My jubilant mind couldn't resist finding out more, when news broke out that a group of Nigerian school-girls presented a breakthrough urine-powered generator at an innovation fair- Maker Faire Africa, held on the 5th of November 2012 in Lagos, Nigeria.
I began searching the web for related reports, online blogs and newspapers, followed a news documentary aired on Aljazeera as well as news reports on local TV stations and newspapers. I was, however, taken aback and shaken to my wits when I came across some vicious comments made by some Nigerian men and boys.
“Unnecessary and highly embarrassing invention from idle kids. So if we eventually allow women to rule this country this is the kind of thrash they would be feeding us with”.
“Those girls didn't do it, quote me anywhere. They are 14-15 yrs. What do they know about technology…..?”
“What do all these small girls know about generator talk-less of inventing urine powered generator………..”
Now listen attentively....I am not doubting the theory nor the possibility of this invention but that these girls are 14-15 years of age and are Nigerians....It’s either they lied about their age or they are not Nigerians..
“I doubt this story. The mathematics and research that is needed before the design of this generator is too much for these girls, talk more of the construction…….”
The questionable comments above are only a diminutive number of the loads that I came across. I wonder what the intransigents would have said had the feat been credited to boys. I am particularly saddened by the fact that they allowed their typical patriarchal and parochial minds believe that the female gender represented in this case by the girls, could never achieve such outstanding feat.
They would definitely not have been in doubt if the story read…. “Nigerian girls discovered in undercover baby factory/farm” or “Young Nigerian Girls’ arrested for drug trafficking…..”
When Adebola Duro-Aina was asked by an Aljazeera reporter about how she came about the idea, the teenager responded, “I read a story online in July 2012 about nine members of a family who died from a generator's carbon monoxide fumes, and I thought about what I could do to provide a safer alternative source of energy.
When the next academic year began in September 2012, Adebola enlisted three friends - Oluwatoyin Faleke, Eniola Bello and Abiola Akindele, all students between 14 and 15 years old in her science class - to help her find a solution to the problem.
I am stimulated by the motivation of the girls; and of particular interest is that such a life saving and Eco-friendly idea came from a group of educationally empowered girls. If the chauvinists out there think their achievement is not revolutionary, or that the principle adopted by the girls is not novel, then we differ in our verdict.
Girls deserve all the value placed on and all the benefits that boys enjoy: life, health, education, self determination and the right to choose. Education is the magical wand that unleashed the geniuses in the girls; and also gave them courage and confidence to exhibit their intelligence and resourcefulness.
Kofi Anan said, “there is no tool for development more than the education of girls. No other policy is likely to raise economic productivity, lower infant and maternal mortality, improve nutrition and promote health- including helping to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS’’. Permit me to add “……….and finding solutions to the myriad of environmental challenges plaguing the world”. This was one major reason behind the innovation of the girls!
Though the Nigerian Government has continued to lay emphasis on the vital role that Girl education plays in socio-economic development, a review of Volume One of the progress report of the current administration’s achievement, presented on Education showed that only 1 of the 46 programmes was of direct consequence to Girl-child education.
In my opinion, these efforts are a far cry from what the country needs to meet the Millennium Development Goal of achieving universal primary education by 2015. Enrollment of girls in schools is still very discouraging and the Nigerian Government cannot continue to pay lip service to Girls’ Education.
I recommend the initiation of direct girl-child education interventions such as the development of a National Strategic Plan for Girl education. Girl child concerns should also be incorporated into national basic education policies and school curriculum; and priority attention should be given to creating awareness on the importance of Girls education.
Just this one last but progressive comment I came across, “Seriously shut the hell up, what do you know about the infinite capability of the human mind? It is capable of doing anything, age, race, gender regardless, the mind is the greatest asset………”
And from me girls, I say “Hush them up! Go Girls, Don’t stop!”Girls Transform the World 2013