D-ABILITY INITIATIVE PARTICIPATES IN ADOLESCENTS YOUNG PERSONS (AYP) TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP (TWG) AND FAMILY LIFE HEALTH EDUCATION (FLHE) DISSEMINATION WORKSHOP

The Technical Working Group and FLHE Teachers

This programme took place on December 2, 2021. The main purpose of this workshop was to share update(s) of the final copy of the harmonized action plan, to plan for the 2022 International Adolescent Health Week, and to disseminate Family Life Health Education’s (FLHE) findings from some implementations.

The workshop was moderated by Mrs. Mbreba Wokoma, the Desk Officer, Adolescents, and Young Persons Health, Rivers State Ministry of Health.

Some issues that Adolescents face were identified, among which were: 1) Teenage Pregnancy and Abortion. 2) Rise in Cultism 3) Prevalent Drug Abuse among Adolescents. So, how do we mitigate and solve this issue, apart from identifying the challenges? There are implementing partners to ensure these objectives are achieved through the stipulated strategies. One of the strategies agreed on to tackle this menace was parental engagement

We need to have “Parental Engagement” alongside traditional rulers. They can talk to the consciences of their children. And then, work-out strategies to talk to those involved in Cultism (the cultists themselves), so that they don’t attack back. First, we need God and then, we need Parents to be bold. We will help the cult leaders understand what they stand to gain on the other side of life. When they have been convinced, they can help us to sensitize their followers. We need to use the Media (Radio) through regular jingles to sensitize the public. Also, Church/Religious Leaders, we need to talk to them as well. In approaching Cult Leaders, we should address them as “Social Organization Leaders or Youth Leaders”, let’s be subtle in our approach. Most Cult Leaders are violent and arrogant in nature.

Next on the Agenda is “2022 International Adolescent Health Week”; this will happen on the 3rd week of March, 20th – 26th, 2022. Youth Ambassadors will be recruited and the theme is “Transition: Laying Foundation for Adolescent Development”. Plan for screening (HIV/AIDS screening/Mental Health Check) for Adolescents in school and out of school. Carry out activities to create awareness.

The Challenge

It was clear that one of the factors militating against the success of this programme is inadequate facilities. We don’t have enough facilities at the Primary Health Centres, unfortunately, most. Adolescents need confidentiality, they need respect and privacy and with these, you can get any information from them. 23 LGA’s in the State, have two (2) to three (3) Focal Persons and they visit schools, but the linkage facilities are still an issue and it’s challenging. Some of the issues, include; STIs, Post-Abortion issues, etc. In the State, we have over 4000 (plus) Secondary Schools and how many Teachers are taught the FLHE Programme/training. The Primary Health Board is ensuring that facilities in the Health Centres are Adolescent friendly.

Several issues were raised. The FLHE Programme and the needs for Facilities. We will start small, but we will get there. D-Ability Initiative was represented by Dr. Kingdom U. Nwanyanwu.

Campus-Wide Project

 

This project was done in collaboration with the Department of Government and Public Affairs, Gallaudet University, Washington D.C. This project enlightened the entire Gallaudet University campus community and other invited guests on the “Current Status of Deaf Education in Nigeria: Creating A Way Forward.”

In Nigeria, the state of Deaf education has hardly improved over the years, which has resulted in the underdevelopment of the sign languages in use. Some of the problems militating against the proper education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in Nigeria and fueling the embers of stigmatization against them include negative attitudes of many Nigerians toward people with special needs, inadequate government support, lack of equipment, shortage of personnel, late identification of deafness, high levels of illiteracy, and poverty.

Much hope for a rapid development of Deaf communities and Deaf education was raised among deaf learners and deaf educators in the mid 70’s when the federal government assumed the responsibility of running the Schools for the Deaf and to provide basic education for the Nigerian Deaf children. More than four decades after this, the situation remains discouraging and the development of deaf communities and sign language(s) in Nigeria remains gloomy. Deaf education in Nigeria is still far below standard in comparison with deaf education in developed nations.

With Gallaudet Univerity President Roberta Cordano

With Gallaudet University President Roberta Cordano

We seized the opportunity to celebrate and appreciate the work of Andrew Foster for the key role he played in bringing Deaf education to Nigeria. This project also highlighted our plans to reshape Deaf Education in Nigeria.

