Sometime in July 2017 I got wind of a training opportunity for journalists, sponsored by one of the leading communication service providers in Nigeria, Airtel. It was a three days free training to equip journalist with multi-media skills to drive change through story-telling. Although the venue – The Hub- Journalism Clinic, Surulere, Lagos was very far from my house and the logistics of traveling down each day was going to be tough and sapping, my quest for increased knowledge and empowerment drove me to put in my application and luckily I was nominated as one of the 100 participants nationwide.
I was also amongst the first set of trainees and our session was scheduled to hold from August 21st – 23rd. As I walked in that Monday morning, little did I know that my Digital Action Campaign at World pulse was going to put me in the spot light. Our trainer and journalism veteran, Dan Mason from London had so much to offer. Few hours into the training he asked us to divide into groups of four and discuss on a story idea we would like to present, using the multimedia skills he would teach us during the cause. Incidentally, I was the only woman in my group and as each of the men spoke about their story idea, I felt obliged to once again make a case for teenage mothers and advocate for better treatment and support. Somehow, the three men in my group- Kayode, Dayo and Victor bought into my vision and agreed we should focus on the topic. They felt it was a problem that needed urgent attention and remedy, more so that I already had an on-going campaign in that direction. As we brainstormed further, our trainer advised that we narrow the advocacy down to seeking a second chance for teen mums to go back to school and acquire education.
The next day, we got talking again as I shared my experience with the young mothers at Ijegun, particularly Olamide. As we parted ways that evening after the 8-hour lecture, my team members also requested for my award winning story, which I immediately forwarded to them via email. We put our thoughts together and assigned one of us, Kayode Ogundare to prepare the slides for presentation on Wednesday, the final day.
I was a bit nervous; but after the day’s lecture, we reviewed our script in line with Dan’s advice. Shortly after lunch, the panel of judges came in and the presentations began. There were nine groups in all but ours was the fifth to present. While some groups focused on topics such as the challenge of proper waste management, others spoke on the need for more public toilets, improved electricity supply, proper drainage system, the dearth of public library, school curriculum for children, flood and emergency management etc.
The amazing this was that our story, which was titled- Do Teenage Mothers Deserve a Second Chance at Education stood out. In fact, Olamide’s story turned out to be the magic button. Everyone in the hub was held spellbound. At this point it was no longer about applying multimedia techniques; it was no longer about telling some fictitious story and making assumptions. It was much more about telling a human interest story; and telling it in such a dramatic way. At the end of the day, our story, premised on my Digital Action Campaign which advocates for #SecondChanceForAdolescentMothers turned out as the best. And my team won the gold medal. Hurray!!!
In the words of Dan Mason, “Journalism is about people; real people with real problems, looking for real solutions. And this is why Aramide’s group has won today’s competition.
Of course, it came as a pleasant surprise to us. But it also strengthened my resolve to fan the flame of this campaign more. I say it again and again, “a girl’s life and dream should not come to a halt because she got pregnant while in school. Let’s give her a second chance to bounce back.”
Incase you want to read our story as presented, here is the link below