africa, if segregation could end in America, then meritocracy is possible in Nigeria. But in the pursuit of that Ideal there will be many days when we will be tempted to give up on our innermost convictions and give in to what is most convenient.
It is on those days that we must remember the weight and import of that hallowed command, ‘Jide Ofo!’ For if we do, if we hold on to our Ideals and refuse to let go no matter what this world does to us, then there is, and will always be, hope for the better parts of our collective humanity.”
This is what I said. And Professor Elo Amucheazi rose to his feet. And Ben Etiaba brought out a fresh bottle of Hennessy, tipped a little to the concrete floor, and said, ‘You have done me great honour’. It is true, I tell you, that there is never a time the truth should not be spoken. But, know this too, every truth has its time to be heard.
So, if your heart stirs consistently in a certain direction, rugged and rough, persevere in what it asks you to say. For, my brother, you can never tell by looking at the turbulence around you in which Times you live. True. This is what we mean when we say, ‘Jide Ofo’. It is how to walk through the darkness…
042. I thank you for the love.
Nkata Umu Ibe – the Monthly distinguished Guest Speaker Series of the Centre for Memories – holds on the First Fridays of every month at Enugu Sports Club, Enugu.
Enugu Literary Society holds its meeting on the 2nd Saturday of every month at Radio House, Enugu.
For did you not know? There is no tsunami that does not begin with a wave.
By Dike Chukwumerije
About the Centre for Memories, Enugu | @cfmemories
The Center for Memories is a repository of the history & culture of Ndigbo, informing and empowering leaders to serve with excellence and integrity, with a vision to be the leading hub for Igbo history, culture, and excellence.
Once upon a time, son,
they used to laugh with their hearts
and laugh with their eyes:
but now they only laugh with their teeth,
while their ice-block-cold eyes
search behind my shadow.
There was a time indeed
they used to shake hands with their hearts:
but that’s gone, son.
Now they shake hands without hearts
while their left hands search
my empty pockets.
EKCEP (EnvironFocus Knowledge and Culture Exchange Program) –is an avenue for teachers in developed countries (Canada) and in developing countries in Africa, to work together in solving sustainability issues, thereby fostering innovation among children.
EKCEP aims to solve the following questions:
I. How do we raise children that will solve the sustainability problems of the present and the future?
II. How do we transfer knowledge that is unbiased?
III. How do we create solutions that are trans-boundary and take cultures into consideration?
IV. How do we ensure that single stories are not told?
PAS PRIZE, Nigeria – an Educational Reward Program produced by “Developing Talents in Our Society Initiative” for recognizing and rewarding Educational achievements of outstanding secondary school students in Nigeria.
PRAXIS HANGOUT –is a quarterly gathering of creative people in Nigeria, where they interact with their fans and fellow lovers of the arts. We bring artists from across board: painters, writers, performance poets, actors, musicians, film-makers etc.
HAGI – Hope for African Girls Initiative; through community service projects, HAGI empowers African girls on leadership and personal independence, by enlightening them on their possibilities as stakeholders in a democratic environment, rather than its victims.
An old post by Pius Adesanmi, I posted it a few years ago and based on recent events in Nigeria, I think it’s worth re-posting again. All the salient issues he raised then are still very relevant today. Enjoy!
[Culled from his Facebook Page on December 16, 2013, and re-posted here]
Fundamentals of Human Dignity. A multilevel compulsory subject to be taught from Primary One to Primary Six, from JSS One to SSS Three, from One Hundred Level to Four Hundred Level.
APC Ogas if you are interested in building this into your vision, call me. You have my number. I wanted folks to know that I suggested this to you so we don’t turn it into behind-the-scenes backpatting talks (brilliant idea, Prof, we shall do it and it is not done); so that you don’t say that nobody drew your attention to the matter.
