Recall for men conference… grooming 21st century man
So far, women empowerment has been a great achievement following the vigorous campaigns and guidelines initiated globally, with a solitary endeavour to safeguard, uplift and empower the rights and status of the girl child. Available statistics show that women and girls have been getting attention and consideration, as they are seen as more vulnerable to abuse, attacks and as well less privileged. On the contrary, boy child is almost forgotten.
However, one thing the promoters of girl child campaign fail to grasp is the fact that the boy child has the same or worse challenges as girls have. While the girl child seems to be getting attention from the society, their mail counterpart have been left to fight for themselves; they hustle and tussle to make it through without the equal opportunities, support, guidance and protection showered and instilled in favour of women.
Determined to help the male folks navigate the challenges of life, Yetunde Bernard, through her organisation The Yetunde Bernard Company, recently staged the maiden edition of Recall For Men conference, which is target at grooming the 21st century man. Held at the Balmoral Convention Centre, Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, the conference, which was held under the theme, The hustle is Real, brought together both young and old men from different walks of life, who were mentored by resource persons drawn from different fields of endeavour.
At the one day event, pressing issues in men’s life such as staying relevant while going through life’s transitions, fatherhood, spiritual awakening and other key spheres of influence in a man’s life were discussed. The platform also provided participants the opportunity to listen and exchange ideas with some personalities in the creative industry.
Facilitators for the Masterclasses that help participants to develop a working understanding and highly profitable industries as well as critical insight about how to excel in certain industries, include Bankole Bernard (Travel and Tourism), Mudi (Fashion), Kunle Afolayan (Media and The Arts) and Kola Aina (ICT).
In a video message screened at the event, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also join hands with other concerned Nigerians to urge parents and society to lend the male child a voice to speak when they need help.However, Recall For Men is beyond just a conference, but also a life-changing project segmented into Community, Masterclass and Conference, thereby giving the audience the chance to meet, interact and tap from the experts’ pool of knowledge.
“The society has unconsciously denied male child a voice to speak when he is hurt,” said Yetunde Bernard, initiator of the project. “The society put a lot of responsibilities on these men and we women also indulged them in many things. They tell you, ‘boys will always be boys’; ‘you are the head of home.”
On the success of the maiden edition of the project, Bernard said, “I’m just thankful; it just goes to say that there’s nothing that’s really impossible if young can put your mind at it. The thing is that the idea evolved even as we kept talking about it, people giving ideas. So, I said to myself, ‘if I did not venture out to try, I probably wouldn’t have been here.’ It’s not enough to say you have an idea, when is it going to be ready? You have to get it on the move and other things will follow. I’m just so thankful that it turned out this way,” she said.
Though getting resource persons for the conference and masterclasses was not an easy task, Mrs. Bernard was very much prepared. “For sure, it wasn’t easy getting these people, but I started out early; I started planning for like a year and I started reaching them about eight months ago. Some people confirmed last minutes, while some of them said ‘no.’ You have to understand that they are very busy people; some of them confirmed, but something else came up. What I did was to give myself options; with each one of them, I had a backup. Honestly, I’m overwhelmed by the support of these people; they really want to give back only that they don’t have the time. Yes, it took a while, but I’m happy everything worked out well,” she said.
On her plans for the initiative, she said, ‘we’ve just only started. I keep telling people that Recall For Men is just for the African man; it’s not for the western world. When I said African man, in Nigeria, we’ve not even started. Then there are other countries like Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, South Africa… we still plan to go there. But Lagos being Lagos, if you haven’t really done anything in Lagos, you don’t know if it’s a viable project. For me, this was just a testing ground; by next year, at least we will do more than one location and from there, we move on.”