Chiney Ogwumike, a name synonymous with passion and purpose, is making waves in her mission to strengthen ties between the United States and Africa. Born from a deep-rooted connection to her Nigerian heritage, Chiney is now a member of the groundbreaking President’s Advisory Council on African Diaspora Engagement, a momentous announcement by the White House that holds immense promise.

In a recent phone interview with The Associated Press, Chiney expressed her profound sense of calling, saying, “Best way to describe it, it feels like it’s a calling of a lifetime.” Her enthusiasm is infectious, and it’s evident that this endeavor is deeply authentic to her core values and aspirations. She sees it as an opportunity for exponential impact—a calling that transcends a mere appointment.

A 31-year-old Stanford graduate and WNBA player, Chiney Ogwumike has a history of advocating for African women’s rights. Her journey began in 2014 when she, alongside her sister Nneka, initiated a UNICEF fundraiser in response to the kidnapping of Nigerian girls by Boko Haram. This heartfelt endeavor aimed to create opportunities for children and young people who share her background, enabling them to transform their lives as she did.

Chiney’s life story reflects the convergence of Nigerian determination and boundless American opportunities, an inspiring narrative she intends to share widely. She views her role on the advisory council as a pathway for youth to empower themselves, bridging the gap between continents and cultures.

The council, announced by Vice President Kamala Harris during the 2022 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, boasts distinguished leadership, with Rev. Dr. Silvester Beaman of the African Methodist Episcopal Church as the chairperson. Among its members is Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis, and notably, Chiney Ogwumike stands as the youngest female representative on the council.

Their mission is clear: to provide invaluable guidance for reinforcing cultural, social, political, and economic ties between the U.S. and Africa. They aim to promote trade, investment, and educational exchanges that will benefit both regions. Chiney’s background as an NBA analyst for ESPN and her compelling advocacy make her a vital contributor to this important work.

Ghiney Ogwunike

Chiney’s path to this impactful role took a fortuitous turn when she spoke at the UN General Assembly last year. There, she shared her thoughts on the transformative power of sports and its potential to shape a better world. Fueled by her passion, she submitted her resume for the council and awaited the outcome with bated breath.

Chiney Ogwumike’s journey from the WNBA courts to the White House advisory council exemplifies the profound impact one individual can make when driven by a heartfelt commitment to a cause. Her story reminds us that heritage, determination, and opportunity are powerful forces for change, and they can unite continents in the pursuit of a brighter future.

No fewer than half of Nigerian children reported some form of physical violence prior to 18 years by an intimate partner, parent, adult relative or community member, the UNICEF said on Tuesday.

Ms Juliane Koenlg of UNICEF in Abuja, made the disclosure while presenting the findings of the Economic Burden of Violence against Children in Lagos.

It was at the launch of two documents: “A Financial Benchmark for Child Protection, Nigeria Study, Volume 1” and “The Economic Burden of Violence Against Children” by UNICEF.”

Two Studies, ” A Financial Benchmark for Child Protection, Nigeria Study, Volume 1″ and “The Economic Burden of Violence Against Children” launched by UNICEF and stakeholders in Lagos on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 (NAN photo).
Two Studies, ” A Financial Benchmark for Child Protection, Nigeria Study, Volume 1″ and “The Economic Burden of Violence Against Children” launched by UNICEF and stakeholders in Lagos on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 (NAN photo).

According to Koenlg, findings in the the study also shows that roughly one-fifth of Nigerian children reported emotional abuse while growing up.

She said that based on this large indicator, there was need to give a sense of spending on child protection going by the huge implications of Violence Against Children ( VAC).

” Nigeria faces significant political, security and economic challenges; 53 per cent of the population are children; many are exposed to extreme situations of violence due to ongoing political and ethnic conflicts.

“Many suffer abuse due to prevailing social norms and economic conditions and distorted wealth distribution.

“The analysis of the economic costs shows that violence against children carries a considerable burden in Nigeria, especially as the adverse consequences of childhood violence affect not only children as individuals, but by extension, families, and communities”.

According to her, the estimated economic value that Nigeria lost to some selected health consequences of violence against children in 2014 amounted to N849 billion for females and and 579 billion Naira for males.

She urged governments, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and decision makers to urgently develop budget for interventions that would reduce VAC.

Speaking, Mrs Bola Balogun, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development on Tuesday said: ” President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2015 made a wakeup call for a national campaign to end violence against children in Nigeria.