[This article was written by KHAINGA O’OKWEMBA and is culled from http://www.the-star.co.ke]
Legend has it that in early 1970s, renowned Somali female singer Magool gave a concert in Khartoum, Sudan. Magool returned home leaving behind an enchanted man: a Sudanese man had fallen in love with the Somali nightingale! But she was gone.
The man decided to write her a love letter which he then posted. Unable to read this letter because it was written in Arabic, Magool sought the help of Hadraawi, the celebrated Somali poet, who spoke the language.
The letter was presumably written in red ink, but as Hadraawi read it he discovered that the love-stricken man had used blood drawn from his veins which he had put into a fountain pen and poured his heart out! Hadraawi, the great poet that he is, had his imagination soaring. To come to terms with what he’d just encountered, Hadraawi wrote the famous poem, Has Love Ever Been Written in Blood.
I heard the story of a certain school in Lagos taking the side of a teacher against a three-year old girl’s accusation of sexual impropriety. When I read that headline, I felt a heavy ball drop in my stomach; a potpourri of pain, incandescent rage, and horror. I have been there. I was three too.
At first, I didn’t want to write this but I’ll do it for her. I’ll do it because when it comes to toddlers and older children, in the face of evidence properly collected, many people still believe they have no memories of traumatic experiences, and are prone to telling tales.
Elegy for a Nation
Ah, Chinua, are you grapevine wired?
It sings: our nation is not dead, not clinically
Yet. Now this may come as a surprise to you,
It was to me. I thought the form I spied
Beneath the frosted glass of a fifty-carat catafalque
Was the face of our own dear land — ‘own,’ ‘dear,’
Voluntary patriotese, you’ll note — we try to please.
An anthem’s sentiment upholds the myth.
Doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman.
The rules are the same: You need to have a plan for how you use your money, you need to have a healthy credit identity, you need to have emergency money and some insurance.
I think it’s really important that we come to realize that life is about balance, or even more so, how to integrate all aspects into a fulfilling and enriching experience. It is not zero-sum; life is not all or nothing.
It’s not spending every waking moment thinking about money or spending no time thinking about money, Managing money isn’t really that hard.
It requires some discipline and there is some detail involved, but in reality it doesn’t take that much time and the payback is huge.” ~Gail Vaz-Oxlade
In this edition of Postcards From Africa, we’ve decided to go back in time and revisit the wise words of some of our past national founders and builders. Sometimes, the answers for the present and future light we seek, may be buried in the shadows of our unexplored past.
I’d like to advocate that Michael Okpara’s philosophy and leadership principles be taught at schools in Nigeria and in fact made compulsory learning for all politicians, especially those of South Eastern origin. To think he was only 42 when he delivered this address! (Warning: It is a long read and yet so insightful, definitely worth every minute).
Watch this space for more details.
As the year draws to an end, WWN Guest blogger, Eketi Edima Ette, serves us a delicious piece on the wisdom to “give time, time”. It is as hilarious as it is insightful. In her words; “Allow life and time cook you at your own pace, adding maturity, wisdom, self-control, discipline, and success at the right moments. Trust me, at the end, you’ll come out tasting delicious.”
From all of us at WWN, here’s wishing you a happy, fulfilling and adventurous New Year!
PART 2 [The first part of “The Bridesmaid Series” by Eketi Edima Ette [Part I]]
Did I stop picking money? Nope. Another friend asked me to pick up her sprayed cash.
“Tell everyone that I’m the one packing money o,” I said, pulling my ear for emphasis. “Tell your husband and his people.”
I told her about what happened at Wedding 3.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ve informed everyone. It’s just you and Esther who’ll pack my money.”
Okay. Everyone had been told. What could go wrong?
At the reception, the dancing began. Esther and I went to work. Then…. ghen ghen….
I used to be a professional bridesmaid, until the series of events I’m about to tell you, led to my retirement.
I first began to think of retiring after Wedding 1. I arrived the town in which the wedding was taking place, and discovered that the bride had arranged for just one room for eight bridesmaids in a rundown hotel. The room she’d gotten was filthy; the floor was thickly coated with dust. Two used condoms lay on the floor and on the bed, were old, stained beddings.
