There is a popular saying that age is just a number. Sometimes teenagers feel they have to grow up and grow old enough before they think of achieving something in life. The truth is, you can be whatever you want to be at whatever age. Age is not an excuse to stay small, age is never a barrier. Do not let age limit you.
Read inspiring story of Misimi Ismi a 9 year old advocate for gender equality and environmentalist (President of Eco-kids green club). Let this story inspire you.
Where are you from?
I am from kogi state.
We gathered that you are among the naija youngest environmentalist and gender advocate, how true is this?
yes true… I started at a tender age of 8 with support from my family as I am from a family of environmentalists. My mum is the organizer of Miss Environment International and my dad is the CEO of Transclean Nigeria Limited (a company that supports zero tolerance on a filthy environment). I am a girl child advocate and my campaign started at the age of 9 where I used martial arts as my campaign to fight discrimination and violence against a girl child. On Dec 18th 2016,I was in partnership with Jaf foundation in a sensitization walk and campaign tagged ” the girl child flow”. An awareness walk aimed at supplying free sanitary pads for underprivileged public secondary school girls and I am presently concluding on my project to supply free sanitary pads to the underprivileged public secondary school girls and support global goal (5)-gender equality and also supply school bags and stationery to poor underprivileged kids to support global goal (4)-quality education. At age 8, I started my club Eco-kids Green Club, a club that teaches kids to go green and live a sustainable lifestyle and also a club that encourages kids on general environmental protection.
I had been involved in lots of projects as a volunteer for kids in general in Nigeria and as a girl child advocate, not only in Nigeria, but in Africa as a whole
How do you feel about being the president of Eco-Kids Green Club
I feel so honoured being able to help out lots of kids out there. I am so happy to be the president of Eco-kids Green Club because my duty as the president of Eco-kids Green Club is to educate kids that don’t know about the environment on general environmental protection and also to make them live a sustainable lifestyle because a clean environment is a healthy environment and a healthy environment is a green environment… and with all this put in place, the environment would be a better place for us all to live.
What is the club all about?
The club is all about general environmental protection. It is a club that teaches kids to go green and live a sustainable lifestyle, making the kids environmentally responsible right from their tender age.
For how long have you been advocating?
It clocked a year on the 22nd of April,2017 (earth day) so basically, I’ve been advocating for a year.
What prompted you into this mission?
OK my mum is my motivation and cos she has always had that great love for the environment and presently, she is the organizer of miss environment international…I also followed her footsteps and in my own case I started at a tender age and I hope to encourage kids my age to pass it down from generation to generation and be environmentally responsible right from a tender age.
What challenges have you faced so far?
My challenge so far is raising awareness and sensitization in kids and the general public on littering as an improper disposal of waste and the consequences which could be deadly as it cases pollution that could lead to diseases and Could in turn lead to death and that is why we are starting with kids from their tender age so that by the time they grow up it would be inbuilt in them as their duty and responsibility to always keep their environment clean… That has been my greatest challenge so far…
What successes can u record so far, what is your success story?
I was a volunteer for kids all round Nigeria at the cleanup Nigeria Project where I helped clean up isolo. My documentary was recently sponsored by “ventures Africa” I am presently working on launching my toon environmental magazine..named “Ade and the wheelie bin”… I was featured in Cowbells Nigerian geniuses celebration feat where I was celebrated for my unending effort in educating kids my age on environmental protection.. I have had awareness programmes on environmental protection on world environment day and earth day. I he also had sensitization programmes in primary schools, educating other kids on hygiene and inculcating healthy living habits in kids. I recently celebrated the strength and resilence of a female child,using martial arts as a campaign to stop the discrimination of a girl child on “international day of a girl child”. I was awarded on excellence on the 26th of june at the Africa cleanup award as the ‘first passionate child environmentalist in Nigeria’. I was featured in” the valuable waste documentary” a pan African documentary on waste-management. I was in partnership with Jaf foundation and was in an awareness and sensitization walk with JAF foundation in partnership with Eco-kids green club and miss environment international beauty pageant, as an ambassador to the brand and standing for the rights of a girl child in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
I was a model and an ambassador to the insanity exhibition of hyper-realist art which took place in omenka gallery Ikoyi. I was an ambassador to the little Miss Uganda pageant where I educated the little contestants on general environmental protection and encouraged the girls to see themselves as important in the society and see the girl child as key players in the society. I am an ambassador to Miss environment Zimbabwe, An ambassador to Eco-kids club Uganda, An ambassador to green4lyf Foundation, An ambassador to Young planters initiative Uganda, An ambassador to passion house, An ambassador to climate Wednesday and an ambassador to “Little miss uganda”
How are u coping with education?
I must confess, it’s not been easy combining both but with the help and support of my parents ,I managed to pull through. I usually spare an our hour or two everyday on reading up and improving myself in the environmental field.
Does your parents or guardian support this vision?
Yes my parents support me a 100%
You are just 9 years old, did someone give you this idea or you developed interest on your own? How did you come up with this /what prompted you to do this ?
Like I said earlier, my mum and also my grandmother who loves plants so much are my motivation. She normally tells me that plants cleanses and purifies the air. I love animals too and my best channel is Nat geo wild and with all these, I started reading up on ecology which is the study of the environment and the surroundings, and that made me develop the great interest for environment and also work on protecting the environment and the people that live in it.
What is gender equality?
Gender equality is when a boy and a girl are treated equal and no gender is looked down on or discriminated upon.
Why did you choose to advocate for gender equality?
Because I noticed girls are being abused and discriminated against.. Lots of violence against a girl child and that is why I am using teakwondo as my instrument of campaign to stop violence and early child marriage.
Why is gender equality necessary in Nigeria and Africa at large?
Because Africans don’t believe in a both gender being equal…, especially the female gender which has been discriminated upon for long… I once had a female maid that was sent out as a slave just because, she’s a girl. Her parents believed she isn’t going to be of good use to the society, they never believed in her and refused to send her to school. This happens alot in Nigeria and Africa at large and it’s due to our culture and believe that women are inferior to men and that is why I am standing up for the rights of a girl child with my martial art campaign and also to an instrument to be bold for change, prove to girls my age that we (girls) can say No and defend ourselves from violence and show that what a man can do, a woman can do better.
How do you advice children like you to promote gender equality?
To believe in themselves whether a female or male, as important in the society, see themselves as key players in the society and help foster global goal 5
In the next 5 years What do u hope the club would have accomplished successfully?
In the next five years, the club would have achieved a society of environmentally educated kids that would be willing to pass their knowledge down to their kids and from generation to generation and hope it can continue this way and also hope the whole country would adopt eco-kids green club initiative, embrace it and include environmental education in the school curriculum in all schools in Nigeria and ensure more kids are more aware of their environment and how to prevent lots of environmental crises that confronts us all
We hope when we invite you next time, you would gladly honour our invitation?😁
Of course I would be honoured
Finally whats your advice to young ones out there ?
My advise to kids is to tell them to always keep their environment clean at all times cos the environment is where we live
Finally finally 😆who would you like to make a shout out to? 😀
I would love to make a shout out to my parents… Mr and Mrs olumide isimi for standing by me
Thank you so much for your time.