Meet Orejesu, the Gender Activist…
Dearest CIB reader, it is with great joy I welcome you to the last blogpost for the year 2018. It has been an awesome journey of inspiration and I believe you will agree with me on that. I deeply appreciate every star that agreed to be featured and more importantly, everyone who took time to read through the posts. You are the reason CIB still rocks. Thank you immensely.
To seal the 2018 CIB series is a young lady I admire without reservations. I remember the first time I met her, what stood out for me was her uncommon name which translates in English as “Friend of Jesus”. I am delighted to have the humble Orejesu Ajayi (Ore) on CIB.
Orejesu is a fellow youth champion with the ONE Campaign in Nigeria and the Executive Director at In Our Hands Initiative (IOHI), a development initiative set out to advancing human rights, advocating for gender equality, enhancing quality education through policy and developmental strategies. She is a graduate of International Law and Diplomacy from the prestigious Babcock University and has served as a Youth Representative Volunteer for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 62 at the United Nations this year. In November, she was one of the few Nigerians selected to attend the World Youth Forum held in Egypt.
Amazingly, she is an active member in various international and national organizations such as Lagos Court of Arbitration, GIMAC Network, Young African Leaders Initiative Network (YALI), African Change Makers, Nigerian Youth SDGs network and a host of others.
Join me as we take a ride into the world of one of Nigeria’s Pride. Have a great read!
CIB: What really inspired IOHI and what is its vision?
Ore: IOHI started from an observation and experience during my National Youth Service Corp Scheme year. I had watched several cases being reported on how children suffer from different forms of violence and how this had eaten them up emotionally. So I did some research and one of my most profound findings was that the best way to prevent Gender Based Violence from happening is it to tackle its root causes from childhood and adolescent stage. I discovered the best way was to enlighten children on the forms of violence and its preventive measures using our experiential learning kit.
The vision of IOHI is to raise a new generation through the reconstruction of mindset, who are able to provide solutions to today’s development challenges that affects women, girls, men and boys.
CIB: You are an advocate for gender related issues, why did you choose this campaign? Are there personal experiences?
Ore: I chose this field because I have experienced first-hand the type of policy changes that can be triggered through advocacy for gender related issues.
CIB: What can you say about gender based violence (gbv) in Nigeria, is it getting worse?
Ore: It may seem like it is getting worse but if we look at it, people are becoming bolder and a lot more confident at speaking up and speaking out about gbv, especially with the advent of social media. Also, the #MeToo as well as the #HEforSHE movements have created a solid platform and space for victims to express themselves. We won’t keep calm till the narrative changes for good.
CIB: Do you think men are receptive about the movement to end violence against women? If no, why so?
Ore: Yes, men are being receptive. This is because whether we admit it or not, men suffer gbv too and with the change in the world today, it is essential that everyone gets involved to discuss these issues and proffer solutions.
CIB: What challenges have you faced so far?
Ore: One challenge is the lack of understanding on the part of some school operators on the need to resocialize students. This actually calls for advocacy among this group of people for them to understand the importance of our work.
CIB: Your high points?
Ore: One of my high points would be when I was a youth champion for the Gender Is My Agenda Campaign Network (GIMAC) Pre-Summit consultative meeting on mainstreaming gender equality in the African Union at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It laid a foundation that paved the way for my career path and I have enjoyed great support ever since.
CIB: Advise to youths.
Ore: My advice to the youths will be to get involved in your community. The change you want to see begins with you.
I totally agree with Orejesu, “the change you want to see begins with you”. As the 2019 general elections in Nigeria approach, remember that you are with the power to make the right choice. If you want economic progress at all levels, you know the candidate that has the tendency to deliver. Do not vote based on sentiments but on credibility.
It’s a wrap and I hope you had a great time reading this. The year is about to come to an end and I sincerely hope that the remaining days bring you and yours good tidings.
Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year in Advance.
Till we meet next year by God’s grace,
Don’t forget you are a masterpiece.
With Love From,