UNIC, LASG partner to mark Global Handwashing Day

16 October 2014
Students queuing up to wash their hands

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos in collaboration with the Lagos State Government (LASG), yesterday joined the rest of the world to observe the Global Handwashing Day. Addressing an audience of over 500 students from four schools, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye, acknowledged the partnership that exists between UNIC and the Lagos State government; and called on Nigerians to continue the habit of frequent handwashing with soap despite the containment of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country. 

According to her, ‘frequent handwashing with soap could prevent many communicable diseases’ adding that ‘clean hands save lives.’ 

Earlier, the Senior Public Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Envera Selimovic, noted that handwashing was not meant for the Global Handwashing Day alone, but an exercise that should be done as many times as required every day.  

The ceremony, held at the premises of Falomo Senior High School, had in place thirteen handwashing points including that which was provided and donated by UNIC Lagos. Leading the enlightenment about handwashing procedure was the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Public Health, Dr Yewande Adesina who explained in details the eight steps to washing hands and getting rid of germs. 

Dr Adesina urged the students to thoroughly follow the procedure of washing hands and to make sure they do not turn off the water tap with their already clean hands. She advised that wrist or elbow should be used.

Afterwards, the Honourable Commissioner for Education led the dignitaries and students to wash hands in confirmation of the fact that ‘Clean hands save lives’

The Tutor General and Permanent Secretary for Education District III, Mr O.G. Olatunji, delivered the welcome address at the programme anchored by the National Information Officer of UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun.

Emphasis on Women’s Empowerment in Tokyo

14 October 2014
Panel members

“It must not be women who break the bamboo or glass ceiling; it must be companies who remove it,” said UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in Tokyo last month. “Research shows that female presence in leadership strengthens a company’s performance,” she continued, and the necessity of promoting women’s active roles in the workplace is not only moral and ethical, but also “an economic reality.” 

The importance of ‘womenomics’ was a major topic of discussion at a recent international conference on women’s empowerment, held in Tokyo September 12-14 as part of the ‘Shine Weeks’ initiative to create ‘A Society Where Women Shine’ in Japan. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka and UN Special Representative to the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Hawa Bangura travelled to Japan to participate in the conference, and took the opportunity to speak out about discrimination facing women in Japan and around the world. Facilitated by UNIC-Tokyo, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka and Ms. Bangura were interviewed by some of the top news agencies in Japan.  

Ms. Bangura focused on the major conflict areas around the world today where sexual violence is of particular concern. “Sexual violence is a serious concern in conflict zones in Iraq, South Sudan, Central Africa, and Mali, to name a few examples. We are especially concerned with territories in Iraq and Syria that are ever increasingly being controlled by the Islamic State,” she said. 

Furthermore, Ms. Bangura discussed the UN’s role and responsibilities in protecting women from sexual violence in conflict. She stressed the importance of providing both physical and psychological treatment to victims of sexual violence, and the necessity of rebuilding weakened judicial institutions in order to conduct trials of sex offenders.

Ms. Mlambo-Ncguka spoke about UN Women’s plan to open an office in Tokyo in 2015. She indicated that the Tokyo office will help UN Women work more closely with the Japanese government and private sector to eliminate discrimination against women in the workplace. Even though Japan has a major gender gap, “Norms and cultures are dynamic,” she insisted, “especially for younger people who can adopt new attitudes.”  

However, Ms. Mlambo-Ncguka emphasized that “Japan is not alone” in needing to adopt special measures in the “ongoing challenge” to increase the participation of women in business and government. She encouraged civil society to play an active role in pushing for concrete measures, such as support for childcare, incentivizing women’s work outside the home, and a possible parliamentary quota system. 

Though progress in these areas takes time, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka hopes that Japan will track the effects of its measures so that UN Women can share the information with other countries to promote gender equality worldwide. 

Model UN Conference in Ankara

11 October 2014
UNIC Ankara's Information Officer at the Conference

On 10 October, Bilkent High School organized a three-day long Historic Model United Nations with the participation of 230 students.

The Information Officer for UNIC Ankara made a speech at the opening session of the event and urged the young delegates to continue to support United Nations ideals and principle, regardless of whatever path they would chose. 

He also reminded the delegates that when the conference ended, they would become representatives of the United Nations since they will be well informed about the workings of the Organization and what it aims and does for the world’s population on a daily basis. 

Students at the conference simulated the first General Assembly Session of the United Nations and discussed issues that dominated the post-World War period. From the feedback received, it was evident that the conference was a great success, and an important tool in educating the young minds on the workings of the Organization.

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UNIC Lagos screens ‘Girl Rising’ film, organises symposium, to mark Day of the Girl Child

11 October 2014
Girls holding empowering messages

As part of its activities marking the International Day of the Girl Child, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, in partnership with BAU online, organised the screening of the ‘Girl Rising’ film for over 100 students from two Universities and five secondary schools in Lagos.

Delivering the message of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, the Senior Public Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Envera Selimovic, called on all governments to take action to end all forms of violence against girls in all parts of the world.

‘Together, we must create a world where violence against women and girls is never tolerated and girls are always empowered to reach their full potential,’ the Secretary General added.

Addressing the audience, the National Information Officer, UNIC Lagos, Oluseyi Soremekun, charged the audience to always protect a girl’s right to be a girl and not a child bride; her right to education;  the right to live free of genital mutilation; her right to life and dignity and the right to health including sexual and reproductive health.

The film, ‘Girl Rising’ highlights the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change the world. It also underscores the life of nine unforgettable girls living in the developing world: ordinary girls who confront tremendous challenges and overcome nearly impossible odds to pursue their dreams. 

In continuation of its observance of the Day, UNIC Lagos in collaboration with an NGO, International Charitable Initiative for Girl Child and Woman Development Foundation (ICI-DWODEF) also organised a symposium on the theme, ‘Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence’, with over 500 girls in attendance.

The event which was interspersed with musical renditions by different groups of girls, also had presentations on the legal rights of a Girl Child, Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) awareness and HIV prevention, among others.