One day I was browsing through twitter and I saw an advertisement targeted at girls between the ages of 18-24 years, who were interested in a 4-day Journalism & Leadership training to be held in LAGOS.
According to the organizers, there would be free transportation (from anywhere in Nigeria, to and fro) free accommodation and feeding. And I thought, Ah ah, just like that? In Lagos?
I was skeptical about applying, but I still went ahead and did so. I was selected a week after. Excited, I packed my bags and left for Lagos like I knew where I was headed. The training was scheduled to hold at Virgin Rose Resort, Victoria Island. That was about all I knew.
[Culled From Oprah’s Masterclass}
“Today is ours, let’s live it.
And love is strong, let’s give it.
A song can help, let’s sing it.
And peace is dear, let’s bring it.
The past is gone, don’t rue it.
Our work is here, let’s do it.
The world is wrong, let’s right it.
The battle is hard, let’s fight it.
The road is rough, let’s clear it.
The future vast, don’t fear it.
Is faith asleep? Let’s wake it.
Because today is ours, let’s take it.”
(c) Ozzie Davis and Ruby Dee Family
I got to know about the creativity, resilience and positive attitude of this remarkable young man, Mr. Richard Ezekiel, when he approached my Management Team, Olive Media Network, for permission to perform a choreographed dance piece titled; ‘DEFIANCE’, (an adaptation based on one of my poems), at #BAIDDF – the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival in California. His production company -Magic Finger Entertainment was the only Nigerian/African group invited to perform at the event.
“Because Nigeria is so politically polarized, rallying the nation to a consensus on restructuring is fraught with difficulties. Yet two points must be made emphatically. Nigerians must accept that the phobia against restructuring is misplaced, more so when linked with a breakup. Secondly, restructuring need not be a one-off or a this-day event.”
The following poem by Ben Okri is shared Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd. See original post here: www.theguardian.com
A NEW DREAM OF POLITICS
They say there is only one way for politics.
That it looks with hard eyes at the hard world
And shapes it with a ruler’s edge,
Measuring what is possible against
Acclaim, support, and votes.
They say there is only one way to dream
For the people, to give them not what they need
But food for their fears.
We measure the deeds of politicians
By their time in power.
[This article below, written by Mr. Osita Chidoka, was initially published on “Scan News Nigeria” on February 23, 2016. It was accessed and reposted on WWN platform on May 24th, 2017, with permission from the author].
“The post-civil war generation should not inherit the prejudices of a failed past but build new coalitions that can re – negotiate the structure and, more importantly, the essence of the Nigerian state.” ~OSITA CHIDOKA
My debut column elicited a lot of comments on social media. I appreciate the comments, feedback and concerns. Going through the comments, I can discern two strong schools of thought. The first, for purposes of identification I refer to as the Structuralists and the second, the Essentialists. I got the terms from my interaction with Sam Amadi, one of my favourite intellectuals.
A blessed Mother’s Day to all mothers who feel voiceless, dreamless, faceless, nameless…
As we joyfully celebrate mothers around the world on this wonderful day, let us also honour the often ignored mothers who came before us, victims of past wars.
And those who are also presently with us; victims of terrorism and insurgency, mothers in refugee/Internally Displaced Persons’ camps, mothers who hunger for bread, shelter, security and peace, and many mothers in these harrowing conditions, who were forced into motherhood through acts of rape and sexual violations.
I think nothing quite captures the spirit of Harper Lee than this story below.
In 2006, A young fan asked Harper Lee for her autographed picture, she wrote a letter replying this young fan who had asked for a picture by offering up some advice. The note reads:
Ananke Platform shared a series of insightful dialogues on mainstreaming gender, sustainability and STEM. It was a 2-part series of titled –“STEM: PATHWAY TO SUSTAINABILITY” – featuring various dynamic women, who are trailblazers in STEM.
