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Action Health Incorporated

GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN INVENTING: TWENTY TRUE STORIES ABOUT INVENTORS PLUS HOW YOU CAN BE ONE YOURSELF Frances A. Karnes & Suzanne M. Bean When you have an idea, go for it! Work with it, and be persistent. By inventing something, you help to make the world a better place. In “Girls And Young Women Inventing: Twenty True Stories About Inventors Plus How You Can Be One Yourself” you’ll meet Jana, Stefanie, and 18 more young inventors. Most have won prizes for their inventions: some have even obtained patents. As you read their inspiring stories, you may decide to be an inventor too, but even if you don’t, you will learn to think more creatively.

The materials listed here are resources on adolescent development. Although AHI does not distribute any of these materials, they are available for use within our reference library at the AHI Youth Centre located at 17 Lawal Street, Off Oweh Street, Jibowu, Lagos. BOOKS THE SCIENCE BOOK FOR GIRLS AND OTHER INTELLIGENT BEINGS Valerie Wyatt As a child, author Valerie Wyatt dreamed of being a marine biologist, but life had other plans for her. Today she is a science writer and editor whose wish is to see more girls stick with their dreams of becoming scientists. She created “The Science Book For Girls and Other Intelligent Beings” to give girls aged eight to 12 a positive look at science and careers in science. The book inspires young people to explore the science of every day life and to try their hands at being a chemist, biologist, physicist, geologist or whatever. YOUTH BUILD STORIES OF TRANSFORMATION This report presents impressive stories of ordinary day youths who transformed themselves into

achievers by discovering their skills and talents. The stories of the 12 young people are inspiring, motivating and would provide hope for many youth that believe they have nothing to offer themselves and others. It’s a useful resource for individuals, youth groups and organizations who desire to help young people to develop their potentials.


March 2004 Vol. 12 No. 1







ENTREPRENEURSHIP: HOW TO START AND OPERATE A SMALL BUSINESS Steve Mariotti This book is a hands-on, activitypacked primer on how to start and operate a small business. By the time you have finished working with it, you will have negotiated with a wholesaler, opened a bank account, registered your own business, designed your own flyers and business cards and sold your products at an open market (trade fair). The business skills you will learn from the book will greatly improve your ability to survive and succeed.

St. Valentine’s Day Celebration pg 7 African Congress for the Advancement of Sexual Health and Rights pg 8

Growing Up is published quarterly in Lagos, Nigeria by Action Health Incorporated (AHI). AHI is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation dedicated to the promotion of adolescent health and development. We serve as an advocate and a catalyst for change in the present poor status of adolescents’ well-being by increasing public awareness and implementing innovative education, healthcare and youth development programmes. Trustees Dr. Adebunmi Odiakosa Rev. (Dr.) Chris Omeben Dr. Adebola Okoisor Dr. Uwem U. Esiet Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi Mr. Olu Lutherking Mrs. 'Nike O. Esiet PRODUCTION TEAM Editor-in-Chief ‘Nike O. Esiet Editor

A young person expressing artistic skill through painting

Bunmi Adeniyi Contributing Writers Feyi Fowowe Moji Onifade Nelly Onwordi Page Design Action Health Incorporated Eyioga-Ideal Arts and Graphics 08033357492 Articles may be quoted or reprinted from Growing Up provided credit is given to AHI. Unless otherwise stated, the views expressed in this issue are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of AHI or any of its donor organisations. Cover Photo: Folarin Abidemi AHI’s Youth Centre is located at 17 Lawal Street, Off Oweh Street, Jibowu, Lagos, Nigeria. All correspondence should be addressed to: The Editor, Growing Up, Action Health Incorporated, P.O. Box 803, Yaba-Lagos. Tel: 01-774-3745 E-mail: Website: http/ This edition of Growing Up is produced with support from The MacArthur Foundation, Population Programme, Chicago, Illinois. Printed by FINE PRINT LTD. Tel: 4979275

Have you ever pondered on how creative you could be? Do you see in yourself an ability to bring into existence something unique that can make your world or community a better place? Do you recognize in yourself potentials that could turn you into a hero or heroine like Walt Disney, Quincy Jones, Wole Soyinka, Patrick Utomi, Joke Silver, Lagbaja, Sunny Ade, Bill Gates and other famous achievers? Well, if you haven’t its not too late because you just might be the next person to be listed on the hall of fame. Every human being has the potential to be creative. Everyone has an innate ability to cause to exist, bring into being, originate, give birth to, bring about, produce, be first to portray and give character to a role or part, generate, invent, compose and conceive. Our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. All it takes is an ability to generate interestingly new and unusual ideas and solutions to everyday problems and challenges. Being creative involves seeing the same thing as everybody else but thinking of something different. It involves the translation of unique gifts, talents and vision into an external reality that is new and useful. The power of creative thinking can be used to magically find new ideas as well as solutions to any challenge. With a high level of creativity, one does not see problems but regards all problems as challenges leading to opportunities. Opportunities when properly harnessed are the pathway to success. HOW CAN I TELL IF I AM CREATIVE? If you have ever generated a useful response to a problem or challenge, then congratulate yourself for being creative. Not only does the creative person think of good ideas, but he/she can think of many ideas, explore them and utilize them. Creative people seem to be able to tune in more to their thought patterns and generate great ideas. They have abilities required for the creative act and are motivated to complete the act. They identify opportunities in their environment that can showcase their creative abilities. The good news is, creative ability can be learned, improved upon and increased over time. As a young person, you possess several talents and it is left to you to find and make use of them. These potentials vary- some may come as ability in acting, music,

March 2004 p/2

Talents need to be explored

dance, writing, inventing or creating something, verbal communication and art. Whatever it is, as adolescents, we have the opportunity to express our individuality through unique creative characteristics or skills, which may be as simple as whistling with the mouth, beating drums with the palms and such other seemingly easy things. STEPS TOWARDS CREATIVITY Clearly Define The Challenge: Take a sheet of paper and define your challenges in detail. You’ll probably find ideas coming up once you’ve done this. Go for a walk or exercise if you can’t think. A change of atmosphere is good for you and gentle exercise helps shake up the brain cells. Determine the objectives, the context, resources and constraints. Question and clarify these. Set A Measurable Goal: For instance decide to come up with an original solution for a problem within 2 weeks.

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Set Up A Criteria To Determine Whether You Are Reaching Your Goal: Ask yourself if the ideas are novel and useful in that particular context and useful. Do they solve the problem or meet the challenge? Are they implemented within an appropriate time frame and budget? Read And Learn About Creativity Techniques: Such information can be gathered from books, conferences and workshops, software products and the internet. Evaluate Ideas: Record what aspects of ideas are good and what aspects appear irrelevant or are not feasible, especially in view of identified constraints. Keep all ideas, but prioritize on grounds of relevance and feasibility. Manipulate Ideas: Change the parameters, attributes, and assumptions. Look at ideas from other perspectives and in other contexts. Perhaps an idea would be good for a related activity or in a different context? Consider all options. Think about the challenge, and then forget about it for a while. A few days later when you are relaxed and free from interruptions, have another go at the challenge. Repeat this process to build upon previous ideas. Ask other people for their views, including those outside the context of your working environment. Other perspectives can be quite revealing and helpful. Learn From A Mentor: Spend time with people who you believe are creative and ask them how they do it. Learn the skills of creativity as every opportunity presents itself and find environments that support creative behaviour. Creativity is increased by acknowledging that it exists and by nurturing it. TIPS FOR BOOSTING CREATIVITY

What do people need to learn (and do) in order to enhance their individual and collective creative competencies? See Yourself As A Creative Person: The first step to improving your creativity is understanding and accepting the fact that you are a creative person, and that you are capable of being even more creative — you can improve your creativity with practice and concentration, but you must first believe in your ability to be creative. Listen To Your Intuition: To become more creative you must nurture and learn to listen to your inner ‘voice’ or intuition. When involved in a pursuit requiring creative solution, be open to a wide variety of possible solutions. Be aware of your own personality and belief limitations that might blind you to possible solutions; know yourself well. Don’t be afraid of failing with any given avenue of exploration; even a negative result from one line of questioning can lead to a new idea or new possibility. Brainstorm: If properly carried out, brainstorming can help you not only come up with sacks full of new ideas, but also can help you decide which is best. Always carry a small notebook and a pen or pencil around with you. That way, if you are struck by an idea, you can quickly note it down. Upon rereading your notes, you may discover about 90 percent of your ideas are daft. Don’t worry, that’s normal. What is important is the 10% that turns out brilliant. Learn To Recognize Your Own Abilities: You should recognize some areas of a problem that you may have difficulty with. Sometimes tackling the difficult areas first is wise so that your energies are high; other times, leaving the less understood problems until later in the process will allow you time to come up with solutions.

