Just some few questions for you as an SGBV Advocate in Nigeria, Ghana and across the globe? Q1. Can we know a bit about you? My name is Okorite Membere, born and bred in Portharcourt before leaving for University in Accra, Ghana where I studied Business and Human Resource Management. During the course of my stay in Ghana , I worked for a Tech and innovation hub where I was introduced into advocacy against Gender Based Violence. Q2. What is your view of *Life Planning* as a passionate Advocate? Life planning is essential in every home as it helps create a better future for every child. Q3. Do you think Culture affects the promotion and access to *Life Planning* or *Child Birth Spacing*? Yes, it does. Culture has a way of putting pressure on the kind of decisions we make in life and family planning is one of them. Q4. Do you think there is a Correlation between SGBV and *Life Planning* If yes, how can young people be encouraged to accept *LPAY (Life Planning For Youth and Adolescent)* ? Yes there is, sgbv increases the risk of unwanted pregnancies ,mental health issues and diseases. I encourage young people to SPEAK UP. They have to use their voices as a weapon to fight against this menace in our society. Q5. Any Word for exceptional women adding value in our society, as we celebrate women month (*International Women’s Day)*? I advise that women should always keep on doing exploit as there’s so much in us the world is yet to see. Q6. Who is your *Role Model*?My role model is a better version of myself I hope to become.
Just few questions for you as a passionate advocate to end FGM.
Q1. Can you tell us about yourself and the impact of your Advocacy on FGM?
Answer: My name is Lovina Ronami Inengite and my impact story of FGM through Advocacy is as follows:
I have made social media impact through radio presentation, coordinating interview with traditional ruler’s, in Calabar, tweet storm campaign on FGM
Providing psychosocial counseling to survivors
I have established a smooth referral pathways between Community Based organization and Non-profit organization like Basic Rights counsel initiative, which focuses in fighting for the Rights of women and girls and against Gender Based violence and harmful practice’s.
I have also partner with a Youth led organization, Today for tomorrow foundation Basically in Youth sensitization in secondary schools.
Finally, I have worked with a team of passionate young individuals in educating and sensitizing women leader’s, youth leader’s in Calabar.
Q2. In your perspective, how do we position Life Planning otherwise known as Child-Birth Spacing in the mind of Young people and at the same advocate for the end of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?
Answer: The following are reason(s) every young person should embrace life planning:
It helps them practice how to make decisions, setting goals on time through negotiations, learning refusal mostly in negative peer pressure.
It allows young persons to fully contribute to the development of society and the world at large through exploring their potentials.
It makes them take charge of their reproductive health needs which are priotized.
It will equip them with skills and resources to lead healthy reproductive lives as well as to grow and thrive in their careers.
It will prevent teenage pregnancy-related health complications like teenage pregnancy etc.
Finally, it makes young people develop biologically and move towards independence.
Effects of FGM
Oftentimes, Women bleed to death which makes the ladies to be scared of getting
married and having children
This practiced shows the manifestation of deeply entrenched gender inequality
The women that are subjected to FGM has their fundamental rights infringed.. that’s right to life.
Women are exposed to infection like tetanus from unsterilized or rusty tools used to cut
FGM can cause a life-time of serious health problems and pain. Example: Health problems include scarring, cysts, abscesses and other tissue damage, infertility and increased susceptibility to infection such as Tetanus, and even experience pain and difficulty during sexual intercourse.
FGM can cause life threatening child-birth complications
FGM can have lasting consequences for girl’s and women’s mental health.
Q3. Do you foresee any challenges in question 2, if yes, what are the possible solutions you can proffer as a young Advocate?
Answer: More Advocacy on FGM should be done focusing on the following:
Speaking out about the risks of realities of FGM, it’s effects and the fact that it has no medical benefits
Spread understanding that religion doesn’t demand FGM
Educate girls on their Right to decide what happens to their body.
Engage community members, working and build partnership with CBOs
Advocate more that there are no health benefits, only harm
Increase support of survivors through training and confidence building of survivors of FGM which enable them Advocate for a change in their communities.
Q4. In Celebrating International Day for Zero Tolerance on FGM, were you able to align discussion on FGM to Life Planning, if no, do you have plans to further spread the news of LPAY going forward?
Yes I have plans to further create awareness of LPAY.
Smith Nwokocha in an Interview with Miss Victory Mmeyene (Professional Nutritionist and Child Advocate):
Q1. Can you tell us about yourself?
