My Journey has been driven by my passion to see a better world for girls and women. I am a trained lawyer with over 14 years experience as a gender, media and communication consultant. I have worked on various projects around the subject of adolescent girls and women's empowerment; girl-child education, girls safety, women's political participation, gender-based violence and other development issues with focus on research and analysis, policy support, media and communication and other technical skills. I have consulted with various International Development Organizations including ActionAid International Nigeria, Girl Effect Nigeria, British Council, UN Women and a number of DFID, USAID and CIDA-funded projects. Research studies and project implementation has exposed me to working with a number of local NGOs working to improve the livelihood and life chances of women and girls.

My skills in digital media production also drives me to engage productions that tell girls stories. I am currently working on a production that tells girls stories of their pursuit for education against the threat of early marriage. Carolyn is currently the Chief Operations Officer at Marksmen Consult Limited and founder of Girls Voices, a platform for girls to share and connect on issues affecting them.

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Dear Carolyn,

Wow! What an impressive background you have. I am so inspired by your dedication to girls and women. We need more advocates like you all over the world that are tireless in their pursuit of empowering girls and women. Your new project sounds so interesting. I think people relate to and understand stories more when they are visualized. I am eager to hear about what your final production will look like.

Recently, I have started to volunteer with tutoring children here in the US that are struggling in school. My hope is to empower girls to study hard and encourage them to be whatever they want to be. Although we don't have many women working in math, science and technology fields, I hope to break that barrier and show girls that they can make it to having good careers in these fields. What you are talking about really inspires me to continue empowering these women.

I cannot imagine the obstacles that girls who are faced with early marriage have to go through. Thank you for all you do in helping give these girls a voice.

All my best,

Ariel

Dear Ariel,

Thank you for your kind words. I agree that audio-visual stories are more relatable and this was the inspiration behind my interest in digital media and communications. I found that a lot of the excellent reports and publications produced in the development sector rarely got read or even reached the target audience it was intended to benefit. On the other hand, those remarkable reports and publication can be produced into a 5-10 minutes video that can be shared to a wider audience via social media and other electronic means.

I also commend your work; it sounds super amazing (largely because I am not a math, science, technology expert myself). However, a number of ongoing projects are directed towards inspiring girls to engage STEM and you are definitely doing great work in this regard. Please, feel free to share stories of your work to inspire girls in my social media platforms on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/girlsvoices/ and Twitter - https://twitter.com/girlsvoices1. Keep up your great work!

In partnership,

Carolyn

Hi Carolyn,

I liked the Girls Voices facebook page and am following Girls Voices on twitter now. Thank you for directing me to these. Looking forward to seeing what cool videos you post empowering girls and women!

Best,

Ariel

Hi Ariel,

Thank you for liking Girls' Voices on Facebook and thank you for following us on Twitter. You will see some great videos soon and I also look forward to reading more about your work on our social media platforms. 

Its been a great pleasure sharing with you. Thank you.

Carolyn

You certainly have an impressive resume and have worked with many estaiblished international organizations. I am glad that you focus your work on empowering women and girls. I am interested in learning more about your work in digital media production. We can engage people by telling stories in an interesting and compelling way. Best of luck to you!

Amy

Dear Amy,

Thank you for the encouragement. I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have accessed as they have built my knowledge-base and increased my skills to advocate and advance girls and women's empowerment. And that is why I am constantly driven - my passion is well informed from a commendable work experience. And I want to maximally utilize this.

I would share my productions and share the attending stories when they are completed. Looking forward to hearing about your work too (probably over tea sometime? laughs) And you have a great smile!

Warm regards, Carolyn

Hello Carolyn!

Your story is truly inspiring, as well as impressive. I am so happy to see that women like you dedicate themselves to such projects, and show the world how much you can do with enough motivation. I wish to be able to achieve so many amazing things to help others one day, too!! 

I wish you all the best for the future of your projects,

Sophie

Dear Sophie,

I appreciate your sweet words. I also find inspiration from the stories of many girls and women who constantly fight all the marginalization and discrimination to set themselves on the path of success and achieve remarkable feats. There is no limit to the amazing things we all do in our little corners and I am positive that you are doing such amazing things that you do not even realize. And I look forward to hearing more from you.

Warm regards, Carolyn

Carolyn,

Thank you for sharing your story and your mission. Clearly your passion and commitment in educating and advocating for the welfare for girls is evident, and it is inspiring how many organizations you have worked with. Out of curiousity, do you focus on girls in your immediate area, or girls in all of Nigeria, or even girls everywhere?

I think it is amazing what you are doing, and I am very interested in your current project. I have always believed education is the best tool any person can have to create their own future, and I am always interested in learning more about the current obstacles people face and how we can break down those barriers. I look forward to hearing more of your story as well as follow your project on social media.

Cheers,S

Samantha

Hi Samantha,

Thak you for your kind words too. My focus is definitely my immediate area which is where i target for physical projects we carry out. However, we are able to reach out to girls all over Nigeria through our online platforms and through collaboration projects in other locations. Also, our social media platforms host girls from everywhere and we have had instances counselling girls (via Facebook) from Venezuela, India, Saudia Arabia and Mali. 

