Onyinye Ubah

Culturally, Female genital mutilation in some parts of Nigeria is still being practiced. These women have little or no choice. In such cases, we create awareness and sensitize these women on their rights to either partake in the practice or not.

It was the likes of the above situation that gave birth to Vantage impact Initiative. Vantage impact Initiative is a nonprofit organization that seeks to provide solutions to socio-cultural and wome/ girl child problems by providing community projects and activities while leveraging innovative strategies

Basically, we provide innovative strategies to teach women and the girl child to dare to live above the conventional. Vantage impact Initiative is a vision set to teach and impact women with Wisdom and definite purpose starting from the grass root. It accords one the requisite knowledge and strategy to combat and surmount life issues.

Vantage impact Initiative became a legal entity in 2018. This Initiative is created for such a time as this, where moral decadence has eaten deep into our roots. Wisdom is said to be the Principal thing and in wisdom direction is found. 

The vision to establish this organization was born out of a pressing desire and definiteness of purpose to equip women (both young and old) with the  arsenal to face life, making the right decision and backing it up with God. 

Since inception, we have dealt with cultural cases. These cultural cases we have dealt with had to do with fertility issues. Now, fertility issues is not a cultural thing but how issues bothering on fertility are handled, vary and women are always blamed for inability to bear children. Still on cultural practices too, we have been able to educate women who gave birth to only female children on the position of the Law with respect to properties/inheritance.

Then, on the part of religion with respect to blood transfusion and cesarean section, we have also sensitized women. Sadly, most of these women are so bound and consumed with either harmful cultural practices or religious beliefs that have negative impact on them.

One of the interesting aspect of this project is that I have been privileged to hear stories ranging from domestic violence (physical and emotional abuse), rape cases, gender based violence (family and work place), cultural practices against women for having only female children and been a widow at an early stage. The very first thing we do as an organization is to inform the women of their choices. It is entirely up to them to discontinue any process initiated on their behalf regardless of how far we have gone with the process.

So, with this in mind, we respect boundaries set by both the Organization and the women. These women understand that under no circumstances will they be compelled, coerced or unduly influenced to do what they are not comfortable with.

At the end, ours is just to help and not compel them. A lot of women are afraid of taking bold steps to walk away, only few are strong enough to walk away. I believe that the world can be a better place if we stay committed to making it so. The volunteers in our organization run with this belief too and they are doing a great job.

Every now and then, we are faced with obstructions caused be funding and sponsorship. Sponsorship is a major challenge. Let me explain this a little further. For instance, a widow who has children but no means of livelihood would need financial support to start up a business to be able to provide shelter, food and clothing at least for her children. That same thing applies to a single mom (divorced, separated or circumstantial) will need to be financially independent to be to carter for herself and her children. We also have girls whose parents are unable to train in school but are desirous of going to school would need scholarships. It is obvious that meeting these needs would require a lot of funding.

Looking at all these, it is obvious that sponsorship is not limited to physical cash or grant given to the women; it also entails giving scholarships, trainings (for certification courses and skill acquisition programs), employment, accommodation and all such good things.

So, it is not an exaggeration that it’s not quite an easy journey. Even when the going gets tough, I remind myself that if it was easy, there would not have been a problem that requires solution. The joy of putting smiles on the faces of the less/under privileged through our community projects we have carried out so far has been intriguing in their respective way.

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