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Ovation, as Rita Dominic, Dakore Akande, others chart a new course for girl-child empowerment

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By Bejamine Njoku

Resounding applause greeted the maiden edition of  #AsharamiSpeaks: a Sahara Group conversation platform  as stakeholders gathered last Wednesday, to add  their voices to the cause of girl-child empowerment. The event seeks to empower the girl-child through film.

Held at Four Points by Sheraton, Lagos, the event  had as topic for discussion, ‘Enhancing Girl Child Empowerment Through the Medium of Film.’ The partnership being implemented under Sahara Group’s Grooming Film Extrapreneurs initiative targets empowering 90 girls aged 13 and 19 in three African countries – Nigeria, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire – in the art of film making.

L-R: Bethel Obioma, Head, Corporate Communications, Sahara Group; Jade Osiberu, film director/screen writer; Rita Dominic, Stephaine Busari, producer/journalist, CCN Africa, and Ramsey Nouah during the maiden edition of #Asharamispeaks ,a Sahara Group conversation platform,” in Lagos.

Among discussants at the session included young filmmaker and girl-child activist, Zuriel Oduwole, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, Social Entrepreneur, actress Dakore Akande, Screen Actress and Amnesty International Ambassador and Rita Dominic. Others are Ramsey Nouah, Screen actor, producer and director, Bodunrin Sasore, film director and screenwriter, Stephanie Busari, a producer and journalist with CNN Africa and Jade Osiberu, film director and screenwriter. Also, in attendance was Sahara Group’s Executive Director, Tonye Cole.

Leading discussions at the event, Rita Dominic advocated girl child empowerment through the medium of film.

According to the actress cum producer, “Movies and television have the power to tell stories and effect change in order to project the Nigeria we want to see tomorrow.  That’s why we have to take the medium seriously.”

Advising the young girls to believe in their talents  to get them through the hard times and bad times, Rita said  “You are on the right path.”

Speaking in the same vein, Dakore Akande advised the young girls  to prepare themselves for the opportunities so that when they arise they would be ready to grab them. She also cautioned them against doing some self-work that will derail them.

Oduwole said she was hopeful of the project’s success, adding “ I like the fact that Sahara Group sees some value in what I am doing with Girls’ Education across the world, and just like the African proverb, if you want to go fast, go alone, and if you want to go far, go together.”

“I think I have gone very fast in the last five years, since I started my project at age 10.

Earlier, Head, Corporate Communications, Sahara Group, Bethel Obioma, explained that the project is expected to drive the advocacy message for girls’ rights, highlight key issues affecting girls across the three African countries and equip the girls with the foundational skills required to become film makers.

#AsharamiSpeaks has sparked off  regarding amplifying a global voice for girl child empowerment and creating opportunities for girls and boys as well to pursue and realise their ambitions,” he said.

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