Experts call for more attention for the boy child

In commemoration of the International Day of the boy child, experts have called on parents and the society to pay more attention to the boy child.

According to them, it is necessary to strengthen society, families, leadership, and institutions.

They have also noted that grooming the boy child brings equality with the girl child to improve society.

This was the thrust at the second edition of the Boy Child Conversation conference organised by the Debra’s Palace initiative in partnership with the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Lagos, themed, “Kings Awake.”

According to Damilola Chinedu, the convener, over 150 boys from secondary schools across Lagos State who participated were impacted with the required knowledge they need to become better people.

“It’s amazing to know that several boys here today have never been in the same space as with other boys and mentors and we are glad we did this trusting that the third edition will be much more impactful.”

Seun Ajayi, an actor, and boy-child advocate noted that the boy-child conversation should be supported and paid attention to, as there is a trend of neglecting the boys who should be protected and cared for too.

“The theme has brought conversations about the boy’s identity and how transforming the minds will transform society, connecting with our makers and purpose in life. Beyond these conversations, we need a system that can help this entire purpose scale,” Ajayi stated.

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Oludara Akinlaja, the chief executive officer of OAR & D Company, and the president Yada Global Network noted that with most conversations around the girl child, these young boys have shown that they are interested in learning hence they only seek the right guidance and mentorship to take them further.

For Leke Adeboye, an assistant pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), and senior personal assistant to the General Overseer of RCCG, Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the boy child conversation brings the needed balance, which tells that equality must not be neglected, “we have to make it better, and boys should be allowed to express themselves emotionally and otherwise.”

Tosin Martins, senior pastor, The Franchise Church stressed that changing the narrative and being a positive influence in these troubling times is key to grooming the boy child.

“We are confident that our experiences will inspire our young men to explore their dreams beyond the constraints of their circumstances,” Martins noted.

Chinedu, moreover, noted that over the years, the picture of an ideal man emphasises the natural strength of a man to handle challenges and face all menaces of humanity but fails to acknowledge that men could be vulnerable in the absence of support, particularly during their early childhood and adolescence.

“This has been proven by recent events where boys and men, irrespective of their ages gave up on their dreams due to persistent exposure to adversity and lack or inadequate availability of support structures to wither such storms.

“Attention all around the globe is female-centric: the need to protect a girl child, equal access to education and other social provisions, women’s involvement in governance, and lots more.

“However, statistics for men, as provided by the United Nations, WHO, the Office of National Statistics, Research Gates, and, concerns. The highest rate of suicides, homeless people, victims of homicide, as well as victims of violent crimes, is perpetrated by men.

“Furthermore, they serve longer prison sentences, are three to four times more likely to be imprisoned than women for the same crime, and are perpetrators and also likely to be victims of domestic abuse.

“This will inevitably help to guard against the problem of social inclusion or exclusion and ensure that the right population, who could be adversely affected by non-availability or lack of support structures, is reached with this timely intervention,” Chinedu said.

Other speakers who served as mentors to the boys include Morenike Molehin, Kore Taomu, Ebuka Ede, and Mohammed Ali. They shared their life experiences with the boys who are focused on inspiring them to see beyond their circumstances and take steps in the direction of their dreams.

Debra’s Palace Initiative is a non-profit organisation that works in Nigeria to address societal challenges by providing young adults with tools, mentoring, and encouragement to lead positive and productive lives.

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