Group partners states to check tobacco consumption among girls
A Pan African group, SKY Girls, has partnered with Lagos and Kaduna state governments to check tobacco use among teenage girls.
Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the girl-focused movement, which was first launched in 2014 in Botswana, has berthed in Ghana, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia and Nigeria.
General Manager, Operations, 7even Interactive for SKY Girls, Adenike Odutola, said the group remained committed to curbing tobacco uptake by adolescent females by reaching them through multiple online and offline channels, magazines, social media, radio, television shows, documentaries, school clubs and community events.
On the launch of the project in Nigeria, Odutola explained that the partnership with Lagos and Kaduna governments on a pilot scale would be replicated in other states.
She stressed that the programme also aims to increase financial inclusion of teenagers and young women through messages that revolve around decision-making, education and knowledge with a view to bettering their future and families skills-wise.
Throwing light on the body’s vision, SKY Girls Market Lead for Ghana and Nigeria, Alice Railton, observed that the project, which has attracted the Gates foundation’s funding since 2013, is to deter smoking, while enhancing and inspiring the girls for more positive behavioural patterns.
She said the programme, having been positively evaluated, would produce more self-assured, tobacco-free and financially literate girls that could make informed decisions to better themselves and families.
Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Folashade Adefisayo, while endorsing the movement, said it would build confidence in teenage girls by addressing their susceptibility to peer pressure.
She pointed out that the programme was timely following the high rate of tobacco consumption among youths, adding that peer pressure remained a big challenge to youngsters.
The commissioner encouraged young girls and their parents to take advantage of the various opportunities tied to the initiative.