In this interview with KebbiDailyNews Correspondent, Thompson Ekemini, the two-times ONE Ambassador and Founder Girls’ Health & Education Foundation, Benedicta Uweru bares her mind on several issues including girl-child education and her journey, growing up.
Tell us about yourself.
I am Pharmacist Benedicta Uweru, serving corp member in Kebbi – a Young African Leader who believes she has a seat at the table of world leadership. I am committed to community development, impacting others while I build my capacity. Married to a very supportive husband – Apuamah Azuka Fredrick – so you can call me “Amarya”.
Tell us about your organization.
I am the founder, Girls’ Health & Education Foundation. Our objective, among others, is to develop with cutting edge & creative approaches public awareness and social media campaigns to give visibility to the advocacies in these thematic areas: teenage pregnancy, menstrual hygiene, girl-child education. We carry out campaigns online & offline to advance this course.
What are your key achievements?
As an individual: Having mentored young girls who are now doing amazing things in their communities; written impactful books, and articles; Being a two-time ONE Champion with ONE in Nigeria, representing ONE in Africa at the ONE Youth Summit in Brussels, 2017. I attended the Africa Youth Connekt in Kigali Rwanda, representing Nigeria at the WYSE International Leadership Program in Brazil, January 2019; Being the Chairperson at the Tanzania International Model UN Conference, May 2019 amongst others.
As an Organization: Organizing campaigns in communities in Delta & Edo State engaging thousands of teenagers, community leaders, government officials, parents etc. Example of those projects include:Campaign Against Teenage Pregnancy (Engaged 300 teenagers), Advocacy Against Teenage Pregnancy using Stephanie Linus’ movie “Dry” (Engaged over 1000 teenagers), A Love Letter to Myself (February 14th Concept) where we distributed sanitary pad to girls in community schools reaching out to over 3,000 girls. This is to mention but a few.
It is important to note that my individual key achievements are as a result of the work we do with our organization.
What inspired you to start your organization?
( Full story here: https://youtu.be/-T7YRH1crsk) I grew up in a community where girls didn’t have much to look up to, teenage pregnancy was on the high side. I was privileged to attend an all girls boarding school in Warri where I got closer to observing challenges facing the girl child. So after my University education I started community development projects to impact teenage girls in my community
What is different about your Programs?
Creativity! The world is changing fast and its expedient we change with it if we must be able to impact people in it. Teenagers and everyone else today have very short attention span, if teenagers/youths aren’t engaged in your projects, you won’t produce result. We applied this to one of our projects, Advocacy Against Teenage Pregnancy, we made it a film show (Using Stephanie Linus’ movie “Dry”), then Q&A sessions and the impact was huge.
Tell us a little about your team:
My team consists of very energetic and industrious young people who believe that “we rise by raising & building others”.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey:
My team and I used to ‘task’ ourselves in addition to meager donations to do projects especially distribution of sanitary pad to girls in rural communities, although we did get Angel Pad from Lagos sponsor our project with samples of their products. We thought about a sustainable plan & a system with which we can support our project with or without donations. So that is what we’re working on.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your organization?
I look forward to a time where our organization would be so successful that we’d be funding local & international projects, impacting not just communities in Nigeria but globally, that we’d have a brand that even the UN would want to identify with.
What gives you the most satisfaction as a Pharmacist?
I am excited about the fact that I’m treading a ground that is uncommon to my colleagues. I’m proud to be a Pharmacist & I’d definitely keep the flag flying, showing the younger Pharmacists (including Pharmacy students) that the rigorous training we go through in school leaves you to an unlimited practice opportunity. Being in the community, clinic or industry is NOT all you can do as a Pharmacist.
What’s the biggest advice you can give to other women looking to start up?
Go for information, work hard, don’t expect to cut corners because you have a beautiful face, give your best to your work. Success has NO gender, work hard, pray hard, trust God, develop yourself continually & watch the whole world stand at attention at your result.