Practice Thinking Processes: Learn to discipline your mind to create many possible solutions to a problem. Brainstorm ideas and be open to many avenues of solution. You must also be aware that at some point in the creative process you must begin to sort through these various ideas, evaluate their usefulness to the problem at hand, and arrive at a solution. Do not be distressed if you must discard what seems to be a good idea or solution due to the constraints of the current problem or project. Save those ideas for another project.

DISEASES Diseases! Who needs it? Sometimes when it comes, it never ceases Who gives it? It is the one who has its pieces and can be shared to those who adhere to whatever he wishes It is better for you to be the one he misses Than to be the one he kisses Because he will leave you to do things unconsciously In order for you to be unconscious of his entry Better for you to be conscious at all times By playing safe through careful living If you take heed to my advice you will be blessed with good health & riches Because it is he whom God loves that he teaches.

Use Unlikely Resources: Did you ever consider the dictionary as a possible source of creative ideas? If not, anytime you are stuck for an idea, open a dictionary, randomly select a word and then try to formulate ideas incorporating this word. You’d be surprised how well this works. The concept is based on a simple but little known truth; freedom inhibits creativity. There are nothing like restrictions to get you thinking. Expand Your Horizon Through Reading: Read as much as you can about everything possible. Books exercise your brain, provide inspiration and fill you with information that allows you to make creative connections easily. Brains, like bodies, need exercise to keep fit. If you don’t exercise your brain, it will get flabby and useless. Apart from reading, you can also exercise your brain by talking to intelligent people. Keep A Daily Journal: Record your thoughts, ideas, sketches, etc. as soon as you get them. Review your journal regularly and see what ideas can be developed. Engage In Relaxation Activities And Sports: This gives the mind a rest and time for the subconscious to digest information. Develop An Interest In A Variety Of Different Things: For example, read comic books or magazines you wouldn’t normally get. This keeps the brain busy with new things. It is a common trait of creative people that they are interested in a wide variety of subjects. It really helps to think of creativity as a skill or set of skills. By practicing, one can get better at using them. So whenever you have a chance, try and do routine things, and in different creative ways - it will make them more entertaining and you will get more used to expressing your abilities.

-Okafor Emmanuel Lagos


If trust is life’s essence Living is then best done in trust A time to enjoy trust Is the time to live There is always a time When the trust in you Experiences an unavoidable test Then must it remain unshaken To stand the test of time Even though it be like your hands Are tied with heavy chains While you are drowning In the deep blue sea Or just dying instalmentally Trust must you treasure even with The last drop of your blood Take heed lest a trust In you be counted misplaced For you may have to dance Not joyfully but willy-nilly To the dictates of the ‘MISPLACED TRUST’

REFERENCES: 1. Creativity And Personality Type: Tools For Understanding And Inspiring The Many Voices Of Creativity By Marci Segal 2. The World Artist Directory – The Creative Mind

- Ogunnaiya Ayokunmi B. Lagos.

Creativity and talent can be expressed in several ways

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WHY ME? As each minute goes by Hours become a day and things begin to move fast From infancy to childhood Childhood to youth Growing Up without knowledge Why me? Not to have knowledge Why me? Not to see anybody to talk with Why me? Becoming powerless with nothing to face future challenges Why am I left alone? To empower myself? My parents do not have the time for me Dad-leaves home early in the morning Comes back home at late hours Mum-she travels from Dubai to Cotonou to London Knowing all nooks and crannies of the world of business Tell them to educate the Youth Its for them to empower the youth Socially, academically and economically Create time to talk to the youths For them to be empowered not to say: Why Me! When future challenges knock - Michael Adebayo Ajayi Lagos


A friend is someone who accepts you even if you are the worst of creatures A friend is someone with whom you can dare be naked without a feeling of shame and guilt A friend is someone who celebrates your success as though they were his Such a friend is a product of discovery not wished If you need a friend, just make yourself friendly and a friend will discover you- Tunde Osideko Ibadan

The Valentine’s Day is commemorated with an awareness carnival in Fadeyi

Information leaflets are distributed during the awareness carnival

HLPC of Methodist Girls’ High School commemorates Valentine’s Day

A Student of Fazil Omar Senior Secondary School sharing his views about Valentine`s day during a programme organised by the School`s Health & Life Planning Club (HLPC)

HLPC members presenting a song during the Valentine’s day celebration

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C A S T F M T W 1



8 9 6 7 3 4 5 5 16 1 4 1 2 13 1 1 1 23 0 1 2 1 22 9 20 29 9 1 7 18 1 28 2 6 27 24 25 2

MONDAY Things are happening! I never knew Kemi was passing through a lot and yet she never told her parents because if she did they would scold her. She told me that she got pregnant once after being raped by one of the teachers in school who encouraged her to abort the pregnancy. She said the worst part was that she went to a quack doctor who ended up damaging her womb and she has had problems with it since then. How I wish I could help her. Perhaps if her parents had encouraged her to always share her challenges with them she wouldn’t have done what the teacher suggested and she wouldn’t have ended up destroying herself the way she has done. Obviously, she was afraid of what her mother would say. I think I’ll advise her to still tell her parents but I think she needs to go for counseling before telling them. TUESDAY After the Physics test, I started working on the song that I would present during the school’s social night. I thought of writing a song on Sexual Harassment & Rape but it was a little difficult to get the lyrics that would rhyme. After several hours I was able to come up with something good and interesting. Late in the evening I picked up the newspapers in order to catch up on the latest developments in the country, and as I flipped through the pages, I came across a case of rape and assault in one of the Nigerian Universities. Reading through the news item I felt really sorry for the victim. I believe my song will go a long way to address issues around sexual harassment and rape in schools. WEDNESDAY I woke up today still feeling very sleepy because I worked on the song throughout the night and slept very late. Oh! Lest I forget, today is mum’s birthday so I must give her a call and wish her happy birthday. I hope to send her a beautiful birthday gift also. School was very boring today because we had some tests in the following subjects - Chemistry

MOJI ONIFADE practical, Mathematics and English Language. However, as soon as school was over, I gathered the girls in my class and told them what I had in mind for the social night. I also explained to them what we could do to stop sexual harassment in the school. They all agreed with me and decided to join me in singing the song I had written for the social night. I hope it works. THURSDAY Just as I was leaving the school premises, the security man who had made a dirty proposal to me the last time we sneaked out of the hostel, walked up to me and asked if I had thought over his request. I told him yes but that I was not interested. He threatened to report our escapade to the school authorities but I told him to go ahead telling him that I had also decided to do so myself. He thought I was bluffing until he saw me heading towards the principal’s office, it was then that he knew he was in trouble. I met the principal just outside her office and we went in together. I explained what I had done and how the security guard wanted to use that to blackmail me. I also told her how the male teachers in the school have been harassing the other girls. She could not believe her ears. Her displeasure and anger was written all over her face. I was full of remorse and told her that I was ready to carry out any punishment that my disobedient act attracted but that she should please not expel me from school. FRIDAY The principal asked me to see her today along with the security guard and the girls who claimed to have been sexually harassed. The principal scolded me for disobeying the school rules and made me undergo some severe punishments but I feel that such punishment is better

than being sexually harassed, especially by the security guard. The security guard’s appointment was terminated and the teachers involved were asked to face the school panel after which their punishment would be determined. I learnt never to disobey school rules again. SATURDAY I feel so relieved and free now that the whole incident is over because I can now concentrate on my books and absorb what I am reading as I prepare for the forth-coming exams. Thank God I decided to report the case, it has really lifted the burden of having to worry about the foolish security guard. I’m happy because if I had not gone ahead to tell the principal, the worry would have affected my performance during my

By a conservative estimate, about two million women and girls are subjected to Female Genital Cutting (FGC) worldwide with devastating consequences. Studies have shown a correlation between FGC and the high infant and maternal mortality and morbidity rares in African countries where FGC is prevalent. At the international conference on Zero Tolerance to FGC held from 4th - 6th February 2003 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 6th was unanimously adopted as the date to commemorate this event annually.

