Justice Mary Odili, other Guest Speakers  emphasize the need for Child Protection to be everyone’s responsibility, at Dr Nimi Ekere’s STRIVE CONFERENCE

Justice Mary Odili, other Guest Speakers  emphasize the need for Child Protection to be everyone's responsibility, at Dr Nimi Ekere's STRIVE CONFERENCE

By Abayomi Elias

At the annual Strive Conference organised by Smile & Shine Foundation for Children between the ages of 10 to 18, Justice Mary Odili and other stakeholders who spoke at the event canvassed that Child Protection should be a responsibility of all and sundry not just selected few.

Justice Mary Odili, other Guest Speakers  emphasize the need for Child Protection to be everyone's responsibility, at Dr Nimi Ekere's STRIVE CONFERENCE

STRIVE CONFERENCE is an annual event for children between the ages of 10 to 18 years old, aimed at creating awareness on the challenges that surround the Nigerian child, providing solutions and evidence-based personal safety trainings as well as promoting the protection of children as a shared responsibility by ensuring community, private and public systems engage effectively and respond at all times in the best interests of the child.

The one-day event was designed to provide an environment where children will be educated and empowered to become the best versions of themselves, amidst the prevalent vices and lingering moral decadence in the society. The event also promotes and celebrates children and their rights, translating into dialogues and deliberations for a better society for our children.

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STRIVE CONFERENCE is the first and best of its kind in the country and this year, had in attendance notable and distinguished speakers, such as  the former first lady of Rivers State and retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Hon. Justice Mary Peter- Odilli (Rtd), Mrs Titilola Vivour as well as other distinguished and astute guest speakers.

Smile and Shine Children’s Foundation, a non-governmental organization aimed at preventing Child Sexual Abuse and providing emergency care and interventions to victims (Children) and those at risk, including members of the family. In partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Education, the conference had in attendance close to 1000 students from public and private schools in Lagos State.

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The Convener of Smile & Shine Foundation Dr Nimi Ekere, in an interview with journalists at the event appreciated Lagos State Government for their partnership and dogged commitment to ensure every child is protected. She also talked about the foundation plan for the children going forward.

In her words, she said;

“Strive Conference is 2 years old but this year’s event was bigger and really phenomenal. It was in partnership with the Ministry of Education and more than 600 students from public and private schools were empowered.

“The children were educated on various topics like Moral Values and Etiquettes, Character Building and Improvement, Safeguarding and Child Protection, Cybersafety and Security and a whole lot more.

“In attendance was a School for the Deaf and Dumb. Next year, we would have in attendance, special needs kids as they are even more vulnerable to abuse, meanwhile that are not usually equipped for such untoward occurrences.

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“We appreciate Lagos State government for their relentless effort in ensuring safe space for children regardless of their social status. We look forward to more partnership in the future”. Nimi said.

There were lots of other activities like dance, drama and games.

It was really an unforgettable experience as the children were so excited and were all enthusiastic about becoming better versions of themselves. They all had a resolve to strive to work hard and become great men and women in future.

This year’s conference held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos State, on the 25th of May, 2023.

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