Category Archives: International Day of Families

UNIC Director calls for family-friendly policies for work environment

In observance of the 2017 International Day of Families, the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria, Mr Ronald Kayanja, has called for Policies that encourage corporate responsibility and family-friendly work environments. “Family-friendly policies, he continued, “are essential and have already been proved to improve workers’ productivity and dependability.”

Mr Kayanja made this call today in his opening address at the Africa Family Life Delegate Conference organised by Centre for Sex Education and Family Life. Addressing over 600 delegates at the conference, Mr Kayanja noted that the working conditions of parents affect their ability to play an active role in their children’s education. “The International Day of Families therefore, is a day to focus on needed policies to create a good nurturing environment at family level for children to grow. For parents to effectively play this important role of nurturers, they need time with their children as they grow up,” he explained.

Drawing inference from the conference theme, ‘The Role of Family Life Education in Transforming Africa’ which aligns with the global theme of the International Day, ‘Families, Education and Wellbeing’, the UNIC Director highlighted the crucial role of the family as the centre for early childhood education. “We know that the education a child is exposed to before reaching age 8 is a determinant of what type of person we will have in society. Parents, grandparents and relatives play a major role at this stage, as they work with early childhood teachers in elementary/ nursery schools.” He said.

Speaking, the First Lady of Lagos, Mrs Bolanle Ambode underscored the centrality of family to development and noted that ‘without family, no country; without country, no continent and no world.’ Represented by her Special Assistant, Dr Arinola Oluwo, the wife the Lagos State Governor explained that the only way to have a world of our dream was to fix the family.

Welcoming the participants, the Principal Consultant, Centre For Sex Education and Family Life, Mr Praise Fowowe, explained that a dysfunctional family system could not build a functional society. He called on everyone to commit to ‘creating and promoting an effective family life education that can deliver a developed family system which ultimately would deliver a developed society.’

Mr Fowowe added that the most important government may not be the government of a nation afterall; according to him, “the most important government is actually what we have coined the ‘Family Government’. We strongly believe that the Family Government is the production factory of the society and until we become intentional about the development of an effective family system, we may not witness a developed continent we so desire.”

In 1993, the UN General Assembly declared 1994 as the International Year of the family and also that 15 May each should be observed by all Member States as the International Day of Families. The General Assembly noted that ‘families are the fullest reflection, at grassroots level, of the strengths and weaknesses of the social and development welfare environment, and as such offer a uniquely comprehensive and synthesising approach to social issues.’ It was further observed that families, as basic units of social life, are major agents of sustainable development at all levels of society and that their contribution to that process is crucial to its success.

UN Secretary General calls for change in legal and social norms that discriminate against women

UNIC Lagos National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun addresses the audience

UNIC Lagos National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun addresses the audience

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has called for a change in legal and social norms that support male control over women, reinforce discrimination and prevent the elimination of violence against vulnerable family members. ‘As we shape a new sustainable development agenda and strive for a world of dignity for all, let us stand united for women’s and children’s rights in families and societies at large,’ he continued.

The UN Secretary General made this call in his message on the observance of the 2015 International year of families organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lagos, in collaboration with the Women’s Board Educational Cooperation Society and held at the Library Auditorium of UNIC, Lagos.

Speaking further, Ki-moon noted that the theme of this year’s International Day of Families “Men in Charge?” highlighted the importance of gender equality and children’s rights in contemporary families.

Cross-section of participants

Cross-section of participants

He added that more women were becoming recognized as the equal partners and decision-makers in families that they should be, thus helping to ensure a conducive environment for the full and harmonious development of children.

In his overview of the theme, “Men in Charge? Gender Equality and Children’s Rights in Contemporary families”, the National Information Officer, Oluseyi Soremekun, noted that 2015 International Day of Families, celebrated every 15th May, highlighted prevention of family violence through fair family law frameworks and promoted gender equality and rights of children within families.

He called for an end to those cultural practices which reinforce inequality and injustice against women. These, according to him, included ‘all forms of gender inequality within families especially those related to inheritance, education, dowry, marriage and sexuality as well as those family laws that place women in a subordinate position to men in families.’

