OPA Nigeria One-Day Empowerment Programs for Girls & Boys

October 29, 2014

The One Peaceful Africa (OPA) logo is the true face of who we are, sharing the reality of our projects in Africa. Our shirt highlights the face of a girl on our logo who does not have the opportunity of going to school because of what she is taught. 

Princess Ukaga, OPA Director, believes One Peaceful Africa heralds a new era, one to empower African youth to pursue peace. When asked what OPA means to the African people she responded, “OPA is PEACE.”

It has been a year since the first training in Ghana where the project “Turning Trash to Treasure” became a signpost for this new era. The Turning Trash to Treasure project emphasized using trash to create something new symbolizes a new way to think and live in Africa. Young people traveled the streets cleaning the streets of garbage and then gathered to create benches--from discarded water bottles--to be installed on the local football field. Everyone actively participated in workshops and activities based upon the guiding principles of Children of the Earth. Attendees shared their learned concepts and techniques facilitating attendees to return to their communities and teach others. They know that they can spread peace throughout Africa by disseminating the knowledge they acquired during the One Peaceful Africa Ghana Gathering.

The current OPA project is mobilizing one-day empowerment programs designed to give Nigerian girls a safe learning atmosphere and shift the cultural mindset of those who believe school is only necessary for boys. Due to a series of kidnappings of Nigerian girls by Boko Haram's five-year insurgency against Nigeria's government, decreasing numbers of girls are attending school for fear of abduction.

This summer there was an OPA gathering in Abuja to address this situation and encourage young boys and girls to go back to school.

While continued fear of kidnapping overshadowed the program, this one-day gathering was a fruitful time of teaching and discussion with young people from Abuja. At the gathering, boys and girls of varying ages were asked if they thought girls should attend school with boys.

“l found out that most of the time tradition answers. Most parents in northern Nigeria believe it is a waste of money to send girls to school when after they grow up, the girls will only end up in a man’s house as a house wife . . . the boys and girls present said they want to go to school but their parents don’t have the money to send them. . .OPA Nigeria believes in the saying, “catch them young and build a positive impact into them and when they grow up they will not depart from it.”

Princess Ukaga, Director Of OPA

At the end of the day all the young people shared what they want to be when they grow up and why they should grow to be good people. All of the children prayed together in their native languages for the power to do so.

OPA has a Committee of Advisors made of Nina Meyerhof, Nana Apatafo, Oronto Douglas, Bar Chikaodi Igbokwa, and Princess Ukaga. 

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