The theme for this year’s celebration is “Joint Action to Accelerate the Elimination of Female Genital Cutting”. The objective is to call international and national attention to the efforts needed to free women and girls final exams which comes up in just from the adverse tradition of female genital a few weeks time. I feel that young cutting and to accelerate action towards its people should learn to share their elimination. The event was celebrated with everyday experiences and activities at the AHI Youth Centre, which challenges with trusted adults featured a talk show, discussion, group especially if such young people activity and role-plays. The young people watched a video recording on Female know that they do not have the Genital Cutting titled “Uncut” which served ability or capability to deal with as a trigger for the discussion during which such. This way there will be a limit they expressed their views on the practice of to child abuse, sexual harassment, FGC. Many of the young people particularly child trafficking etc. the girls described FGC as “inhuman” with a SUNDAY few of them speaking up for the I heard a knock on the door as I was preservation of the culture and traditional getting ready to go to church. Just beliefs of the land. In a group activity, participants were divided into various as I was about to open the door I groups labeled “future mothers”, “women” felt a very sharp pain on my back and I found myself on the ground. I “girls association”, “future husbands and fathers” and “members of parliament”.

heard the door open and lifted my head to see who it was, I couldn’t believe what I saw, I hope it’s not a dream. Guess who it was? I’ll tell you in the next edition.

March 2004 p/8

The objective of this session was for the young people to imagine themselves taking steps to eliminate the practice of female genital cutting in different spheres of social life. The participants developed role-plays in their respective groups demonstrating how

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Young people express their thoughts on FGC

they would handle a situation involving the practice of FGC. Each group gave its presentation after several minutes of brainstorming among the members. The session was concluded with the review of the reproductive health rights of young people. From their response to questions asked, participants showed increased understanding of the issues pertaining to FGC. The participants were also encouraged to be assertive in relationships as a way of preventing rights violation and also in securing their rights. A total of 76 young persons participated in the programme. At the

AHI’s youth staff, along with other young people, flooded the streets of Fadeyi to sensitize their peers and create awareness on AHI’s activities aimed at promoting Adolescent and Reproductive Health. AHI has a tradition of creating awareness of its services within its locale and making young people aware of benefits they would derive from information

end of the role-play and following an analysis of each presentation by other participants, the following decisions were reached on possible steps for the elimination of the practice of FGC:(1) Forming an association to promote the reproductive health rights of young people; (2) Supporting victims through rehabilitation; (3) Encouraging victims to speak up about their encounter so as to convince the perpetrators of the negative impact it has on lives; (4) Public enlightenment campaigns; (5) Developing IEC materials on the issue of FGC.

received. The January outreach exercise tagged “ABSTINENCE: Avoiding Risky Sexual Behaviours” was held on Saturday, 24th January 2004. The young people started out as early as 9:00am with various inscriptions on abstinence written on their aprons, all in a joyous mood, singing songs on abstinence from premarital sex and consequences of

Young people setting out for the community awareness outreach programme

unprotected sex. The message was directed at Fadeyi and Shomolu communities. On entering a street, the young people would disperse into various groups to speak to their peers and other adults who were attracted by their songs. Their aprons with special messages were used to communicate the theme to passers-by. A number of people were enlightened on how to avoid engaging in risky behaviours. They were informed of the opportunities for free counseling (for young people aged between 10 to 23 years) at the AHI Health Services Unit of the Youth Centre at Jibowu. At the end of the day the young people returned to the Youth Centre and shared their experiences with one

A FUN-FILLED VALENTINE’S DAY St. Valentine’s day, a day of love might as well turn out to be a day of regrets if decisions are taken based on emotions and peer pressure rather than on factual information. Indeed, many young people have had cause to regret their actions on Valentine’s Day as they get caught up in the excitement of defining love on the basis of sexual attraction. In view of this, young people were hosted at the AHI Youth Centre in a relaxed atmosphere where they received important information and learnt skills for making informed choices in order to avoid regrets. The theme for this year was “YOU CAN SAY NO”

another. They were able to realize the need for increased awareness creation on sexuality education, especially targeted at parents. Most of the young people spoken to said they are interested in knowing more about their sexuality but their parents would not permit them to do so because such parents were uninformed. The exercise was very participatory with a total of 57 young people in attendance.

AHI AHI ORGANIZES ORGANIZES STAFF STAFF PLANNING PLANNING RETREAT RETREAT The “Annual Programme Review and Work Planning Retreat” was organized by Action Health Incorporated from 13th – 17th January, 2004 at the Training and Conference Centre (TCC) Ogere for Programme Staff and Youth Volunteers from the various Units. Using a participatory learning approach, the retreat aimed at promoting organizational efficiency and productivity in 2004 by addressing crucial programming and staff welfare issues; such as staff performance, working relationship

named Monica, who was being pressurred by her boyfriend ‘John’ to prove her love for him by having sex. The young people present were able to learn the different ways of saying ‘NO’ effectively. The significance of each skill identified was discussed and afterwards myths associated with sexual intercourse were highlighted Adult and Youth staff develop unit workplan and addressed. Young people had the previous year and identify ways of opportunity to showcase their talents with young people, sustaining efficiency and productivity; through songs while a short quiz was professional excellence, (4) to assist staff to clarify roles and conducted in which their knowledge mutual loyalty, integrity was tested on basic issues in responsibilities in order to become reproductive health and current and dedication as well more responsive to management’s affairs. as the development of mandate and effective in their The event served to increase the unit and organizational supervisory roles; (5) to address young people’s capacity to practice work plans. It was also various staff welfare concerns and abstinence and make informed aimed at promoting self-development issues (6) to gain a choices with regard to their sexual and organizational efficiency common understanding about issues reproductive health. They also learnt and productivity in of institutional culture and behavior. to distinguish between myths and facts through the participatory 2004. The four-day In a series of Working Group approach used in the educative retreat had the Sessions, unit heads and other sessions. The young their peers and following objectives: (1) programme staff developed their unit look forward to another fun-filled Staff of the ARSRC discuss project workplan with Mrs. Nike Esiet, Executive Director, AHI (2nd left) and Dr. to develop effective Babatunde Ahonsi, Senior Programme Officer of the Ford Foundation West Africa office during the staff retreat workplan for 2004 with input from valentine’s day next year.

clarification and HIV/AIDS. Activities at the youth centre commenced with an icebreaker. All participant chose special names, which were indicative of their personality or level of self-esteem. The drama troupe of AHI presented a play-let titled “Don’t be fooled.” The main character named “Bola” gave in to pressures from friends to secure a boyfriend for Valentine’s Day celebration in order not to be “left out” of the fun. She got one and also more than she had bargained for - she not only discovered that she was pregnant but found out that she had been infected with Gonorrhea The celebration commenced with a ‘Mascot after having unprotected sex with her Carnival’ (a young person volunteerd to be date for Val’s Day. Bola informed the used as a symbolic figure with a message young man, who kicked her out and left ‘BEWARE, AIDS IS REAL’ written on him with a her not only in pain and agony but also special fluid), which attracted the Somolu with the stigma of being a teenage community and set the tone for the festival. mother. The carnival had 26 young people with a band The next session started with a role-play in attendance. The young people were all titled “Monica’s Dilemma”; about a girl excited as they paraded round the community in white and blue outfits. The carnival was rounded-off at noon and the team returned to the Youth Centre for light refreshments and a review of the exercise. Apart from the ‘Mascot Carnival’, AHI also commemorated Val.’s Day celebration in three schools. These are Methodist Girls’ High School, Aiyedere Ajibola Senior High School and Fazil-Omar Senior High School. It also hosted a centre-based activity. Activities at the different venues ran concurrently. The school activities were organized by the HLPC executives while each school’s PTA Health Counsellor acted as the facilitator. The students had the opportunity to display their talents in songs and drama after Representatives of various schools cutting the Valentine`s day cake which the PTA Health Counsellors facilitated sessions on Abstinence, Assertiveness, Values March 2004 p/10

Participants at the 2004 Programme Review and Planning Retreat

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organizational/unit work plans for 2004 and build the capacity of staff towards accomplishing set targets and organizational goals; (2) to build team spirit among members of staff in the performance of their duties; (3) to review the organization’s performance in the

management. The individual organizational work plans were subsequently integrated to form the annual workplan for the organization. Other activities conducted during the retreat included team building exercises, motivational speeches and audio sessions on time management. Apart from these activities, opportunities were provided for participants to improve their physical fitness levels through the morning and evening exercise sessions.



