Recall for men… Uplifting the boy child
Over the years, a lot of emphasis has been put on the girl child to ensure that her rights are protected against violence, access to education, empowerment and other issues. While these efforts have bought about positive change and a paradigm shift on how the girl child issues are handled, the boy child has subconsciously been forgotten in the midst of it all.
While the girl child is enjoying her freedom and coming out of her shell, the boy is fighting to be treated better. Though the expectations placed on him are huge, the society does less to support and ensure that, indeed, the boy child not only performs, but also surpasses the set societal standards.
In a bid to help young men actualize their dream, Yetunde Bernard hosted the Recall For Men Conference last year with about a thousand participants. Targeted at men between the ages of 21-35, the one-day conference aimed at providing the African man living in today’s urbane, competitive and demanding society with insights and practical tools to enable him meet his evolving world with intention, clarity and a deep sense of tenacity.
Following the success recorded with the maiden edition, the conference returned last Saturday at the Landmark Events Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos. Held under the theme Maximize your hustle, the session had the likes of Bizzle Osikoya, the co-founder of The Plug Entertainment, Jorge Maciel, Mozambican entrepreneur, who runs Intel Trucking & Logistics, actor Richard Mofe Damijo and broadcaster Olisa Adibua as resource persons.
It was an opportunity for young boys to be mentored by these successful men, who shared their experiences and challenges on their way to success. The event also featured masterclasses designed to help young men connect, interact and set measurable goals in wealth creation.
These masterclasses focus on identifying engagement platforms as well as critical insight about how to excel in certain industries analytical knowledge will be disseminated to encourage boldness of conception and execution while monetising skills, talents or ideas and creating productivity platforms.
Speaking on the vision for the initiative, Yetunde Bernard, who is passionate about helping young men actualise their dreams, said, “When you have a vision sometimes, people don’t see it. But that’s okay, they don’t have to see it; it’s for you to keep pushing and they will believe anyway because it’s needed. There’s a challenge here; we’ve just been tilting towards doing things for certain people and not doing for the other group of people. So, what’s happening is that, especially in the African environment, our men don’t really have anywhere to get practical information on being a man in today’s world. Of course, the dynamics are completely different; this is the digital age. Generally, the African man grows up entitled; he’s just told, ‘you are the head of the family,’ that’s it. Getting older, he just realises doesn’t know what it means to be head. He just knows that everybody is asking him to provide, yet, nobody is telling him ‘this is how to do it.”
She continued: “If you look at the girls, from when they are young, they’ve stated telling them, ‘go to the kitchen, do this, do that…’ They are used to taking instructions, they are used to understanding; they understand their roles. Meanwhile, the boy is just left to run random and they say, ‘boys will be boys.’ You just leave him, the later you complain, ‘he didn’t do this, he didn’t do that.”
Bernard observed that, “We have so many issues in the society today; men cannot deal with successful women and so many things. What they are really after is, ‘let me have money.’ The society has made them to believe that if you don’t have money, you are nobody. So, we need to put things together for this group of people to understand that it’s not enough to keep pushing and pushing without support. Usually, men don’t talk; even the ones that are successful are not saying anything; they are just going on their own. So, you stumble on success. What we are trying to do with this initiative it to get men that are successful to speak with these boys; it’s a movement for men by men.”
On the reception for the initiative so far, she said, “It’s been great; last year we had almost a thousand people. Over the course of the year, we hold other masterclasses; we have different brands working with us. So, we are putting things together to teach them in a controlled environment; men want to do things at their pace.”
Unlike the last edition, which was all about the conference and masterclasses, this year is entirely different.“We’ve created a training and funding programme for them online. So, apart from our offline platform, we are moving online so that many people will be able to access it. This is an African intervention; we want people from outside Nigeria to be part of this. We have a lot of brands partnering with us on this to give grants to these people to start businesses. It’s a grant, so, they don’t need to pay back, but you have to take certain courses. Of course, there will be a process of selection and all the parameters will be there,” she said.