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Sahara Group’s #AsharamiSpeaks debuts with focus on Girl Child Empowerment

The #AsharamiSpeaks series, a platform dedicated to stimulating, articulating and galvanizing collaborative action towards global sustainable development will make its debut on January 17, 2018 at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria.

A girl offers her story book during a family visitation to mark Children’s Day at the Heritage Orphanage Home, Gwarimpa, Abuja. Photo by Abayomi Adeshida

Promoted by leading African energy and infrastructure conglomerate, Sahara Group, #AsharamiSpeaks will deploy digital media and a series of panel discussions to bring together key influencers, thought leaders, civil societies and organizations from a cross-section of industries and interests to inspire conversations that address global issues.

Bethel Obioma, Head of Corporate Communications, Sahara Group said: “We are determined to stimulate conversations which provide a solid foundation for policy formulation, good governance, agenda setting, peaceful co-existence, global partnerships and sustainable development.”

The first of the series is titled: “Enhancing Girl Child Empowerment through the Medium of Film” and boasts celebrated and accomplished entrepreneurs, actors, movie directors, producers and girl child education advocates as panelists.

The event will address the role of film making not just as a means of shaping the narrative of young girls in Africa, but also in terms of how the medium of film captures their experiences and that of others who surround them to tell the most compelling stories.

“Society doesn’t think girls are equal to boys. This is so sad and unfair. I like the fact that Sahara Group sees some value in what I am doing with Girls Education across the world and is willing to amplify it with the first #AsharamiSpeaks Panel Sessions” says Zuriel Oduwole the fifteen year old speaker on the panel, Co-Founder of DUSUSU (Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up) and one of the world’s youngest female education advocates and film makers.

The panel will discuss and proffer ideas regarding the role film makers and concerned stakeholders should play in terms of highlighting the experience of disadvantaged young girls on our continent with regards to their right to self-determination, quality education and parity in all facets of how they confront and are confronted by society.

AsharamiSpeaks will also be steering the conversation into what the panelists forecast to be the future of film making in Nigeria and the power of the present gender dynamic to shape that future.

According to Tonye Cole, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Sahara Group, “AsharamiSpeaks is not just a talk shop; we need to constantly stir up conversations that have the power to transform. The absence of this can only lead to further breakdown of the moral and economic fabric that should foster peaceful global co-existence.” Cole currently chairs the Nigerian Private Sector Advisory Group to the UN on Sustainable Development Goals, which is committed to driving the realization of the SDGs across the continent via projects and initiatives spread across Sub-Saharan Africa.

He is joined by screen actor Dakore Akande, star of 2017 hit romantic comedy “Isoken”, director of that film, Jade Osiberu and Nollywood superstars Ramsey Noah and Rita Dominic. Rounding out the panel are Stephanie Busari , Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji and Bodunrin Sasore.

Busari is CNN Africa Editor and broadcasting journalist whose extensive coverage of the Chibok Girls kidnapping earned her a coveted Gracie Award. Akerele-Ogunsiji is a social entrepreneur who was named on the Forbes list of “The 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa 2014″. Both women have championed the cause of the African Girl agenda throughout the course of their careers. Sasore helmed last year’s critically acclaimed fantasy comedy, Banana Island Ghost.

Sahara Group working through its Foundation and Zuriel Oduwole, recently concluded the second season of its Grooming Film Extra-preneurs in Lagos, Accra and Abidjan. The film making workshop which spanned ten days in three countries empowered 90 young girls with the skills they need to produce their own short films and possibly launch professional careers in the near future.

In conclusion, Obioma said “AsharamiSpeaks is one of our drivers for getting the future of millions of bright young girls off to the best possible start. It is gratifying to be able to steer these girls closer towards self-determination and financial independence.”


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