“Welcome to Nigeria”

Submitted by Monica Grover

(Monica Grover, like Ambika, another one of our authors, is coincidentally also in Nigeria empowering girls through media but in Lagos for the Global Fund for Children).

Lagos, Nigeria – “Are you Monica?” asked a slender man wearing a vibrant ankara, Nigeria’s traditional dress, as I walked out of the Lagos airport, rolling my hot pink suitcase. Amy Oyekunle, executive director of Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) and GFC’s current international fellow, had said Taju would be holding a placard with my name on it. Relieved to be greeted by his friendly smile, I replied, “I am Monica.” As Taju and I walked to the car, Mr. O rang Taju’s phone. Taju handed the phone to me and said, “It’s Mr. O.” I accepted the phone and heard an energetic voice saying, “Welcome to Nigeria!” It was a great start to my visit.

As Taju and I drove through the streets of Lagos toward my hotel, I thought about the reason I had come to Nigeria. KIND is one of four GFC grantee partners in India and Nigeria selected to participate in a unique video storytelling project called the Nike Brain Trust. I was here to attend the video storytelling workshops that I had spent the last year helping our regional implementing partner, Communicating for Change, to coordinate. The goals of the project are to empower young girls to share their stories through video and to build the media capacity of our grantee partners to highlight best practices in programming for girls and to promote their organizational missions.

The result of the planning and workshops will be a tool kit that will include lessons learned throughout the project’s development. Once complete, we will share this tool kit with our grantmaking partners involved in the Nike Foundation’s Grassroots Girls Initiative. Eventually, we will share the tool kit with more NGOs serving young girls in the developing world in hopes that they will be able to create their own video storytelling programs to help nurture confidence in young girls and use the videos as a tool for broader advocacy for their organizations.

I had the opportunity to visit the workshops in Hyderabad, India, in January, and now my focus is on Nigeria. After a year of planning and managing the process from over 5,000 miles away, I will finally be able to see the workshops live in Africa. How great would it be to hear and see the young girls’ leadership skills and confidence flourish as a result of our support? Maybe I’m being too idealistic? We’ll see tomorrow.


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