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Diversity and Inclusion – A Case for Men

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Nyokabi Florence Diversity and Inclusion

By Nyokabi Florence

The 19th day of November offers people from across continents, professional fields, diverse thoughts and beliefs an opportunity to recognise and celebrate men for the unique value they bring, and equally important, a chance to surface pertinent issues affecting men across the world.

This day seeks to promote conversations about being male, with the aim to make a positive difference to the lives and wellbeing of men and by extension, the ecosystems that men operate in.

Dr Jerome Teelucksingh, who is recognised as the founder of International Men’s Day began the call for the United Nations to identify and officially endorse the day back in the 1960s.

Over the years, the awareness has continued to grow on the importance of setting aside a day in honour of men and equally, optimism continues to thrive in hopeful expectation that the day becomes globally accepted and endorsed.

This year’s theme, Better relationship between men and women, is both timeless and timely in that it addresses the bedrock for equality in its call for harmonious cooperation and support among the genders.

It amplifies the theme of the recently celebrated International Women’s Day, #choosetochallenge, by highlighting the need to foster a better understanding of gender alignment and harmony towards a productive and purposeful existence among the genders.

As men and women are actively working to close the gender disparity gap in society, this course remains firmly present within the workplace. The roles of men and women are continually evolving to adapt to the present world realities, and there is a growing need to provide platforms in the workplace that foster a better understanding of these realities, the unique value each gender brings to the table and how we might harmoniously chart clearer paths towards an equitable environment where all genders get to thrive.

Delving deeper on the point of building an equitable environment for collective growth, according to a report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), only twenty per cent of Nigerian women are in management and related decision-making positions in various industries including the financial services sector; and yet an increasing number of women are seeking employment within the same industry.

A growing number of men are at the forefront in supporting women towards the realisation that they too can compete equitably in various perceived male-dominated fields. They continue to support women in identifying these opportunities for growth and while not losing sight of the fact that women are well-positioned, well informed and empowered to overcome past notions and biases surrounding their participation in decision making. The same support can be provided to men by their female peers and contemporaries in the workplace.

At Standard Chartered Bank, we are passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  We understand the value of leveraging the synergies for growth, productivity and development and seek to continuously advance better relations among the genders.

Our policies provide a levelled platform that encourages both men and women to contribute meaningfully to their work and to collaborate and share best practices with each other.

In Nigeria, through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) we have set up initiatives that support men and women towards the achievement of their personal and professional development.

Our Network of Men initiative provides a platform for men to discuss, collaborate, mentor and support men in the office and the community we operate in. The Network of Men also collaborates extensively with the Network of Women towards events and projects that foster collective advancement for all.

Over the past 18 months, the Network of Men has been at the forefront in championing all-round wellbeing to enable men to build resilience, through physical, mental, emotional and financial growth as well as investment in human skills that enable the men to become well-rounded and authentic leaders.

The Network of Men has also contributed to the community through the various mentoring sessions for at-risk young boys within the community.

Our bank policies and benefits provide a level playing field for both genders to thrive in the organisation. Indeed, our talent development agenda sets to recognise and celebrate the men, who purposely spot and elevate female talent to grow in the organisation.

As a result of the contribution by both male and female leaders, our senior leadership team today comprises 42% women leaders, a proportion higher than the average industry in Nigeria according to the aforementioned research by the IFC.

We must never forget that as a human race, our diversity is indeed one of our greatest strengths and asset. Although masculinity is often perceived to have an advantage amongst the genders, in reality, the challenges men are faced with seem to oftentimes go unrecognised, under-reported and misunderstood.

We should therefore support the younger men and boys in the society to listen actively, and speak out against the impositions society places regarding what it means to be a man.

We must be prepared to have those uncomfortable conversations that help women unlearn biases about men and the issues or challenges they equally tackle, such as their physical wellness, loss of employment, inability to provide for their families, inadequacies in parenting, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and others.

We should courageously discuss these issues irrespective of the gender we represent so we give each other room to grow, learn, empower ourselves and others. Our ability to support each other towards being and achieving the best in whatever endeavours we pursue is what speaks to our humanity and women too can help to change the narrative to support the challenges men face.

International Men’s Day gives us an opportunity to reflect on our journey towards inclusion and synergy between the genders; and also gives us an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the contributions of men towards society. We recognise the critical role men play in moving the dialogue forward for both genders.

