By Vanessa Obioha
The new management of the foremost beauty pageant in Nigeria, Miss Nigeria, Green Girl Company Limited is set to hold a girls summit to commemorate the International Day of the Girl Child. Aptly named ‘Raising Girls Summit’, the summit is a one-day event for girls to advance their ideologies, increase their voices and engage key stakeholders pertinent to their empowerment.
As a social enterprise company that aims to transform the lives of young girls and women in Nigeria and Africa, the Raising Summit is an offshoot of the Green Girl company which started as a pet project for the 2015 winner of the beauty pageant.
“Initially, it was formed as an environmental sustainability project which the beauty queens from the project had been carrying out during their reign. But we thought it best to turn the tables around. We have been saying that Miss Nigeria is an empowerment platform but how do we really situate that. We decided that Miss Nigeria should fall under the Green Girl Company instead of the other way round. Daily Times handed the company to us. We added other programmes where we have the Raising Girls Summit and the Green Girl Academy which will be running throughout the year. So when we organise Miss Nigeria, we get the ambassador for the Green Girl and the pet project continues. What this means is that throughout the year, she will be organising the Raising Girls Summit and this is the new structure of the pageant,” said the CEO of the company, May Ikeora.
The Raising Girls Summit is also geared to influence social change and better policies to ensure a better life and future prospects of girls in Africa. Folio CNN representative, Toyosi Etim-Effiong highlighted some of the issues that will be tackled at the summit.
“There’s been a lot of issues including sexual assault and inequality revolving round women today. With this summit, we hope to raise strong and bold girls that speak up. We are telling young girls to speak that’s why we are targeting schools and children. It is not only open to private schools. Public schools are also going to be part of it, so we are raising women who will be strong and shape the country that we are in today.”
Over 59 schools are expected to attend the summit while over 2,000 girls are targeted for the maiden audition. The topics to be tackled include health issues, self-confidence, raising girls to be strong and aware, as well as teaching girls to be active participants in STEM.
Some expected speakers at the summit include Founder of Bestman Games, Nimi Akinkugbe; celebrity blogger Linda Ikeji, as well as the First Lady of Lagos state, Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu.
The inaugural Raising Girls Summit will take place on Friday, October 11. Registration is still open for institutions who want to participate in the summit.