Saturday, 31 May 2014
Thursday, 29 May 2014
"We realized a gap between what leadership is and what young people perceived to be leadership. The only way we can bridge this gap is by contributing towards teaching them, when they are young and grow up with an understanding of how they can lead and create great businesses. We advertised for youths to volunteer in impacting leadership and entrepreneurship skills to young secondary school students. The first batch was in 2013, we worked with five public secondary schools in Lagos reaching out to about a 1,000 senior secondary schools students. This year we are reaching out to 1,600 students in 10 schools and those that graduated from our Programme last year will be a part of the Promenade Clubs we are forming this year".
A two week training was organised for the second batch, of forty-five volunteers before the commencement of the Programme. According to Michael Ndukwu who is part of the second batch of volunteers, I want to impact entrepreneurship skills into these students because I believe the future belongs to them. Many young people need someone to look up and I am glad to be that person, he said.
A renowned educationist Mrs Sade Adefisayo who trained the volunteers on "Effective Facilitation Skills for Engaging Students in Class" said young people don't learn from they don't like. "At that stage of their life, you can be that person that can change their life forever. When you get to the class have a goal to impact and never loose focus of that. It is exciting seeing these young people growing up to be great people later in life. That is my fulfillment as a teacher and I want you to embrace this opportunity as such. Never underestimate any child because we are now at a time when they have access to so much information. Believe in them and give them direction, that is what they need to achieve their dreams and ambition", she added.
According to Hezekiah Shobiye, talk is cheap but at Promenade Youth Initiative we believe in action and that is our way of contributing towards societal change. "The Nigeria we want can be achieved by young people and this change can go beyond Nigeria. Many Nigerians can argue intellectually but when it comes to action, we can't find them. Promenade Youth Initiative provide a platform for young people to contribute in changing Nigeria. That's the spirit behind this initiative".
UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the President of the UN General Assembly, Ministers of Environment and Foreign Affairs and Chief Executives of a number of international organisations are set to attend the newly-established UNEA that will bring together over 1,200 high-level participants from government, business and civil society.
UNEA is the newly constituted UN high-level platform for decision making on environment that is tasked to chart a new course in the way the international community addresses environmental sustainability challenges. More than 80 Ministers, Vice-Ministers, Secretaries of State as well as heads of international convention secretariats have confirmed their attendance, so far.
UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Mr. Achim Steiner, said, “The convening of the first UNEA session in Nairobi – home of UNEP and the often referred to environment capital of the world – represents a coming-of-age for the global environment community. For the first time, all 193 members of the UN, plus Observer States and major stakeholders, will be represented in the new assembly—thereby bestowing upon UNEA a new level of representation, legitimacy and authority.”
“A broad range of actors from the world of economy, finance, social sciences, legislation, the judiciary and development are also due to participate to help shape the global environment agenda, under the stewardship of UNEA. The issues facing this first session of UNEA are weighty ones which require the voices of all member states and partners to be heard.”
“Now more than ever, it has become increasingly clear that the dichotomy between environmental sustainability and economic and social development should be overcome through the careful management of natural resources as the keystone of a prosperous and stable society. In this new forum, UNEP and its partners will be able to provide governments and other policymakers with the science, policy options and platform, for international cooperation to more effectively address the environmental dimension of sustainable development,” he added.
For Kenya, the host country of UNEP’s headquarters for over four decades, the convening of UNEA in its capital city of Nairobi marks another milestone in this pioneering partnership.
Ambassador Martin Kimani, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said, “Kenya is ready to welcome the world’s leading environmentalists and world experts, working in all areas related to sustainable development to UNEA in June. Our country has made immense strides in building a Green Economy – observe our cutting edge geothermal developments and the high percentage of our GDP from nature tourism.”
“The success of UNEA and UNEP are high in our priorities. Kenya is taking every measure to ensure the success of this landmark event. We are inviting delegates from around the world to actively participate in this historic moment and make their contributions to the assembly in a safe and friendly city that is rolling out every welcome to them,” he said.