[To read the articles Click Here for Part ONE and Click Here for Part TWO].
#CelebratingWomenWhoDare One of those featured is our own Dr. Mina Ogbanga.
Hailing from Nigeria, Dr. Mina Ogbanga’s was enrolled in the College of Medical Sciences when she used to dream of transforming her home country for good. In addition to being a social scientist with a PhD degree in Sustainable Development Studies and another ongoing PhD in Public Policy; Dr. Mina has research and technical interest in Renewable Energy. She has an incredibly immense track record in STEM, with specialization in clean energy.
The Rotman Initiative for Women in Business invites you to attend:
Rotman Women and Leadership Experts Speakers Series, Sponsored by BMO Financial Group
Lorna Borenstein, CEO Grokker, formerly of eBay Inc., Yahoo and Move Inc.
From Your Big Break to a Big Mistake: How to Have Resilience and Remain Authentic
The following post was culled from Bella Naija website [accessed on Tuesday, April 26, 2017; 8.45 pm EST], with the permission of the writer -Enita Akpojevwe
Recently, award-winning author and feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in an interview with the UK Guardian came out to say that she would be more successful in Nigeria if she is not a feminist.
“Feminism is not that hot. I can tell you I would sell more books in Nigeria if I stopped and said I’m no longer a feminist. I would have a stronger following, I would make more money” she said.
She is spot on in this case. Feminism in Nigeria is an endangered movement or belief; it is associated with so much bile, prejudice and stigmatization.
You are either ascribed to one or more of the following stereotypes; man-haters, angry nasty women, pro-abortionists, homosexual or pseudo homosexual, unmarried or a career woman, anti-motherhood, an atheist, unbeliever, a bad wife or an amoral woman. . .
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.” ~Maya Angelou
WWN™ #CelebratingWomenWhoDare series is excited to profile Obie Agusiegbe, –a dynamic member of Whole WoMan Network. A woman who has blazed a trail in environmental sustainability, waste management and community service.
Obie Agusiegbe is the Chief Executive Officer of EnvironFocus Incorporated.
“EnvironFocus Show and Tell” events in the Toronto area are must attend showcases, linking industry practitioners and members of their communities. They are interesting hubs with an eclectic mix of spoken-word/poetry performances, innovative products & services, engaging speakers with unique perspectives on diverse issues and in the past, some events have had finger-licking, healthy Nigerian foods (courtesy of Suya Paradise Catering & Events)!
EnvironBuzz Marketplace is an EnvironFocus Initiative run by Obie Agusiegbe, a member of the WWN Community. She created the online store to promote green vendors and their products. Featured product include LifeStraw Go With 2 – Stage Filtration and the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter shown below. To see more green products visit here.
The piece below was culled from the instagram page of HRH Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi [Muhammadu Sanusi II; Husband, father, grandfather, formerly Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Serving as 14th Fulani Emir and Ruler of Kano]
“(Marriage of women (girls) below 18 years) – Women (girls) are suffering from reproductive health challenges because of such marriages. Time has come (for) the Muslim community (to) live by the reality of economic recession and consequences of early marriage.
The Fascinating Back-story of 3 Phenomenal Women
At Whole WoMan Network, our #PostcardsFromAfrica series is always looking out for African youths, especially young ladies who do ordinary things in a unique, extra-ordinary way!
Women who dare beyond the boundaries of their environment and explore their unique gifts, abilities, talents and skills. Today, we’re celebrating a creative entrepreneur, an artist, social enterprise catalyst and youth leader -The Lady Painter: Udoka Uju
Poetry, violence and women.
I often define “a poet” as one whose personal emotions, perceptions of happenings around them and conjectures of ideas and myriad emotions, are artistically woven into words, which are then graciously offered to the world. The world is at liberty to interpret it, how it deems fit.
Re-thinking Our beliefs about Charity, Sharing, Respect, Dignity, and Honour, for all.
