The Nigerian Girls Guide Association (NGGA) is one of the centres committed to changing the status quo by preparing girls to reach the apex of their abilities towards ensuring that they become women with access and opportunities. The association is a voluntary organisation of women and girls of all age groups of leaders founded by the late Lord Robert Baden Powell in 1910.
For a demographic that tends to be the poorest, least educated, and most ignored, there can’t be too many resources to prepare girls for greatness. Studies reveal that 43.7% of girls, compared to 50.4% of boys, complete lower secondary school in Nigeria. Also, women constitute over 60% of the poorest people in the country, and according to IMF statistics, Nigeria has over 87 million people in extreme poverty, which translates to approximately 52 million women in the clutches of extreme destitution. Similarly, according to the World Bank Gender Portal, only 33.5% of women participate in making significant household decisions. Even at a lower rate, only 3.6% of seats in Nigeria’s national parliament were held by women in 2022.
This is why, beyond engaging in advocacy to bring about positive change in the Nigerian community, the NGGA also focuses on empowering girls and young women to speak out and influence others through leadership development, community action, and peer education.
With the association spread across the 36 states of Nigeria, SheHUB.tv’s freelance journalist Simbiat Bakare chatted with Ms Sarah Ayiba Chibuotam, the Trefoil Guild Plateau State chapter’s public relations officer (PRO). The Trefoil Guild is a part of the Nigerian Girls Guide Association, and they provide support in various capacities to actualise the Girl Guide’s mission. Essentially, they serve as matrons to the NGGA.
Ms Sarah Chibuotam is a philanthropist and lover of human rights, so it is no wonder she is one of the leading executives of NGGA’s Trefoil Guild Plateau State chapter. She has a platform where she mentors young ladies on life issues and businesses. Also passionate about the sustainable living of single mothers, widows and poor families, she has catered for many by sometimes providing housing and sharing food items, clothing, pads and seed capital for their small-scale businesses.
For 2024, she plans to champion a course towards more outreach for orphans and internally displaced people in Plateau. Beyond her work, she shared with SheHUB.tv some of the activities of the NGGA Trefoil Guild towards bettering the lives of women and girls in their community in the past year, as well as their plans for the new year.
- In 2023, the NGGA Trefoil Guild trained girls on using renewable pads in a ‘step-down project’. Please tell us more about this. What was the purpose of the process, and how did it go?
We are an organisation that is passionate about menstrual hygiene. So, with the rising cost of pads, which most young girls, especially from rural areas, cannot afford, we decided to hold a workshop where we taught them how to make reusable pads from materials that can easily be gotten and are hygienic.
The workshop was held on September 16, 2023, and we trained girls from the 17 local governments in Plateau on how to make reusable pads. We taught them to make it using needles, threads, and sewing machines.
The project’s primary aim was to teach the girls, and they, in turn, went back to their various communities and taught other girls. We call it a step-down project. The program was a success. In November, we had a step-down workshop with the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists plateau state chapter, and we also organised another training and workshop on the 25th of November to mark the 16 Days of Activism.
- What other project did the organisation embark on in 2023?
We organised plastic tide-turning training, where we taught young girls how to repurpose plastic bottles into household items.
We went on visits to IDP camps. We partnered with other organisations on projects. In 2023, we planted trees in two schools to mark World Environmental Day. We sponsored young girls to attend trainings both in Nigeria and beyond. We also played advocacy roles. We held camps for the girl child during the year in designated states amidst many other programs and activities.
- What does the NGGA Trefoil hope to do in 2024? Are there any projects you intend to work on?
We have a long lineup of activities starting from January till December. We observe international holidays and United Nations commemoration days by hosting activities like reusable pad training, outreaches, advocacy visits, etc.
- How can more people join your association?
We are in the 36 states of Nigeria, and those who want to join but are not based in Plateau State can contact us for more enquiries. We can be contacted via our Facebook page or +234 (0)806-3506-107.
Simbiat Bakare is a freelance journalist who resides in Lagos, Nigeria. She can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org