While we seek to inform and educate you about HIV/AIDS, a major focus of this blog is to chronicle and highlight HIV/AIDS advocates around the world ; especially in Africa and Nigeria. It is an opportunity to see the work they do and their contributions to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Welcome to our Advocates series…..
Kicking off our “Advocate of the Month” series , is a young and dynamic individual; Opeyemi Agbaje. The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ‘Our Right, Our Life’ (OROL) Youth Empowerment Initiative, based here in Nigeria but with a global impact.
The first time i met Ope (as he is fondly called), i noticed instantly his passion and dedication towards empowering young people and raising awareness about sexual reproductive health and HIV/AIDS. I wondered what fueled his passion and drive; which drove me to find out more about him and boy!, i was impressed with my findings. This effervescent young man along with his talented team have been a voice for young people both in Nigeria and abroad. Making presentations at global forums and extending their commitment to communities. His mission is to encourage and empower young people to take charge of their lives and avoid risky behaviors in order to achieve an AIDS free generation.
Meet Opeyemi Agbaje…
I am Opeyemi Agbaje, a progressive Nigerian youth; who exhibits compassion and love for my fellow mankind all over the world. I have more than nine years of experience in the nonprofit sector, and earned a Bachelor of Science in Demography and Social Statistics from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife Osun state Nigeria. I founded a youth led initiative called ‘Our Right, Our Life’ OROL which empowers and educates young people on issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights, with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS. I currently serve as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer where I oversee the implementation of numerous programs and research studies in relation to HIV/AIDS prevention, family planning, and other strategic areas of sexual and reproductive health for the youth
I am interested and committed to three aspects of community development. These are; community engagement in mitigating HIV/AIDS, empowering youth with entrepreneurship/vocational skills, and providing psycho-social support for orphans and vulnerable children. I have led my team to present at local and international conferences, held public forums and written several published articles on sexual behavior and HIV prevention among young people in Nigeria. One of the most important reasons I am so passionate about this field is because I have discovered in the course of my work that “poverty tends to drive people into engaging in risky sexual behavior”. A behavior that can put their lives and health at risk, so there is dire need to provide opportunity for every young person to have the right and adequate knowledge about sexual and reproductive health; right for them to make full informed choices about their health and sexuality and the need for young people to be involved in socio-economic activities.
BIGGEST LESSON ON THE JOB
In my pursuit of educating and empowering young people and when leading teams, I have found that people are most productive when they feel that their input and contributions are valued. As a young professional working to improve the health and social conditions of Nigerian youth, the most important discovery that I made was that it was crucial to attract young people to volunteer, by putting the ownership of the programs in their hands. Now, I make sure that the young people volunteering under my leadership are trained and I ensure that they can take ownership of the programs by providing opportunities for leadership within the projects.
His Wish for HIV/AIDS – “A cure for HIV/AIDS by 2020” he says.
You can reach Opeyemi Agbaje on : firstname.lastname@example.org
Website : http://www.orolyep.org
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/orolfoundation
Twiiter : @orolfoundation