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Empowering girl child for digital age

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Cross section of students at the event

Cross section of students at the event

Over 700 female students from nine secondary schools in District 6 of the Lagos State Educational Board recently converged at the Darlington Hall, Ilupeju, Lagos, for this year’s edition of Pastor Bimbo Odukoya (PBO) Foundation’s girl empowerment programme. Held in commemoration of the International Day of the  Girl Child, this year’s programme was in line with the general theme of the national event: Girls’ Progress=Goals’ Progress: What Counts for Girls.

With this year’s theme tilted towards technology, professionals such as Sola Amusan from Microsoft, who was present at the event, challenged the students not to limit their dreams. He inspired them to take bold steps towards technology and dismissed the myth that technology is reserved for boys alone.

Social Media etiquette professional and director of Connaissance, Kemi Showemimo had a hearty interactive session with the students on the etiquettes of social media. She engaged the students on how to communicate online, urging them to be wary of the kind of posts they upload on their pages and how to keep their accounts private. She also advised them to be very observant of the kind of friends they keep online.

Encouraged by her charisma, the girls shared their ordeal on the online community. One of the students told of how a friend was lured to rape by her Facebook friends, another recounted how she was desperate for friendship and accepted a friend request from a man who lived in her neighbourhood.

“The man continually sent nude pictures of him to me and invited me out. I told my mother about it and she asked me to play along. On the scheduled day of the meeting, I arrived at the destination with my mother, who ruined abuses on the man and nearly arrested him,” one of the girls narrated.

Showemimo cautioned the girls, saying, “don’t be desperate for friends. You don’t have to accept every friend request; accept only the ones you know.”

Another speaker at the event was a sexual abuse survivor, Anthonia Ojenagbon, whose inspiring story left the students in awe.

Though this is not the first time PBO will hold ‘Girl Empowered’ programme, but this is the first time the bias is towards technology.

“Girl Empowered this year is being channeled to focus on technology and its vast opportunities. Most girls are shy of the sciences. But we are saying, ‘no.’ You could be a blogger, a web designer, you can have careers in IT where you can be able to change the world. There’s no gender-shy in sciences.
They should take over the digital space,” said PBO coordinator, Osasu Paul-Azino.

She added that there are partnership talks with Microsoft Nigeria to train a lucky student in the technology of coding and developing mobile apps.

The PBO foundation was found on the premise of the vision of the late Bimbo Odukoya. Her passion in seeing the girl child explore her dreams to full measure spurred the initiative.


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