Yesterday, I made a post on my Facebook page on the need for government at all levels to understand and appreciate local idea and shared values towards solving our local problems.
This month, two young Nigerians launched social enterprise initiatives that is set to address some of these problems.
IMOIBOHO EKWERE WILLIAMS: BRIDGING THE GAP ON YOUTH UNEMPLOYABILITY
In March 2013, Foluso Okunmadewa,World Bank Task Team Leader for the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation (YESSO),a World Bank initiative that focuses on providing Nigerian youth aged 18 to 35 with opportunities for work and skills training, alluded that: “Youth make up over half of Nigeria’s population, yet 38 percent of them are either underemployed or unemployed and their education and skills levels are low.”
Youth unemployment has assumed an unfortunate dimension in recent times as more graduates are being churned out of our tertiary institutions without having access to jobs.
In 2011, the composite unemployment rate for graduates of tertiary institutions stood at 24.6% for first degree graduates, 13.7% for Master’s Degree holders and 17.8% for doctoral graduates (National Planning Commission, 2011).
Taking cognizance of the fact that most of the so-called employed graduates are actually under-employed makes the whole picture of graduate unemployment in Nigeria more pathetic.
With an unemployment rate of 38%, the revelation from the World Bank and the possibility that so many young women and men are not adequately prepared to enter the workforce is startling.
Imoiboho Ekwere Williams
To bridge this gap, Imoiboho Ekwere Williams, a policy maker and advocate, together with his project team, launched the Corpers Mentorship Platform (CMP), an Individualized Mentorship Service designed to Engage, Expose and improve the employability and entrepreneurship skills of Nigerian Corps Members during and after their one year of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
This platform pairs (Serving Corps Members – mentees) with mentors who are already building great careers in various fields of expertise and have contributed positively to nation building.
THE COST OF MENSTRUATION – MyPeriod Kit COMES TO THE RESCUE
Another challenge in Nigeria is the issue of girls’ education.The gender gap remains particularly wide and the proportion of girls to boys in school ranges from 1 girl to 2 boys to 1 to 3 in some States. Known to be the best investment in development, girls’ education has become a major issue in most developing countries. Especially in sub-Saharan Africa a large number of young girls still do not attend school. The global figure for out-of-school children is estimated at 121 million, 65 million being girls. Over 80 per cent of these girls live in Sub Saharan Africa. And they don’t attend school during menstruation.
Part of the many reasons girls don’t attend school during menstruation because they don’t have access to sanitary pads or running water. Enter MyPeriod Kit.
MyPeriod Kit, an initiative of Bamisaye Folasade, a Reproductive Health expert and Women’s Right Advocate, is aimed at promoting menstrual hygiene and healthy transition into womanhood for girls and women of reproductive age especially those residing in underserved communities.
The justification for having MyPeriod Kit is that, girls and women residing in underserved areas like Nigeria are faced with huge challenge of coping with their menstrual period hygienically, women and girls’ capacity to manage their periods is affected by many factors, including limited access to affordable hygienic sanitary materials and disposal options.
This has left many girls and women to manage their periods ineffectively, uncomfortable and unhygienic. Young girls and women in rural areas tends to opt for natural materials such as mud, leaves, dung or animal skins are used to manage the menstrual flow due to poor and adequate knowledge about puberty education, access to affordable to sanitary materials as well as poor menstrual hygiene management. This is in addition to insufficient access to safe and private toilets and lack of clean water and soap for personal hygiene. As a result, menstruating girls and women often feel ashamed and also embarrassed by the male counterpart.
The continued silence around menstruation combined with limited access to information at home and in schools results in millions of women and girls having very little knowledge about what is menstrual Hygiene Matters which calls for every young girls and women of reproductive age to have MyPeriod Kit for improved menstrual hygiene.