Abraham Ologundudu is an award-winning changemaker, designer and storyteller. He partners with leaders to simplify and solve social business problems, through the power of design and strategy.
1) How do you advocate for equal rights for girls and women?
I am able to advocate for girls and women in three ways:
Firstly, I do that through the support of women-led social impact projects with the tech and communications tools, resources and strategies to amplify their causes and engage grassroots communities in Nigeria. My favourite part is helping develop visual communications designs and offer impact storytelling strategies.
For example, I have worked with a local non-profit called Dolly Children Foundation in advocating for access to education for under-served communities in Nigeria, especially girls who are out of school. I have offered strategies and managed the video production process of 2 campaigns for this local non-profit raising millions of Naira in funds for girls’ education in the community.
Secondly, I have built platforms and communities for educating and empowering women with digital skills, to strengthen their advocacy voice and contribution to sustainable development.
For example, in 2018, through SocialGood Lagos, we grew a community of 50 mothers and pioneered ‘Mama Meet’ in 12 locations in Nigeria. Where Moms discuss the impact of technology on their roles in society. It was born out of the desire to celebrate mothers as leaders and changemakers, beyond the traditional role of mothers as caregivers.
In 2020, during COVID-19, we dedicated our annual SocialGood Summit Lagos to SDG5. It was an incredible 2 days of virtual programming, with 15 speakers sharing insights and stories around gender inequality, the state of the SDG 5 progress, its integration with other global goals, & the COVID-19 pandemic. Our special guest speakers were Gill Atkinson, British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria and Her Excellency, Dr (Mrs) Olufolashade Abdulrazaq, First Lady of Kwara State.
In addition, we had an Online and Offline Dialogue on Advancing Progress On Gender Equality In Nigeria. We facilitated a dialogue to curate thoughts around women’s well-being in Nigeria.
We captured women’s voices around the kind of future they want to create and in order to bridge the gender gap
We curated the following focus groups:
- Single Parent Focus Group
- Women in Trade Focus Group
- Women in Enterprise
- Teenagers Focus Group
- Housewives Focus Group
- Advancing Women’s Political Leadership: Good for All
- Women in Corporate Careers
- The network of Disabled
Lastly, I advocated for the equal rights of girls and women by producing an audio documentary of how women in design tackle naturalized gender inequalities; how they are confronting different power structures, through the personal and observed experiences of two women designers in Nigeria. This was produced during COVID-19. A sequel will be published in the first quarter of 2023.
2) How has your personal experience with gender discrimination (whether lived or observed) motivated you to advocate for girls and women?
It’s quite personal. Generally, based on hindsight, as well as my interests and work around advocating for girls and women, I was inspired by my mother’s experiences. Her life experiences, cultural expectations, personal and professional struggles made me aspire for a lot more in life. She particularly faced gender stereotypes during her early years,and I noticed this was the same experience for many women at her time.
I didn’t actively think of “advocating for women and girls”. I just found myself involved with causes and projects of such focus, However, with hindsight, I believe it was inspired by my mum.
My recent pursuit through research and storytelling project “Beyond Design” was inspired by my own experience. Sometime in 2019, I saw a well-done design for a brand, and I inquired to know who made it. When I responded with shock after hearing a female’s name, I realized how subconscious and deeply entrenched power structures are. And it occurred to me that socially ingrained discrimination would require social consciousness to uncover and restructure. I am challenging myself to be a part of that restructuring.
3) What gives you hope that a gender-equal world is possible?
I have hope that a society where all genders have equal possibilities is feasible because I have witnessed the advancement and tenacity of strong, empowered women and girls who are battling for their rights and equality, leaning on the inspiration from my mother.
4) What does #EqualEverywhere mean to you?
#EqualEverywhere means every girl and woman has access to digital literacy. Every girl has the chance to go to school and build a career in tech-related professions.
#EqualEverywhere means ensuring that women and girls in Nigeria have the same rights and opportunities as men and boys in all areas of life, including education, employment, political participation, and access to healthcare. It also entails combating gender-based violence and discrimination, which disproportionately target women and girls. This means fostering cultural and societal change to battle and eradicate gender stereotypes as well as putting into action and upholding laws and regulations that respect the rights of women and girls.