In a nutshell, my name is Mmeyene Victory, I’m a professional Paediatric Nutritionist, a child Advocate and freelancer. I have a wide range of tech skills from graphics design, video editing, digital marketing (certified by Google) and for now my major is Freelance video and content creation.
Q2. Have you come across the word Life Planning or Child Birth Spacing?
Yes I have
Q3. Today, Lifestyle is part of what promotes the spread of unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancy among other factors; what is your view about Life Planning?
Life planning is central to gender equality and it is a key factor in reducing poverty especially among low income earners.
Q4. As an SDGs Advocate and SGBV voice for Young people, can you share an experience and ways to get more young people accept and live a culture of good Life Planning?
First of all, proper orientation on the significance of Life planning, helping people understand that it is the ability of individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births. Having this understanding we could be able to achieve SDG 1 (No Poverty). So as an advocate, proper sexuality education, also experts could give advice on subjects like STIs, human body, relationships, pregnancy, abortion, enlightenment in these areas are measures we could take to get more young people accept and live a culture of good Life planning.
PIN Asks Court to Stop NCC from Disconnecting Over 100 Million Nigerians
Paradigm Initiative has asked the court to restrain the Nigerian government and telecommunications service provider from carrying out a recent order requiring that all SIM cards not linked to the National Identity Numbers be disconnected by the telecoms service provider by December 30, 2021. The organisation decries the Nigerian government order requiring all telecommunication service providers to ask their subscribers to link their National Identification Numbers (NIN) to the SIM cards within two weeks. PIN says it is seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the government and the service providers from carrying out the draconian order as it believes it is a violation of fundamental rights to freedom of expression of Nigerian Citizens as guaranteed by Section 39 of the Nigerian 1999 constitution (As amended).
The proposed blocking of SIM cards not linked with the National Identity Number is unlawful and unconstitutional says Adeboye Adegoke, Senior Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative. “Many young people and others, using their mobile phones for expression or to do business online will be affected by the poorly thought-out policy. No reasonable Nigerian will support such a policy that is geared to make life unbearable for Nigerian citizens.
In June 2020, the Director-General of the NIMC, Aliyu Aziz said only 38% of Nigerians have any form of identification. According to him: “over 100 million Nigerians have no identity (ID). These include the poorest and the most vulnerable groups, such as the marginalised – women and girls, the less-educated people, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, people with disabilities and people living in rural and remote areas.”
The said policy has created panic in the polity since it was announced. Nigeria at the moment is experiencing a 2nd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic according to the daily numbers from the Nigeria Centre for Defence Control (NCDC) in the past one week. “This is a time when we need to discourage public gatherings, crowding, and the likes, but it appears that the government is not sensitive enough to see those nuances and has asked that 100 million Nigerians should go and register for the National Identification Number within 2 weeks, so we are left with no choice but to seek the intervention of the court.”
“Requiring over 100 million Nigerian citizens to register for NIN in two weeks is not only unrealistic but a fire brigade approach to governance that will not bring any value to the people,” says Valery Nijaba, Communications officer at Paradigm Initiative. “Whatever the government is trying to achieve by the strange directive is ignoble. When the same government tried to compel students writing UTME examinations to register for the NIN as a pre-requisite to sitting for the examinations last year, many students couldn’t register, with documented cases of government officials and law enforcement officials weaponising the desperation of the students to register for NIN to extort them and their parents. The government was forced to walk back on the policy at that instance. These are the type of effects the fire-brigade approach to policymaking leads to. Valery concluded
Hultprize CRUTECH in partnership with the Bridge leadership foundation will work at providing professional skills, personal and Business management skills trainings to the Top 9 teams that emerged among other 22 teams to the Semi finals.
The competition which comprises of 3 or 4 members making up a team helps in building collaboration and team work among competitors.
The hybrid bootcamp which will incorporate the virtual and physical training will begin December 8th through 14th while 15th of December 2020 becomes the grand finale /Award night.
Do you wish to join the competition? There’s an opportunity window to register which is the wildcard round as top 5 teams with the best idea gets an automatic entry to pitch during the grand finale.
Few questions from Youth perspective with respect to Life Planning as we celebrate World HIV/AIDS Day!
Q1. Can we know abit about you?
Miss. Ubani Vivian is a Young Leader, Childcare professional, a passionate educator, an advocate of UN SDGs, a Volunteer, member international youth council, ambassador of the EU UN spotlight initiative on the prevention of Campus gender-based violence and Zahara dreams mentor. She is a social entrepreneur, founder Education Sustainability Volunteers (ESV) a youth led community based organisation providing!
