• Monday, May 27, 2024
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My advice to young girls is that they should visualise their future and set attainable goals – Moore

My advice to young girls is that they should visualise their future and set attainable goals – Moore

Besidonne Moore, founder and executive director of the Victor Moore Foundation, a foundation that is focused on touching the lives of children from underserved communities. In this interview, Moore spoke on the Foundation’s recent renovation of the ICT room at Sasa Community High School, among other interventions aimed at enriching the teaching-learning process in the school. Excerpts by Seyi John Salau.

What inspired you to create the Victor Moore Foundation, as a woman passionate about giving back?

I was inspired to start the foundation following the death of my late dad. After losing my dad, I thought of ways in which I could honour him and leave a long-lasting legacy in his name. My dad was passionate about education and was also responsible for sponsoring several individuals through school; some of whom are still benefiting from his sponsorship even in death. This is what inspired me to name the foundation after him because it is a reflection of how he lived his life – helping others by creating the opportunity for them to thrive and succeed.

What impact do you aim to make with the Victor Moore Foundation?

Our mission is simple and straightforward, which is to position today’s child for success through the provision of educational support and access to skills. We envision a world where every child is given the opportunity to thrive and succeed regardless of their economic background. Over the past two years we have partnered with four schools and impacted the lives of 112 beneficiaries from less privileged backgrounds, a sizable number of which are young girls. We plan to expand the number of beneficiaries we sponsor every year; this includes scholarships for exceptional students through their academic life cycle.

How does the Foundation ensure sustainability and that its programmes have a lasting impact on the lives of the children it supports, particularly girls?

The success of any social programme/intervention is largely dependent on the level to which the solution proffered addresses the identified problem. Therefore, to ensure our programs have lasting impact, we measure the extent to which an intervention is meeting the needs of our beneficiaries to continuously provide the required support. We provide regular program evaluation reports which give an insight into how the programs implemented by the foundation have fared. We also measure impact by identifying the significant change that has happened in the life of our beneficiaries, how our programs have impacted stakeholders and where the impact has been most recorded. Our assessment so far has shown that over 90 percent of our beneficiaries allude to a positive impact of the program. Our greatest impact has been in the school retention rate as 100 percent of our beneficiaries are not just in school but are frequent in attendance, over half of which are young girls. This is a big win for us as this underscores why we do what we do.

Is the Foundation into any collaboration or partnership at the moment?

We are in conversation with a few female leaders and organisations; we will share more information soon.

In your experience, what are some of the biggest challenges girls from underserved communities in Nigeria face in accessing quality education?

In my experience, I believe the main challenges girls from underserved communities face are poverty – this is because parents who are poor and less educated may place little value on education. Child labour, minimal support system, peer pressure, poor nutrition, early marriages amongst other socio-cultural factors. The foundation aims to address these challenges through our bi-annual mentorship programs; the objective of which is to improve the awareness of our young female mentees/beneficiaries on how to lead better lives and increase their chances of attaining success in life. We also engage with the parents and guardians of our beneficiaries in order to build their trust. We organise frequent outreaches which includes us providing school materials, uniforms and sanitary towels for the young girls we mentor.

What are the other initiatives the Foundation is championing to equip young girls for future success?

We go beyond providing tuition, school materials, and uniforms to our beneficiaries. Over 50 percent of who are young girls, by running mentorship programs. These programs connect students with successful professionals from diverse backgrounds, aiming to broaden their horizons, expand knowledge, and build necessary skills for their future careers. Our goal is to ensure that our beneficiaries receive the right guidance to maximise their abilities, improve awareness, and develop social consciousness beyond their immediate environment.

Additionally, the foundation operates the VMF Skills Hub, offering access to digital literacy programs and after-school enrichment classes. Recognizing the importance of IT proficiency in today’s digital era, we are committed to bridging the digital divide by empowering young girls with the skills needed for future success. Recently, we renovated the ICT Room of a partner school, providing computers, desk chairs, fans, UPS, and a projector. We plan to replicate this initiative in underserved communities across various geopolitical zones.

What message do you have for young girls who aspire to make a difference in their communities, as a woman leader in the education sector?

My message to them is simple: their voice is important, and they should use it. They can make a difference even from a small place, so the time to start making a difference is now. I will encourage them to visualise their goals and set attainable goals – short term goals to achieve long term objectives. They should identify the “why” behind their aspiration as having a purpose behind their goals keeps them motivated to achieving their objectives. I will also encourage them to adopt positive life skills such as being passionate, persistent and having a positive attitude.