“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” — Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
The birth of peer-to-peer dialogue came as a result of us wanting to stay awake, adjust and assess the ideas of this present generation. We visited two schools, with a curriculum to guide the students on how we could effectively engage their minds. A code of conduct was introduced, thus creating a judgment-free environment.
In each school, we divided the students into 3 groups with 3 focal questions for each group.
1st group: Words you can use to describe yourself? and why?
2nd group: Things you'd like to do to change/improve yourself?
3rd group: Things you worry about and what are the good things about yourself?
The aim of the questions was to encourage the students to open up and tear down their walls, fostering an open conversation. This was a little bit challenging with the first school because it was first a coed school, and also they had a preconceived notion of themselves.
The 2nd school was more engaging and I would love to think, it is because we were addressing same gender audience.
The common responses to what they worry about the future, distractions, feeling of not being enough, lack of confidence, people's opinion and Influence
While the things they feel good about themselves as being tolerant and their personality, but most of them had nothing good to say about themselves. This was a wake-up call to the school directors, as it became an engaging conversation where personal stories and experiences were shared.
Meeting back as a combined group, we had a representative from each group share lessons they gained through conversing with their mates. Each group leader later addressed issues and opened the floor for the teachers and directors to share their view and experience (at the same age of the kids).
As one of the major goals of the project, we quizzed the minds of the students on what they want to be addressed and changed in the Nigerian government. Most of the common responses were:
- The economic system
- Corruption and Bribery
- Bad impression of females not being capable of things
- Nigerian made goods should be more dependable
- The government system and our leaders perspective/leadership
- The problem of terrorism
- To reduce the rate of poverty & recognition of the poor
- Discrimination & Child abuse
- Insecurity of the country, amongst many other mentions.
Concluding this series, we were confident on the concerns of the younger generation will be further projected in our upcoming programs, and addressed as we get the opportunity and resources