For this, we continue to say thank you to those at the forefront of empowerment for women and equality across board. We remain confident that every step taken since the 1960s continues to bring us closer to a world where both men and women are recognised and appreciated for their contributions towards improvements in society, their individuality and their strengths. After all, aren’t we better together?

Nyokabi Florence is the Head of Human Resources at Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Limited

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Teeth Cleaning for Children and its Significance

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Teeth Cleaning for Children

Teeth cleaning is really substantial, so for children as for adults. Tooth plaque and bacteria can be removed by brushing teeth and avoiding the illnesses of gums and decay of teeth. People should brush their teeth in the morning and in the evening just before falling asleep, that is twice a day.

Parents should teach their children to clean their teeth early in the morning and make teeth cleaning an indispensable part of the list of their daily must-do activities so that this habit will stay with them when they become adults.

From what age, children should start off brushing their teeth?

Commence teeth brushing once the first tooth appears, in general beyond seven months of age. First and foremost, start to apply a mild wet cloth, as well as parents, can try cleaning the teeth using water and a mild toothbrush. Teeth are extremely significant for adults and, notably, for children. Teeth aid babies in speaking and eating, so it is significant to take care of them properly from the first months of life onward. Many children do not allow cleaning their teeth as it is an unpleasant activity for them. In this case, parents are advised to try to entertain the kid with the games on smartphones, for this a vivid instance can be the casino gaming like 22Bet Nigeria. So, as the parents adore much to play, they are able to grab the attention of children by these games and clean their teeth in the meanwhile.

The pickup of the right brush and toothpaste for kids

Children under 18 months only make use of only water during tooth brushing.

From 18 months to 6 years old, apply a toothbrush with a tiny head and mild stubble. Check out the fluoride quantity on the pack of toothpaste, it should be with a low.

Teach your kid the right brushing of teeth

Cheer your children up to be engaged in the process of tooth brushing with pleasure. Support them to adopt this skill and entitle them to brush their teeth on their own. After the age of 8, kids develop the perfect motor ability required for cleaning the tooth. Nevertheless, control over the children is mandatory until parents are assured that the kids are able to succeed in this activity and many others by themselves.

After cleaning, cheer your child up to spit out the toothpaste, rather than to swallow it with water.

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Feature/OPED

Making 2023 General Elections a Rewarding One

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2023 General Elections

By Jerome-Mario Utomi

The central interest of this piece is not to spot leadership faults in Nigeria or proffer solutions to what the present administration is not doing well to salvage the socio-economic well-being of the poor masses. Rather, the present piece is out to perform two separate but related functions.

First, as the nation races towards 2023 general elections, the piece x-rays the volume/strength with which foreign observers have in the past two decades raised strong voices against uncivil antics particularly the thorny transparency challenge that characterized concluded elections in Nigeria and the organized resentment it brought to the nation at the global stage/ exposed the nation to the pangs of sociopolitical challenges that prevent her from enthroning true democracy that ensures a corruption-free society.

Secondly, it is primed and positioned to find both practical and pragmatic ways Nigerians and particularly the present administration can use the forthcoming 2023 general election to correct the nation’s leadership challenge which is gravitating towards becoming a culture.

Aside from the fact that we cannot solve our socio-political challenges with the same thinking we used when we created it, the 2023 electoral project will among other things demand finding nations that have met the electoral challenges that we currently face, how they had tackled it and how successful they had become. We must admit and adopt both structural and mental changes, approaches that impose more discipline than is conventional.

Indeed, we are challenged to develop the world perspective in performing the traditional but universal responsibility which the instrumentality of participatory democracy and election of leaders confers on us, as no individual or nation can live alone and our geographical oneness has to a large extent come into being through modern man scientific ingenuity.

Again, with the amendment of the electoral Act that presently accommodates the electronic transmission of results, one can say that as a nation, we have made some political/electoral gains.

However, to help achieve electoral perfection in the country, there exists also, a study report which provides a link between the factors that impede credible election in Nigeria as well as made far-reaching measures that could pave way for development and orderliness in the nation’s political sphere.

The report was put together by the Centre for Value in Leadership (CVL), Lagos in partnership with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), and supported by MacArthur Foundation. It has as title; Ethics and Standards in Electoral Process in Nigeria (guiding tools/principles).

Going by the content of the report, an election is said to be credible when it is organized in an atmosphere of peace, devoid of rancour and acrimony. The outcome of such an election must be acceptable to a majority of the electorate and it must be acceptable within the international community.

If elections are to be free and fair, laws designed in that regard must not just exist; they must be operational and be enforced. And the power of freedom of choice conferred on the electorates must be absolute and not questionable.