An adage says, it better to give a hand up than a hand out…and to that I add, “the poor” simply have less wealth than you, but they are NOT LESS THAN you! Stop treating people with disdain, as if they’re beneath you..
There’s no easier way of saying this: This is a full on, blown out rant about charities and their disempowering acts of giving to the vulnerable and poor, in a manner that actively or subtly strips the receiver of all shreds of dignity!
“If you don’t know what you want, you’ll never find it. If you don’t know what you deserve, you’ll always settle for less. You will wander aimlessly, uncomfortably numb in your comfort zone, wondering how life has ended up here.” ― Rob Liano
Our values are our innermost, most unconscious guiding principles for being and doing. They are the barometers and standards of our behaviour (both in public and private); a self-judgment of what is important in day-to-day living.
A Blessed New Year! Take that one step to redefine your life. You have a God-given right to a life of joy and achieving great things, on your own terms. Follow your heart and soul (this means embracing both your passions and your pains), they will lead you to your purpose.
This 2017, dare to take a leap of faith. Your dreams will form a mesh to catch you if you fall, your outcomes will teach you how to self-correct; your dreams and actions form the fuel for you to fly and help you soar!
It seems so incredible that we’re celebrating Christmas again. The year really did seem to fly pretty fast and what a year it’s been! Challenges, triumphs, and most of all, new opportunities to create value, service and sow seeds of love.
As we celebrate the birth of Christ, may we experience a re-birth is all facets of our lives; may a new spring of love, joy, peace and compassion flow into our lives.
May we be rooted in the unconditional love of family and friends, may we serve others – colleagues, clients, business associates and remember those in under-served communities, especially children and people living with disabilities.
From all of us at Whole WoMan Network, we wish you the very best of the season; a very Merry & blessed Christmas!
A speech delivered by Mary Temiloluwa Ajayi, a 2015 fellow of Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa, delivered at the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from March 14 – 24, 2016.
Today, I speak from a place of gratitude, gratitude to God who made it possible for me to be here through the resources, people, and platforms He sent my way – family and friends, Moremi Initiative, Whole Woman Network, mentors, Nigerians; the UN Women.
Platforms are what I’m here to speak about. Platforms and possibilities, and the positive output of these two which is a generation of confident young women who are fit to contribute to growth and development in any area, and can be at the forefront of global development.
Gratitude #2 -United Nations, New York (II) by Mary Ajayi, 2015
First day at the UN and it began to hit me. This is the life we’ve prayed and hoped for, and we didn’t even know it’d come this soon.
In 2013 when Ebenezar Wikina introduced me to UN Volunteers and I began to create awareness about the International Days, one of our wishes was that we’d someday work at the UN. We were in awe of the UN and considered it the greatest platform yet for development work.
2016. And I was talking in a conference hall at the UN. The United Nations.
Gratitude #1 -United Nations, New York (1) by Mary Ajayi, 2015
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” – Maya Angelou
March 2016, I was in New York at the UN 60th Session on the Commision on the Status of Women to talk alongside my @moremiinitiative sisters on the work we’re doing and lessons we’re learning along the way.
I faced challenges I didn’t think I could overcome. I had managed to get my visa in time but needed funds for travel, accommodation, and feeding. Icalled everyone I could. I emailed people and organizations. Nothing worked. I prayed. Nothing seemed to be shifting. My sister @adeola_ope took to Facebook to solicit for help. Olisa.tv blogged about it. @dejifan took to Twitter. Friends like Mayowa Okediran and Niyi Onabanjo pitched in personal funds. I began to have hope.
In the first picture above are 2 of 5 WWN’s 2015 Scholarship Recipients: Chidinma Ezeudu and Blessing Ochomma of St Kizito Girls’ Secondary School. (Future courses of study: Petroleum and Chemical Engineering Respectively).
And in the second picture, I asked to take a picture with them, because like I told them, based on their passions, academic excellence, leadership skills, sense of humanity and creative abilities, they are sure to achieve greatness in the near future. (And I’d love to be a part of their story)!😀