INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY 2017 BECOMES A SPECIAL DAY FOR FEMALE STUDENTS OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY, ILE-IFE, NIGERIA
May 30, 2019
International Youth Day was celebrated in a grand style in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. It was a day that many participants of the program would not forget quickly as they were expressing at the end of the program.
The celebration attended by 32 undergraduate students was tagged: Build your Global Network to maximize your potentials. The selection based on the issues that the students were facing which has been reported to the university counsellor. Among those that were selected were rape victims, sexual harassment victims, those who were going through intimate partner abuse and those who were having serious financial challenges. Three speakers including World Pulse Ambassador Busayo Obisakin spoke at the program.
The agenda was on:
· What life is all about
· Eradicating Violence against women and Girls
· Cyber bully, Cyber Security and Cyber crime
· Build your global network as you join World Pulse and include your voice on global discussions on issues that affect women and girls to maximize your potentials
· Sign up in World Pulse with one click
My life story was a great motivation for the girls as I told them how I signed up to World Pulse with one click and the tremendous achievement that I have recorded in the last 8 years of being a member of World Pulse.
Immediately I finished my story and the stories of two other World Pulse sisters, Olutosin and Chi Leina, the students were eager to sign up immediately to the community. We were able to sign up 13 girls immediately. We were not able to do more as a result of the slow internet and the fact that we were having only one laptop and few girls with smart phone. Out of those that signed up immediately 4 of them immediately showed interest and were working on the story award for the International Youth Day, 2017.
At the end of the program, we inaugurated World Pulse Sisters, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria and whatsapp page for the group was immediately formed. This was done so that the participants would become a formidable group that would be assisting each other on the campus, the group members would become our ambassadors that would be inviting other students to World Pulse community and the group. As many of us that are able to be visiting World Pulse community regularly would also be representing the voices of others in the community. There were some girls for example that could not afford a smart phone due to their financial status while some that have phones may not be able to buy internet data every time to visit World Pulse community.
In the group, we have set a target for ourselves that before the end of this year 2017 our membership in World Pulse community must reach 100.
The next generation need sensitization on how they could better their lives, a lot of them were not aware of the fact that they could thrive beyond their immediate environment. A lot of them as a result of their socio-economic status believe that there was no way they could break forth to be part of global discussions and happening. Success stories of women with the same or worse status like them could be a great encouragement and motivation for these girls.
One of the girls Titilola came back to meet me in my office after the program and said “Ma, look at me, look at the rag I am wearing do you think I can also be successful as you shared with us. I don’t even have a phone, I was so ashamed as I saw others bringing out their phones. The phone number I wrote in front of my name is my friend’s phone.”
But by the time she heard my story of how 7 of us were sharing a room, sleeping on the mat when my father died, light came back to her eyes and she was so amazed. I told her you could even make it much more than me because you are having this opportunity earlier than me.
To help the next generation, internet access and affordability must be achieved in the developing countries. A lot of women and girls are still offline because they could not afford internet access. Smart phones have to subsidized by the government to assist the underprivilege people.
We also need as a matter of urgency Fast internet if we want to help the development of the next generation. The present internet in the developing countries is very slow and frustrating. You will be running from corner to corner to look for 3G while many developed countries are already using 5G.
Education is key to development and has to be accessible to everyone irrespective of your gender and status. This academic session alone we have recorded about 8 girls that drop out of the university as a result of school fees. 3 of them got admission to the university with a lot of effort only for them to lose the admission as a result of inability to pay their fees as at when due.
Grassroot NGOs needed help seriously, they are closer to the grassroot people that needed most help but only very few are able to get fund to help these down trodden people. To help the next generation, Grassroot NGOs must receive more attention as regards fund.
International Youth Day brought many of the girls in the university that has been traumatized as a result of rape, sexual harassment, intimate partner abuse to find their voices which will not be silent again. It was indeed a great day!