The First African Congress for the Advancement of Sexual Health and Rights held from 26th-28th February, 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa and was jointly organized by the Southern African Sexual Health Association (SASHA), the Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa (PPASA) and the African Federation For Sexual Health and Rights (AFSHR). The Congress, in line with its theme “The Advancement of Sexual Health and Rights in Africa”, had the following objectives: To share innovative programmes and strategies aimed at promoting sexual health and rights within the continent To disseminate research findings To build alliances and networks To review sexual health and rights 10 years after the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) To Provide medical and technical updates on sexual health Over 300 delegates attended the Congress, drawn from regional women’s and youth networks, NGOs, medical practitioners, pharmaceutical industry representatives, psychologists, social workers, rights activists and policy makers. The discourse was also enriched and given greater relevance by the presence of regional and international bodies such as the African Union (AU), Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) and the World Association for Sexology (WAS). This milestone in efforts to address the disease burden in Africa, occasioned by sexual health and rights violations, featured notable speakers such as Cheryl Carolus, Chief Executive, South African Tourism, Professor Eric Buch, Health Adviser, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Marc Ganem, MD, President, World Association for Sexology. Discussions were centred on the promotion of sexual health and rights on the continent. Action Health Incorporated had a five-member team at the congress comprising Board Members, Management, Programme and Administrative staff. Ms. Chieme Ndukwe, Programme Offier, AHI, gave a paper presentation on “Advancing Sexual Health and Rights of Girls”. The presentation focused on highlighting the ways in which the girl-child is vulnerable and therefore the need to be proactive in promoting her sexual health and rights. It also examined some strategies that could be adopted by governments, programme implementers and policy makers in this regard. The African Regional Sexuality Resource Centre (ARSRC), which is an AHI project supported by the Ford Foundation, was also represented by a member of staff as well as members of the Advisory Council. The ARSRC aims to promote more informed and affirming public

dialogue on human sexuality and to contribute to positive changes in relevant policies and programs on the continent. Focus countries include Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Kenya. A Panel on “Research and Capacity Building for the Promotion of Sexual Health and Well-Being” was hosted by the ARSRC. The panel which comprised distinguished scholars from four sub-regions of Africa was well-attended by a cross section of delegates from Africa and other parts of the world. Panelists included Dr. Hind Khattab from Egypt, an anthropologist and researcher, Dr, Evasius Bauni from Kenya, a demographer working with Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Laboratories in Kilifi, Kenya, Dr. Augustine Ankomah, a teacher, researcher and professional in Reproductive Health currently working with Society for Family Health in Abuja, Nigeria and Ms. Bev Russell, Managing Director of Social Surveys (Pty) Ltd, South Africa. Panelists gave their presentations from a regional perspective. Ankomah, analyzing the West Africa situation noted that currently, “there is a paucity of research on sexuality’ adding that “until the onset of HIV/AIDS, sexual life in Africa received little serious attention”. Supporting this assertion, Khattab noted that in the North Africa region and especially in the field of Health and Medicine, “recent focus on studying sexuality grew mainly out of the concern with the outbreak of HIV/AIDS.” Some of the major research gaps identified included: sexual violence and consequences, sexual rights of adolescence, skills to negotiate safe sexual

health outcomes and in-depth qualitative research to understand the social dynamics within the different types of communities. Dr. U.U Esiet in his capacity as the president of AFSHR also chaired several sessions at the congress including the consultative forum on AFSHR, which examined the conceptual framework, goals and key roles of the Federation. The Congress, in its Statement of Action also called on governments, particularly governments in Africa to: Recognize sexual health & sexual rights as urgent priorities in their countries, and to allocate resources to enable implementation. Formally adopt the WHO Declaration of Sexual Rights as a working document that sets minimum requirements for sexual rights. Governments, health service providers and organizations were also given the challenge of devising programmes and tools for the promotion of sexual rights. Dr. Ezio Baraldi, Congress President, urged delegates to take up the challenge of promoting sexual health and rights on the continent saying that “a workable plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow”. The next congress is scheduled for 2006 and delegates are


parents who may not know the


importance of Vitamin A, iron and

Drink clean/safe water.

iodine in the diet of their children.

Thirsty? Choose oranges and fruits

Three basic factors that contribute to

rather than soft drinks.

malnutrition: Lack of good hygiene.

Hungry? Eat groundnuts or carrots

Lack of good health care. Lack of

as a nutritious snack between meals

knowledge of what causes malnutrition.

avoid sugary cakes and sweets.

Incidentally, very few people know that

Avoid high caffeine foods, such as


malaria can cause malnutrition. In Africa

coffee and tea.

1. Every child is entitled to enjoy good

where malaria is common, one-third of

Do not overeat. Eating too much is

health, protection from diseases and

child malnutrition cases are as a result

as bad as eating too little.

proper medical care for survival,

of malaria.


personal growth and development.



Look up “protein energy

An often overlooked fact is that even

malnutrition”. What does it mean?

children from well-to-do homes can

What happens to children with


suffer from malnutrition, or other

protein energy malnutrition?

The right to good food is one of the

physical disabilities due to poor eating

basic aspects of growth and

habits. A child could be overweight, yet

main victims of poor nutrition in

development of a child. Good food is

be undernourished. This means that

Africa. Why is this so?

the key to healthy physical

he/she does not eat a balanced diet.


development; malnourished children

He/she might not be getting enough

Improve existing hospitals and

fall ill more frequently and stay sick

foods with vitamin A, iron, vitamin C,

health care centers.

longer because their bodies cannot

etc. If you do not get enough iron you

Promote policies, which ensure a

fight the infection. This pattern can

may feel weak (anaemia) and fall ill

clean environment.

become a vicious cycle, leading to


Educate parents on healthy diet for

death. Malnutrition is a silent killer. It

Severe vitamin A deficiency can cause

their children.

goes hand in hand with poverty and

blindness. If a pregnant woman does


ignorance. It seizes children from

not get enough iodine, her baby can

1. How can government make sure that

families who cannot afford to provide a

suffer from mental retardation.

2. A fundamental part of good health is the child’s right to good nutrition.

expected to share their experiences and challenges in working towards the common goal of enhancing sexual health and rights on the African continent.

March 2004 p/12

balanced diet for their children; from

March 2004 p/13


Women and young children are the

all children have enough to eat?

A DAY DAY TO TO REMEMBER REMEMBER A 2. How can government ensure the environment is clean? 3. How can government educate parents on good nutritional habits for the home? MESSAGE TO PARENTS

milk. The difference was clear. Within 48 hours


Vitamin A deficiency can lead to


Malnutrition is caused by lack of food


the baby was throwing up and developed a serious case of diarrhoea. Isiaka and Funmi

rushed the infant to the hospital, but it was too D)

Malnutrition weakens a child’s ability

late. The doctor did not have to ask what

to fight disease or infection E) Malnutrition can cause dental

Ensure that all your children get enough

happened. She had seen too many cases of

nutritious food everyday.

babies who died from acute diarrhoea as a

Work with your children to keep your home

result of bottle-feeding. “You see,” explained

environment clean.

the doctor to the young parents, “breast milk is G) A well-nourished child will have a

Provide healthy snacks such as fruits and

the best food for your baby.

groundnuts. Avoid junk food. Set a good example. All over the world, women have turned to Make your children conscious of the harmful

breast-feeding. In Africa, it is even more

effects of alcohol, caffeine, and sugary foods,

important, because in our hot climate bacteria

which are full of calories, but nutritionally, empty. grows in bottled milk very quickly; our water DISCUSSION

supply may not be safe and our methods of

problems F) Iodine deficiency can cause malaria better IQ score than a malnourished child H) Swollen arms and legs are signs of malnutrition i) Powdered milk is the best food for a newborn baby J) Lack of knowledge of what to eat can

