A movement established to empower teenage girls in Nigeria, SKY Girls, has been launched in Lagos.
Hosted by Alex Unusual and Amiola Aguda, the unveiling event, which held recently at Ndubisi Kanu Park, Alausa, Lagos, had in attendance dignitaries like the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo.
At the event, SKY Girls Nigeria had the opportunity to share with the teenagers its catchphrase: “Be True To Yourself”, which is anchored on the susceptibility of teenage girls to bow to peer pressure.
Shedding light on the vision of SKY Girls, Adenike Odutola, General Manager, Operations, 7even Interactive for SKY Girls, said it is fuelled by the desire to reduce the habit of tobacco smoking amongst adolescent girls, by reaching them through multiple online and offline channels including magazines, social media, radio/TV shows, feature-length films, school clubs and community events.
“Within this platform and through role models, SKY integrates tobacco messaging in such a way as to make ‘No Smoking’ the aspirational choice. In addition, SKY Nigeria seeks to increase the financial inclusion of teenage girls and young women. This will include messaging around financial decision-making, education and knowledge, as well as improve the girls and their families’ future life skills,” she stated.
Odutola explained further: “What SKY Girls is really offering Nigerian teen girls is a community of like-minded youngsters who are becoming more confident in making positive and healthy life choices. We have adopted a for-girls-by-girls model, which amplifies girls’ own voices and provides peer-to-peer support. With this model, they get to see that they are not alone and that their voices matter. For many of them, this will be the start of developing their future ambitions, but it will most certainly be a journey to finding and loving themselves for who they really are.”
The young ladies were treated to a variety of interactive activities including musical performance by Ijo Labalaba crooner, Crayon, photo opportunities, art making, face painting, karaoke, dance, writing competition and pep talks that encourage them to stay away from bullying, gossiping and smoking.
While taking the pledge, Alex Unusual urged the attendees to believe in themselves, as they actively follow their dreams notwithstanding the challenges they might encounter along the way, due to peer pressure.
“Your strongest weapon is your youth. You can practically be whatever you desire because time is on your hands, and the future belongs to you. Don’t give anyone the power to make you uncomfortable with who you are. You are beautiful, strong and capable,” he said.
Funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, SKY Girls was launched in Botswana in 2014, and it’s now active in Ghana, Kenya, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia and Nigeria.