Soremekun added that gender inequality within families might also be perpetuated for economic reasons and due to social norms such as the desire for sons, or dowry-related financial reasons.

The occasion was spiced up by a Poetry Presentation titled, ‘My idea of an ideal family’ by the students of Fountain Heights Schools, Lagos and a Drama Presentation titled, ‘My Ideal Family’ by the students of Lagoon Secondary School, Lagos. Students of New Era Girls School, Lagos were also in attendance.

In her closing remarks, the Programme Director of Women’s Board, Mrs Edna Dafe, urged everyone to support activities geared towards strengthening family values, which she said, would help in raising children who uphold values.

Other speakers included Dr (Mrs) Grace Evbuomwan who spoke on ‘Supporting Families: A path to National Development’ and Mr Michael Ijeh who made a presentation on ‘The unique contribution of fathers to adolescent development’.

International Day of Families 2013

United Nations Information Centre Lagos Nigeria, in collaboration with an NGO – Women’s Board Educational Co-operation Society (NGO in Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the UN, working for the development of the Nigerian woman) organized an NGO/Media Forum on Wednesday 15 May 2013 on the Preparations of the twentieth anniversary of the Year of the Family and the Observance of the International Day of Families 2013.
Sitting L-R Dr. Frank  Attoh, Ms. Rosario Monfort (Women's Board), UNIC Officer-in-Charge -Ms. Olajumoke Araba, Dr. Oscar Nliam (Senior Associate Kenna Partners.
The forum was held to create awareness of this anniversary and spread the importance of the family in the society in the context of the themes to guide the preparations for the twentieth anniversary, which are: confronting family poverty and social exclusion; ensuring work-family-balance; advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity of which the theme for 2013 International Day of the Family is “Advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity”
About 61 participants including NGOs, Civil Society and Media organizations attended the forum, which was held at the UNIC Lagos.
Guest speakers were Dr. Franca Attoh, a Lecturer at the Department of Sociology, University of Lagos, who spoke on “Advancing Social Integration and Intergenerational Solidarity”; and Dr. Oscar Nliam, who has a doctorate in Law, a senior associate at Kenna Partners, Barrister/Solicitors, spoke on “The Family in the Nigerian Law: The Legal Mechanisms for empowering the Nigerian Children through Education”.
Prior to their presentations, Ms. Olajumoke Araba, the Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos gave the welcome remarks and read the Secretary General’s message for the International Day.
In her welcome remarks, Ms Rosario Monfort, (Project Director of Women’s Board-ECS) gave a brief historical background of the International Day of Families and a summary of what Women’s Board does.
In her speech, Dr. Attoh spoke about the Marginalization and Identity Crisis of our youth who are neither Nigerians nor Westerners. She proffers a solution by suggesting that a policy of mentoring should be established so as to encourage the older generation to work with young persons in order to impact knowledge and entrust them with certain roles. ‘The youths being the future of this great country, we cannot but shape them right’. Dr. Attoh is of the opinion that in this 21st century, society should look beyond these two factors (that is Social integration and intergenerational solidarity) and begin to focus on new frontiers such as bridging the general space and resuscitating the core values such as integrity, hard work, fortitude and justice which hitherto were the bedrock of the human society.
Dr. Oscar Nliam, in his speech enumerated the International and Domestic laws on Education. Education being a fundamental Human Right. He dealt extensively on Education as tool to empower the families and how the Nigerian Law supports this tool but this must not be regarded as a government function but as a function of all citizens concerned.
Dr. Nliam went further to stress that education as a tool for empowerment should aim to impact positive change morally, socially and intellectually on the child. It should also aim to stimulate critical attitudes in young children, inculcate the habit of social solidarity, tolerance and integration for a better and peaceful society. He concluded with a quote from ‘Hosea Ballon’ that says: “Education commences at mothers knee, and every word spoken within the hearsay of little children should tend towards the formation of character”. This should be the aim of any responsible parent.
The discussions, remarks and questions after the speeches gave credence and support to the speeches of the Speakers.
Refreshment was provided and prepared by Wavecrest College of Hospitality Management, Lagos, a Project of Women’s Board.