As part of efforts targeted at supporting the girl-child especially in slums and remote areas, a group of Commonwealth Alumni Scholars and Fellows in the University of Lagos on Wednesday, March 9, 2022, held a community engagement/outreach programme.
The event drew participants from public junior secondary schools who are residents of Makoko, an informal settlement in the Lagos coastal area.
The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC)’s Alumni Community Engagement Fund (ACEF) is an annual fund which seeks to support Commonwealth Alumni in raising awareness on key development issues at community levels through the organization of engagement activities.
The theme of the programme for this year is; ‘Her Dream, Her Future’ with participants from Mobolaji Bank Anthony Junior High School, Sabo, Onike Girls Junior High School, Onike and St. Francis Junior Secondary School, Iwaya.
The girls were addressed by Senior female academics and administrators from the University including Deputy Vice-Chancellor Development Services, Professor Ayodele Atsenuwa, Director, Research and Innovation Office, Professor Bola Oboh and the head of the University Counselling Unit, Mrs Aderonke Asiwaju, they all implored the girls to be focused, and determined to make a difference.
Other speakers at the event were; Dr Mary Akinyemi who encouraged the girls on the importance of Mathematics in careers, Dr. Chika Yinka-Banjo who addressed the participants on Robotics while Dr Abiodun Gbenga-Ilori spoke on opportunities for females in Engineering.
There were also remarks by other speakers including the best Graduating student in the Department of Chemistry for the 2000 convocation ceremony, Miss Vivian Nwosu-Madueke, they all charged the participants to rise above the challenges posed by their immediate environment or gender and pick interest in STEM-related courses after completing their secondary school education.
The participants numbering about 30, were taken on a guided tour around the UNILAG campus, places visited included the University Library where they were received by the University Librarian, Prof. Yetunde Zaid who spoke to the girls about taking up a career in library science, the students also visited the natural history museum.
The DVC (DS); Professor Ayodele Atsenuwa and her predecessor; Prof. Folasade Ogunsola also hosted the girls during which they were inspired to aim high, break the bias and be good models to their peers in school.
Other CSC Alumni present at the outreach program were: Prof. Olatunde Julius Otusanya, Dr Maryam Quadri – South West Coordinator of Commonwealth Scholars and Fellows Alumni Association of Nigeria (COSFAN), Dr. Esther Makinde and Dr Oluwatoyin Fatunsin.
The Coordinator of the programme, Dr. Temilola Oluseyi, said the event was sponsored by the British Council, and organized by the UNILAG Alumni of the Commonwealth Scholarship, to motivate the participants.