Monday, October 29, 2012

Nigeria is beautiful... sometimes, we forget :-/

Nigeria is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Okay the electricity here is still epileptic. But, looking beyond all the harsh surface, here is a taste of what you'll see ( see pictures below).

I won't tell you what brought me to Abuja o... I promised not to moan or complain about it :-) But it all worked out and God has been gracious!

A big thank you to Chinwe (and her vivacious friends), Victor and everyone who made the picnic at Usuma Dam something to remember!

When next you ever visit Abuja and need a hot spot to hangout on a weekend, your first stop should definitely be to Usuma dam! And yeah, climb those hills baby! Until then, enjoy the experience, in pictures:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Apply for Youth LEAD 2012

Do you know a young high school grad between the ages of 15 and 22? Are they resident in Calabar or it's environs? Kindly share this info with them.

RYPE Initiative in partnership with American Corner Calabar and supported by Global Changemakers –British Council- is organizing the 2nd edition of Youth-LEAD from November 19 to 23, 2012.

Its going to be one week of:
  • Learning
  • Engagement
  • Empowerment

You don't want to miss out!

Apply now at:

Deadline for application is November 9, 2012.

Please help spread the word!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Portrait of an extraordinary man [Nelson Mandela]

Nelson Mandela, Portrait of an extraordinary man by Richard Stengel. I have been reading this book. Actually just a few pages away from the last chapter.
I like the book. It basically shares insight into Mandela's extraordinary life. The author is not pretentious in his narration. He did not make Mandela appear like some saint. But his strengths and weaknesses were portrayed in the same tone.
What I do not get though is how some traits that are usually frowned upon in a "normal" society sound acceptable and extraordinarily "sexy" because it is Mandela exhibiting those traits.
Well, I guess that story is for Stengel to tell. Our role is to read and be inspired to be more and do more! I totally enjoyed this book. If you haven't read it, now you know- it is worth the read!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Amplifying issues affecting girls and young women [#thegirlchild]

In case you missed it, Global Press Institute’s Newswire dedicated its news coverage this week to focus on different issues affecting girls and young women in different countries. From Nepal to Kenya, Cameroon to Haiti, different issues affecting the girl-child were amplified. These are issues often ignored by mainstream media.

"We have included stories about prominent issues girls around the world struggle with -- but we have also told many stories about girls as changemakers and leaders. We hope 10/11/12 will be an opportunity to continue to advocate for change, but also pause to celebrate progress." Cristi Hegranes, the founder and Executive Director of GPI.

Click the link below to read how GPI reporters from around the world covered these issues:

The girl-power in action!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Feeling gloomy and depressed? You are not alone!

Today is October 10 and I hear it is world mental health day!

I saw this inspiring and empowering video and want to share :-). In a nutshell I call it "dealing with your black dog!" 

Trust me, we all have it- well, most of us at every stage of our life face one form of depression or the other. What matters is how we deal with it!

Video: I had a black dog, his name was depression
Please watch and share!!

"At its worst, depression can be a frightening, debilitating condition. Millions of people around the world live with depression. Many of these individuals and their families are afraid to talk about their struggles, and don't know where to turn for help. However, depression is largely preventable and treatable. Recognizing depression and seeking help is the first and most critical towards recovery.

In collaboration with WHO to mark World Mental Health Day, writer and illustrator Matthew Johnstone tells the story of overcoming the "black dog of depression".

For more information on World Mental Health Day, please visit:"

One liberating poem from my teenage years:

Every morning when I wake up,
I crawl lazily to the mirror
and stare blindly at what I see.

A familiar face stare back at me.

Who am I?
a teenager in the body of a septuagenarian?
the answer eludes my frailty.

Tears well up in my eyes,
ready to flush down my chubby cheeks.
I am too tired to move on today.

Permit me to crawl to the pages of my diary.
and introduce me to myself, 
for I am more than what I have become. 

(c) Jennifer Ehidiamen

Stay mentally healthy people! Don't worry. Eat well. Laugh out loud. Love freely. Be comfortable in your skin. Be childlike. Hug tightly. Be content. Be content. Be content. Don't live by another man's wrist-watch. Embrace God! Be liberated! Be authentic. Be YOU! 
Happy World Mental Health Day!!

Please pass it on :-)

Monday, October 08, 2012

Don't Miss Out-- Join the Movement to End Corruption in Nigeria!

The Executive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, speaking through his Chief of Staff, Dr Jimmy Imo stated has that "the battle against corruption has become so sophisticated with the advent of modern technology such that the Anti Corruption Internet Database [ACID] will be very useful in fighting corruption and financial crimes."

On the 24th of July 2012, at the Peninsula Hotels and Towers, Lekki, Lagos, the Anti-Corruption Internet Database (ACID) project began to take definite shape. In a collaborative effort to phase out the scourge of Corruption in Nigeria, 42 Civil Society Organisations, 7 Media Houses, 7 Government Agencies and 1 Professional Body from the 6 geo-political zones of the nation converged at the conference hall of the hotel. The objective was to further public engagement with the ACID project, by seeking stakeholders' input and participation in the development of the first indigenous anti-corruption internet database in Nigeria.

