Stakeholders urge Girls to embrace leadership challenges

Eme Offiong, Calabar

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Experts in the field of gender development have encouraged young women to view leadership challenges as a chance to highlight their distinctive and innate capabilities.

The stakeholders gave the advice at the graduation ceremony of 20 young women from ‘The Orange Fellowship Programme’ held in collaboration with the American Corner, Calabar and Hit FM radio to commemorate the United Nations 16 Days Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV).

One of the advocates, a frontline politician and former lawmaker, Dr. Itam Abang, in a keynote address, charged the young graduates to be diligent, focused and courageous in their chosen fields.

Dr. Abang said, “I charge you to have the courage to lead and not to be intimidated. You must be diligent, focused and committed to do the right thing in your chosen fields.

“You must be ambitious and audacious to succeed in life. So, as you step into the world, I encourage you all never to lose sight of your goals and vision irrespective of the challenges because along with those challenges are opportunities to display your unique qualities,” she stated.

Impacting society

Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Hit FM, the pioneer private radio station in Cross River State, Mr. Patrick Ugbe said that the Orange Fellowship Programme, which arose from one of its flagship productions ‘The Orange Show’ was designed to impact positively on society through broadcast messaging and physical interactions with the people.

“The Orange Show runs on Hit FM and we have a philosophy as a lifestyle station to take whatever programme we have to the community. I encourage my presenters, my producers and others to come up with events that they can do within the ambit of their shows; that gave rise to the Orange Fellowship Programme as a spin-off from the Orange Show,” he said.

Two of the fellows, Miss Chidimma Ozugbo and Miss Abundance Attauko expressed appreciation to the organizers of the programme for the opportunity to gain life changing knowledge, which has given them the confidence to aspire for greater responsibilities within their immediate communities.

Fulfilling SDGs

In an interview, the convener of the fellowship, Abedmire Adi-Williams said that the programme, which started 3 years ago has trained 60 young women to discover their potentials in areas such as “data driven advocacy, Information and Communication Technology, leadership, sexual and reproductive health and rights, sexual and gender based violence as well as others issues around the Sustainable Development Goals 5, which is gender equality.”

According to her, each year since the inception of the programme, hundreds of young Nigerian women especially those in tertiary institutions have applied to participate in the fellowship and through a rigorous selection process, 20 applicants are accepted as beneficiaries.

The Director of American Corner, Calabar, Mrs. Anne Mesembe said that the corner has collaborated with the fellowship programme to train and educate young girls as well as opened its doors to other agencies with similar interest including the Cross River State Government to educate young people regardless of gender and age.

The Highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of awards and certificates to outstanding fellows and resource persons.