Inclusion, equal access to quality education through the services of volunteers and Campus Director of Hultprize Prize Foundation.
Q2. Have you heard of Life Planning?
Yes, I have.
Q3. As a young person and an Advocate that promotes SDG3,4 and 5 which are core Sustainable Development Goals that supports Life Planning, what is your perspective about Life Planning or Child Birth Spacing?
3. These three SDGs 3 (good health and wellbeing) 4 (Quality Education and 5 (Gender Equality). Play a very important role in life planning especially as a young woman. Life planning helps you transition from dreaming about what you want to making it a reality. Everyone wants financial freedom but beyond the dream, what effort has been made to achieve that? “The result for success is more work ” Young women dream about having beautiful family, healthy babies and happily ever after etc.
In life planning which can also be referred to as family planning in the medical terms. Young must take their health plan seriously, provide a clear part for your life, prioritize what’s important to you, make decisions based on your priorities and move toward the life you want which may shouldn’t be limited to health but also in personal development, professional development, finance etc
In choosing a marriage partners it is important to have a discussion on the family planning methods most suitable for you. Individuals have different body types and what may work for one may not work for another.
There are different Life planning/family planning practices outlined for people who intend to start a family;
*long-acting reversible contraception, such as the implant or intra uterine device (IUD)
*hormonal contraception, such the pill or the Depo Provera injection.
*Barrier methods, such as condoms.
*permanent contraception, such as vasectomy and tubal ligation.
It is important to contact a medical professional/doctor advice.
Also, considering child Spacing in a family, this is essential for maternal and child health. It is the period between two consecutive live births or birth to birth intervals. Unintended and short birth intervals can pose a serious health risk for mothers and child resulting in pregnancy complications, maternal and child mortality rate which will remain a problem if child spacing is ignored. It is adviced to wait atleast 18 months before getting pregnant again especially for young women of birthing age. Some survive it to tell the story, some don’t! Check your genotype and that of your partner whom you intend to marry for compatibility.
Q4. Do you think there is a Correlation between HIV/AIDS and Life Planning?
4. Yes. Consequences is an outcome of a misstep especially when you prioritize on unimportant things. “For young
men and women, adolescence is a time filled with excitement, new feelings, many
unanswered questions, changes, and difficult choices. You must know the facts about your own sexuality, and learn skills to help you prepare for a happy future and
During teenage years young people will have relationships with peers of the same and
opposite sex. At the same time, will need to have respectful, loving relationships with them.
The Challenges that young people face includes:
! School dropouts
! Drug use
! Social, sexual, and reproductive health problems like date rape, sexually
transmitted infections (STIs), and HIV and AIDS.
All these and many more make it really hard for young people to cope. So, it will be really important to inculcate Life Planning skill into the school curriculum to help them in good decision making, discovering who they are, knowing their personal, family and community values.
A well planned life/ a well informed youths will create an HIV/AIDS free generation.
Q5. Will you like to advocate more to Young people to embrace Life Planning also, as we reflect on HIV/AIDS?
5. As someone who’s passionate about good health and wellbeing, It will be fulfilling to help other young people embrace life planning. ABSTINENCE IS STILL IN PRACTICE!!
Q6. Any Word for World HIV/AIDS Day?
In global solidarity and shared responsibility, we can contain the spread of HIV/AIDS. Let’s help to raise awareness in our schools, colleges, churches etc on the need to embrace life planning for a sustainable future.
Across communities in Bonny Local Government Area and nationwide there has been a high decrease in the rates of adult citizen’s participation in activities such as voting and elections and demand for good governance. Rates of civic engagement are declining across all communities, but the downward trend appears to be particularly steep in local communities. Adult citizens are less likely than previous generations to vote, become a member of a political party or a trade union and/or to engage in democratic processes
Concerns about these trends paved way for the emergence of the UNDEF project on “Strengthening Good Governance and Democratic Processes at The Local Level in Nigeria”
This project which is funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) in partnership with Women United for Economic Empowerment (WUEE) and implemented by African Community Strategy and Empowerment Foundation (ACSEF) is strategically aimed at strengthening good governance and democratic processes at the local level in Nigeria and to increase citizen participation. The project also aimed at increasing the capacities of 20 civil CSOs/CBOs and Local Government Chairmen in order to help them fulfil their roles and responsibilities more effectively in a democratic system.
