It was on the 11th of July at Ajegunle community in Lagos State. I started my journey as the Communications Assistant for YEDI as a volunteer. On that day, we went to a BMZ-sponsored SKILLZ Girls project that was implemented by YEDI. For starters, BMZ is German Government’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. They are sponsoring the project through StreetFootballWorld. The programme is all about empowering young girls of ages 13-19, educating them about gender equality, teaching them about abstinence and safe practices in other to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS and what is required for a young girl to transition into a healthy, knowledgeable woman. They were thought how to say NO to early sex and how to build their self-confidence. This message was passed to them through trained personnel known as “SKILLZ Coaches”, who use football language and metaphors to deliver the message.

Attending the SKILLZ Girls programme was interesting, fun and eye-opening for me because this was the first time in my life that would ever visit Ajegunle. What also made it exciting was that I got the opportunity to interview these young girls. I interviewed about seven of them who shared what they have gained from the program and how it has impacted their lives. During the interview, they shared that they were going to use this knowledge to impact their community. The young girls I met were willing and eager to learn and they were ready to share their experiences concerning the program. It was fun interviewing them which makes it a first in my life.

As the program went on I became emotional because I realized that these young girls have dreams and goals they want to achieve. Some of them want to be actresses, lawyers, creative directors etc. now I was wondering that if YEDI had not facilitated this programme that empowers young girls considering some of the problems that young girls face in the community, many girls might not be able to achieve their goals. This made me remember a popular saying that “knowledge is power”. I was so happy that the programme existed and I thanked YEDI and the sponsor for making this happen.

Without a doubt, my life has been impacted too directly or indirectly. This is my first time embarking on this type of journey which I never thought would have happened. I have now become more confident and I have learnt to believe in myself the more. I also realized that when I put my heart to something I can achieve it.

Honestly, I would love to go for another program implemented by YEDI over and over again because I know it will be interesting and it is definitely worth my time.

Bolanle Shittu