This singular declaration by the president and the follow-up action by core Ministries Department Agencies (MDAs) has positioned Nigeria as one of the leadng countries to end child crime.

“Nigeria is now one out of the seven Pathfinding Countries for the End Violence Against Children Global Campaign.

“One of the requirements of a pathfinding country is to have a data hub that will guide decision making,” she said.

The permanent secretary said the desire to document existing child protection services in the federal MDAs gave birth to documenting the services and financial benchmark of child protection services between 2014 to 2016.

The first part of the study was embarked upon to provide evidence on the actual budget allocation and expenditure on child protection services.

“The second report which is on economic burden of violence against children presented the cost of inaction of violence against children.

“This has helped to deepen the evidence of the quality of protection for every Nigeria child,” she said.

Balogun said that the findings in the assessments serves as a wake up call for all stakeholders to go back to the drawing board and chart a new course towards increased funding for child protection.

She said that this should be done with a view to improving the safety of children as well as reducing the cost on response services in the long run.

The financial commitment of government on child protection services has become necessary with a rise in child crime in the country,” Balogun said.

In her remarks, Mrs Grace Obi-Ukpabi, from the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Abuja said that the government knows the importance of investing in people for a better future.

Obi-Ukpabi said that if investments are not carried out on human beings, every of the economic endeavour being propagated will eventually become null and void.

If we refuse to invest in our children, we are giving the future a bleak look because what we do to our children, we indirectly do to ourselves,” she said.

She said that the reports launched could be used as a benchmark in ministries so that the press could use it as a yard stick of measurement to judge performances over time.

Also, Mrs Olufunmilayo Balogun, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Lagos State said that protecting a child is synonymous to protecting the future of a country.

“We need to be sensitive to the things happening around us as it affects our children and unborn generation.

“As Nigerians, we must invest in our heritage because it is this investment that will yield quantifiable returns towards growth in the future.



Credit: pulse.ng

Photo credit: Google

Girls in developing countries must be protected from sexual violence in and around schools, the head of the UN’s children fund has said, urging governments to make it a top priority.

“We have a real responsibility to keep violence out of schools,” UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore says

Speaking to AFP on the sidelines of a G7 ministerial summit in Paris, UNICEF chief Henrietta Fore said keeping young girls safe was crucial to ensuring their education.

“We have a real responsibility to keep violence out of schools… by other students but also by their teachers,” she told AFP in an interview last week.

But sexual assault and violence was also affecting girls on their route to school and when they were going home, she said.

“In some countries in Africa, like South Africa where I was recently, some girls.. (suffer) sexual violence on their way to and from school,” she said.

And it is not an isolated phenomenon, with Human Rights Watch last year flagging up “high levels of sexual and gender-based violence” in Senegal where teachers were coercing girls into sex for money, gifts or good grades.

In 2015, the UN set targets aimed at ensuring equal opportunities and ending violence against women and girls by 2030, but last month, gender equality charity “Equal Measures 2030” said it was “failing to deliver”.

‘Girls can do anything’

Fore also stressed the importance of “a strong commitment” to the education of girls, particularly in places like the African Sahel, a vast area encompassing Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Nigeria which has been hit by jihadist violence.

“I am hoping they will stand up and make strong commitment (to) backing girls’ education, especially in places that are very hard, like in the Sahel: if girls get a chance there, they will get a chance everywhere.”

Girls, she said, were an enormous asset for the world at large.

“Often countries think it’s a lesser asset, but the power of young women in an economy is unmeasurable,” she said.

Some countries didn’t see the value in educating girls, but the numbers told a different story, she said.

“Girls can do anything.

“When women are streaming into the workplace, they are very good at their profession,” she said.

“If a government sees that women can become these brilliant innovators in their society, they will want more women to have a chance.”

The Paris summit grouped education and development ministers from wealthy G7 nations — Britain, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and the US — alongside their counterparts from the Sahel.

Argentina, Estonia, Singapore and Senegal also sent delegates.

Credit: AFP, pulse.ng

The United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says six out of 10 women between 15 and 49 years in Oyo State are victims of genital mutilation.

Dr Olasunbo Odebode, Representative of UNICEF in-charge of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Nigeria, disclosed this on Thursday in Ibadan.

Odebode spoke at a public declaration of FGM abandonment by 21 communities in Oyo West Local Government area of the state.