As the new governing body of UNEP as well as the world’s Environment Assembly, UNEA has the mandate to make strategic decisions and provide political guidance in the work of UNEP, and promote a strong science-policy interface.
The first UNEA session is expected to deliver a series of outcomes that would spell out concrete actions to address the key environmental challenges discussed at UNEA. Where appropriate, UNEA may also recommend draft resolutions for adoption at the United Nations General Assembly for UN system-wide action.
WaterAid has joined a coalition of organisations including WASH United, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Save the Children, todeclare the first-ever Menstrual Hygiene Day which held on Wednesday, 28 May 2014.
On any given day, more than 800 million women between the ages of 15 and 49 are menstruating. Yet menstruation remains a taboo subject.
In many countries, menstruation is surrounded by a lot of myths including banishment from the family home to an outdoor shed during each cycle. These myths range from harmless to extreme and even though, in many cases, they dateback to ancient times they continue to persist even now.
UNESCO estimates one in 10 African girls miss school during their periods, leading to a higher dropout rate.
Clarisse Baghnyan, Coordinator of WaterAid’s Regional Learning Centre for Sanitation said:
“We need to make a shift in our thinking and attitude and bring an end to the stigma that still surrounds menstruation. For the sake of our girls and women, it’s time to start talking about this issue. The myths and taboos around periods can and do take a heavy toll on the health of our girls and women, especially in developing countries such as Nigeria. We must ensure that our girls have decent and separate toilet facilities in schools otherwise their health is put at risk and they are likely to miss or drop out of school rather than face the humiliation of finding somewhere private to change. By talking about periods, we can help normalise this natural process and help girls and women live healthier and more dignified lives.”
WaterAid works in more than a dozen countries across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia to teach women and their families how to care for themselves properly during their periods. School projects range from building private, gender-separate toilets and taps for washing to creating hygiene clubs where girls learn how to sew washable, reusable sanitary towels.
This year, WaterAid’s West Africa office, in conjunction with WaterAid country programmes in Nigeria and the region, will conduct a research to help develop strong programmes on Menstrual Hygiene Management and reinforce our work for more impact, especially in schools. The research will also identify key actors for collaboration, capacity building needs for civil society and local government partners, and areas for advocacy.
WaterAid welcomes a new UN campaign championed by UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson to end the practice of open defecation.
Over 1 billion people around the world relieve themselves in bushes, in fields or at the sides of roads or railway tracks for lack of even a basic, shared pit in the ground. This is 14% of the world’s population, or one person in seven.
Where there is open defecation, pathogens spread quickly, causing diarrhoea, cholera, bilharzia (a freshwater worm) and other diseases.
Recent WHO/UNICEF JMP figures for Nigeria show that the number of people with access to improved sanitation facilities has dropped even further from 31% last year to just 28% of the population now. This means about 122 million Nigerians do not have access to improved sanitation and a staggering 39 million (23% of the population) practice open defecation.
Based on these figures, indications are that at present rates of progress, Sub-Saharan Africa overall will not become open defecation free until 2063.
WaterAid is campaigning for everyone, everywhere to have access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2030. Some 748 million people in the world are without safe water, while another 2.5 billion are without adequate sanitation.
Dr. Michael Ojo, Country Representative of WaterAid Nigeria, said:
“It is time for a drastic change to the status quo. It is hard to believe that in this day and age, people must still risk their health and dignity for the lack of a basic toilet. It’s even more difficult for girls and women who risk danger and harassment every time they go in search of a private place to relieve themselves. Safe water and basic sanitation has to be a top priority in effectively tackling extreme poverty. We call upon our leaders to take action.”
Without basic toilets, girls are more likely to drop out of school, and adults are less able to care for their families or to work, exacting huge social and economic costs.
The new UN campaign to end open defecation is expected to last till the end of next year, as the UN develops a new set of development goals to replace the original Millennium Development Goals.
