The Local2Global (L2G) Project team of Whispering Hope Africa Initiative (WHAI) continues the dialogues and discussion with the stakeholders in Ayamelum LGA, who are the driving force of the success of the project.

About 70 stakeholders from both Igbakwu and Omor communities including their President Generals (PGs) and the the traditional ruler of Omor, Igwe Chidume Oranu were present to re identify the key issues leading to school drop out and girl-child marriage; and to look into the key interventions proposed by WHAI through the L2G project and Girls Lead Club in both communities.

The discussions and dialogue facilitated ideas that will promote girls education and empowerment. The stakeholders' willingness, support and commitment to the implementation of the L2G project intervention plans were secured.

Chinyere Ezinwa, WHAI project team member played the audio message from one of the daughters of Igbakwu who is victim of child marriage for the listening of all present. In her audio message, she highlighted the challenges she faced as a result of being forced into early marriage. She stressed out the avalue of enrolling a girl-child in school, and encouraged the parents to train their girls.

The audio mesage kickstarted the discussions and Mr. Oyibo affirmed it is good to train a girl-child in school because it brings about development in the community and as well breaks the cycle of poverty in families which counts as one of the reasons why girls are not in school.

The teacher from Migrant Farmers School ( Nweke Fidelis) reminded the other stakeholders that more need to be done to strengthen the parents' mindset so as to stop sending their girls to farm only rather to school. He also asks we find ways through which the project will reach the most vulnerable in the community.

The Executive Director, WHAI spoke on the Girls Lead Club been a safe space for young girls to thrive, hence the stakeholders' commitment and motivation will be the major driving force for the success of the project.

It is expected that at the end of this project, parents will accept to educate their girl-child; community members resolve to report cases of GBV, school drop out, child marriage and community leaders concerned take legal actions against perpetrators while the mentorship and counselling will be facilitated by WHAI Africa.

The traditional ruler, Igwe Omor noted that early-child marriage is on the increase as a result of poverty and parents' mindset which the community is working on to address. He thanked WHAI Africa for bringing the project in his community and assured his strong support for the project.

The PG of Igbakwu thanked WHAI Africa on the good works and promise to organize a campaign to create awareness in the community, and sensitize the people on the harmful effects of early marriage and importance of keeping girls in school.

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By Uchechukwu Enem

The Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Vincent Okpala during the Breast Cancer Week has promised to collaborate with Girls Lead Club initiated by Whispering Hope Africa Initiative (WHAI).

He made this state during a courtesy visit led by the Executive Director of WHAI, Nkechi Udegboka with other team members including the current Miss Nigeria, Beauty Etsanyi Tukura on 14th October 2020 at his office.

While welcoming the team, the Commissioner for Health said that the Ministry was working hard to educate young girls and women on the need to enhance their personal hygiene by proffering better ways to sensitize them on health education and personal development.

He added that the Breast Cancer Awareness was another opportunity the Ministry were using to reach out to women in the society. He said that the Ministry has a school health programme which was in the same vision with the Girls Lead Club.

He thanked the team for the Girls Lead Club Initiative; adding that it was important for women to know about their personal growth and development. In a special way, he thanked the WHAI's team for aligning to work with the girl child. He said that the WHAI's girls lead club was a noble project that would impact the society greatly.

"The Girls Lead Club is a good idea. If we raise a girl well, we raise a nation. This is why it is important for girls to understand their mental, emotional and physical well being" he added

In her remarks, the 43rd Miss Nigeria, Beauty Tukura said that the Girls Lead Club was a platform to get young girls involved and to make them educationally stable. She added that the club was aimed at grooming girls especially the vulnerable and establishing them so that they can teach others even without the physical presence of their mentors. The club was aimed at reaching the 36 States in Nigeria and pleaded for support and collaboration.

"It is our dream of reaching the 36 States in Nigeria with the core aim of targeting vulnerable girls because they do not understand basic essential things as a female child. There are basic things they should know and there is a lot of work to do in their personal development which does not exclude their health development" Miss Nigeria added.

The Executive Director, Whispering Hope Africa Initiative (WHAI), said that the team started working with people living with HIV/ AIDS in remote areas. She said that the observations and researches made in some remote communities in Anambra revealed that some young girls were dropping out of school and getting married; which was the driving force to the birth of the Girls Lead Club.

Photo credit: Uchechukwu Enem

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On arrival to Anambra state state, the first point of call of Miss Nigeria was at the state Broadcasting Service (ABS), where she and the Executive Director, WHAI, who attracted her to the state, was placed on a live interview on both radio and TV.

During the live interview which was also streamed online, Miss Nigeria stated why she is in Anambra to launch the Girls Lead Club, her vision for the girl child and what she has been doing in regards to advocating for them. The ED, Nkechi explained the reason for the establishment of the club and why is been cited in a remote like Ayamelum and not in the state capital Awka, Nnewi or Onitsha. She also gave a breakdown of the event and expectations of the beneficiaries.

After the live interview on her mission in Anambra state, Miss Nigeria was taken to another studio for a personal interview about the Miss Nigeria Pageant and her vision. Meanwhile, she is a lawyer from Taraba state.

The CEO of ABS, Nze Uche Nworah welcomed her to Anambra state, that Anambra is a light of the nation. The staff and all present had a photo shoot with Miss Nigeria.

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