Appreciation: We are give our heartfelt thanks to: The President, Gallaudet University  President Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano; U.S Department of State (YALI); and IREX. We are grateful to Dr. David Penna (Chair, Department of Government and Public Affairs), Dr, Catherine O’Brien who painstakingly worked with our President on the Project. Her support and guidance cannot be quantified. We thank the Gallaudet University Faculty. We also appreciate the works of the hardworking interpreters       .

D-Ability Rural Outreach (DARO)

Nwala's family demonstrate with DARO looks like

The challenge: Understanding is everything. The importance of understanding the peculiar needs of people with hearing disability cannot be overemphasized. Because of linguistic differences many Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons in Nigeria and other parts of Africa experience marginalization within the circle in which they are supposed to find security- their families. Again many families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing children also stigmatize them by presuming that Deafness is synonymous with inability to learn. They mistake disability for incapability. The potentials of many Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons have been cut short by their families who clip their wings out of misguided concerns for their disability and safety.

Our solution: in our effort to reach the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, promote inclusion, unite families with Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons, as well as support them, we launched this on-going project: the D-Ability Rural Outreach (DARO) Project. This Project provides the opportunity for the hearing family members to understand Deafness and other issues that affect their Deaf and Hard of Hearing family members.

Reaching out to rural areas in search of the families of Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons is a heavy task. It has taken a lot of sacrifices so far and will still do.

Our impact: 38 the Deaf and Hard of Hearing people’s families impacted. Viewpoints about the Deaf are changing, starting from the family circle!

Appreciation: We are grateful to the various families of the Deaf we have so far visited.  They have been friendly. We sincerely thank the Nwala’s family for their support. It’s been awesome. We appreciate our volunteers and supporters. This project is worth every effort.  We are encouraged. We want to do more.

D-SignAbility Project

ASL Learning session

Learners with the Project Lead

Deafness is an aspect of disability. Being Deaf in a developing country comes with many undesirable consequences. Illiteracy is one such.

We carried out D-SignAbility Project to enable some Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons in Rivers State, Nigeria, to learn to communicate using basic American Sign Language (ASL).

Impact: This project helped to reduce the burden of illiteracy among the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as it enhanced the free flow of communication among the Deaf community. 62 Deaf and Hard of Hearing persons reached

Mandela Day of Service

Students participate in selfless service.

Mandela Day of Service: Students participate in selfless service.

Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world, and the ability to make an impact. The day was officially declared by the United Nations in November 2009, with the first UN Mandela Day held on 18 July 2010.

The genesis of this day of service stems from Mandela’s passing on the torch of public service to everyone. “It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all,” he said. Positive change was the gift left to all of us by Nelson Mandela, but it can only become a living legacy if we take up his challenge.  We are all encouraged to emulate the servant leader we loved by becoming servant leaders ourselves.

What we did to make the world a better place.

To mark the Mandela Day of Service for 2018, we held a 2-day event (July 17 and 18) at community secondary school Rumuapara, in Port Harcourt, . This event highlighted and impressed on the mind of the teens the importance of servant leadership, creating social impact, giving back to society, and the need for teens to be more civically-minded. To help them cultivate the spirit of volunteerism, we did some volunteer works for their school. We also planted the ‘Mandela Tree.’ 142 teens reached.

Over the past decade, Mandela Day has enjoyed global support and solidarity as an opportunity to practice commitment to uplifting the dignity of others and as a day to commemorate the lifetime of service Nelson Mandela gave to South Africa and the world. Mandela Day has moved away from an ad hoc, individualized, reactive approach and moved towards a sustainable, long-term, collaborative methodology to address issues affecting our society. The new Mandela Day strategy will primarily encourage collaborative partnerships in the area of active citizenship among others.

Students participate in leadership building session

Students participate in leadership-building session

There are so many ways to make a difference. We did what we are passionate about. The Mandela Day campaign is a celebration of our collective power to create a global movement for good and make a positive impact on the world. Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that

everyone has the power to transform the world, and the ability to make an impact. Mandela Day represents two things, optimism, and hope. There is value in paying it forward. It isn’t about giving but making it easier for someone else who is coming behind us. It’s about asking ourselves what we can do to make things better and thus encouraging a culture of paying it forward.