But contrary to these provisions, since the re-emergence of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, our country has conducted different elections. These elections have many common features and few things differentiate them.

For instance, the elections were all conducted periodically as expected. They were closely monitored by domestic and international observers, and they aroused varied contestations from Nigerian politicians and voters and they were marred by varying degrees of malpractice.

The implication of this finding is that the electoral process in Nigeria is rendered vulnerable to abuse, through massive rigging and other forms of electoral malpractices by political parties- especially by those in power as they seek to manipulate the system to serve their partisan interest.

Elections, which are a critical part of the democratic process, therefore, lose their intrinsic value and become mere means of manipulation to get to power.

This, the study noted, derogates the sanctity of elections as an institutional mechanism for conferring political power on citizens in a democratic dispensation.

As a way forward, it underlined four basic conditions necessary to create an enabling environment for holding free and fair elections. These include; an honest, competent and non-partisan body to administer the election, the knowledge and willingness of the political community to accept basic rules and regulations governing the contest for power, a developed system of political parties and teams of candidates presented to the electorates as alternative choices. And an independent judiciary to interpret electoral laws and settle election disputes.

For transparency and accountability during and after the election, INEC should; be free from any form of financial encumbrance, funding of INEC should henceforth come from the first-line charge. The commission should also be removed from the list of Federal bodies. And, the procedure for the appointment and removal of the INEC chairman and members of the board should be reviewed.

To perform its role effectively as the final arbiter of electoral dispute, and curb the excesses of the politicians, the court must possess both juridical expertise as well as political independence. There should be adequate time between resolution of conflicts and swearing-in of elected officials; section 134 (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 should be reviewed such that election tribunal cases are expedited. And finally, the court must resist the political or financial pressure and adhere strictly to the underlying legal grounds in their consideration of injunctions.

Aside from adopting or enforcing provisions requiring aspiring candidates to have been a member of a political party to address a high prevalence of defections before elections which dilutes political party growth and development, political parties should act as a bridge between people and the government and help integrate citizens into the political system. Also, they should inform citizens about politics through socialization and mobilization of voters to ensure that the decisions are made by the people.

While the report stressed that any discussion on democracy without the right to receive and impart information is empty. It, however, regretted that journalism in Nigeria with regard to its constitutional roles is not scientific; adding that Nigerian politicians have always used the media in an unwholesome manner.

To exit this state of affairs, the report urged practitioners to help build enlightened electorates as public enlightenment is a prerequisite for free and fair elections.

The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, private and state-owned media outlets should strictly enforce, and adhere to regulations on media neutrality and take steps against hate messaging and misinformation in the media. The media should uphold the ethos of providing accurate and factual information to the citizens at all times.

While this is ongoing, the Nigerian Police Force should be guided by,  and conform to the appropriate principles,  rules, codes of ethics, and laws governing police duties especially in relation to crowd control and use of firearms. They should maintain impartiality and eschew partisanship or discrimination between the ruling and non-ruling, big or small.

Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via jeromeutomi@yahoo.com/08032725374.

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Money, Society, Development and Economics

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By Nneka Okumazie

For some people, all they will ever become is what money can make them.

For them, the power of everything money can do makes everything about money.

They often measure to money and measure for money. They talk for it and ensure it is what is seen about them.

Many of these people have money above all culture in some of the countries the people there have described as unbearable.

In most of these countries, the same reason government does not work is the same thing outsiders are about, bringing the country to a contiguous halt.

Government is all about who can grab for self and interests, around power, resources and money.

This same reason is why many organized crimes exist and several kinds of harmful practices across the private sector.

Money will never develop any country. Though some continue to say money is what is lacking.

Money will never change anything about anyone because if there are real changes at any point, money may have enhanced it but was never cause.

Things that look like changes that money made does not change; they are just more of how money keeps itself important.

For many things done because there was money to do it, they are many times purposeless. There are also others that should be been important, but because money was more important in that project, it also became purposeless.

If in some developing country, someone lives in a nice apartment or drives a cool vehicle, making that individual seem important, the importance of the individual is to whom, and what purpose does it serve, and for what it serves, what does it change, affect or improve?

The comfort that is lived in many of these places is a false peak.

It keeps them there and there is rarely much else to find meaning for.

Money continues to dictate how to be seen to have it, going around in circles, absent of progress, but ensuring participants are unaware.

Money, for what it can, makes people become a sunset. Money stays important using people as tools to itself.

[Ecclesiastes 6:7, All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.]

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