This community-based initiative has not only increased citizen’s opportunities for learning about civic engagement through a well-structured module and lesson outlines, but it has also increased opportunities for citizens and community stakeholders at the local levels to learn about citizenship participation, citizen education and democratic processes through experiential and informal learning activities and interactive sessions.
Furthermore, it is also hoped that these experiential learning activities and community-based project will have a lasting impact on citizen’s attitudes and behaviours and that they will encourage community stakeholders to participate in civic activities and democratic processes.
The five (5) Project communities and beneficiaries of this project in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State includes:
At the conclusion of this project in four (4) out of the five (5) project communities in Bonny Local Government Area we have seen the awakening of the interest of the people and community stakeholders in promoting good governance and democratic processes which includes voting in all elections.
5 women have already declared publicly their interest in contesting for Councillorship in their various wards and 10 others are vying for
3 youth bodies in 3 communities in Bonny Local Government are actively following up and monitoring closely the activities of their elected representatives including revenues, allocations and expenditures.
A number of Citizens are eagerly awaiting the commencement of the INEC voter registration exercise so as to obtain their permanent voters cards (PVCs).
It was a power-packed three days solid training on Family Planning, held at LandMark Hotel, Port Harcourt on the 23rd, 24th and 25th November, 2020.
The Challenge Initiatives aims to increased capability of Governments to implement effective Family Planning Programmes, especially among the Urban poor. TCI is a platform not a project. TCI is State-led. Finally, TCI provide technical support, drives ownership and participation, promotes resource sustainability and facilitate sharing and learning for scale up among others. Mrs. Uduak Ananaba
Some Experts shared insights on Family Planning or Child-Birth Spacing as the case maybe; Terminologies in Maternal Health, Family Planning and Adolescent Reproductive Health, also Myths and Misconceptions about Family Planning.. This session was anchored by the Family Planning State Coordinator- Igbanibo Doris (RSMOH) and Theresa Timothy (RSPHCMB).
At the end of the day, we discovered, that; Family Planning or Child-Birth Spacing (For the married) or Life Planning (For Singles) could solve the problem of “Domestic Violence in Nigeria”. In fact, “Low absence of Family Planning is responsible for high mortality rate in pregnant women and FP (Family Planning) can actually help Nigeria reduce this high mortality rate.
FP starts with counselling. We need to consistently engage Religious/Traditional rulers and Policy makers on issues related to FP. We also need to know, that Family Planning is different from Infertility.
A typical African Family talks about WAR CANOE HOUSE (Large family size), but the interesting thing is this; WHAT IS FAMILY PLANNING? According to Dr. Doris N: Family Planning is simply; “having the number of children you can cater for. It includes making decision about birth control, reproduction and about deciding how to care for the child and emotional well-being of everyone in the family”. The implication/consequences on the Family/Society, include but not limited to the following; Unplanned/Unintended Pregnancy, Increase dependency, Insecurity, School drop-outs, Unemployment, High Maternal Mortality, Unsafe Abortion among others. Part of the solutions are; improved Healthcare and Environmental Hygiene, Abolish obnoxious practices in the communities and organize regular Family Planning education and promotes its benefits.
Family Planning in Nigeria, Trends, Practices, Attitudes and Barriers ; a session facilitated by Mr. Onche Odeh of Development Communications Network; He also mentioned “Demographic Dividend”, which refers to the growth in an economy due to a change in the age structure of a country’s population. Thailand was sighted an example. He emphasized; Family Planning as a Tool for Sustainable Development. FP is tied to SDG 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11 and 17. For SDG 1; “if we do more Family Planning, we will have less hands to feed with quality populace”. For SDG 6 and 8; FP mitigates population growth’s effects on access to Water and Sanitation.
For Media Practitioners, Mr. Onche, he advised that; “Writing a Compelling Human Angle Stories on Family Planning”, they should ensure that their stories are people/issue based, make the story simple and keep the story to one idea. Life experiences are key and introduce innovative angles to family planning. Social Media Strategic Approach in Promoting Family Planning among other relevant topic of discuss.
