A Human Rights Activist, Foluke Ademokun, the Executive Coordinator of
Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation (AAAF), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), that is promoting the empowerment of girls and women, has disclosed that girls in Nigeria are becoming endangered species with the increasing rate of violence and insurgency in Nigeria.
Ademokun said: “I am an employee of a non-profit organisation, and my concern for the girl-child is founded on the need to give a voice to the girl-child, and empower her to overcome socio-cultural biases and gender-based violence.
“If we were able to empower the girl-child, she would have been equipped to make informed decisions. This would reduce gender inequalities significantly.
“Girls bear the brunt of conflicts, and are largely excluded from social protection strategies.
“Girls are becoming endangered species, with the increasing rate of violence and insurgency in Nigeria”, Ademokun said.
Speaking further, she stated: “For instance, government invested in the food programme to increase enrollment of children in primary schools, but data suggests that girls more than boys drop out of school. So, my interest is to help policy makers adopt gender perspective to programming, particularly girls. For instance having sanitary towels supplied to female primary 6 or junior secondary school students, may contribute to retaining girls in school longer.
“I am a people’s person, and quite happy enhancing the voice of vulnerable persons. I like to bridge the gap between people and policy, in a way that offers a human face to programmes.
“My work exposes me to the grassroots, and I am excited listening to the concerns of vulnerable persons, and following through their issues, not by enforcing my perspectives, but by enhancing the capacity of vulnerable persons to make informed decisions
“In the course of working in this space, I have been able to highlight the importance of dealing with vulnerabilities, rather than poverty.
“I have supported the process of increased income for more than 50 widow-headed households, through a range of vocational skills training process.
“Over 300 students, particularly girls, are enrolled in primary, secondary, and tertiary education. Beyond payment of tuition fees for students, we commenced the provision of infrastructure, such as computers and water for schools”, Ademokun said.