Kwavi Agbeyegbe is a reputable dietician and a weight loss expert based in United States. She graduated with a degree in Information and Technology at the University of West London and went further to obtain a Master’s in Medical Informatics at a university in Boston, USA.
Today, Kwavi has gained reputation for helping women lose weight and live a healthy life that fits into their schedule and lifestyle. She is also passionate about sexual assault because there is very little help for rape victims in Lagos and its environs.
Driven by her passion to raise awareness about the increasing incidence of rape and also provide support for the victims, Agbeyegbe initiated an online campaign, #MiraclesForMirabel, to help Mirabel Centre, a sexual assault referral centre (SARC) based in Lagos.
In this interview, she sheds more light on her upcoming event tagged, The Kwavithon 5K, which will take place in Lagos on Saturday, November 11, to create awareness about the prevalence of rape in our country.
By Kate Halim
How have you fared as a dietician and weight loss expert?
Health and wellness education is a passion of mine. The business has its ups and downs with more ups than downs; however it’s so fulfilling. As a certified weight loss and lifestyle coach, I love the amazing opportunity to help women find a way to lose weight and live a healthy life that fits into their schedule and lifestyle.
What are some of the issues that prevent people from losing weight easily?
They want to lose it overnight. The weight wasn’t gained overnight and cannot be lost overnight. An important aspect of losing weight is the journey. Learning how to make new choices, learning about your relationship with food and most importantly creating a loving relationship with yourself regardless of how you feel about your body right now.
Why are you so passionate about women and the girl child in terms of sexual assault?
I’m very passionate because there is very little help for those affected by sexual assault in Lagos and its environs. Most times, they don’t even say anything, so for those that are courageous to speak up, I feel we need to support them in the best way we can. Also many victims of sexual assault end up being adversely affected in different ways if they do not receive the support and emotional encouragement they deserve.
What can government do to reduce cases of rape and sexual assault against women and young girls?
The government can create collaboration between the law enforcement and judicial systems on a national level, so that when laws are created, they can be enforced. It’s not enough to create laws that cannot be enforced. This will help in so many ways to reduce the incidence of rape and sexual assault because if found guilty of sexual assault or sexual violence towards any individual they will be held accountable.
There should be a special law with stiffer penalties for those found guilty of sexual assault or rape of minors that is those under the age of 18. Currently, over 70 per cent of those that come to the Mirabel Centre are under the age of 18.
What structures should be put in place by all stakeholders to protect the girl child from rape?
First, there should be legislation, then the judicial aspect, and then law enforcement and families. These four have the power to protect children from rape. I have used the word children because some of the cases seen at Mirabel are boys that have been raped. Working together they can start the work to protect children from rape.
What other steps are you taking in this regard?
I have created the online campaign, #MiraclesForMirabel, to help the Mirabel Centre. The Kwavithon 5K event will take place in Lagos on Saturday November 11th to help support that campaign by providing a platform to bring awareness of the prevalence of rape in the community and open up the conversation on what we can do to reduce the incidence of rape and sexual assault in our society. The 2nd Annual Kwavithon 5K will be led by Honorable Desmond Elliott. The goal is to create awareness. Awareness creates change, you tell one person, they tell another, using social media, word-of-mouth and other methods and before you know it a movement has been created.
Everyone around the world has a vested interest in the sexual assault and rape dialogue. Everyone has one or more of the following – a mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, wife, aunt or female friends.
Concerned men and women can join by walking or running the Kwavithon 5k on Saturday, November 11, to support the #MiraclesForMirabel campaign. Let’s join together to do our part to create miracles for Mirabel.
What are some of the challenges you face trying to make this event a success?
One of the challenges I have encountered trying to raise awareness for rape victims is publicity. The second one is getting the word out.
Have you ever felt discouraged given the many cases of rape being reported daily in Nigeria?
Yes, I do feel discouraged but I don’t let that stop me from continuing. We can’t stop; the children need our help. They don’t have a voice. The campaign #MiraclesForMirabel is the voice for those affected by sexual assault and rape.
What kind of future do you see for the girl-child in Nigeria?
An environment that is supportive of the girl-child especially in the area of education. Education has the power to impact the girl-child and empower her for life. Educating the girl-child not only benefits the child but the nation as a whole.
What new things do you want to achieve with this year’s awareness walk?
The founder of the Mirabel Center, Mrs Itoro Eze-Anaba will be in attendance and share with us information about the centre and how we can all do our part to create miracles for Mirabel. Together we can make a difference, by re-tweeting the hashtag (#MiraclesForMirabel). We all need to do our part.
Can you tell us more about yourself?
I spent the first few years of my life in England and moved to Nigeria with my parents and two brothers when I was eight years old. I attended Emotan Primary School in Benin City for a few years, and then went on to Federal Government Girls’ College, Owerri, for secondary school.
I then went on to attend the University of West London and graduated with a degree in Information Technology. After graduation from university, I moved to Boston, USA for work and worked with various technology companies. I decided to go back to school to pursue a Master’s degree programme and combined two my loves (information technology and healthcare) to obtain a Master’s in Medical Informatics. My capstone project involved using social media to help diabetic patients monitor their eating habits and sugar levels. I was fascinated with how it worked and the potential and decided to start my own company helping women lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.