OROL Youth Empowerment Initiative

Agbaje Opeyemi Falilu (Nigeria)

Brief: I am presently the leader and founder of a youth led initiative called OROL Youth empowerment Initiative that empowers young people on issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights. In OROL we strive to empower young people to lead change and our activities cut across education, social activities and advocacy for young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. The thematic issues cut across, leadership skills, human rights, gender equality and empowerment. We also educate the youths on how they can make informed choices, have access to youth friendly health care services, and also how they can take full control of their bodies because we believe that their rights can only be meaningful if they have access to the correct and adequate information about choices.

Our Strategy: OROL will first empower its members on the issues through training and membership-level forums. These members will act as catalysts in the empowerment of the wider community. Similarly, a few numbers of youths from the target population are trained in peer education, puppetry and drama, which will serve as an information, education and communication mechanism to other people in the target community.

Vision: I want the initiative to be viewed as a major youth led initiative that provides young people with information and education on leadership skills and empowerment on issues such as sexual and reproductive health, HIV and AIDS, decision- Making power and self-esteem and also to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections on the young people through series of interventions.

Impact: I have demonstrated a lot of commitment and passion for improving the health of Nigerians through different projects such as HIV prevention, family planning, etc over the years. I have worked on various health researches, programs, International conference presentations and publications relating to HIV Prevention and care for refugees, young people and most at risk populations such as men who have sex with men (MSM). I have deep interest in improving the wellbeing of youths especially in the field of sexual and reproductive health and HIV/AIDS prevention and care. I have worked as a youth leader during my University days where the Chairman fund raising committee for the Mega Conference of All Nigerian United Nations Students and Youths Association. I am presently the National focal person for Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS a youth led global network of more than 5000 young leaders and adult allies working on youth and HIV/AIDS in 150 countries worldwide. I have been able to empower other young people. I have been able to empower other young people through membership forum in my organization and these young people act as catalyst in the wider community. I have more than 10 executives and over 60 non executive members working with me to touch lives. We have carried out sustainable programs

in many communities here in Nigeria amongst vulnerable young people. In the two years of our existence, OROL has conducted HIV/AIDS education with adolescent Refugees (Oru refugee camp), young people in various secondary schools, orphans and also awareness on Sexual and Reproductive Health issues and also introduced the Concept of abstinence and its importance with the fact about HIV/AIDS to young people at different communities and organized the 28th International Aids Candlelight Memorial amongst others.

I have led my team to launch a project called Give HIV a RED Card in Abuja Nigeria. The project offers a sustainable solution for continued reduction in HIV/AIDS infections. It offers them correct, clear, consistent and culturally appropriate information about HIV/AIDS. Lastly, this program offers the opportunity to create a model that could be replicated in other areas Abuja Municipal Council Area Nigeria. We are directly reaching out to at least 400 young people in four secondary schools and 480 young people in the community, trained 4 groups of students consisting of 4 members each as peer educators, and test at least 350 people in total in all the community awareness events.

Additional Information Presently we have adopted a community in which our focus is on youth living in the community by organizing series of community awareness events. The community awareness program incorporates behavioral change communication as recognition that the involvement of community members in activities for HIV and AIDS will influence and encourage and display the characteristics of making responsible decisions. Such activities as, drama and songs along with peer educators, were used before and during the awareness to create behavioral impacts in the wider community. Using the program/performance indicators, it was indicated that 160 people were served during our last campaign. Seventy three participants were tested for HIV and six tested positive and referred to a nearby hospital. 100 advocacy T shirts were distributed, 700 handbills were shared among the participants and more 3000 condoms also distributed. Six community elders were also present and participated in the community awareness program. Extend the intervention for a longer period of time since there is a real need to extend the program and follow up with the young people living in the community especially the peer education group formed: A sustained and consistent effort to follow up on the impact of the program Increased involvement of other organizations to support OROL in the follow up because the effectiveness of the intervention depends on sustainability. This means there is need for funding in order to extend the intervention. The effectiveness and success of this program depends on sustainability and extension of the program.

You can see how we are helping the vulnerable people move forward on our page (http://www.facebook.com/orolfoundation)