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Empowering Young Voices Tackling Gender Inequality and Teenage Pregnancy in Nigeria's Ondo State

As a public speaker, community organiser, youth leader, and gender equality expert, I've had the privilege of engaging with young people in Nigeria's Ondo State, and I've witnessed the staggering challenges they face. One pressing issue that demands urgent attention is gender inequality, which perpetuates a cycle of disadvantage and marginalisation, particularly among young females.


The statistics are alarming: many young girls are out of school due to teenage pregnancy, limiting their potential and perpetuating intergenerational poverty. However, through community organising and gender equity, I firmly believe that we can solve this recurrent problem and create a brighter future for all.


In Ondo State, gender-based discrimination and violence persist, denying girls and women access to education, economic opportunities, and healthcare. The consequences are far-reaching: teenage pregnancy, early marriage, and gender-based violence become the norm, entrenching gender inequality. We must address these systemic barriers and create a more inclusive environment that values and empowers girls and women.


Through my work amplified now as a new CYGEN member, a platform that allows cross collaboration across Commonwealth Countries where ideas, resources and sharing of knowledge are at the heart of the network  (Commonwealth Youth Gender Equality Network), we're committed to tackling these issues head-on.


We as Commonwealth young citizens must take ownership, we must evaluate country and region specific challenges. Ondo State is no different, here in Nigeria we must organise community workshops and events promoting gender equality and challenging harmful stereotypes. This should be through a system of education and skill-building programs for girls and young women, including those who have been forced out of school due to teenage pregnancy.


An organisation such as CYGEN facilitates and enhances the need for collaboration with local leaders and organisations to advocate for policies and initiatives advancing gender equality that shall lead to a development of community-based initiatives providing healthcare, counselling, and economic empowerment opportunities for young mothers and their children.



Emmanuel Aje is a youth advocate and an experienced community organiser and development practitioner with over 7 years experience in youth advocacy, volunteering, civic engagement and community development. Highly skilled in NGO management, social movements, and youth development. Invested in building strong democratic institutions; promoting people-centred legislation and policies and building communities of active citizens to drive social change. Serves as the Director Of Programs YOUTHHEED, Ondo State Coordinator for WeVote Nigeria and a fellow Community Organizing Institute YIAGA Africa Background in political science. He has recently joined as a CYGEN member.


The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

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