The engagement of stakeholders in the ACID project falls into five Thematic Areas:
● Public Project Monitoring
● Anticorruption Advocacy
● Media
● Budget Monitoring
● Freedom of Information Act

Training Session on the use of the ACID website for organisations involved in the Project- November 2012.

Where to find us online:


Culled from Newsletter developed for ACID by the Nigeria Network of NGOs as part of its commitment to the Anti corruption Internet Database project.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Why would any man settle for being a dog?

This is an aberration- not the usual post you are used to on this blog. I recently had this long chat with a sister-friend- yes, somewhat related. I definitely will like to talk more about this!

The beauty about modern day technology is that even though you are cut off from your regular base, the fact that you are following issues from that base on Twitter, or nosing around to read updates from similar source, you are able to keep in touch with everything- both the good, the bad and the ugly.

Depressing news
The news streaming down my Twitter timeline is disheartening. It is hard not to frown at the insanity of men burning up a fellow human- four young men lost to jungle justice. It is hard to look the other way when everywhere you turn is a failed government system and an angry generation staring back at you. No matter how far you are away, these news bits reel on. It is sickening.

But this post is not about Nigeria. Well, not directly. This post is not about our greedy government leaders. This post is about you and I and how we are shaping our value system for a better or worse tomorrow. A society that fail to build a healthy value system and ridicule efforts to build the character of its citizens is of course compromising on its future.

Where dogs breed
Today I read the story about a doctor who committed suicide after his double-life standard with two women was exposed, leaving behind a ridiculous amount of debt. This example is one too many- of the kind of low-life some of our men are settling into these days. Should we be worried?

I am not going to quote any jaw-breaking statistics or eye-popping case studies just yet- this is more a heart-to-heart-talk.

Picture me sitting on my bed- one leg folded beneath the other like a child. Laptop placed on the warm blanket covering my legs.  I'm as human as most people that you come across every day. Hopefully, this post will not appear sanctimonious.

The culture of engaged but single as one
My close friend once said that until you say "I do" before a priest or marriage witnesses you are still as single as one (jenniferized version of what he actually said). It does not matter whether or not you have been dating for eight years or engaged to be married in two days. If you have not said those two words, forget it- you are as free as the mocking bird. You have the ticket to sleep with who ever you want and flirt with whoever catches your eyes.

But I do not agree with him. I have my reasons. But those reasons are only valid in the bubble I live in, it seems. I am quickly shut down by the argument from some of my male friends. The reason why men are so unfaithful to their spouse/girlfriends, the reason why men cheat today is because women started it all, they say. We leave that story for another day.

Like my friend, many 'single' youth of today through action or inaction have taken to promoting all forms of moral decadence. Some of us ladies are dating someone whose loyalty/faithfulness we secretly question. We cannot bet that our man will not zip down for a quick b* job with the next available cutie the minute we step out to make a call. Yes, it is that bad. Of course unless we want to live in denial.

The culture of treating our relationship as the freedom to be as single as one when ignored comes back to bite us as married but living single.

The faithful men, breath
Don't get me wrong- there are still a handful of faithful young men- not necessarily the extremely religious brothers.I'm refering to the man next-door- every day man who knows what is right and is willing to stand up for it even in the face of taunts of his peers. He says, "I can't cheat on my baby," and means it. These are guys shaping up to become ideal men of our generation.

Cheating partners, nymphomaniacs and the rest of them are not new to planet earth- the culture has been here before we got here. But what alarms me is the attitude of "everyone is doing it" that is engulfing our generation. Not to sound like a man-basher but it breaks my heart every time I meet a young man who use the term "men are dogs" as a defence mechanism for this insane behaviour. One minute he is with Miss Charity, a regular bed warmer. The next hour he jumps to aunty Ibukun's lap. He punches his mobile phone as soon as he gets bored with Angela. Time to porn-chat with Maryln. I mean, really? All within the one-week absence of his supposed girlfriend. The minute she appears, he professes, "I love you." In the exact same tone he professed to the other bed warmers.

His girlfriend sees red flags in their relationship. But she holds on any way- they have come too far. She is strong and ambitious. He? He is, he is just a dog, he admits.

Women empowerment disenfranchising the men?
I worry though that the increasing focus on the different women empowerment programs is reducing the amount of energy geared towards nurturing boys to become real responsible men. Not just in the area of sexual behaviour but also in other aspect of maturity. Men are idle. Too much focus on women is leaving the men idle. There needs to be a balance. Can we trust these men who cannot faithfully manage their relationship to manage their family as fathers, and the country as government leaders tomorrow?

