U.S. to support Nigeria on gender equality, says official
By Olanrewaju Akojede
Joseph Kruzich, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate General Lagos, has restated the commitment of the American Government toward initiatives that will drive gender equality in Nigeria.
Kruzich made this known to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sideline of the graduation ceremony of 50 beneficiaries of the ‘Break the Bias, She Can’ initiative on Tuesday in Lagos.
The event was organised by the Additional Plus Sports and Education Initiative (APSE) in partnership with Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC).
NAN reports that ‘Break the Bias, She Can’ is an initiative of the Management of APSE in partnerships with LSSC, to provide a one-tier sports and political empowerment programme to empower some outstanding girl children.
The graduation ceremony was held at the Rowe Park Sports Centre, Yaba, Lagos.
The programme was designed as education in sport and political education with major focus on taekwondo, table-tennis and sensitisation.
It also involved mentorship programme on political participation and how vote can count as a tool in combating the disturbing phenomenon.
At the graduation ceremony of the 50 beneficiaries, the U.S. envoy to Nigeria, Kruzich, noted that the drive to gender equality was one of the American dreams.
“Gender equality is one of the core values of the Americans and I believe it is one of the core values of Nigerian government as well.
“As both country now have strong democracies, we are committed to working together with Nigeria to do more in the area of gender equality, economic development and good governance.
“We are not also forgetting the boys as well, because they are also important.
“We need both sides, but in traditional settings, we sometimes forget our women, their voices and needs are neglected.
“We want to focus on these, so that everyone in the society have a role to play in the rebirth of Nigeria, in her development and Africa as well,” he said.
Kruzich also stated that the American government was excited to partner the ‘Break the Barrier’ Initiative, adding that it is the right change that Nigeria needed.
“The U.S. government is excited to be part of this programme, especially because of the ambition of the initiator of this programme, Dr Oluwaseun Nariwoh.
“This is a strong initiative that gives training in sports and educational development, which in turn gives confidence and political training.
“This programme would have afford the participants good outlook on their roles in the society and what they should do to make Nigerian society a better place.
““The initiative is great and the organisation is good, putting smiles on the faces of the children.
“It is now time for the children to show the world what stuff they are now made of, while we appreciate other organisations to come on board,” he said.
Mrs Adetoun Tade, the President of International Visitors Leadership Programme, (IVLP), U.S. Consulate, told NAN that the programme had been able to fulfill its mandate.
According to Tade, this has been shown by the successful completion of the one year intensive programme for the beneficiaries.
“This is a good way of giving back to the society which we are all proud of and we will always like to support.
“This is the way to go in raising the next generation of talents that will positively impact on our society and youths with responsible values.
“I am sure that this programme will be more encouraged to ensure its sustainability,” she said.
Also, Moses Kolawole, the Director of Sports, Lagos State Sports Commission, (LSSC), noted that the commission was proud to be part of the initiative.
“It is because the initiative is part of the core values being upheld by the state government.
“This is a programme that Lagos State is known for. We can’t have it better than this in raising responsible children to adulthood,” he said.
The initiator of APSE, Dr Oluwaseun Nariwoh, said that the programme was designed to identify some gaps in the development of athletes, which included combining sports with education.
““We need to prepare these young ones well ahead of the future challenges, and this is what we have been able to achieve.
“The young participants now know the values of education and not sports alone,” she said.
NAN reports that highlights of the graduation included the distribution of reading books such as “21 girls who made the world a better place,” some exercise books, other writing materials and certificate of participation. (NAN)
Edited by Olawunmi Ashafa