- Age: 26
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Over the years, we have fought gender inequality by focusing solely on the female gender. I strongly believe we would achieve more by identifying and filling the gaps in the male gender in an aim to achieve gender equality.
- Oluwatomi Olunuga
Oluwatomi Olunuga is a public health professional with over 5 years’ experience in designing, implementing and reporting evidence-based interventions to promote gender equality and social justice. She was the project lead for the StopCut project, funded by the United Nations Trust Fund, and aimed to protect women and girls in Southwest Nigeria from Female Genital Mutilation. Over 1900 households pledged to discontinue FGM practices as a result of the advocacy and campaign effort. As the founder of the Malematters Initiative, she works with men and boys to promote gender equality through safe space conversations and outreach programs. Her recent project, Boys Against Sexual Violence, has reached over 500 boys with information on sexual violence prevention and positive masculinity through comic books, games, and facilitated conversations. Additionally, she designed the Project MaleMcare WhatsApp campaign, which promotes male involvement in maternal and newborn health and has trained over 800 men to date. She holds a Master’s degree in Global Health Delivery from the University of Global Health Equity and is currently a Program Manager at HACEY Health Initiative. Oluwatomi is a fellow of the MCW Young Leaders Program and YALI and is dedicated to creating a more just and equitable world.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
From a young age, I became aware of disparities between what was available to me and other girls, and what was available to boys. I observed that gender could often determine which opportunities were open to us and which were closed. I noticed a lack of programs designed to address the needs of both boys and girls, and saw the impact of societal norms starting in families and spreading throughout society. Motivated to close this gap, I have dedicated myself to creating and implementing programs that support the needs of both men and women. I believe that working together and addressing the needs of all genders is crucial for achieving equality.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
My biggest wins include playing a leading role in reducing the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation in South-West Nigeria, and advocating for the enforcement of laws to protect women and girls from this harmful cultural practice. I also created a comic book to educate adolescents on sexual violence and improve bystander attitudes. I developed a sexual violence education game, adapting the concept of the board game Monopoly, to spark discussions on sexual violence prevention among young people. The game has undergone pre-testing and has the potential to increase adolescents' knowledge on sexual violence in Nigeria. Additionally, I have facilitated online safe spaces conversations for men to learn about maternal and newborn health, resulting in greater male involvement in the preconception care, pregnancy, delivery, and post-natal care of their partners. The positive feedback from some of these women is proof that our engagement with men on maternal newborn health is making a positive impact.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
I am a lover of people and I totally enjoy meeting new people and having conversations with them. I also enjoy trying out new dishes and visiting new places.
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- Assessing the Knowledge and Intention towards the Continuation of FGM Practice among Young Girls in South West Nigeria
- Beyond February: Ending Female Genital Mutilation
- FGM/C Laws in NigeriaLegislative Reforms and Lessons Learnt from Kenya and Uganda
- Status of HIV Testing Services and Competency Level of HIV Testers and Counselors in Primary Health Care Centers in Ibadan Metropolis, Oyo-State, Nigeria