To mark the Day of the Girl child on October 11th, 2018, the United States Consulate in Lagos partnered with the Africa Creative Children’s Network (ACCN) on an event to inspire young secondary school girls. On hand to interact with these girls included Nollywood star Mercy Johnson Okojie; BellaNaija‘s founder/CEO Uche Pedro; Nollywood, director and lawyer Mildred Okwo; CNN Hero Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin; Head, Accelerate TV, Colette Otusheso; W Tech founder Oreoluwa Somolu-Lesi; and editor of Guardian Life Chidera Muoka.
Themed ‘No girl left behind’, guests were also treated to a performance by music icon Yinka Davies.
“It is amazing to see a vision kick off as this has, we at the Africa Creative Children’s Network are very grateful to the US consulate for this invaluable partnership and support for the girl child. We are thankful for these incredible women who have given of their time and knowledge so selflessly today. Above all, we are excited to see the passion and ambition in these young girls who we are celebrating today.” explained ‘Oma Areh, Executive Director, Africa Creative Children’s Network.
The interactive session kicked off with the US Consulate Cultural Affairs officer Kevin Krapf who welcomed the young girls and mentors to the session. The US Mission Country coordinator, Alice Seddon also shared her experience as a young girl and how she ended up as a career diplomat encouraging the young girls gathered to work towards their dreams.
A panel session moderated superbly by Uche Pedro followed: Mildred Okwo reflected on her decision to study theatre arts, her career as a lawyer in the United States and her decision to follow her passion into Nollywood. Colette Otusheso shared on how she was inspired by her teachers to follow her dreams and her transition from an entirely corporate job into an entertainment powerhouse, Oreoluwa Somolu-Lesi spoke of how she found her space in tech and her passion to inspire young girls to excel in the field. Mercy Johnson-Okojie told her story on how her passion to succeed broke her away from poverty, advising the girls not to let their backgrounds hold them from dreaming. CNN Hero Abisoye spoke of the role of mentorship in her life and how her early career as an intern helped shape her future. Chidera Muoka spoke on how setting goals and pushing hard for them made her the youngest editor in Nigeria at the age of 25. The young girls thoroughly drilled the panel with questions and inspired others as well with their dreams and ambitions.
The event ended with a vote of thanks from the organisers’ the Africa Creative Network. ACCN founder Sarah Inya Lawal had a message on the organisation’s activities including a formal launch in November 2018, a Children’s creative festival in 2019 and a broadcast network in 2020. The network is in partnership with the US Consulate, Ascend Studios, Accelerate TV, WildFlower PR and Peaceville Entertainment.