In the spring of 2009 I traveled to Lagos, Nigeria, as the recipient of a fellowship from Global Fund for Children (Grassroots Girls Initiative) and the Nike Foundation (Girl Effect), to document the work of Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND).
Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) was founded in 1997 in Lagos, Nigeria by Hasfat Abiola-Costello in honor of her mother, Kudirat Abiola, a leading democracy activist who was killed by soldiers during the period of military rule.
The Junior Kudra Program is an expansion of KIND's Young Women Leadership Program. The name KUDRA is a derivation of the Arabic "Qudra" that symbolizes power. The name conveys the program's intention to help restore young women to their full potential by empowering them with information, leadership skills and tools to effectively engage in transforming their lives, communities and eventually their nation.
Through the Kudra and Junior Kudra Leadership program KIND equips girls and young women with the livelihood skills, tools and information they need to participate at all levels of society. So far, KIND has trained about 3500 girls and young women in high schools and universities across Nigeria. The aim of the training is to enable these girls and young women to see themselves as leaders by first taking responsibility for their bodies and their lives. The training provides participants with skills in advocacy, financial management, emotional intelligence and information on reproductive health. It also provides critical information on how to create and manage one's own business and how to get a job.
In addition to the training, the program provides for Kudra clubs (meeting hubs) in the schools. Through these channels the girls are given vocational training and video-making skills. Many who have graduated from secondary schools currently use these skills to earn extra income. KIND provides mentoring opportunities for adolescent girls, with alumni of the Kudra program acting as mentors to the girls.
In 2011, I returned to Nigeria and re-connected with some of the young women I had met in 2009, all of whom were still very much involved with KIND. The video that accompanies this exhibit was made following my trip to Lagos in 2011.
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Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND Nigeria)
42/46 MKO Crescent
Off Toyin Street, Ikeja
Grassroots Girls Initiative
1101 Fourteenth Street, NW, Suite 420
Washington, DC 20005, USA
One Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, OR 97005, USA
phone: +1 646 418 9984