Wow! 2015 has been an incredibly interesting and engaging year for me. The year presented series of opportunities to expand my experience in a growing discipline I engaged recently and it was particularly interesting because I got to work on some areas I was passionate about and already good at.
I have been working in the field of gender and development for about a decade with focus on advancing girls and women's rights. So I had extensively engaged a number of research studies, trainings and capacity building workshops, technical assignments, publications and other projects. And these were all around areas such as improving women's political participation, building and contributing to the design of girl-centred programs, training and building the capacity of grassroots women and youth, contributing to various reports and publications and position paper etc.
In addition, I recently started to master my skills in digital media production and I collaborated to develop scripts and scenes in various productions. I also expanded my experience in photography and videography and so I have undertaken projects to photograph an international training workshop focused on building the capacity of programmers that ran programs targeting adolescent girls. I also worked in a number of teams to film corporate events and meetings as well as documentaries and other short videos.
How did all these work together in 2015? I found out that a lot of the opportunities that I accessed this year had a way of harmonizing my experience as a gender specialist with my experience as a filmmaker. And those projects turned out to be my highlights for 2015. My first highlight came up in a project to film a political debate series. The debate series was targeted at challenging political aspirants to share their political agenda as well as clear provisions expected from the Manifestoes of the 2 largest political parties contending the 2015 elections. I was glad that a lot of Sisters (from the Civil Society) were present at those meetings to challenge the political aspirants to present specific provisions women should expect from the newly voted government.
Another highlight was my experience working with an International Organisation to visit communities across Nigeria and produce a documentary reflecting the communities stories of change. The Organisation works in remote hard-to-reach communities where there are little or no basic infrastructure or facilities like a healthcare unit or hospital, a police station, a primary or secondary school, potable water source, road or bridge etc. This project exposed me to remote communities I did not know existed in Nigeria. And that was a re-educating experience for me because I found out that there were still a lot of remote communities in Nigeria that experience extreme poverty on a daily basis. But, I was particularly excited that I was working on a project that sought to provide support to rural women by boosting their enterprise so they can be empowered to send their daughters to school. So, I was interviewing girls and women who were beneficiaries of the project. The documentary was a very creative communication of the story of change in the beneficiary communities.
Another highlight I have been so excited about is a project I conceived to conduct a research study into the status of girls education in northern Nigeria, with focus on 2 communities in 2 local government areas of a state in Nigeria. The project has another output to produce a documentary amplifying the voices of girls regarding their education and one of the major challenges to their education which is early marriage. Some interesting stories have emerged and my team would be completing the documentary early 2016.
I can go on and on, but these are some of my highlights from 2015. And in the World Pulse Community, I did record some interesting highlights too. First, I restored my vocal contribution badge, in addition to other badges I scored as a welcomer and as a community listener. These mean the world to me because it is a reflection of the little I can give and share in and with the World Pulse Community. Also, a World Pulse Coalition Project I participated in recorded a huge success with the release of the Intel She Will Connect app which provides step-by-step guide to young women looking to build their digital literacy. In addition, I participated in the World Pulse Intro to Digital Empowerment Training (first as a participant and secondly as a listener). It was a learning and rewarding experience that I hope to build on in 2016.
What a year you might say! It was truly a great and engaging year for me and I am still working on a number of the projects due for completion in 2016. This has left me fuelled and pumped for the New Year and the new projects I have lined alongside some of the ongoing projects. Goodbye to 2015 and Welcome 2016! I can do more! Will you?