Very few people have taken up the mantle of living for others. Most are particular about their own self, but in order to help others discover themselves, you’ve got to live with them. The SDGs have been a guide to some establishment and Girl Child Development Hub is not left out. Gloria Oladeji, a student of faculty of education, University of Ibadan has taken passion in purpose discovery for the girl child in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 5 – gender equality. Get to read her thoughts.
How has growing up been like for you?
Well, I am the third child of five children, two boys and three girls and interestingly, I am in the middle because I have an elder sister and a younger sister, which makes me have a mentor and a mentee.
I have always been an introvert but some activities I love doing usually bring me out of my shell, if I could call it that. Some activities like dancing, participation in church and school competitions and sometimes, I involve myself in few extracurricular activities.
At age ten, I went off to boarding school and this took its toll on me because I became a lot reserved. I really do love mathematics, and soon I started giving tutorials to my friends and junior colleagues, which made me feel good, I got to task my brain and solved questions with my friends and it was so much fun for us. All these led to my scoring high grades, especially in mathematics. When I was in S.S. 2, I opted out of French class for further mathematics since they were both elective courses, and trust me when I say I had A1 in further mathematics. The truth is that, if I hadn’t taken that step, I might never have gotten to know where my potentials are, so let me say, I discovered my unique ability and it paved way for other discoveries and growth. I advise that early discovery of one’s potentials and uniqueness will help have a better understanding of ones purpose in life. Although there is no late time in discovering our abilities but it helps if it’s discovered soon and with the aid of others, we can achieve this better too.
What birth your vision of girl child development hub?
I started Girl Child Hub with the vision of inspiring and stimulating young ladies into discovering their purpose, passion and potentials early in life. Sometime ago, I was fortunate to attend a conference and the theme was “Purpose Discovery”, and I was inspired. I sought God’s direction in prayers and fueled with my passion of seeing young people take full responsibility and usage of their potentials, I decided to embark on this project.
I would say that part of me feels unhappy with the way young ladies have little passion for potential discovery which along the line doesn’t make them achieve their purpose. Asides the 3Ps discovery line, we also focus on health issues, sex education, etiquettes/morals. In fact, basically all matters involving the development of the girl child. This is done to raise girls to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.
What challenges have you encountered and how are you fairing against it?
Well, Funds. I have dedicated team members who are passionate about the vision and they are contributing their skills and resources to the growth of the organization. Also I have friends who are supportive, as well as anonymous people who contribute to the success of our outreaches to schools. I also have certain amounts I remit to the organization from personal earning. I must admit that not having materials and equipments needed for educating, training and equipping the girls, such as projector, projector screen, laptop and so on is very challenging because without them, we are not able to achieve the joy of making learning more fascinating and faster. But for now, we get to use personal gadgets and also borrow some. We hope to have instructional materials belonging to the organization soon.
Gathering of team members together is also a challenge, because we have members in different places like Oyo, Lagos, Osun, Ogun, and Kwara states. Although team members in different locations meet during their outreaches and relate together. And there is an online platform that brings every member together.
My team members have been supportive as we have different people taking up different tasks and pushing forward the organization, so I am not left alone with the running and organizing of every activities we engage in.
What have you come to realize about the girl child and her development?
The Girl Child has five main areas of development. They include the physical development, the social development, the emotional development, the cognitive/intellectual development and the moral/spiritual development.
When we say physical development, it has to do with the physical maturity of a girl’s body, the physical abilities as well as physical coordination. The girl must know about the physical and physiological changes in her body. She must know how to coordinate and portray herself irrespective of the shape and size, like she should not neglect her sitting posture when in the public, she must know how to take proper care of herself and as she grows, self-awareness and composure should be taken into consideration.
The social development comes to play as the girl child begins to gain knowledge and skills that enables her to interact with others and her environment. This is why in most of our out reaches, we praise and reward students for asking questions and answering questions. It will help their communication skills.
Emotional Development: the girl has to learn how to express her feelings and emotions. Here, she learns how to respond to other people’s actions. Emotional intelligence is key for emotional development. What this means is that there are lots of things that go on in a girl’s mind and her ability to conquer it will have a positive output and would go a long way in helping the child. The girl would be enlightened more on self-esteem and also relational subjects like sex education.
Cognitive development involves the development and utilization of the brain. The ability to reason and generate ideas, solve problems. This is why we encourage discovery of purpose, passion and potentials because by doing so they get to reason and generate better ideas that will contribute to the growth of the society and themselves. Early stage of potential discovery and talent identification should be encouraged among girls before getting to the stage of development where they are more limited by the society. The stage where they have husband to take care of, children to raise, office work/business to grow and some other things.
The last area of development is the moral development. This is important to build a good society. Girls should be made to know simple etiquettes and good morals that will become part of them as they grow. It is easier to train a child than to train an adult.
These areas of development in the girl child should be well taken note of as they will constitute to the kind of wife the girl-child would be to her husband, the kind of mother she will be to her children and the kind of woman she will be to the society.
Is this hub a visioneer towing after SDG 5 please explain?
Yes! Achieving gender equality and empowering the girls. Based on data between 2000 and 2016 from about 90 countries, women spend roughly three times as many hours in unpaid domestic and care work as men.
Also globally, the percentage of women in single or lower houses of national parliament has increased from 19 percent in 2010 to around 23 percent in 2018. This progress was sourced from the report of the Secretary- General, The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018.
We want to contribute to the increase of top women leaders nationwide by nurturing smart and intelligent girls who will be extraordinary in their thoughts and actions and that is why we advocate for early discovery of potential, purpose and passion.
We also want to reduce the percentage of girls who are being sexually abused by educating them on sexual issues as well as other general feminine and health matters in order to raise girls who are physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. In order words, we work towards achieving specific solutions in SDG 4 as well.
How can girl child education be a tool for development?
Education is the process of imparting knowledge and skills. And the knowledge and skills gained are what contribute to the growth and development of any individual. Therefore every lesson learnt in formal and informal education will one way or the other motivate the girl-child into becoming an important personality in the society.
We talk about the rights of the girl child, what are the right(s)?
The rights of the girl child include: right to education, right to equality, right to development, right to expression, right to health and care, right to protection from exploitation or abuse.
What about the boy-child? Any hope?
Every child has equal right, which means every opportunities opened to the girl child is equally opened to the boy child. Just like the saying, “what is good for the goose is also good for the gander”. We live in a world where every human is seen to have potentials and this is not limited to the sex of the child or individual. So there is as much hope for the boy-child as there is for the girl-child.
What specific problem of the young do you see GCDH solving in years to come?
Early discovery of passion, purpose and potentials. This will be a time when we have young ladies/women who will rise as true ambassadors of GCDH enlightening and inspiring younger girls to discover their 3Ps early in life as well. We want to reduce stories of young people saying how they wished they realized their passion on time, maybe they would have been better than where they are. Stories of people spending time in field of study/areas where they find no fulfillment.
In other words, we want to help young girls realize and discover what they want, what God wants for them and what brings joy of fulfilment and happiness to them as early as possible.