We sincerely appreciate Mrs. Shulammite Ureh Amannah; Mrs. Amasaba Membere; and Mr. Justice Otto. Their support was awesome. We say a big thank you to the Management, staff, and students of Community Secondary School, Rumuapara, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Their support gave us the courage to do the work.

D-Ability MentorTeens Project

 D-Ability MentorTeens Project session in progressD-Ability  MentorTeens Project  was initiated to help address the many challenges the teenagers are facing. There are many issues affecting teenagers especially in developing countries. These include reproductive health, HIV prevention and care, psychoactive substance abuse, and many others. Reproductive health education is a key strategy for promoting sexual safety among teenagers. The challenge is that there are millions of teens who are uninformed. Many become victims of sexual exploitation and suffer the attendant consequences.

Substance abuse, on the other hand,  refers to the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drug. The rate of psychoactive substance abuse among teenagers in and out of high school in Nigeria is alarming. It can only be understood through direct interaction with the teens by trusted mentors. It is now a major Public Health challenge all over the world, particularly in developing countries. Complications of substance abuse by young people are grave including increased odds of engaging in risky sexual behaviour, personality disorders, sexual violence, criminal tendencies, and drug dependence among others.  Many factors have been identified to be responsible for drug abuse among young people, these include experimental curiosity, peer pressure, poor socioeconomic condition at home, and the need for extra energy for daily activities among others. While many studies have been conducted in Nigeria on substance abuse, the menace of this social anomaly has remained unabated, particularly among the youths.

The burden of substance abuse is still high among students who had not received any formal teaching on the subject. Awareness campaigns on the dangers associated with substance abuse should be intensified in various secondary schools in Nigeria. It is necessary that social media and other channels of communication could be positively engaged in reaching the youths on this subject.

Launched in 2018, this Project has been changing the future of hundreds of teens for the better. It has been leading them on the path to greatness in areas such as reproductive health education; HIV/AIDS prevention and care; psychoactive substance abuse; and many more. It is also designed to equip teens to become mentors to their peers, spreading the word and saving lives.  We have established small hubs known as D-Ability MentorTeens’ Club in 5 secondary/high schools, reaching over 1050 teens in Rivers State, Nigeria.  We are catching them young!

Project: Business Ideas Activation Plan (BIAP)

Some of the participants

Recently, there has been a lot of focus on the role that entrepreneurship can play in the development of emerging and developing economies. Entrepreneurship is one of the drivers of sustainable economic growth, mainly because the new businesses that entrepreneurs create have the potential to drive and shape innovation, speed up structural changes in the economy, and introduce new competition – thereby contributing to productivity.

If properly harnessed, Africa’s youth bulge has the potential to translate into a dividend for the continent through the creation of enterprises that not only contribute toward economic growth but also create jobs for their fellow youth. Africa’s youth bulge is an opportunity, but only if it is leveraged for all it has to offer. Instead of expecting youth to be recipients of the results of economic growth, Africa’s youth need to be in the driving seat, initiating and creating that growth through entrepreneurship.

Despite the presence of a number of entrepreneurship hubs, many African countries do not have thriving support ecosystems that facilitate youth entrepreneurship. More intense efforts are required to bridge this gap, making existing support services from ‘entrepreneurship hubs’ and other service providers accessible to entrepreneurs in countries with less-developed support ecosystems.

While a significant number of resources exist to support youth entrepreneurship in Africa, there are still considerable gaps, with many youths lacking the support they need to either create or grow a business. There is no dedicated one-stop solution that caters to the needs of entrepreneurs across the continent, providing support to the entire spectrum of entrepreneurship sectors and stages of growth.

Some of the Project facilitators

Some of the Project facilitators

 

November 12, 2018, remains a day to remember. In collaboration with Dekiruyo Africa, we impacted 44 youth with in-depth presentations on business ideas, activation plans, and how to leverage information and communication technology and social media for business growth, expansion, and international reach.  Participants were also exposed to many leadership opportunities they could take advantage of as social change agents.

We are grateful to all our amazing facilitators who generously shared the result of their many years of hard work and expertise with the participants. It was awesome collaborating with Dekiruyo Africa.  We keep building capacity, enhancing growth, and encouraging social impact.