By Olanrewaju Akojede
The Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Sola Aiyepeku has restated the commitment of the commission to the empowerment of the girl child through sports and education.
Aiyepeku gave the commitment on Monday in Lagos ,while speaking at the opening of “Break the Bias”a sports and empowerment programme for the girl child.
The report on‘Break the Bias”is the brainchild of a non governmental organisation ,Additional Plus Sports and Education Initiative (APSE),in partnership with the LSSC.
The initiative is a one-year
sports and empowerment programme to empower 60 young girls between ages eight to 18 using sports such as table tennis ,taekwondo , and education ,particularly political education.
Aiyepeku said using sports and education to mentor the participants would bring a phenomenal change in their mindset.
“We so much believe in this idea that the girl child and the male child should get equal opportunity because they can both achieve great results.
“The use of sports and education is so important because both have their ways of positively impacting on the brain of the children. So we are ready to do all we can to support girl child education.
“Sports instil in persons, the spirit of discipline, endurance and commitment, while education, which is very important, will build the mind of our children.
“As much as we encourage our children in sports, we don’t want them to joke with their education because it is a lifelong thing that will last after their retirement from sports,” he said.
Mr Oluwatoyin Gafar,Director- General of LSSC, admonished the participants to take their education seriously.
“I want the girls to take their education seriously because the lifespan of a sportsperson is short, probably 40 years.
“Education is what a sportsman can fall back to after his retirement from sports, so it is important that our children understand the importance of education for their future endeavours,” he said.
Dr Sarah Hillyer, keynote speaker and founder, University of Tennessee Centre for Sports, Peace and Society, U.S.A , congratulated the organisers of the programme, as well as participants
“I am so happy with the programme and I must commend the organisers for the lofty idea to educate the girl child through sports and education.
“The participants should make the best use of the opportunity placed before them and know that they can succeed in life,” she said via a live video.
Mr Rauf Adedeji,Chairman ,Lagos State Table Tennis Association, urged the participants to take honesty as the best policy ,adding they should be diligent in their studies and other endeavours.
Adedeji said that the body had been working tirelessly in ensuring that more females were encouraged to participate in sports.
Dr Oluwaseun Nariwoh , who is the convener of the programne ,told the press that the programme aimed at preparing the girl child for future challenges.
“This programme is important,especially looking at the volatility of the present contemporary world in reference to gender-based violence.
“We also consider the low level of women occupying positions of authority despite significant improvement in their political participation, and management of important aspects of life.
“This programme is about sensitisation mentorship programme on political participation and how votes can count.
“Breaking the existing bias is extremely important in order to redress gender equality for a sustainable and rewarding future,” she said.
According to him, there is need to address the issue of gender inequality to address the problems it posed to health, social, economic, psycho-social and political growth of women in local communities and the global space.
“The objectives of the programme are to bridge the existing gaps and assist in creating awareness on the need to be politically-sensitive.
“it is empower 60 participants with taekwondo and table-tennis skills in order to be able to defend themselves from physical violence and at the same time chart a sporting career in table-tennis and taekwondo.
“It is also to provide opportunity to train 60 young girls who will be able to train other girls `Train the Trainer scheme’ across Lagos State.
“The programme will also help to boost the literacy level of girls and women in the area of governance and financial independence,” she said.
Nariwoh said that the girls were chosen through representatives of Community Development Areas (CDAs) , who gave out forms to the interested participants.