The boy child is an essential and dynamic component of society, deserving attention and support in their growth and development. Just like girls, boys face unique challenges and opportunities as they navigate their journey to adulthood.
While education plays a vital role in empowering boys, according to various studies, they tend to have higher rates of school dropout, lower academic achievement, and higher rates of disciplinary issues compared to girls.
Similarly, they are more likely to engage in risky behaviours and experience mental health issues such as depression and suicide, hence, it is important stakeholders in society provide the boy child with the necessary resources, positive role models and mentorship opportunities, allowing them to explore their interests and talents freely.
The Boy-child Transformation Centre (BTC), a platform that provides a positive, shift in the quality of life of the boy-child, founded on 29th May 2021, has taken up this role to impact society by promoting a healthy, respectful, boy-child in Nigeria
The organisation exemplified this recently, during its commemoration of International Day of the Boy-Child by BTC, with the theme: “Walk in my shoes,” a creative expression and competition for the boy-child.
At the event, young boys who participated in the competition won scholarships ranging from N50,000 to N200,000, as well as gifts from sponsors like KIEK Foundation, Bata, MTN Foundation, STEM METS, etc.
Nkiruka Moghalu-Oguadinma, Founder & CTO, BTC, in her address, urged governments, private sectors, parents, guardians and teachers to give equal attention to the boy-child.
“The importance of what we are doing today cannot be overemphasised,” she said. “In our quest for gender equality and raising the boy-child properly, it is imperative that we recognize the crucial role we all play in nurturing and empowering our young boys.”
“Let’s begin to nurture these ones appropriately, so they don’t end up on the streets just like others. It is easier to win over a child than to repair broken men. If we all contribute our own quota in this direction, we can help to salvage what we are seeing right now, within the society,” she noted.
Kobichukwurah Jesse, the keynote speaker at the event stated that parents should allow their children to do what they are motivated to do.
“The child is the one to decide this is what I want to do, this is where my success comes from and in the journey of doing that, their career opportunities also open up,” Jesse said. “Parents should allow their children the necessary opportunities and resources to build on their skills and to enhance their creativity possible.”
Odunayo Sanya, executive secretary, of the MTN Foundation, and a mother of three daughters, in her remarks, chipped in her recognition of the fact that both genders have to grow together; it is a collaboration and not so much a competition, she stated.
Sanya said: “I must sound this note of caution that parents who choose for their children don’t do it out of hatred, they actually do it out of love but I think the world has opened up more and so we must co-create with our children, we must guide them, but we shall be weary of living our lives, our unfulfilled dreams through them,” she said.
Also, Adetola Salau, the former Senior Special Assistant on Education to the Governor, Lagos State, said “I want to encourage us all, please spend time talking and speaking life into this the hearts of these boys. Tell them that they matter, that they are rulers and I believe that they will rise to the occasion,” Salau said.
Furthermore, the convener said she plans to have 100 children go through the BTC every year. Her target audience is boys between the ages of five and 18 who will be groomed in the core values of personal identity, role model, integrity, mutual respect, empathy and self-worth by mentors and coaches.
The boys are grouped in different stages to address their needs adequately. For instance, for boys aged five to 10, the focus will include developing identity and character; and understanding personal and cultural values.
Moghalu-Oguadinma will be working with foundations that focus on children, government parastatals, community schools, churches and corporate organisations all over Nigeria to realise her vision of training a generation of boys driven by conscience, empathy and living a purposeful life.