Among the goals were pledges to cut in half the proportions of people without safe water and sanitation, respectively. Though the overall universal target on water has been met; some individual countries, especially developing countries like Nigeria, are yet to meet those goals and those still without safe water are the hardest to reach. The target on sanitation remains the most off-track.
Recently, in April this year, Nigeria joined 44 other developing countries at the Sanitation and Water for All High Level Meeting and committed once again to achieving universal access to water and sanitation and eliminating open defecation nationwide by 2025.
Wednesday, 28 May 2014
It was a banquet of free healthcare services as Women Arise Initiative an arm of Redeemed Christian Church Of God:City of David Parish berthed at Apapa.
The Women Arise Medical Team patrolled the streets of Apapa in an ambulance announcing to residents to come out enmass to access basic healthcare services which were all for free.
Among the healthcare services offered to the residents were malaria,typhoid,blood-sugar tests, blood pressure and dental check,health talk,counseling and drugs administered to the residents.
The Convener of the Women Arise Initiative, Pastor Mrs. Siju Iluyomade explained the project was borne out of the need to care about the physical and medical well being of women, also to lend voice to issues related to women. According to her, any nation that lift up women would be lifted up in return. Women Arise has been to different parts of Lagos like Makoko, Lagos Island, Surulere, Ebute-Metta and intends to reach out to other parts of Lagos.
Pastor Iluyomade said the Women Arise Initiative was also in support of the Bring Back our Girls Initiative which brings to mind the need for the government to ensure every Nigerian is well taken care of.
Further speaking, she expressed concerned on the need for healthcare services to be available and accessible to all and sundry as a healthy people result in healthy nation.
"Apapa has a diversified mix of different ethnic group and as we can see all are united in the need to access healthcare services. This shows that there are many things that can unify us as a nation. The impact of our outreach in places we have visited is heart warming. seeing the smiles and satisfaction in the faces of the people and the comfort that they feel knowing someone is concern about their health,pushes us to do more", she added.
The Head of the Medical Team, Dr. Ademola Lafenwa pointed out that high level of ignorance among the people has resulted in some cases where participants don't even know the status of there health and they have serious health issues.
"Today one of the person I attended has a very high blood sugar and also hypertensive. He is not even aware of any of these conditions. People don't know they can approach the nearest health center within their vicinity for medical care. They think health centers are meant for only babies and immunization exercises. Also that if they visit hospital, they will be charged heavily for services delivered and conclude that hospitals are designed for the rich only. Lagos state government has ensured every primary health center is assigned with a medical doctor but the level of awareness among the people to use these health centers is low. This is worrisome".
The turnout was massive as residents thanked the Women Arise Medical Team for offering free healthcare services that would have cost them some amount of money to access.
Tuesday, 27 May 2014
As we celebrate another Children’s Day one area where our collective responsibility is urgently required is the protection of our children. The collective includes the family, community, society and the state. Every day in the media we hear of one form of abuse or the other against children, rape of under aged children, child trafficking and so on. But the abduction of more than two hundred school girls recently underscores the urgent need for collective action. We need to create a protective environment for our children to ensure a bright future for them.
The protective environment is based on the recognition that all children are entitled to protection – as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Nigeria’s Child’s Rights Act 2003. All children have a right to grow up in an environment that ensures their protection. UNICEF helps to create a protective environment for a child which fortifies them against abuse in the same way that good nutrition and good health care fortifies them against disease. We are working with the Nigeria Police, the immigration service, the Federal Ministries, departments and agencies to achieve this.
Our best efforts in survival and development will come to nought if the child is abused later in life, put in harm’s way through abduction and trafficking. Even strong, healthy children can be victims of abuse. A well-nourished and immunized child who is beaten is not a healthy child. A young girl in school is likely to be not well educated if she is sexually abused by her teacher. She would drop out of school. The fear of abduction will erode all the gains we have made in girls’ education. Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria added, ‘Let us all work together, collectively to ensure that our children are protected against harm so they can grow into productive adults who will contribute to the development of Nigeria in future’