That is how it starts- cheat on your girlfriend as a young man. Rejoice about not getting caught. Tweak the record on your CV to get your first job. You rise in the field. You bag your first government contract. No accountability. Reports are forged to satisfy the contractor.  What kind of leader will you become without an ounce of integrity in you? Anyone who cannot be faithful to his partner will make an insane leader, no matter how good his deliveries are.

Until Nigeria is ripe to have her first female President, I urge that our men of today should be given a little bit more mentorship. But who will mentor them when the older fathers are seemingly as confused? Hello sugar daddies!

Is it impossible to have men with self-respect and self-confidence override those who have by choice settled for anything less than that? You cannot be a chronic player and still boast of being a man of integrity at the same time. It won't add up. More lies will mean being continually chased by your shadow, of course unless your conscience is dead to the reverence of God.

Cheating Spouse Anonymous
Like Alcoholic Anonymous AA-group, we definitely need some "Cheating Spouse Anonymous-CSA" to spring up here and there. If we are to enjoy the true bliss of relationship and marriage, we must tame this ugly monster that is promoting men as our pathetic dogs in broad daylight.

Dear men, get your self-esteem back and be a man and not a dog.

And ladies, please keep those underwears on. The men say we are the ones turning them into stray dogs. 

Image via CapeCod

Friday, October 05, 2012


Please read and share with other young people in your contact list:

Do you Consider Project Management a key requirement for your envisioned career future?
Do you think competence in Monitoring and Evaluation will enhance your chances of relevance?
Do you find Leadership and Employability skills indispensable for your career prospects?
If your answer is yes, then seize this unique opportunity.
AfriGrowth Foundation, with the sponsorship of TY Danjuma Foundation, has designed the Youth Mentoring Academy to deliver all the above to you on scholarship.
·         One month intensive training in Project Cycle Management, M&E and Leadership
·         3-week internship with reputable organizations
·         Membership of AfriGrowth Foundation Mentees Alumni Association
·         Opportunities for employment in private and public sector
Please find attached Application Form
For further details, log on to or  call 08127677960 or 08174858338.
Follow us on Twitter: @AfriGrowth
Like our Facebook page: AfriGrowth
·      Candidates must be Nigerian by Nationality
·      Must be within ages 18 and 35
·      Must have concluded (or exempted from) one-year compulsory National Youth Service
·      Must be willing to commit 8 uninterrupted weeks to the program
Application closes October 14th 2012
Opportunity is limited to only 25 unemployed young Nigerians within ages 18 and 35 with clear evidence of having completed (or exempted from) the National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC).
AfriGrowth Foundation
2 Kudang Street, off Monrovia Street
Aminu Kano Crescent
Wuse II, Abuja

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

What can we do for Africa? What can we do for Africa?

What can we do for Africa or what are Africans doing for Africa?

IN FOCUS: "Voice of America's Vincent Makori talks to Bukamu Hulela, the chairperson of Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA)".

Enjoy the short video!!

Monday, October 01, 2012

I was told there'll be injera (flatbread) #Ethiopia

Thanks to @Abocco's recommendation, I found my way to one of the popular cultural restaurants in Addis- Yod Abyssinia. It was good to savour one of Ethiopia's staple food- Injera. The music was soothing to my ears and the dance, a sight for sore eyes. Philip has been a great help making me feel at home in Addis. A big shout out to the one who found me a home.

Yes- settling in as a GPI trainer-- Global Press Institute, in Addis- volunteering at Nike Foundation's GirlHub initiative-- the first big assignment is to recruit girls (15 to 25yrs) who would serve as GPI's development communicators for the upcoming Yegna Girl Ambassador program and produce local contents (all in Amharic language) in audio, video, photo and news feature format.

The Yegna girl ambassador program is an innovative development communications platform that will elevate the voices of girls across Ethiopia.

The Honeymoon stage
I am excited about the next couple of months. The team at GPI news desk, Nike foundation/GirlHub/DFID and EEEP Addis are so terrific. I feel so blessed. I know, there is still so much work to do! The challenges ahead will be great stepping stones. 

Trying to activate the work hard-play hard mode. 

First impression
Most of what I heard/read about Ethiopia before heading down here are so wrong. I read an article online that said I cannot post update on blogger or use skype because Ethiopian government blocked these sites. I do not know where people get the information they post online... so many misconception about this country out there! The people dress civilize. I have met very friendly ones. Right from the airport- a stranger offered his phone to help me make a call :-) And yes, Amharic is the official language but some do speak English.

The system here looks sane to me. Well, people "catwalk" when crossing the road- can I classify that as sane? :-) According to Tariku, when it comes to crossing the streets/roads "the cars are afraid of people. The people are not afraid of cars."

There is stable electricity. If only Nigeria's power sector can be this efficient... :-) ! 

Okay, to be fair- it is not all rosy in Ethiopia, I will try not to moan about the slow internet connection. Or the stifled press freedom. I also wish the government will try to do more in developing its human resource... how can you wipe out poverty without developing the human capital?

That is a quick update... time to head back to work! And oh! HAPPY 52nd Independence Anniversary Nigeria! God dey!!