The world today is heralded with many women who are making giant strides, breaking boundaries and setting new limitS. Every other day, we get to meet women who are epitome of success and impact; that have left the pages of history filled with indelible marks. Women, who despite fears all around them, are never afraid, fully convinced to live for the benefit of human race. We are evidently blessed with these great women, and in the euphoria of last week’s International Women’s day, we present to you, one of shining lights, Anuoluwapo Adelakun,
AnuOluwapo Adelakun is an alumnus of University of Sussex, United Kingdom. She is aNigerian Women & Girls rights advocate, Freelance Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker working on issues affecting marginalized girls and women in Nigeria. Her journey into advocacy started from her growing up days.
“I was raised by strong women who were also products of strong women. I was surrounded by women whom life cheated, whom patriarchal structures hindered and who never maximized their potential in life simply because they were women. Growing up in the face of these myriad of issues made me socially conscious about women’s issues and so, when I was wise enough to seek my purpose in life through God, I felt really privileged to be led on the path that I have come to love, embrace and still evolve in…Women and Girl’s Rights advocacy”
She is an ardent reader of African literature, a secret food critic and an unrepentant fan of the BBC series ‘Call the Midwife’. She started her initiative, Girl Unlimited, over 10 years ago, the first impact is successfully shared the vision with others who now run with it. She claims to be fulfilled at awakening people to the fact that women’s rights are human rights which need to be respected and protected. With this initiative, she has physically reached out to almost 3,000 girls and a little over 4,700 women through various projects and many more tens of thousands through her advocacy. She also has various projects which range from educational programmes to economic empowerment, specific advocacy and recently policy making.
“I cherish an experience from 2015 when I served as a Gender expert for CChub’s Facebook-funded hackathon which focused on creating mobile phone applications to help women in Nigeria report cases of sexual violence more effectively.”
As a Journalist and Documentary Filmmaker, she also intentionally concerned herself with the untold and ignored stories affecting women and girls with the sole aim of disrupting unfair stereotypes and educating the public so that change can begin.
“Last year, during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, I contributed to the drafted policy paper submitted to the Heads of Government of Commonwealth countries on the issue of ending Female Genital Mutilation which affects millions of girls and women across the world yearly”
Anuoluwapo has a very rich resume. She is a UNICEF Voices of Youth alumna, Carrington Youth Fellow of the US Consulate in Nigeria, US Consul General Award Recipient, UN WOMEN/Empower Women Global Champion for Change and UK Chevening Alumnus. She called it a divine design; understanding her purpose, planning and timing is God-given and that made lines fall in place for her.
Describing her Chevening Scholarship, she said “It was like everything I had being doing and achieving prior to the opportunity came together nicely to present me as a worthy candidate. Also, deep research not relying on hearsays helped me position myself properly to be a perfect candidate for the scholarship. Then there was an unwavering support from many people within and outside my inner circle.”
She advised prospective applicants to study the scholarship scheme and understand what the UK is doing in your country, then they can design how to fit in on the short and long run.
“I see people who reach out to me about the scholarship and the first question I ask them is if they’ve studied the scholarship website well and read the FAQ’s. It’s like applying for a job, you MUST read and understand the job description not only so you can know what the recruiters are looking for but to also ascertain if it’s the right opportunity for you”
She was a Law student but then changed to Politics and International Relations after the Nigerian Universities Commission discredited the Faculty of Law in Leadcity University, Ibadan.
Anuoluwapo says her decision to choose Journalism and Documentary Practice for her MA at the University of Sussex was inspired by her experience having worked in various capacities in the media since she stumbled on it in 2014.
“My purpose is centered on helping women and girls maximize their full potential (just as God wills) with a specific interest in their rights. I know the impact of the media in its various forms on advancing human rights is colossal and undeniable. Therefore, it really wasn’t hard coming to my decision for my course of choice for my Masters. It is simply a means to an important end.”
Now, she feels responsible to use her qualification as a tool to inspire a desired change in the country.
According to her, “Maya Angelou once said that ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.’ Women and girls go through a lot, achieve various feats and have a wealth of potential both proven and speculated, channel to serve the society in a way that spurs change and can develop the country.”
Having experienced best of both worlds, she feels the Nigerian educational system has a lot of to learn from that of the UK, there is an urgent needs a massive turnaround.
”I am grateful to have been moulded in the Nigerian educational system because it instilled in me the resilience and curiosity necessary to excel in life however, of what use is a system which is oblivious of the challenges of the present man and society? Seeing the direct link between the Universities research in the UK and actual policies made for the society made so much progressive sense and I wish we could have that happen in Nigeria.“