According to Odebode, a Child Protection Specialist, mutilation prevalence rate for women between 15 and 49 years in the state is 55.5 per cent, the fifth highest in Nigeria.

She said the affected females live with the negative consequences of the practice, which undermined their physical, emotional and socio-economic well-being.

She described FGM as a harmful traditional practice, a gross violation of the fundamental human rights of women, which seriously compromised their health and psychological well-being.

FGM is not only harmful but also against nature as it destroys the wholesome and beautiful way women and girls are naturally created.

”It poses increased risk of infection or prolonged labour, bleeding, still-birth and maternal death during childbirth as well as leaves lasting physical, emotional scars and an irreparable damage,” Odebode said.

She said FGM was a social norm and that people practice it because they believed that others in their community do it.

She urged stakeholders to collaborate in the campaign to end its menace in their respective communities.

Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu, Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA) in the state, said the agency had carried out series of programmes to sensitise the public on the effects of female genital mutilation.

Dosunmu commended traditional and community leaders in the area for dropping the age-long practice.

Oba Lamidi Olayiwola, the Aalafin of Oyo, promised to support UNICEF and NOA efforts in eliminating the practice in the state.

The monarch, represented by Chief Yusuf Akinade, the Basorun of Oyo Kingdom, charged community heads to sensitise people in their domain on the negative effects of the practice.



Credit: Pulse

Nigeria now has the highest number of out of school children in the world.

In a story published by the Voice Of America, the UN agency says its latest survey “indicates that the population of out of school children in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, the highest in the world”.

UNICEF states that most of the affected children are in the northern states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, “where Boko Haram insecurities have disrupted academic activities”.

Boko Haram has been waging a war against the Nigerian state since 2009. The terrorist sect has displaced millions and killed more than 50,000 people in Nigeria since the insurgency commenced.

Education psychologist Mayowa Adegbile told VOA that increasing numbers of out of school children in Nigeria adversely affects the nation’s economy.

“Sixty percent of that population are girls only, and you know when you bring it back home, every girl becomes a mother or a woman who would in turn take care of other children. And for a woman who goes to school, it has a ripple effect, an economical ripple effect.

“When she goes to school, she has education, she gets a job, even if she doesn’t have a job… even if it’s just basic secondary school education, she can communicate basic English and Mathematics,” Adegbile said.

Apart from the Boko Haram insurgency, UNICEF also found that some cultural beliefs and practices also play significant role in keeping children of school age in Nigeria out of the classrooms.

“Nigeria’s budgetary spending on education is not enough to quell the widening gap – only seven percent of Nigeria’s $24 billion 2018 budget is earmarked for education.

“And so far, there appear to be no new policies to boost education spending”, VOA writes.

Credit: Pulse News

Photo credit: Google

Flagging off the campaign on Thursday at Gwandu, Gov. Atiku Bagudu, said more than two million people were being targeted.

Bagudu said the second round of vaccination became necessary following reported suspected cases of yellow fever in the state and neighbouring states.

“In March, the first round of yellow fever vaccination was conducted in eight LGAs of the state following reported suspected cases of yellow fever in Kebbi and other states of the country.

“In view of the danger posed by yellow fever to the health of the people, the Kebbi State Government has collaborated with the Federal Government and our development partners, notably WHO,UNICEF and GAVI to conduct second round of yellow fever mass campaign in 13 LGAs of the state beginning from today,” he said.

Bagudu assured that the state government would continue to collaborate with development partners in the fight against yellow fever and other preventable diseases in the country.

The governor thanked the development partners and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) for their support in the campaign.

Earlier, the state Commissioner for Health, Alhaji Umar Kambaza, said the exercise would cover Argungu, Augie, Arewa, Aliero, Dandi, Birnin Kebbi, Gwandu, Kalgo Bunza, Jega, Zuru, Dakaba and Danko Wasagu Local Government Areas.

He explained that children from nine months up to 44 years would be vaccinated against yellow fever in the state.

Kambaza called on eligible people to make use of the opportunity to get vaccinated.

Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar, a representative of NPHCDA, Abuja, called on stakeholders to cooperate and mobilise people for the campaign.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the campaign would last for 10 days and would take place in 847 vaccination posts from Nov. 29 to Dec. 8.

Credit: Pulse, NAN

UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Mr Mohammed Malick-Fall, disclosed this at the closing of a five-day workshop on Public Finance for Children in Abuja on Sunday, October 21, 2018.