Research has exposed a host of barriers to girls education: poverty, early marriage, poor infrastructure (dilapidated classrooms, no toilets, no dispensary/clinic, no fence around the school etc.), lack of role models including lack of female teachers and other barriers resulting from cultural and religious practices. Our intervention is currently focusing on addressing early marriage and its impact on girls education. And I would share the documentary video (currently in production) once it is ready.

Thank you for following Girls Voices on Facebook. And looking forward to hearing about your work too.

Warm regards,

Carolyn

Dear Carolyn, 

Thank you so much for sharing your journey! Your career path sounds like it has been extraordinarily empowering - thank you for all that you've done to fight for the rights of women and girls around the world. How do you use your background as a lawyer in your work? (I'm personally interested in going to law school, so would love to learn more about that aspect of your career.) 

I would also love to hear more about Girls Voices. Is it a platform similar to World Pulse? 

Best wishes, Casey

Hi Casey,

Thank you too for your kind, sweet words. I am truly grateful for the opportunities I have accessed to build my career and this keeps me consistently driven to channel all my learning and experience into advancing girls' and women's empowerment. 

Although I am not practicing law in the courts, my background certainly supports my knowledge of girls' and women's rights and my capacity to provide guidance in regard to relevant provisions of the law, available redress and the relevant law enforcement agencies to engage as well as a wealth of practicing lawyers, within my network, who can provide legal services. 

I recently worked with the team that pushed for the passage of the celebrated Violence Against Persons Prohibition Bill into law. We carried out a communication outreach with the Representatives in the Nigerian National Assembly to educate them about the provisions of the Bill and mobilize their sponsorship of the Bill which was successfully passed into law and further assented to and signed by the President on the 21st May, 2015.

I love that you share an interest to go to law school and I wish you success in that pursuit. I hope that you find the experience helpful to your career. And I would love to hear more about your work and your interests.

Girls Voices is definitely not as established as World Pulse. But, we draw inspiration from the great work World Pulse is doing in the lives of women leaders across the world. Girls Voices focuses on educating girls about their rights, building their advocacy skills and providing the platform for the girls to advocate for their rights. You can check out our social media pages in the links below. Thank you.

Hi Carolyn,

I am impressed for giving young girls and women voices to share their stories on issues that affect them.

Well done and keep the flag flying!

 

 

Hi Adanna,

You have a lovely name and a beautiful smile.

Thank you for your kind words. My passion for girls and women's empowerment and the enormity of the work here in Nigeria (and even around the world) keeps me humbled and driven to do more. But, I appreciate your impression of my work and hope to do more.

Warm regards,

Hello Carolyn,

What an inspiring journey you have shared and thank you for your advocacy work with girls.  As I was reading, I reflected upon my experiences of teaching in post-genocide Rwanda in 2000.  My headmaster encouraged me to start up a girl's soccer team (which was unheard of in this small village). What a beautiful revolution we started in our school.  I noticed the potency of creating opportunities for girls to experience being in their bodies.  Through our weekly practices, I held the space for them to run, build their skills and organized games against other teams.  And then, something magical happened in the classroom. My girls started raising their hands more often and vocalized their thoughts.  So I really observed the intersectionality between experiential learning (through movement and body awareness) and self-expression (through the voice) and thought I would offer that reflection to you.  I'll also share a poem I wrote to convey what a priviledge it was for me to witness such powerful resilient girls. 

A ball and an open field of grass Graceful legs I move with the agility of a gazelle For one small moment, I am able to let go of the sadness The pulsating rhythm of the game My heart beats Oxygen pumping through my veins I am reminded of breath and vitality Sweat streams down my forehead Purifying me through this movement I have yet to find words for this feeling Dare I voice what is going on inside? My body feels strong and whole again Yet I am still so fragile An orphan My body bleeds a story of violation, destruction, and loss As I run and play, I am able to remember glimpses of my life Flashbacks of my child The emerald green grass Unreserved joy and laughter Boundless energy It was here that I used to dream It was here where there was hope These parts of myself still lie within me The energy that now moves through my body rekindles these thoughts These memories are not lost I can still find a small crystallized gem of this dream within my body It is this that gives me the strength to continue But for now I do not speak about such things Hush… let me be that little girl who runs like the wind Let healing work in her own mysterious ways My body holds a collection of stories Let healing find a place for every single one of them so that one day, as you sit by my side, I may share with you what needs to be told

For now, let me heal

 

All the best on your journey,

Paula

Hi Paula,

Thank you for your kind words. You have also shared an inspiring story about your work and i agree that there are no limits to the creativity and fun we can bring into our work with girls.

Girls are always looking for spaces to make their voices count and when they find such, their confidence level rises and they are able to engage and express themselves remarkably.

It's a great pleasure connecting with you and learning from your experiences. I look forward to more experience-sharing conversations with you.

Warm regards,