On the Day Two; participants alongside the organizers embarked on a field trip, visited some of the Health Facilities, including TCI Supported Facility in the city of Port Harcourt. At one of the Health Facility (Rumueme Health Centre), we met some newly mothers, women that came for family planning, with the consent of a young girl named Miss Favour, aged 20, in her interaction with some of the Media personnel’s, she said, her senior sister told her of how Life Planning will help her avoid early pregnancy, so she came for enquiry, before adopting FP. In her words; “Family Planning will help her stay away from unwanted pregnancy; she wants a great future”. The Focal Person at Rumueme Health Centre (Tonagbari Gokana), mentioned that married men visit the facility with their wives and all the equipments for all Family Planning methods are available at the facility. Dr. Chisa Nweke, a medical doctor at the facility, said, “though Society is judgmental and filled with stigmatization with issues concerning family planning, but there has been some level of progress”. At the Orogbum Health Centre, which is a TCI supported facility; a grandmother, Women Community leader (Mrs. Onyemachi Grace Ogoloma), a Family Planning client, said, she has introduced my House help, her daughters, they all enjoy the benefits of Family Planning.
On the Day Three: Introduction To Nigerian Urban Reproductive Health Initiative (NURHI) and Get It Together (Life Planning For Adolescent and Youths-LPAY-) facilitated by Oluchi Bassey: She emphasized that, LPAY focuses on increased demand for reproductive health knowledge and services. It equally helps young people understand how their bodies work and equip them with information and skills to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.
Media Involvement in Reducing Maternal Mortality and Family Planning, this session was facilitated by Onche Odeh; he said, “The Media is very critical to the success of Family Planning Initiatives”. Major concerns; there is a dangerous link between overpopulation and poverty. Research has linked high maternal mortality rate to lack of Family Planning in many cases. Pressing needs; The Policy makers need to be educated on the stack realities on ground. Some of the benefits of FP; FP services can avert high risk pregnancies, it can reduce maternal mortality rate, ‘When the woman is well, the family is well”, the nation can grow population in a controlled pace.
Finally, the session on Policy Environment For Family Planning in Nigeria was facilitated by Uduak Ananaba.
SOME FACTS ABOUTS FP:
Family Planning is an advisory service that aids Birth-Control.
FP plays a huge role in reducing Child and maternal mortality.
Abstinence is also and the best method of Family Planning. It was a mind-blowing session and certificates of participation were awarded to attendees!
Collaborative Living and Development Initiative (COLIDEIN), a non-profit organisation implemented a project titled ‘’ strengthening good governance and democratic processes at local level’ funded by Women United for Economic Empowerment (WUEE) with support from UNDEF. The program which included community visit, advocacies and capacity building training was targeted at training 1000 participants across 5 communities in Port Harcourt City LGA (PHALGA). The communities were Abuloma, Orochiri, Orogbum, Oromeruezimgbu, Oromineke, Abam-Ama.
Ms. Chidinma Mbaegbu, the Executive Director of COLIDEIN, started off the sensitization training by defining Civic Education as ‘the provision of information and learning experiences to equip and empower citizens to participate in democratic processes‘(WUEE 2020). In order words, knowledge about citizens’ rights and responsibility in democratic governance. She mentioned that good governance and development comes only when people are aware of their rights and roles and take strategic actions in pursuing it. Ms. Mbaegbu pointed out that participatory governance does not mean a call for fights and conflicts rather calls for engagement and negotiation for better life. She listed some practical steps open for community’s civic engagement such as; participation in voting exercise; development of Community Charter of Demands to extract commitments from political aspirants; participation in Budget processes; and the use of Score-Cards to evaluate public officers and hold them accountable.
The community leadership thanked the organisers of the event COLIDEIN and their funders Women United for Economic Empowerment (WUEE) / UNDEF for coming and making their community beneficiary of the program. They reiterated the importance of civic education and urged the community members to empower their minds and actively participate in bringing about sustainable development in the community. Further, he urged the COLIDEIN team to not abandon the community rather it should adopt the community and find other means of empowering the women and youths with livelihood support schemes.
During the interactive questions and answer session the major issue from the community was on how the COLIDEIN team can help them to engage their political office holders and also give micro-credit assistance to those who want to start off business ventures. In response, the Executive Director;COLIDEIN, promised to support any community that calls for assistance and highlighted that the main aim of this civic education training is to awaken people up to their rights and responsibility. Also take actions to engage with their public officers for accountable and transparent democratic governance.
In Oromineke Community – The Royal Highness Eze Christopher Wonodi said; the community leadership thanked the organisers of the event COLIDEIN and their funders Women United for Economic Empowerment (WUEE) / UNDEF for coming and making their community beneficiary of the program. They reiterated the importance of civic education and urged the community members to empower their minds and actively participate in bringing about sustainable development in the community. Further, he urged the COLIDEIN team to not abandon the community rather it should adopt the community and find other means of empowering the women and youths with livelihood support schemes.