“Public financing for children is important because development money is just the seed money compared to the needs in Nigeria.

“It is important for Federal and State Governments to release the funding that we need to meet the Social Development Goal (SDG),” Malick-Fall said.

Also speaking, Mr Gustave Nebie, UNICEF Regional Adviser, Social Policy, West and Central African Region (WCARO), described the workshop as timely.

“I think it was a good workshop, because what is important here is diversification of partnership.

“Usually, this kind of workshop is held for people in the social policy section only but fortunately, in Nigeria the senior management has decided to bring everybody along.

“The idea is due to the fact that public finance involves all sections of the organisation,” Nebie said.

He said that participants at the workshop had been equipped with various skills to work towards enhancing the wellbeing of children.

“For me, it was a very successful meeting and I was really happy to be part of it.

“It will kick start a process in which we have to work together in order to be able to move the public finance agenda.

“As we all know, we are working to achieve results for children and we need to make sure that we get more resources for the benefit of the children,” Nebie said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was organised for staff of UNICEF Regional offices in Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Credit: Pulse, NAN

Miss Oluseyi Abdulmalik, Communications and Media Manager of WaterAid Nigeria, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Bauchi, to mark the Global Handwashing Day, celebrated annually on Oct. 15.

“We already know progress is not fast enough; about 60,000 children under 5 years in Nigeria still die each year because of diarrhea.

“That is linked to dirty water, poor toilets and poor hygiene, pointing out that everyone has a right to water and our leaders must act to leave no one behind.”

According to her, washing hands with soap and water reduces cases of diarrhea by almost 50 percent, yet on average, around the world only 19 per cent of people wash hands with soap after defecation.

She urged governments to prioritise the promotion of handwashing, along with water and sanitation to save lives.

She said the WaterAid Nigeria Country Director, Dr ChiChi Aniagolu-Okoye, also advised on personal hygiene and an intake of good diet as health boosters.

Handwashing with soap and good food hygiene brings health and economic benefits.

“Handwashing with soap is essential for health workers, improving quality of care and reducing risk of cross-infection. It also makes children healthier.

“We are advocating alongside our partners, Action Against Hunger, to demand that governments should develop cross-ministerial coordination mechanisms between the WASH and nutrition sector championed at the highest level to support sharing of information and joint planning and implementation of policies.

Abdulmalik urged policy makers to prioritise nutrition-sensitive WASH interventions and include specific objectives to improve WASH within nutrition plans and policies.

“Clear entry points to integrate WASH and nutrition include behaviour change promotion and improvement of provision of WASH in healthcare facilities and schools,” she said.

The WaterAid Communications Officer, also advocated more investments to improve handwashing practice and access to basic handwashing.

“For citizens to join in making this happen by using the power they wield in their hands to vote in the coming elections for leaders, who pledge commitment to improving WASH access, ” she said.

Abdulmalik, however, enjoined all citizens to participate in the WASH project, to achieve a healthier environment and country.

Credit: Pulse News

Reports from a UNICEF research found that 65% of females in the Kibera slum in Kenya, the largest urban slum in Africa, have at one point traded sex for sanitary products.

The girls are forced to have sex with older men because it is the only way they can access sanitary products due to poverty and the stigma surrounding menstruation.

(Photo: ThisisAfrica)

The research also reports that 54% of Kenyan girls still have problems accessing feminine hygiene products and 22% of schoolgirls still have to buy their own even though the Kenyan government signed a bill into law last year that says girls in public schools will receive free sanitary towels.

90,000 girls in 335 schools in Kenya now have access to safe and clean facilities because of that bill, but there’s clearly still more work to be done. Andrew Trevett, UNICEF Kenya chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, hypothesizes two reasons why girls have to trade sex for sanitary products:

“One obvious reason is poverty – girls and women don’t have the financial means to buy sanitary products. But there is also the issue of supply.

Transactional sex for sanitary items happens because the items are not available in girl’s villages.

In the countryside, girls are faced with no transport and can’t afford a bus fare. In some remote villages, there are no roads and there isn’t a bus service.”

UNICEF found that 7% of women use old cloths, chicken feathers, mud and newspapers in the place of pads or tampons — while some dig a hole in the ground and sit there for days till their period passes.

UNICEF also found that only 50% of girls felt they could openly discuss menstruation at home.


Credit: konbini.com