By: g9ija,lagos

A non-governmental organisation, Every Child Matters Africa (ECMA), hosted a number of secondary schoolgirls in Ibadan to a mentoring session through the use of a board game called the Child’s Rights Awareness Game (CRAG).

The founder of the organization, Olamide Akin-Alabi, while appreciating the organizations that supported the event, noted that this was the first game-inspired mentoring session in Nigeria. This maiden edition of the event, themed ‘Next Generation Girls – Lean In’, was in commemoration of the International Day of the Girl-Child.

Akin-Alabi said CRAG is a fun and interactive tool for empowering and teaching children and young people about their rights to protect them from sexual abuse, bullying, child marriage, discrimination amongst others.

“The novel GRAG game was developed to facilitate awareness and ignite topical and interactive conversations among players, while serving as a form of entertainment,” she added.

She described the girls at the event as power girls, who can achieve great feats.

A total of 30 girls from six schools across Ibadan were present the event. The schools were Victorious Bright Star Group of Schools, Oritamefa Baptist Model School, Oba Abass Aleshinloye Grammar School, Deril Academy, His Heritage Home, and The Destiny Trust.

Akin-Alabi stated that the mentors at the event were carefully selected based on their pedigrees and that they have influenced her life in positive ways.

“These mentors have motivational stories to share with us,” she said. “Stories have a way of changing our lives, of creating memories.”

The mentors − who were all women, from across all walks of life − were: founder, Muazu Africa, Tolulope Makinwa; director, Large Heart Foundation, Dr Sade Adedoyin; Group General Manager, Academy Suites and Resource, Olajumoke Caxton-Martins; teen advocate and radio host, Tolu Adisa; award-winning broadcaster and author, Ronke Giwa-Onafuwa; lead loach, Becoming You Academy, Aderonke Ojumu; director, His Heritage Home, Temiloluwa Moronkeji; and lead consultant, Purplebloom Publishers, Adejoke Oyekan.

The mentors generally spoke about the challenges they have faced in their lives and careers, and how they were able to overcome them. Some of them also spoke about their childhood experiences, and how such experiences influenced their work.

During the board game session, the girls were paired with the mentors for further mentorship and conversations. The girls were encouraged to embrace hard-work, patience, term work, positive virtues, good self-esteem, among others.

The schoolgirls described the mentorship session and their mentors as inspiring and life changing. They urged the organizers to continue to motivate young girls through the programme. Some of them promised to keep in touch with their mentors.

At the event, prizes were given to the girls for partaking in an essay competition organized by the organization. The prize – The Mariam Olafuyi Award for Next Generation Leaders – was instituted by ECMA and given “in recognition of a laudable display of excellence.”

Poet and founder of The Black’s Girl Dream Initiative, Karimot Odebode, anchored the award session. She noted that the girls general did well in the essay writing competition, and encouraged them to continue to collaborate and celebrate one another.

Olalade Onigbinde came first in the competition, Tamunobelema Brown came second, while Precious Odusola came third.

According to Akin-Alabi, the organizations that supported the event were: The American Corner Ibadan, Narrative 4, Beyond the Classroom Foundation, Purple bloom Publishers, The Black Girl’s Dream Initiative, Straight gate Printing, and Voices and Faces.