Why is it very important to eat a balanced

sterilization are not good enough. So please,


next time, listen to the sound medical advice

What physical problem can be caused by iodine

and breast-feed your baby exclusively for at


deficiency? What can happen if you do not get enough vitamin A? MESSAGE TO CHILDREN Funmi was barely 16 years old when she married

least 6 months.

a) True (b) True (c) True and False (You


can get enough food, but still be




Malnourished children are shorter and lighter in color.

happy. They came to help Funmi, bringing gifts of baby milk, feeding bottles, glucose and fruit drinks. Although the maternity hospital where Funmi delivered her baby urged her to breast-feed her baby exclusively for six months, her mother and aunties thought that powdered milk was better. Funmi wanted to breast-feed, but she was so young, she was overwhelmed by the wishes of her mother. Isiaka was not happy about this. He was a primary school teacher and he even brought home a poster from UNICEF, which explained the benefits of breast milk. He pasted it on the wall of their sitting room. His mother-in-law thought he was just being stingy. To keep peace in the family, Isiaka agreed that Funmi could give the baby some powdered milk formula, but she should also continue breast-

d) True (e) True (f) False (g) True (h) Truei) False(j) True.

Isiaka. Within one year she delivered her first child, a baby girl. Funmi’s mother and aunties were very

lead to malnutrition

FACT BOX THE BAD NEWS 30 out of every 100 children in sub-Saharan Africa (below the age of five) are underweight. In Nigeria 36 out of every 100 are underweight. Malnutrition contributes to the death of 6 million children every THE GOOD NEWS 60% of the children around the world are now getting vitamin A supplement. Vitamin A prevents blindness and saves 1-3 million lives every year. 90% of Nigerian children are eating iodized salt, which protects against mental disorders.

year in the developing countries. In Nigeria, 43 out of every 100 children are stunted. Globally, 226 million children (40%) under five yearsare stunted. Worldwide: An estimated 12 million infants are protected from mental retardation every year through iodized salt. More mothers are returning to breast-feeding. Breast-fed babies are healthier, have fewer infections, and fewer cases of diarrhoea.

feeding. Unfortunately, under her mother’s pressure, Funmi stopped breast-feeding and switched to powdered

March 2004 p/14

I would never forget that fateful Saturday. I could remember vividly that I was in SS1 at the time and a young girl who was still undergoing puberty. Naturally for a girl my age, I wanted to “catch my fun”. So when my best friend Clara (not real name), invited me to a “palm wine party” which her cousin The only problem I had was how to inform my aunt (with whom I was staying) about the party. My mum was in France at that time. “Thinking fast”, I lied to my aunt, by telling her that I had a “drama competition” the next week and I had to be in school for “practice” which was going to end at 7:00pm. Believing my story, she offered to drop me off at school. I refused quickly informing her that I preferred to take a taxi; she was not in the mood to “argue” so she let me be. Clara and I agreed to meet at her place, so that her cousin could pick us up from there. When I arrived at her house, I changed quickly into a black fitted jean trouser, with a yellow jersey “39” top and black and yellow trainers to match. I could not wait to get out of the house, I knew I was looking cool! Clara was also looking nice, in her yellow summer gown and yellow sandals to match. Her cousin arrived finally at 2:00pm, he was quite tall (about six feet), had a broad chest, was very dark and very handsome. However, he looked older than I expected, about 22yrs old. Clara introduced us and he struck me as being very friendly. He urged us to leave early so as to beat the traffic. The journey to the beach seemed never ending but thank goodness Clara and her cousin made things lively. By the time we got to the beach at 3:30pm, a lot of people had arrived and some were already dancing. Everyone present was older than Clara and I but they were all friendly, and this helped me to blend in quickly. There was so much to eat and a lot of palm wine to drink. I had no option than to pick up a

March 2004 p/15

glass of palm wine to accompany my food since soft drinks were not served and I was very thirsty. Being the first time I’d taste palm wine, the sweet taste I got from the first sip made me rush the first drink. Clara’s cousin asked me for a dance, to which I readily agreed. It was fun. After dancing for a while, we decided to take a break to have more drinks. He advised me to try the palm wine mixed with gin saying it tasted better. I did, and although the gin changed the flavour a bit, it still tasted so nice that I did not know when I finished the fourth glass! Feeling tipsy, I took his advice to take a walk on the beach. The breeze at the beach was so cool and so fresh, when compared to the polluted air I was used to. I took in a deep breath and this helped my pounding head, the beauty of the blue sea trapped me, the sight made me appreciate the work of Mother Nature more than ever. I can’t remember how long I stood there. It was getting dark, but I still did not move an inch. Suddenly, I heard a lady’s scream, I turned towards the party but everything seemed alright, “it’s just my imagination” I told myself, I heard the scream again, this time louder than the first, so I told myself it was time to check what was wrong. By the time I got to the scene of the party, I found that it was deserted, with everything turned upside down. My heart started beating fast, a lot of things went through my mind. I swallowed hard and braced myself move closer. The tables were turned upside down, plates and drinking glasses were all over the floor. I tried to take in what was going on but because I was still tipsy I could not really figure out what was amiss. However, I saw two guys holding broken bottles and one of them was bleeding from a

cut he had on his head. My mouth dropped wide open at the sight, as I had never witnessed such a thing before in life. I was confused but I tried to get a grip on myself. “You have to think fast” I told myself, so I got on my knees and crawled out unnoticed while making sure I did not interrupt “anything”. As I was I crawling away to the door, I felt a hand on my shoulder, “Oh God!” I thought, it was one of the guys with a broken bottle! He was huge and very tall, and reminded me of Hulk Hogan, the famous wrestler, because of his broad chest. To worsen the matter he was DEAD DRUNK! He took me by the collar of my top and dragged me back to the party scene. Pushing me into one of the chairs I struggled hard to stop him and get up, but he was more powerful than me and so he succeeded in pinning me down. By now my heart was beating very fast but I could not see clearly because of the effect of the palm wine on me. He took a seat opposite me and gave me a smile, which revealed his bad set of teeth. Without knowing him before then, I could tell he was a smoker going by the colour of his teeth. As soon as he grabbed me he asked, “ You wanna run?” My throat had turned dry by this time; I wished I had stayed at home with my dear aunt! “You dare not answer”, I told myself. “Can’t you answer?” There was silence for about three seconds and when no answer came from me, he grabbed my hand firmly. I tried fighting him and escaping, but he slapped me, threw me on the floor and gave me the beating of my life. When I opened my eyes I was on a hospital bed with my face bandaged and a cast on my left leg. I turned to find my aunt sitting beside the bed. She told me how disappointed she was, and informed me that she had called my mum who, she said, was very mad at me. I later summoned courage to ask my aunt how she found me. She explained that Clara’s cousin brought me home and told her all that happened, I was so thankful to God, that I found help on time and that I didn’t loose my life. That was three years ago, right now I walk with a limp and this is because my left leg was badly injured. That day is indeed a day to remember. I have learnt never to go out without an adult’s supervision and also never to take alcohol even if it is just a sip because it impairs one’s judgment.

How Can Young People Utilize Their Creative Competency? Dear readers, the “Dear Aunty” column treats questions young people ask about their reproductive and sexual health concerns. You too can write in and let us know what your concerns are. You are assured of confidentiality, as your names will not be published. Send your questions to The Editor, “Growing Up Newsletter” (Dear Aunty Column), Action Health Incorporated, 17 Lawal Street, Off Oweh Street, Jibowu. P.O. Box 803, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos.

