Monday 5 December 2016

#SheLeads: Training the Voice of the GirlChild

Raise the #GirlChild to believe their own voice in other to give their mates world-class VOICE.
By Semiye Michael

Over 400 Girls attended #SheLeads Conference Minna 2016

#SheLeads Project
#SheLeads is a social good project seeking to raise quality voices in support of the Girl-Child. This project is not particular about gender promotion but a sincere effort targeted at giving strength to the right of every child irrespective of gender to live and fulfill a worthy course in life. The Girl-Child should face no barrier whatsoever at daring to dream and fulfill her dream. #SheLeads is a project of DEAN Initiative Abuja Nigeria.

#SheLeads Conference Minna 2016 with the theme: The Role of Culture in Girl-Child Development   #SheLeads Conference was planned to discuss and correct the notion in the global scene that Africa and her people are known to engage in cultural practices that undermine and discourages the development and empowerment of women starting from their childhood. We have carefully structured the theme of the conference: the role of culture in girl-child development.

The conference hosted 307 Secondary school girls that are official delegates to the conference from 11 secondary schools and over 100 unofficial registered girls as participants who attended the conference from all parts of the state. The Conference also had in attendance, the Niger state first Lady, who was the special guest of honour, state commissioner for women affairs and social development as the chairperson, Commissioner for information, commissioner for education, traditional rulers and religious leaders and other stakeholders. The Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of NICO: Prof. Ayakoroma played host to the conference.

In his welcome address, Professor Barclays F. Ayakoroma said; “As at today, we must agree to forge ahead together to create more level plane ground for our women from any part of our land to dream, pursue their dream and attain them. As I look through your blazing faces our daughters, today’s Girl-Child and our future women, I can see transformation ahead of our nation.
The work and efforts of the international community, the UN Agencies and the local NGOs has brought about tremendous improvement as current statistics suggests. But we have more work to do. The world is watching us and learning from all we do.
Today I address you as Girl-Child, soon you will occupy the major leading positions in all sectors of our economy because YOU LEAD”.


Nana Sule, Co-founder of YPAD and a pioneer partner of #SheLeads project, who also served as the Face of #SheLeads Project in the Conference narrated the spirit of the conference to Kick start other business of the conference after which the speakers treated the conference theme with in-depth analysis. With the whole process of the participants agreeing to the fact that Africa needs to fight on until all  forms of cultural and social vices militating against the freedom of the Girl Child all becomes the thing of the past. But the emphasis was on the need for every Girl-Child to find a mentor and fight her way to the very top of her chosen career.

In her own words, the First Lady, Hajia Dr. Amina Sani Abubakar said “If we want to make Nigeria a greater nation, we can’t do it with just one half of its populations; we cannot do it with just the men. We need our mothers, sisters, daughter, and wives to join hands with us.
We need their unique abilities and perspective, because no matter how great a man is, he could never see what a woman sees. We need to lead this country with both eyes open; the Boy Child and the Girl Child”. She promised to use her good position to continue to work with the girls until  they win.
Earlier at the conference while the girls introduced themselves one after the other, several of them said they have dreams to become great leaders in Nigeria. They desire to lead in business, in judiciary, in politics, in medical sector and other areas of the of endeavors.

But during the theme debate, these same girls highlighted several fears that cultural practices over the years have placed on their paths to the exhibiting their dreams. Major amongst the issues raised are:
1. Female Genital Mutilation
2. Child marriage
3. Child labour
4. Girls trafficking for prostitution
5. Preferring boys education to girls education
These and more were narrated by the girls as social cultural vices bewitching their dreams and breaking their determinations.

The Guest speaker, Dr . Aisha Abdukhdadir used her presentation to charge the government and the traditionalists to put an end to all forms of cultural practices capable of posing limitations on anyone irrespective of their gender status.

Another speaker at the conference, Mrs. Binta Shehu Bamalli; C. E. O of Safe Transition who is also one of the implementing partners reiterated the need for social integration through safe transition in our society. She warned that no one should be left behind or ignored if genuine development is desired.
The highpoint of the conference was the #TeachHerTech session facilitated by Google. Google team consisting developers and digital trainers; The Google training was delivered by Obiianuju of

The digital training exposed the over 400 girls to several online opportunities for career development and entrepreneurial adventure.
With the responses from the girls when asked what they wanted to become in future: Teacher, Pilot, Engineer, Journalist, Medical doctor and even the commissioner of education. The trainer matched how they can work it out as the 21st century woman using the digital opportunity slides provided by Google. In the training session the girls learnt: how Internet access has grown around the world, how this growth led to new business opportunities, how marketing has changed and key marketing concepts today, how technology affects business and some economic principles which are relevant in the digital world.

Lillian Ochemba, the Founder of DETHA Foundation and Precious Ebere founder of GEMS Initiative took the girls round digital skills development for potential maximization in today’s tech driven world. All the girls were by the #TeachHerTech session became Google certified.
The conference also witnessed different cultural presentations in Dance by Gwape Troupes, Hill Top Academy performed in spoken words, Dance Drama several other activities.

Another major highpoint of the conference was the Decoration of the Hajia Dr. Amina Sani Abukakar, First Lady of Niger State as the first #SheLeads Global Ambassador.

The First Lady who joyfully received the award promised to uphold and promote the spirit of the #SheLeads everywhere she goes.

The State Coordinator for NICO in Niger State; Mrs. Ndukwe Olufunke rounded the conference with her presentation; our culture cannot be our enemy. She urged the girls not to allow any obstacle good enough to stand on their paths.

It was therefore a bite of joy for Mr. Semiye Michael, the team leader and Project Coordinator of DEAN Initiative who initiated and run #SheLeads Project to give closing remarks and vote of thanks.

The report of #SheLeads Conference Minna 2016 a DEAN Initiative Project hosted on partnership by National Institute for Cultural Orientation NICO Minna State Office in partnership with: YPAD, OBIIANUJU.COM, Safe Transition Initiative, GEMS Initiative, DETHA Foundation and SMG Media. The Conference held on the 1st of Dec. 2016 at UK Bello Theater Art Complex Minna Niger State Nigeria. 

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