6 YALI RLC Nigeria Cohort 3 fellows represented their cohort for an interactive seminar for 150 High School Students at the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) Basic School. The objective of the event was to equip the younger generation with knowledge and skills to accelerate gender parity socially, economically, culturally and politically.
The focus of Key topics that were discussed was; understanding gender equality and inequality, career guidance and improving academic performance, and understanding social and financial savings. The facilitators ensured that every session contributed to an experiential learning process and the participants discussed pragmatic ways they can strive for gender parity. The participants gave examples of gender roles and expectations in their school, home, and community that promote or impede gender equality. They were enlightened about breaking societal barriers that for instance prevent girls from pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The girls were encouraged to empower each other, believe in themselves and aspire to take on various political, economic and social positions in society.
Since the participants were all final year students, another vital component of the seminar was engaging them in memory enhancement and brain training. The participants were educated on various easy and practical ways they can cultivate new habits for learning in and out school. One of the many key practices they engaged in was identifying “intellectual landmarks” and developing their personal learning schedule. This session we believe would go a long way to empower them to deal with learning difficulties and pass their final exam.
In the final session, the facilitator shared a story of a 13-year-old girl in Senya Bereku that currently has two kids. Her plight started when her parents couldn’t afford to give her money to purchase sanitary pads/tampons. She got lured by older men in the community who had sex with her before giving her money. The young participants were engaged in a discussion to identify simple ways they can save money like “Susu boxes”. They were encouraged to consciously make the effort to save money legitimately and remember that the best investment is an education and developing themselves.
The YALI fellows distributed snacks for the participants and engaged them in an interactive session that enabled them to ask various personal and general questions related to the focus of the day. In the end, the fellows also distributed sanitary pads to the girls. They engaged them in a practical discussion on wearing on the sanitary pads properly to prevent leakage, eating healthy during their menstrual cycle and personal hygiene.
It is very important that young people are empowered to build and sustain the progress made in the fight for gender equality. Let us all come together to press for more progress and celebrate the achievements of great African women.