How does pregnancy occur? At puberty a girl’s ovaries usually begin releasing eggs. The release of an egg is called ovulation. At about the same time every month, when an egg is released from one of the ovaries, it is swept by tiny fingerlike projections into one of the fallopian tubes, where it begins its travel to the uterus (or womb). The fallopian tube is the place where an egg can meet and unite with sperm. As the egg, or ovum, progresses through the fallopian tube toward the uterus, it secretes a special substance which acts as “runway lights” to guide any sperm which may have been released by a man during sexual intercourse or if a man ejaculates around the vaginal area without penetration. Millions of sperm are released by the man which are needed to break down the tough coating surrounding the egg cell. Once this occurs, only one sperm penetrates the egg, leading to pregnancy. This process, called conception or fertilization, is the point at which a new human life is formed. The developing embryo, or unborn child will then travel down to the uterus where it implants in the uterine lining and begins to grow. Although a woman is only fertile for a few days out of each menstrual cycle, unless she is monitoring her body it is hard to know exactly when she can conceive. If she wishes to avoid pregnancy she must either refrain from intercourse while she is fertile or employ the use of contraceptives.

Is it true that romance leads to sexual intercourse? How do I know if I have HIV?AIDS The surest means is through blood screening. You should go for pre-test counseling before going for the HIV test at an approved screening centre. HIV/AIDS does not show on the face as those who look healthy may be infected with the virus. You could go to the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research at 6 Edmond Crescent, Off Muritala Muhammed Way, Yaba Busstop, Yaba, Lagos or any government general hospital.

Romance triggers pleasurable feelings that may make one engage in sexual intercourse. However, with self control and a determination not to have sex, one may not engage in sexual intercourse. Sometimes adolescents find it difficult to exercise self control and determination, so it is better to avoid extreme intimacy.

What should I do if I have a vaginal discharge

Vaginal secretion is an evidence of normal functioning of the female Is it true that all adolescentsreproductive organs. experience sexual feelings The secretion could become abnormal if it has an offensive odour or if the colour changes from clear white to No. Not all adolescents yellow or brown or green. This experience sexual feelings. could be due to an infection, It is normal if one has these poor personal and menstrual feelings and those who do not experience this are also normal. hygiene, and irritation of the The feeling is due to increased vagina following the use of irritants like medicated soap to wash the vagina. If these symptoms exist or if you are not sure, you must see your doctor

March 2004 p/16

There’s nobody that has nothing to offer in terms of talents, the problem young people usually face is discovering their talents and using them positively. Discovering one’s talent is not as difficult as people think, all it takes is to sit down and think of things you enjoy doing such as singing, acting, writing, arts and crafts etc. The next step is to do those things more often and try to develop them. One way of doing this is meeting people who are more experienced in your area of interest and asking them for assistance as to how to develop your talents. For instance, if you’re good in hair plaiting or any other aspect of hair dressing you can go for professional training in hair dressing salons or institutes. The most important thing is to use such talents positively and more often after you have discovered them. Another way also is to participate in competitions; a good example is the AHI`S Teenage Festival of Life where young people are allowed to express themselves in various creative ways. Through First of all, we must realize that our creativity has a lot to do with “who we are” and “who we are meant to be”. We also must realize that our talents or creativity is a gift from God, which should be utilized. This way, we will be maximizing our potentials. Young people can make use of their creative competency by getting involved in activities that have to do with what they know how to do best. Never allow yourself to be discouraged by saying it is difficult to explore your creativity, as the saying goes you either “use it or lose it”. Some activities that can allow you to display your talents are church activities, school activities, club activities, sporting activities etc. Getting involved in one or more of these activities will not only help you utilize your creative Before you can call label whatever you are doing as creative, there must be an element of originality in it. Don’t copy or reproduce another person’s ideas. You may borrow ideas and improve upon them (there’s no monopoly of knowledge) but don’t copy wholesale. Apart from this, make sure that what you are doing is what you are interested in. Once this is established, start working on your creativity day-by-day making sure that you are improving on it as you do so. Never give up, even when people try to discourage you. Just keep on at it until you are there. Young people can become what they desire, if they can work

March 2004 p/17

For a young person to utilize/maximize his/her potentials, certain activities/research need to be carried out. These are: personal evaluation of every aspect of your life; an analysis of what you think you can do with little or no supervision; and a selection of what you are good at out of the analyzed acts. After these first steps have been carried out, you need to educate yourself by reading books on how to improve your creativity, participating in programmes and being trained in the related fields. Finally, you need to put into practice all that you have learnt, stepping out with a lot of confidence and belief in yourself. Have a role model or a mentor who would help mold your talent in such a way that you would be able to Creativity is the use of internal software, power or potential. There is a saying that “ the available is the desirable” and what we have to do and know how to do we should “do quickly and well”. I will use myself as an example to illustrate what I mean. I usually crack jokes and I’ve been using this to make people happy when they are depressed. To those who are used to me, it may seem ordinary. But really, that is an inherent talent in me. A lot of young people have such talents which they do not nurture simply because they are not aware of it. It may also be because people around them do not encourage them to exhibit such talents. I believe that one way out is for young people themselves to take bold steps towards showcasing their talents. Organizing community programmes, which would allow young and upcoming talents, to showcase Creative intelligence is the ability to apply one’s knowledge or potential to manipulate or affect one’s environment or bring about, by a course of action, a radical positive change in one’s environment. An important part of discovering and developing a personal reason for existence is discovering what one is good at and this is called “POTENTIAL”. Everybody is endowed with one potential or the other. This could be in form of having a good voice for singing; being a skilled listener or communicator; having the ability to make people laugh; dancing; coordinating or just being nice. Young people can make good use of and develop these talents by joining theater groups, musical groups or by associating with art galleries etc. It is not how much you have but how well you can make use of what you have that matters. - KEMI GIWA

SEXUALITY EDUCATION TEACHER TRAINING The training of Lagos State Secondary School teachers on Sexuality Education was conducted from 19th May to 25th September 2003. The Lagos State ministry of Education (LSMOE) was responsible for the selection and invitation of teachers to the training. It was also responsible for the monitoring of the teachers’ participation and performance, while AHI facilitated the training sessions. The training programme eventually took place, despite the spate of National Labour Congress (NLC) strikes that disrupted the training for a few weeks. During the training, the following dignitaries visited to encourage and motivate the trainees – State Chairperson of the Parents Teacher Association, the Director, Training, PP TESCOM, and various representatives of the Curriculum Services Department. Pre-Training Activities Pre-training activities included developing and administering pre-training assessment forms, which were distributed to selected teachers by the Ministry. The Curriculum Services Department did the selection of pilot schools through the stratified random sampling method. As agreed at the Planning Workshop, 100 pilot schools were selected from each of the five geo-political divisions in the State. On its part, the AHI team identified a core of trainers, one of whom was trained as a Master

Trainer in sexuality education. This was done during the training of Master Trainers organized by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with AHI. Series of meetings were held with the training faculty and a final training schedule was developed. Course Participants A total of 204 teachers from 100 pilot schools successfully concluded the training. Although the original plan was to train only 200 teachers, an additional four teachers had to be trained following requests by some of the teachers whose schools had large arms of Junior Secondary level one classes. Additional eight teachers who participated in the training could not meet up with the required criteria and were therefore exempted from the project. The selection of teachers by the Curriculum Services Department was based on the stipulated criteria at the planning workshop. This was to ensure that any selected teacher was a classroom teacher of either Social Studies or Integrated Science at the Junior Secondary School level and had a minimum of five years teaching experience in a secondary school. The training was conducted in six batches. The seventh batch of training

was organised for those who missed the training for their batch. Each batch had an average of 35 teachers from the project schools within the division. The table below further explains how the training was conducted. The 2003 batch’s training Course attendees represented the five geo-political divisions of Lagos State. Females made up 73% of the class, while males made up 27% of the class. Course Structure The training on sexuality education was structured around three focal areas: 1) Teacher’s sexuality comfort level, 2) Teaching methodology and 3) Technical content. Addressing teacher’s comfort level, was quite challenging because of ingrained religious and cultural beliefs. The affective teaching methodology was employed to assist participants understand their feelings and values and encourage group analysis of attitudes, feelings and values. The teachers were able to clarify their values through forced choice exercises, values voting and myths & facts exercises. There






Batch One

Ikeja Division

19th - 30th May 2003


Batch Two

Ikeja Division

2nd - 13th June 2003


Batch Three

Lagos Division

16th - 27th June 2003


Batch Four

Lagos Division

14th - 25th July 2003


Batch Five

Ikorodu & Epe Divisions

11th - 22August 2003


Batch Six

Badagry Division

25th August - 5tSept.2003


Batch Seven

Participants that missed their training

15th - 25th Sept.

