In 2016, the Nigerian Senate blocked the Gender Parity and Prohibition of Violence against Women. The bill which seeks equal rights for women in marriage, education and job did not see the light of day at the time.
In this clime, women are still undermined in most parts, girl children are daily abused and in the light of this, many civil organisations have risen to fight the cause of the Nigerian woman. In this interview with YNaija’s Impact365, Fame Foundation’s Aderonke Bello shares with us the three-month journey of the NGO and the impact it has made.
Please tell us more about FAME FOUNDATION
FAME Foundation is set up for women and girls empowerment and development. A gender-biased NGO set out to advocate, mentor the girl-child and women, from the less-privileged to the financially endowed women on healthcare, career, parenting, economic and many other ways to better the lives of the female gender and enhance gender parity.
What was that unique experience that inspired you to set up the NGO?
I have been advocating for women and the girl-child for quite a while now, it started in the year 2010, by going to schools and rural areas to mentor girls and women. I have carried out campaign such as smartgirlsng, childnotbride, Inspiregirlsng, and advocated for the wellness of female athletes in Nigeria. Most recently, I led the payfalcons protest when the super falcons were not paid their dues after winning the African Women cup of nations in Cameroon, which eventually led to them getting paid 48hrs later. I decided to set up the NGO in 2017 after about seven years of volunteer work for the female gender, which I believe is long-overdue. The NGO is registered with the Corporate affairs Comission (CAC) with the number, CAC/IT/NO 95555. Since the inception in January 2017, we have managed to empower, educate, and sensitize many women and girls.
What are the factors that contribute to the disenfranchisement of women in the Nigerian society?
I disagree that women are not included, my belief is that, we can engage more women in leadership roles. A major factor is the traditional perception that women belong in the kitchen, limiting women from contributing economically. Secondly, we should try to curb the phrase, ‘women are their own worst enemies’ we should embrace each other as the female gender.
Your NGO is based in Abuja, have you worked in other states of the country?
Yes we have. There is an ongoing project called FAMETrain – a nationwide movement for women and girls’ empowerment and mentorship. We have carried out projects since our incorporation in January in Rivers, Borno, Delta, Niger states and the FCT.
From your experience with women and girls in different parts of the country, have you experienced rejection in any parts? By rejection, we mean that which is fed by ignorance.
Personally, no I have not per say, but what I have encountered is people being intimidated by strong and vociferous women as the society is still coming to terms with that, due to traditional perceptions. However, some women do not think we should change the way they reason, they feel their culture or tradition must be respected at all times.
Do you have any collaboration with the Ministries of Women Affairs on federal and state levels?
I have worked with them as a volunteer but since we incorporated the NGO in January, we have been planning to collaborate with the Women Affairs and the announcement will be made soon. Moreover, we are already partners with the gender department of the National Orientation Agency (NOA).
What are the biggest challenges FAME FOUNDATION has faced?
It is not easy getting volunteers across the nation; I believe with time, we will fulfil our dreams by taking our projects to all states of the nation.
Are you satisfied with your reach and impact so far?
Yes, we have been able to reach out to people in five states, including our base, Abuja. We are only three months old and hope to have made a lot of impact by our one-year anniversary.
How did you celebrate International Women’s Day?
We organised a very successful seminar for primary school female head teachers in Abuja, I’m proud to say. Different speakers addressed the group on different issues and not only mandated them to transfer the acquired knowledge to their female teachers, but to also extend the information and empowerment to bettering the lives of their female students.
What project do you have planned for the rest of 2017?
We plan to organise a trade fair for women living with disabilities, to continue with our aims in empowering the girl-child, striving to end child marriage and to also create awareness on issues that affect the girl-child and women, to name but a few.