About the Author

A Nigerian-American who earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in the United States, Onyinye has returned to her native Nigeria to examine the urgent issue of girls health, education, early marriage and, most of all, girls empowerment. Onyinye holds a Masters of Public Health degree from University of Washington-Seattle, as well as graduate-level certificates in the Global Health of Women, Adolescents and Children, and in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research. Describing the impetus for her project, Onyinye points out that, “Niger is presently ranked as the country with the highest percentage of child brides in the world with 76% of girls married before age 18. Nigeria holds the number 14 position with 43% of girls married before age 18. As a trained global health practitioner and advocate for adolescent sexual and reproductive health, I understand the power in a girl’s voice and the dangers associated with silencing that voice. During my ICWA Fellowship I intend to work with young people and their communities to understand the factors that propel child marriage and hinder girls education. My aim is to identify culturally-sensitive ways to address these critical problems.” In addition to her academic credentials, she brings field experience in project design and implementation, monitoring and evaluation, maternal and child nutrition and adolescent sexual and reproductive health; Onyinye has worked in both urban and rural/remote locations in Africa and in the US. An emerging young leader, Onyinye has been recognized by the Clinton Global Foundation as a Commitment Maker, was awarded a prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship as well as a Global Opportunities Health Fellowship. Onyinye’s ICWA Fellowship began in August 2016 and will continue until August 2018.

Blog: Nigera Says NO to Child Marriage

Last week, I attended what was possibly the most important high-level meeting for me as an ICWA Fellow in Nigeria. The Federal Government of Nigeria, on Tuesday, November 29, committed to end a deeply-rooted cultural and social menace in the country — child marriage. “Our stand is clear. No child marriage,” declared the Vice-President, Prof.

Thanksgiving in Nigeria

Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Nigeria. Though, many churches across the country celebrate Thanksgiving Sundays – special days when people dress up in their best and most colorful outfits and bring exceptional thanksgiving offerings (money) to church. So, what did I do on November 24? Thanks to my globally-minded friends, I was able to commemorate

Lagos Chronicles

Lagos Chronicles My 12-day trip to Lagos was overwhelming; mostly because Lagos is an overwhelming city.  With over 20 million inhabitants, it is hard not to feel choked whenever you are in Lagos. I stayed on the Mainland of Lagos; this is where you experience the real city in contrast to the Island area of Lagos (an area designed to accommodate wealthy

International Day of the Girl Child

International Day of the Girl Child October 11, 2016   Every year since 2012, October 11 has been set aside to “recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.”[1] The day calls global attention to the need to address these challenges while promoting girls’ empowerment and the advancement of their human rights.

For Girls’ Empowerment: What’s Education Got to Do With It?

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela ABUJA, Nigeria – “Are you sure you know where you are coming to?” asked my cousin in-law as we approached the northwestern state of Kaduna after a two hour road trip from Abuja. He was dropping me off at a bus stop on his way to Kano for a

Not Too Young: Youth Leadership and Girls’ Empowerment in Nigeria

“This country belongs to you but it’s under the stranglehold of men and women of a generation that have overreached itself. The truth is that nothing will be ceded or conceded to your generation without a fight.”[1]              – Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the Nigerian House ABUJA, Nigeria – Touching down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International