- Age: 29
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Any intervention that seeks to dismantle patriarchy, and places the burden of righting society's wrong on the woman, is still patriarchal. Because why would a woman be blamed for conforming to a system designed to keep her disadvantaged?
- Sani Muhammad
Sani is passionate about strengthening advocacy, policy communication, and negotiation to solve issues related to education, healthcare, and population as it affects women, girls, and young people. He believes in using a multi-sectoral approach to analyze, synthesize, and disseminate information and data to propel government and policy audiences into action and promote sustainable, equitable economic growth and development. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridge Connect Africa Initiative, recording various policy successes on issues on child protection, gender-based violence and reproductive health across Africa and Asia, while building the capacity of young people to hold government accountable and deliver for women and girls globally. In 2021, he was Special Assistant to the Kaduna State Governor, and supported the State Government’s efforts at various Ministries, Department and Agencies including the Kaduna State Social Investments Office; State Primary Healthcare Board; Ministry of Business, Innovation and Technology and the State Universal Basic Education Board. Sani is currently a Delivery Leader with Delivery Associates, that help governments and social impact organizations turn ambitious goals into everyday reality for people all over the world. Sani is a social impact leader in Africa and serve on many youth boards supporting and promoting gender equality.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
In early 2018, during my national youth service, I met Lubba, a 15-year-old divorcee. The encounter opened my eyes to the devastating consequences of child marriage. Outraged, I visited her school and was shocked to learn that there were only a handful of girls in attendance. The following week, another 11-year-old was married off. This heart-wrenching experience sparked my curiosity and led me to rural communities in Kano, where I witnessed similar stories of young girls suffering the complications of child marriage and abuse. I was offered two young girls for marriage in exchange for a mere five hundred naira note, and I realized then that child marriage was not just a result of culture or religion, but also of poverty. My team and I decided to take action. We launched a campaign against child marriage, raising awareness and advocating for policy changes to criminalize the practice. With #SpeakUp and #TimeToActSRHR campaigns, we gave a voice to the young girls and their dreams, and worked towards a future where every child has the right to a childhood.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
With my team, we created a podcast ""Nazari Mai Zurfi"" which had a significant impact on the lives of young girls in northern Nigeria. The 10-episode series tackled cultural, institutional, and policy issues surrounding child marriage by using storytelling, community engagement, and policy advocacy. This led to the Kano State Government conducting a public hearing to pass the Child Protection Bill, and the Bauchi State Government currently has a draft of the Child Protection Bill. Over 90 young girls and survivors were empowered, and 11,000 petition signatures were collected to criminalize child marriage and set the age of consent at 18. We trained over 9 youth organizations and teams across Africa and Asia on the PACE Youth Multimedia Fellowship, using multimedia tools to generate policy wins for reproductive health and the environment. This led to the passage of the Anti-FGM policy in Narok County, Kenya, scaling up of environmental cook stoves in Kaduna State, and a review of the age of consent to criminalize child marriage in Pakistan. In 2021, ""#SpeakUp"" and “#TimeToActSRHR” campaigns reached over 3 million people and led to the government passing the Free and Compulsory Education Policy in Kano State. Four new sexual assault referral centers were established across the State Emirate Councils, providing crucial support for survivors of sexual violence. The impact of our engagements shows the power of storytelling and community engagement in creating policy change and improving the lives of young girls.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
Traveling, reading and engaging in social activities with family and friends
- English (Advanced)
- Hausa (Advanced)