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A new math equation: 1+2+3=5000

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Zuriel Oduwole

Hello everyone, and welcome to the cool and wonderful Spring month of May. I know it could mean rainy season in Lagos, but that also has its freshness.

Today, I am not writing as a youth, but simply as a citizen of the world, a girl, who believes more of us people can truly change the course of history, if we believe, and if we just try harder, or try differently.

As I get older by the day, I am still learning, seeing clearly some things, and walking differently.

I also like to be a little bolder in how I say things, for one reason: I don’t want to have regrets when I am much older, by saying things like I wish I had done this, or that.

I heard about a phrase called Fuzzy Math. I was curious about the phrase, and what it meant. I found out it was something politicians in the US used to describe a situation, when something doesn’t add up.

So, here is an example I want to share. I know 1+2+3 does not add up to 5,000 just by itself. But I have a project idea that can just show, how this can happen in any African country. And it’s not Fuzzy Maths.

In some of my traveling across Africa, I still see many young children, especially girls selling things on the streets in places like Accra, Dar Es Salaam, Nairobi, Lagos, and Kigali.

Sometimes, the young children sit by the road side behind buckets or small carts, full of things to sell such as ice cold drinks, small snacks or sometimes inflated toys, or peanuts.

Even just writing this now, it makes me feel sad knowing that most likely, these kids on the street won’t have a brighter future, compared to children who are in school through to University level.

There is never anything cool about that, when some have opportunities, and some don’t even have even the very basic opportunities. It’s so not cool at all.

Some of you might remember I started a pilot Film Making class in Namibia in February 2016, with young unemployed women, to teach a basic Film Making 101 class.

The project was a lot of fun, and we all just went at it, hoping something nice happened at the end. That’s why I guess they call it a pilot, just in case it doesn’t work out.

But, I am so thankful it did because nine months after that class, a student who attended the class had completed making a 45 mins documentary about poorer school children in Northern Namibia, using a borrowed camera.

Her name is Ms Kalola. She began to shop it around to see what TV stations in her country were interested in it.

How cool is that! President Hage Geingob of Namibia heard about my project, and invited me to meet at the State House in Windhoek, because of what I was doing for young women in his country. He’s a very nice man.

So, I took the film class project to other countries like Mexico and Kenya, and the students – mostly young women, are learning to tell their own story. They are truly excited about it, and South Sudan is one country I would really love to do it in as well.

What about Nigeria? It is now the biggest economy in Africa, but also has millions of young people who are unemployed. Because they are unemployed, they are not really adding to the country’s economy or GDP. Sounds intelligent, right? That’s okay, because I learned about this in my AP Macro Economics class.

Here is my question: What would happen if ONE girl [like myself] works hard to find TWO partner companies that allows the film class project roll out in the THREE geographical regions of Nigeria?

What would happen to the youths of the country? What would happen to the young unemployed women who stay home doing nothing?

Nigeria has thousands of parties and weddings and events every weekend. What would happen if those students improve their skills, form cooperatives, and begin to hire their services out to these events and parties?

What would happen as the cooperatives grow, and start to hire people, and if those people now have income and start shopping, and start paying taxes in their local communities? That’s okay, I learned about this cycle too, in my AP Micro Economics Class.

So, if this ONE Girl, finds TWO companies to support and sponsor the Film Project in the THREE Geographical parts of Nigeria, the 1+2+3 would be much greater than 5000 lives affected.

That’s a math equation, I like, because it would mean 5000 less people unemployed, and who in turn would form their own eco-system of content makers and content developers and event videographers and story tellers, and yes – film makers.

I hope to hear from large companies who would like to be a partner for this new kind of “fuzzy maths” @zurieloduwole.

Hopefully, we could start to make a small difference together today, that would have a huge impact tomorrow in Nigeria, Africa, and across the globe. That would be extra, extra cool.


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mathZuriel Oduwole
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