Youth Partner Network Spotlight Features Spotlight Feature: Sola Abe Name: Sola Abe Age: 26 Country and Location: Lagos, Nigeria. Area of interest in International Development: Livelihoods Twitter Handle/Social Media accounts: Twitter: @olorunisola8, Facebook: Abe Shola Rebecca, Instagram: @olorunnisola Website: Nil Organisation/affiliations: I generate and develop content ideas for Woman.NG, a website for Nigerian women. Background – Tell us a little about yourself? I graduated with an upper credit from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, Nigeria, after a one-year post-graduate diploma in Broadcast Journalism. Prior to that, I studied Linguistics and Nigerian Languages at the Ekiti State University, Ekiti. My inability to get a broadcast media house for my internship led me to interning at a print media-Punch Nigeria Limited, and that was because I wanted to learn and actively participate in the process of becoming a journalist. At Punch, I learnt the importance of good content and this informed my decision after my internship, to do more writing and then venture into broadcast media later in my career. Tell us about your area of work? I generate ideas, write news articles and features; I identify women to interview for personal profiles and conduct the interviews; I raise the profile of the magazine on social media; I source articles from freelance writers and manage all writers and I keep up to date with trends and developments relating to the magazine’s subject matter. What issues do you consider to be the most prevalent to women and young people in your country? One of the issues prevalent to Nigerian women and youth is violence and unemployment respectively. A 2017 National Bureau of Statistics report stated that 7.9 million Nigerian youth, aged 15-34 are unemployed. Even though many have taken to entrepreneurship, the absence of an enabling environment for business growth has made many frustrated and also led them to crime. What programmes are currently operational in your country and do you think they are working? If yes why, if no why? And what could be done better? N-Power was reportedly designed to help young Nigerians acquire and develop life-long skills to become solution providers in their communities and become players in the domestic and global markets. 36 hours after the N-Power portal was launched by the Nigerian government, over 400,000 successful registrations and 35 million hits were recorded! The current administration introduced N-Power programme as a major job creation initiative, but it is yet to solve the problem of unemployment given the massive youth population. What can be done? Nigerian youth are hopeless and their faith in the country looks bleak. First, the youths have to restore their faith in the nation, love for the nation and see themselves as stakeholders in Nigeria. Secondly, as many job-seekers are rising to challenge the status quo by acquiring and developing skills to become producers and job creators, the government needs to encourage them rather than stifle their growth. The truth is, the government cannot tackle the worsening state of unemployment alone, so policies that will enable the growth of businesses should be put in place since many of the youth have taken to entrepreneurship. On women The rate of violence against Nigerian women is heart-breaking. Thankfully, survivors are coming out to share their stories which is encouraging more women to speak out. Although there are many organisations helping women in their journey to recovery, it is sad that justice is delayed. Last year, I wrote a story on why the fight against rape in Nigeria has not been effective and one of the major reasons I discussed was delayed or no justice for survivors and this makes it easy for a perpetrator to get away with the act. “Some cases go as long as three years and sometimes, five years,” Seun Osowobi, the founder of Stand To End Rape, an NGO providing support for rape victims told me. For violence against women to be tackled to a maximum extent, the process of prosecution has to be hastened. What do you think is the biggest obstacle that needs to be overcome in the field of International Development? Corruption. Unfortunately, those who suffer most from it are the weakest and poorest in the society. What do you think are some solutions to these problems? More support should be given to institutions GENUINELY working to tackle this issue. What makes this sector so special for you? One of the major reasons why women stay back in abusive relationships is because they are dependent on their spouse financially. They don’t have a source of income, so the fear of where to start leaves them no choice than to stay back. The importance of financial independence cannot be over-emphasized. What future progress in International Development – regionally, across the continent, or even for your own personal future – excites you the most about this sector? Seeing women challenging stereotypes, breaking boundaries and carving niches for themselves in every sphere of their lives gives me joy. I’m excited because seeing women make progress in their careers or business gives me an assurance that I can conquer in my profession. I am glad that many women are seeing the need to have and own their voice. I am glad that more women are looking at being self-employed. To read Sola Abe's articles, and to find out more about her interests, click here.