Joint for oustanding participants March 2004 p/18

(R-L): MRS O.O Lambert, Director PP TESCOM, Mrs `Nike O Esiet, Executive Director AHI & Dr U. Esiet, Director AHI during the training of teachers on sexuality education

were also several group-centred discussions on sensitive topics such as gender issues, harmful traditional practices and factors that hinder sexual comfort level. This presented an opportunity to explore the range of opinions on adolescent sexuality issues. The teaching methods applied were the affective, behavioural and cognitive (ABC) methods. The affective methods used in the training addressed participants’ feelings and values about their sexuality. Behavioural methods adopted enabled the participants develop and practice skills learnt. They included role-plays, demonstrations teaching practice, and counselling sessions addressing issues of communication, contraception, respectively, etc. The teachers also increased their knowledge on adolescent sexuality through cognitive methods used such as presentations, props, worksheets, group tasks, videos, anonymous questions and guest facilitators. Their methods were useful for topics such as anatomy and physiology, HIV/AIDS and the key concepts of sexuality education. An effective teaching style that has been proven to aid effective learning of sexuality concepts is the participatory facilitation style. This style of teaching was adopted because participants had the opportunity to contribute to their own learning, thus, making the experience learner-centred March 2004 p/19

rather other than teacher-centred. Equally important was the training on technical content. Most of the topics treated revolved around the 6 key concepts of the National Sexuality Education Curriculum. These include human

development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behaviour, sexual health, society and culture. Teaching Practice Practicing new teaching skills is essential for effective skill acquisition during training. Therefore, the second week of the training was devoted to teaching practice. Teachers selected topics by ballot and had to prepare teaching aids and other resource materials before their teaching practice sessions. The practice sessions were conducted in selected schools within the neighbourhood for easy accessibility, while students were invited to AHI during the holiday periods. Most of the teachers adopted the participatory teaching method but the first few teachers often struggled with the new teaching style while the others improved their performance following feedback given by their

colleagues. A significant aspect of the session was the participation of young people in providing feedback to the teachers. The students expressed their opinion about the teaching session through anonymous comments written on a piece of paper, which was read to the whole class by the facilitator. Most of the young people expressed their delight at the fact that their teachers could teach the subject freely and comfortably and commended them for their efforts. Others, whom the students felt their classes were boring, were encouraged by students to be friendlier and to introduce interesting activities to make the learning experience more effective. The teachers learnt a lot from the feedback provided by their colleagues and the young people. Each participant was able to identify his/her strengths/weaknesses with regard to his/her comfort level in teaching the subject, the appropriate use of teaching methodology, technical content and style of teaching. The sessions also provided a hands-on experience for teachers to demonstrate the new skills acquired. Overall, the focal areas of the training were able to assist participants increase their knowledge on accurate information about adolescent sexuality issues. It also provided opportunities for learners to question, explore and assess their sexual attitudes and values and equipped participants with teaching skills that would facilitate

Mr Oba Oladapo (external facilitator) facilitating a session on care & support for PLWAs during the sexuality education training for Lagos State teachers

students learning in a non-threatening environment. TrainingCurriculum /Resource Materials The Curriculum used for the training was the National Comprehensive Sexuality Education Curriculum. A resource manual on comprehensive sexuality education designed for trainers was produced and this became the main resource book used for the training. A copy of the manual was given to each teacher trained. In addition, each participant received a copy of the National Sexuality Education Curriculum, information brochures, a copy of the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education in Nigeria and photocopies of handouts on the topics covered. Course Evaluation The training evaluation was carried out in various ways to assess cognitive and behavioural outcomes in the teachers. The instruments methodologies used included pre & post test questionnaires participants’ comments on the training, ability of participants to mention body parts freely during sessions and so forth. The average pretest score overall was 61.4%, whilst average post-test score was 80.1%. This translated to a 30.5% increase in knowledge by the end of the training. The Z test was applied to the average

Do you want to be Personal Assistant/Secretary One of the trained teachers facilitating a session during the teaching practice

pre-and post-test scores of each of the learnt a lot on how to handle adolescent seven batches, and all the results were issues. I am now respectful in my found to be statistically significant. attitude towards young people. (Z>1.96). This implies that the course 3. I will remember that I am not only a made a significant difference in the teacher but also an advocate of knowledge level of the participants. sexuality education. It is important for Participants’ Comments on Their us to be dedicated, innovative and Training experience. committed. Monetary gain is not a The following comments were made by priority as far as this issue is concerned. some of the participants: 1. My experience at the training has influenced me to see sexuality education from a positive perspective as opposed to my previous biased views about the subject. 2. Since I came in for this training I have

Dear Readers, We are pleased to introduce this new page to enable you express your views and opinions on any of the issues we cover in the Growing Up newsletter. Please address your letters to : Letters to the Editor Growing Up Newsletter, P.O. Box 803 Yaba I am quite impressed with “Growing Up” Newsletter. I am very happy about what the staff is doing. I read the December 2000 edition and was so impressed by all I learnt that I have made up my mind to write more and also join the editorial team of the newsletter. Kudos to you! - Maxwell Afam Abuja. I would like to thank the entire management and staff of Action Health Incorporated for this inspiring and educative newsletter. Truly, you are doing a wonderful thing in the Nigerian society,

especially in the lives of young people. Keep it up. - John Edeh Lagos. I am very grateful for being accepted into the young writer’s club as a member and subscriber. I have received copies of the newsletter as well as a reply to my last letter. I have also written different jokes and poems which I hope would be published. I would continue to write and send in articles so that I can also help spread positive messages to my peers. - Helen Ejeh, Benue

I am impressed with the information provided in the “Growing Up” newsletter. Although I am not a regular reader of your magazine, a particular edition, which I saw with a colleague and read, really encouraged me. This has further motivated me to become a member of the club since this would give me access to more information. However, I would like to know how I could become a member of Action Health Incorporated. Can you send me a registration card? - Bukola Adeyemi Lagos Editor’s Note: Bukola, we are really glad that you found the information in the Growing Up Newsletter useful. The Action Health Youth Centre is open to every young person and you can visit the AHI Youth Centre located at 17 Lawal Street, Off Oweh Street Jibowu, Lagos. You can become a member of Action Health Incorporated if you register at the Youth Centre.

March 2004 p/20

Secretaries, sometimes known as personal assistants, private secretaries, or executive secretaries, provide administrative and clerical support to one or more managers or senior executives, usually within a business or commercial organization. Their role is to make life easier for the people they work for, who are then free to concentrate on the job at hand. With additional training and knowledge, secretaries may qualify for work as bilingual or multilingual, medical, legal, or agricultural (farm) secretaries. The work of each of these, and that of non-specialist secretaries, is described below. There are also secretaries who specialize in particular fields, such as technical secretaries (for celebrities or high-level executives), and educational secretaries (in schools and colleges). Their work is similar in many respects to that of other secretaries, but there is an emphasis on the particular tasks and duties relevant to their specialization. THE JOB Secretaries’ tasks vary greatly depending on their managers’ jobs and the organizations for which they work. However, there are routine tasks that are common to most secretaries’ work, such as opening and sorting mail, typing correspondence and reports, answering the telephone, and filing and retrieving information. Almost all secretaries have to be good organizers, since they must maintain or set up efficient filling systems, and are usually responsible for their managers’ diaries, making appointments, and arranging travel schedules. March 2004 p/21

In addition, they may have to arrange meetings, which involves contacting all participants to ensure everyone is available, drawing up agendas, and writing and distributing the minutes of the meeting. Some research and photocopying of information may also be required. Since secretaries are often the first point of contact for clients, it is vital that they have a good telephone manner and appearance in order to make an impression that reflects well on the company. Secretaries use a variety of technical skills, such as shorthand or audio typing, word processing, and also typing for producing letters, memos, or reports, usually dictated by a manager. Apart from computers or word processors, they must be familiar with other office equipment, such as faxes, modems, photocopiers and scanners.

It is important to recognize that the secretarial role is a supportive one. The work of secretaries is dependent to a large extent on what they are given by their managers. If managers are busy, then their secretaries are likely to be busy. However, it is also true that many secretaries have to take charge of the office while their managers are away, so they must know enough about the company, the business, and their managers’ work to be able to handle calls and visitors. The work is office based, and some secretaries may have their own office, usually next to their managers’, or they may share a larger office with another secretary. Discretion and confidentiality are important, since secretaries often have access to clients’ personal details, particularly medical and legal secretaries.

