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‘Why we’re raising a generation of self-conscious girls’

Omolara Olutayo Alabi is the founder, Girls2women Initiative. In this interview, the 2017 Fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Regional Learning Centre in…

Omolara Olutayo Alabi is the founder, Girls2women Initiative. In this interview, the 2017 Fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Regional Learning Centre in Accra, and Coordinator of the YALI Network in Kwara State, spoke about the need for girls’ empowerment.

What is the Initiative cut out to achieve?

Girls2women Initiative is committed to creating safe spaces for girls, educating, nurturing, empowering and creating a mastery of purpose for women and girls in rural communities. We advocate on SDG 3-Good health and wellbeing of women and girls. We do this through sensitization programmes on hygiene, training young girls in rural communities on making reusable sanitary pads, among others.

We train women and young girls on basic skills acquisitions in bead-making, catering, events decorations, events planning and management, baking and confectionery, among other. The purpose of this empowerment is to help them to become self-sustained and contribute their own quota to the economic development of their various communities.

We also anchor health talks in secondary schools for girls, promoting women and girls’ participation in community development and leadership trainings. We want to raise a generation of self-conscious girls aiming for excellence in all areas and are determined to make a difference in their spaces.

How many girls has your firm trained so far?

G2win was founded in 2015 and since then we have trained over 2,000 girls in skills acquisition and making the reusable pads and we have sensitized over 5,000 young girls in secondary schools within Kwara and Osun states respectively on health and menstrual hygiene management.

What challenges do you face in you operations?

Since inception, I have faced lots of challenges, emotional, physical, and financial challenges. I have had to cancel a programme we spent so much on for girls in a particular community because some people wanted us to settle them before the event could hold. There are also challenges from men in some communities accusing us of turning their girls against them. Some girls also find it hard to embrace civilization; they often prove difficult to accept our ideas.

What projects is the Initiative working on?

I have an online magazine platform that will be made accessible soon, it’s called “BeHers”, an acronym for Be Healthy, Empowered, Resourceful and Social. We also have a calendar of activities focused on commemorating relevant United Nations events. I am also working on a book which is a collection of my experiences during the journey of advocacy.

How can passionate women be involved in advocacy practice?

Well, I’ve had lots of people asking me this question but personally, I don’t think it’s all about starting an NGO. Rather, it should be about finding your reason. Knowing what you are passionate about and what you want to do. It’s about discovering a problem and what you want to do differently.

What is your advice to Nigerian youths?

We are not born equal and we all have our own stories to tell. Some of us were forced to grow up quicker than our age due to lots of pressures and issues here and there. But looking at this, things are getting better. There’s always something we can do to engage ourselves. We can’t all be corporate employees likewise we can’t all be entrepreneurs. Once each of us can find what drives us, it will make things easier. Some people are naturally not good at working for others, while some are professionals in handling businesses.

So my advice is find what drives or motivate you. Know what you are good at, make research and never ever give up. Giving up is never an option. You should never look down on yourself because you are yet to have a job, or believe you are hopeless because your friends are doing great and you are still struggling, when you see yourself as hopeless, always remember that HOPE comes first.


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