Kalada Belema Meshack-Hart is a passionate development enthusiast and digital media strategist. The Niger Delta digital wizkid from Rivers State Nigeria studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Port-Harcourt.
His passion to see development and empower young people led him to begin the EMPOWER 3600 project where he is currently empowering 3600 young Nigerians with digital media skill to make them self reliant. As a digital media expert he runs one of Nigeria’s most popular online blogs TATAFONAIJA which currently has over 1,500,000 daily impressions on Instagram @tatafonaija.
In a conversation with Vanguard, the young and enthusiastic Meshack-Hart reveals his passion for developing Africa digitally through his programmes and also his desire to see women in Africa rise to occasion in leadership and responsibilities.
“I have served as the youngest Chief Press Secretary to the Former First Lady of Nigeria and have also engaged as the new media assistant to a sitting member of Parliament,” says Belema Meshack-Hart.
The young entrepreneur also disclosed that his desire to see Africa unite and develop to a height led him to put this team together to work on the ‘Wives of Presidents and Vice Presidents in Africa’ (COWAP) project thus, harnessing the enormous wealth of intelligence and goodwill in these wives of Presidents and Vice Presidents in Africa both sitting and past to achieve peace and development in Africa.
“My focusing on peace, ending hunger and poverty as well as improving girl child education in Africa are on the front burner of my agenda of Africa development. I am the team lead of COWAP. Through my NGO ‘Engage Empower Educate Initiative’ (EEEI) which started last year with the aim of empowering the girl child and youth, we have focused on 4 thematic points of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). And to this end, the EEEI as a vibrant body has been able to put together 3 projects.
“Firstly, the African women summit: this summit held in Nigeria on the 21st and 22nd of April 2018, looked at how innovative technology could be used to solve Africa’s development challenges. The summit attracted special keynote speakers such as Her Excellency, Joyce Banda, former president of Malawi; Her Excellency, Jewel Taylor, the current Vice President of Liberia and Professor Plo Lumumba, the director, Kenya law school. The chief host was Her Excellency, Aisha Buhari, wife of the president of Nigeria alongside other dignitaries and it had in attendance 1400 women and girls from across 18 African countries,” Meshak-Hart noted.
Secondly, Meshack added that the convergence initiative was a wake-up call to women. He noted that female political participation in Nigeria is less than 8%, and the convergence is aimed at doubling this figure come 2019. “After the elections in Nigeria, to this end on July 27th and 28th at the women centre in Abuja, Nigeria we put together the largest gathering of female aspirants and mobilisers to train and mentor women to achieve their dreams.
We had the keynote speaker in the honour of Honourable Dr. Fatoumata Ceesay, former speaker of Gambian Assembly and first female deputy speaker of the ECOWAS parliament. With over 8 speakers and 15 panelist, the ladies were greatly empowered for their political pursuit. We also launched the ‘Women Can Lead Campaign’ which now has 24 state champions spread across the 36 states of Nigeria,” he added.
And thirdly, he made good his boast of empowering girlchild with establishment of Pads4all initiative. “At EEEI, we believe no girl child should miss school or be embarrassed because of something as regular as her menses, so we began the campaign to distribute 88,800 free pads to 7400 rural girls across Nigeria. We began implementation by distributing hundreds of sanitary items to girls misplaced by the boko haram menace at the kunchigoro camp as we celebrated international youth day on the 12th of August, 2018. With all these and more projects in our hands, Africa is set for a new dawn,” concludes Kalada Belema Meshack-Hart.