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At Raising Women Summit, Ikeora, Alakija, others make case for Girl Child

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At Raising Women Summit

This year’s edition of the annual girl’s summit organised by Raising women’s initiative held at Alliance Francaise in Lagos recently sought to amplify the voices of girls and included boys as well.

Held under the theme, Amplifying the voices of boys and girls for change, the organisers said the initiative aims to inspire the younger generation and spark the need for a better tomorrow. 

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With panel discussions and keynote speeches from key personalities home and abroad, the summit was graced by notable speakers, including Polly Alakija, May Ikeora, Lekan Fatodu, Ferdinand Adimefe, Patricia Lamour, and a host of others. Founder of Raising Women Initiative and convener of the Raising Girls Summit, Dr May Ikeora stated that the main objective of the summit was to amplify the voices of young girls and boys for positive change especially in the era of a pandemic. She asserted that beyond the summit, the initiative would reach out to hidden communities to support girls and young people. 

British artist and children’s book author, Polly Alakija, spoke extensively about leveraging arts and culture to create empowerment for young people, especially in the post-COVID era. She also highlighted some of the shortcomings of the Nigerian educational system making mention of the tremendous benefits of community-based learning, which can be a point of empowerment to the younger generation.

“We need to get teaching and learning resources that speak to Nigerians here from a Nigerian point of view and not repeat the same things from the past.”

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Also, CEO/Founder of Magic Carpet Studios, Ferdinand Adimefe, shared his tenets on the need to encourage creativity and initiative among boys and girls from a very young age and also getting boys and men more involved in addressing issues that affect girls, especially their confidence and their need to speak up.

“Our schools are actually designed not to support your creativity but to take it away from you, so we were taught to cram and memories things, we were not taught to think but given what to think,” he said. 

“If you went through school and you were taught not to speak up, you have to start learning how to build confidence. We need to teach our boys empathy and our girl’s confidence in this dispensation.”

With over 2,000 participants who registered for the event physically and virtually, N500, 000 was given to five lucky girls and young women to support their education and businesses courtesy of mentor matches in the United Kingdom seeking to connect women globally. One of the winners was 12-year-old Oluremi Boluwatife who wowed the audience with her boldness on stage competing for the grant. She said she intends to use the money to further her education.

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