BY PHILIP NWOSU
The Big Sister Programme, an initiative of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), kicked-off at nine schools in Eti-Osa and Mainland Local Government Areas of Lagos State. The programme, targeted at teenage girls in public schools was specially created as part of events to celebrate the 15th anniversary of WIMBIZ.
According to Aishah Ahmad, Chairperson, Executive Council, WIMBIZ, the programme was initiated as part of programmes to mark the 15th anniversary of the organisation, and it is aimed at inspiring and empowering young women and to create an avenue for women in the network to give back and mentor the younger generation.
She explained that , “WIMBIZ intends to remain at the forefront of providing the much needed guidance for young girls, ensuring they build the leadership, personal skills and inner confidence to dream big and contribute to the society at large.”
It is gathered that the program will empower over 1500 young girls across three states of the federation with critical life skills with a view to boosting their confidence and building their leadership capacity; thereby preparing them for higher education and life after secondary school.
‘Big Sisters’ are accomplished women from diverse backgrounds in the WIMBIZ network who have volunteered to be ‘mentors for a day’ and assigned to the various schools to deliver a customized curriculum which includes sessions on key issues teenagers face as they grow into young adulthood, including confidence building, financial literacy, goal setting, personal grooming, peer pressure. Classes designed to be extremely interactive and featured games as well as group exercises at which the Big Sisters were given prior training. Exceptional participants from the programme would also be selected for further leadership training.
Expressing satisfaction with the first phase of the Lagos edition of the programme which held recently at nine schools including Wahab Folawiyo Senior High School, Aiyetoro Senior High School, Government Senior High School, Maroko, Birrel Avenue Senior High School and five others, Ahmad stated that ‘it was inspiring to see how intelligent, energetic and eager to learn the girls were. The mentors were unanimous in their praise for these young bright stars who were clearly engaged; the sessions undoubtedly resonated with the participants’
Aiming to reach at least 800 students in Lagos State alone, the Big Sister Program would be held at 19 schools across three local governments – Eti-Osa, Mainland and Surulere. Ahmad expressed gratitude to Lagos State Government for lending support to the program, stating that ‘WIMBZ is committed to creating meaningful collaborations and building effective partnerships with the public sector to ensure that our mutual gender parity objectives are achieved. In this respect, we are eternally grateful to the Deputy Governor, Lagos State, Her Excellency, Dr. Idiat Adebule for her strong support and commitment to this programme; the District Heads for Education Districts III & IV and their teams were also key partners from conception to execution, the principals and teachers for their roles in grooming these talented children.
The next phase of the Lagos edition of the Big Sister program will see 350 girls in 10 schools in the Surulere local government undergo the programme and is expected to be conclude with a closing ceremony on June 14, 2016 at Wesley Senior Girls Secondary School.
In addition to the Big Sister program, WIMBIZ has lined up several other initiatives designed to actively fund and promote education of the girl-child, foster interactions between women and provide support for underserved women and girls as part of its 15th anniversary cele