Rafiat (Tolulope) Akinokun
- Age: 27
- | She/her/hers
Country of Origin:
Country of Residence:
Our life is what we make it to be. If we want a good and just life, we have to work for it.
- Rafiat (Tolulope) Akinokun
Rafiat Akinokun is a Nigerian public health nurse working to reduce health inequalities among vulnerable populations through advocacy and research. She serves as the convener and the lead of the Youths Against HIV Discrimination, an initiative focused on reducing the vulnerability of Adolescent Girls and Young Women to HIV. Through this initiative, she has championed HIV health education to about 1500 adolescents in collaboration with her team of volunteers. This plunges into the Nigeria National HIV policy plan to “increase HIV education among Adolescents and Young People to 90% by 2024.”
Rafiat also serves as a global health champion for the Nursing Now Challenge, a global movement of over ten thousand nurses and midwives. Through this affiliation, she has been able to advocate for the health of underserved populations to global audiences including on a high panel discussion with the WHO director for health workforce and the Egyptian minister for health.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
Growing up as a female was challenging as I experienced sexual harassment in a society where young females are blamed for societal vices imposed on them. Further conversations with my friends made me realize that I was in fact, not alone. I realized how much the female gender suffers neglect, vulnerability, low self-esteem, and anxiety. The determination to fight for a better life for myself and other females ignited my passion for fighting for gender equality. Through the course of my work, I understood the power that females could have if they are empowered to fight, speak, and reject the painful vices they face in their communities. I have also realized that while fighting for gender equality, I am also fighting for myself because living in an unequal world means living in a dangerous world.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
My biggest win is my ability to impart knowledge and also build the capacity of adolescents and young girls to understand their bodies, their sexual rights, and also speak up against inequality.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
Traveling and cooking.
- English (Advanced/Native)
- Yoruba (Advanced/Native)