In small organizations, secretaries may have to do some bookkeeping (accounts) and handle the pretty cash, which requires some financial competence. In large organizations, secretaries may be responsible for the training or supervision of junior staff. Although not an administrative or a clerical task, it is still normal in many organizations for secretaries to make coffee for their manager and visitors. Some personal assistants are also occasionally required to arrange all the private and social activities of their managers, including sometimes such personal tasks as buying presents for their close family.

Bilingual or multilingual secretaries must be fluent in at least one foreign language (the most common languages are French, German, and Spanish). However, there are few jobs where most of the work is in a foreign language, unless the job is actually in the country where the language is spoken. The foreign-language skill may

be used only for correspondence, organizing travel abroad, and answering the telephone. Although their duties are similar to those of non-specialist secretaries, bilingual or multilingual secretaries may also have to translate letters and documents and sometimes interpret when foreign visitors are present. Occasionally, it may be necessary to take dictation from foreign visitors. For this reason it is helpful to learn shorthand in the foreign language. When working in some countries, bilingual or multilingual secretaries may have to use different keyboards when typing. They may need to learn the foreign equivalents of technical terms if they work for a manufacturing or an engineering company.

TRAINING Although it is possible to become a nonspecialist secretary without any academic qualifications – for example, by starting as an office junior and learning on the job, it is also possible to study part-time for professional qualifications in these circumstances. However, the majority of secretaries attend full-time professional courses after leaving school. These courses usually last between one and two years and lead to professional secretarial qualifications. Some Polytechnics and Universities also offer Secretarial Administration and Office Management for four years. Courses differ in content but generally students learn not only the technical skills such as shorthand and typing but also how to use basic office machinery. Once in a job, secretaries need to learn all about the company for which they work and to update their skills as and when new technology is introduced to the office. Some companies may encourage secretaries to take further, advanced courses in business, accounting, or marketing. Bilingual or multilingual secretaries may follow a combined language and secretarial skills course lasting from one to two years after leaving school. Alternatively, they may take a one-year secretarial course after a language degree course. Further training is then on the job. There may also be full-time college courses for medical secretaries lasting between one to two years, leading to professional qualifications and including work experience in hospitals and

doctors’ surgeries. Legal secretaries learn most of the legal terminology while on the job. There are also various one-year full-time courses offering legal secretarial training.

companies, hotel chains, and broadcasting companies.

AGRICULTURAL/FARM SECRETARY The work of agricultural/farm secretaries differs from that of QUALIFICATIONS most other secretaries in that it Useful subjects include English usually involves book keeping, Language, Mathematics, Shorthand, managing the payroll, and Office Practice, Secretarial Duties, and completing records for taxation Type Writing. purposes, as well as routine PROSPECTS/OUTLOOKS secretarial work. They use There is still a constant demand for computerized database systems secretaries, despite the introduction of to maintain arable or dairy new technology in offices. Whenever schedules, as well as milk and there are managers or executives, there breeding records. Some must be secretaries of all types. secretaries may have to visit herd Although the majority of secretaries managers to update the work for organizations in the public and information they need. Farm private sector, some are employed by secretaries may provide services private individuals such as authors or for a number of farms as politicians; others may become selfemployees of an agency or on a employed and work for a number of self-employed basis. Having your different people (as do many own transport and equipment is agricultural secretaries) or take therefore, often required. Other succession of temporary contracts. secretaries may be resident on a There is generally no specific career farm. There may be opportunities structure for secretaries. The grade and to work for veterinary surgeons status of managers determine that of (veterinarians) or country land their secretaries. Some may gain more agents. responsibility if their manager is LEGAL SECRETARY promoted. Secretaries who have good Legal secretaries tend to work academic qualifications may expect to obtain a more responsible job on their under the direct supervision of legally qualified staff in law firms, first appointment. Others may have to gain experience in a junior position before moving upwards. Experienced, well-qualified secretaries may gain positions as teachers in secretarial colleges while bilingual or multilingual secretaries have the opportunity to work at home or abroad. They may work for a branch of their Organisation in one country and then be transferred to an overseas branch. They have access to the top jobs, since their secretarial skills combined with their language skills are in demand. They have a variety of organizations from which to choose: international companies, oil or import/export companies, central or local government authorities, or world bodies such as the United Nations. There may also be scope for work in higher educational language departments, travel

Profile Of A Role Model Mrs. Adedoyin Akinniyi is the Head of Department (HOD) of the Secretarial Studies/Computer Department at the Nigeria

that through diligence, orderliness,

Currently in the field of teaching, Mrs.

thoroughness, politeness, perseverance

Akinniyi trains young people to become

and hard work, a young person aspiring

secretaries. In her words “I find it very

to go into the career will scale through.

Opportunities Industrialization Centre (NOIC) Lagos Programme. Born over 40 years ago, Mrs. Akinniyi started her primary education at Ibadan after which she went to Molusi

Apart from these qualities, the person must have a credit in Mathematics,

interesting because I love it and it is a great joy when I see young people being molded by me. I do not regret

English Language, Business

going into the teaching aspect of my

Communication and shorthand at one

field one bit”. She encourages young

sitting in the West African School

people to realize that today is a step

Certificate (WASC) or its equivalent.

towards tomorrow. “This is to say that

further went to the Lagos State University

A secretary can also apply for

whatever you do today determines your

(LASU) where she obtained her B.Sc. degree

professional exams that would

tomorrow. Don’t keep friends that will

in Secretarial Administration.

enable him/her become a Fellow of

do you no good, and if you’ve fallen

College, Ijebu-Igbo. In 1986, Mrs. Akinniyi got her National Certificate of Education (NCE) certificate in Secretarial Studies (Technical) at the Polytechnic Ibadan. She

the National Institute of Professional into a pit unknowingly please stand up Talking about her source of encouragement Secretaries (NIPS). A secretary should quickly, pick up the pieces and move on while growing up, Mrs. Akinniyi said she had also endeavour to join professional with a determination to make it in life. no role model. She did not have it all rosy during her days in school because there were many challenges, which she had to grapple with while in school. In her words, “I faced a

bodies like the Institute of Chartered There is no hopeless situation where God is involved”. Secretaries and Reporters, Institute of Executive Secretaries and

own part, there was also lack of seriousness

Administrators of Nigeria, Institute of Mrs. Akinniyi is happily married with children. Chartered Secretaries and

with my studies while at school. But I thank

Administrators of Nigeria.

lot of bad peer influence and poverty. On my

God that I was able to overcome through the mercy of God who made me to learn from Accuracy

my past mistakes. My eyes were opened to


see that bad friends can really destroy/ruin a young person completely especially if you

Attention to detail

don’t tread the right path”.

Communication skills Mrs. Akinniyi adds that she was able to


retrace her steps through a driving force. Numeracy

This force made her tell herself whenever she


was down academically that “If others are doing very well without dubiousness, I too


and anybody else can do very well through

Technical skills

hard work and prayer”. Her advice to any young person aspiring to be Personal Assistant/Secretary be very patient, tactful, organized and self composed. She believes March 2004 p/22

March 2004 p/23

barristers’ chambers, legal departments of local and central government, banks and other financial institutions and often large international companies. There are also opportunities in the police and armed forces. Their work may include reviewing legal journals to assist with legal research, and helping to prepare briefs. As well as having extremely accurate typing abilities, legal secretaries need a high level of competence in the written language in order to be able to prepare long and complex documents -contracts, wills divorce petitions and other similar documents – which need completely accurate spelling and

punctuation. Without this, the whole meaning of a document could be changed. Legal documents also need to be set out in a specific way. Legal secretaries must be familiar with the legal terms used in their area of work. They may work for law firms specializing in one of the many areas of law, such as conveyance, probate or family law. Some more experienced legal secretaries may accompany solicitors/attorneys to court or to police cells to take notes. Generally, though, the work is office based. When involved in conveyancing or court cases, where deadlines may sometimes be set, the work may become very pressurized because of tight time schedules.

Growing Up Magazine  

Volume 12, No. 1

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