VOF WEEK 2: Finding MY VOICE
Surviving a near death experience as a teenager in the year 2000 religious crisis in northern Nigeria and seeing my parents struggle to see us through our education which they believed would give us an edge for a better life has rekindled in me a sense of responsibility for my society.
Studying a language course at the university led me to discover the power of words and the media to change the world. I ventured into campus journalism and I have written feature stories about girls that are breaking out of the stereotypical thinking of the society and leading in business, politics and academics. I have had cause to do investigative reports on sexual harassment and also write on women’s participation in politics. What I find interesting about seeing my story published in a national newspaper is the ability for my voice to be heard even in places where I lest envisaged. One of the touching responses I got was from a girl who said I have shown her that one does not need to use ‘big grammar’ before they can lend their voice. This is the message I want to preach that women can make their voices heard by acts of courage that defiles conventional thinking. And that man themselves can see that ‘these girls mean business’!
For me, journalism is a call to social responsibility. No one can tell the stories of women like we ourselves. This is an area where I find the opportunity provided by World Pulse to be optimal and apt at this time of digital communication which has the ability to break the barrier of distance by opening up new frontiers. I can relate to the story of World Pulse because of the connection of courage. It was this type of courage that prompted me to collaborate with my fellowship at the university to organize a two days outreach at Famia village in Osun state where we distributed relief materials, drugs and provided counseling services. This particular experience opened my eyes to the need to empower rural women, especially in the area of reproductive health. It was also courage that enabled me to do a research on my campus on the reasons why many girls do not often hold tangible positions in students’ parliaments. The story titled ‘Beauty and the Ballot’, published by The Nation Newspaper, Nigeria won me the Campus Life politics reporter. Now that I am out of the university, I am pursuing an internship programme where I offer services for gratis all because I want to be a voice on how governance and policy, terrorism, climate change and environmental issues affect women.
With World Pulse, I find a ground for collaboration; one that encourages me to go out and speak for the inarticulate and the submerged. World Pulse is where I find my voice.