Everyone says we advocate for the girl child at the detriment of boys. This is because there has been an age-long problem of inequality that we have been trying so hard to correct. At the same time, it feels like we left the men behind. This has caused a sharp tilt in the balance of things as women were being empowered but men were not. When this shift started happening, it seemed like men were doing just fine without it. Yet, leaving men at the mercy of societal constructs has given birth to toxic traits like drug abuse, violence and even suicidal tendencies. Hence, the dire need to help our men. This calls for more intense advocacy for the boy child. But not many people are seeing the urgency. This is why as often as possible, I like to highlight some great people who are picking up the gauntlet and making tremendous impact in boys’ and men’s lives.
Today’s guest is Eshi Anna Obute. Eshi is a fantastic software engineer, an artist, a writer, a graphic designer and a craft woman educator passionate about helping the boy child.
Grab a glass of juice and enjoy our conversation below:
- Can we meet you, please?
My name is Eshi Anna Obute. I am a Boy Child Enthusiast and the founder of Boy Child Intervention. I am the first child and first daughter among 3 kids. I had my nursery, primary and secondary school education in Nigeria and my university education in the Republic of Bénin. I am a graduate of Management Information Technology and I have an Advanced Diploma in Software Engineering. I’m also an artist, a writer (authored about 7 books so far), a graphics designer, and an occasional craftswoman. My life is completely guided by the principles of my Christian faith.
- What drove you to launch a boy child advocacy organization in a world where males rarely organize programs for boys or men, but we hear concerns that women do a lot of girls?
My artistic gifts drew me to male friend groups growing up. I’d join the boys to draw out comics and make jokes. I’ve always been a guys’ guy, that one girl that is cool with the boys. Being very observant, I noticed a few things about the way most of my male friends handle their issues and I realized as I got older that most of them had coping mechanisms that were self-destructive. I watched other girls in our friend group dismiss them whenever they had moments of vulnerability and I was aware enough of social constructs, I was appalled at how little attention was paid to the mental, emotional and all-round well-being of men. So I decided to do something about it in my own little way.
- How has the reception been so far over the years from boys you have impacted?
I am blessed to say I have been reached out to by quite a number of boys, starting from my circle and extending into other social communities like church, work and school. I have experienced some pushbacks but most men find it hard to accept that they are allowed to be “human”. It is not easy getting to those who are already formed and hardened but I do my best and God has been faithful.
- Who are your role models in this field?
Oh I have a lot, starting with my Pastor, Reverend Biodun Fatoyinbo, the senior pastor of COZA global, Candace Owens because of how well she balances the expectations and duties of men and women to each other and individuals and a couple of others.
- What are the thematic areas for the programs you organize?
I am focused on the grassroots and healing. Grassroots because what we can’t correct in the hardened men can be corrected in growing boys. There is a lot of destructive mentalities infused into who a man is and what he’s meant to do that I aim to tear down in the little boys and heal in the young men.
- Have you attended other programs before on this before you launched yours? If yes, which programs?
Not yet. We are taking it one step at a time.
- What do you hope to achieve with this program?
I hope to really help fix the learning process in little boys and unlearning process in hurting young men. Focusing on the boy child goes far beyond telling boys it’s okay to cry or express their emotions. It’s making sure they are raised into men that society can boast of. I want to help raise a new set of confident, godly, loving, responsible, yet hard working men who will in turn, replicate these values in their sons and slowly but surely rid society of brokenness, hate and mockery against the male gender.
- What is your advice to other men who also want to venture into boy child advocacy but do not know how to?
Start open. Don’t get into it with a rigid mindset because learning will never end. Many men who want to venture into this are broken men who want to help fix others. On this journey they will also realize they need to fix some things too and they should never be ashamed to do so because everyone deserves to heal. Also let God lead because He made man and there’s no one that know how a product is supposed to function better than the manufacturer.
- What is your call-to-action sentence so that more men will start doing things for boys?
Become the father you wish you had. Do right by the younger boys. If you were blessed with a wonderful father figure, improve and pass on the love you received to those who are hurting.
- Where do you see boy child advocacy in the next 5 years?
With the rate at which mental health awareness and awakening is spreading, I believe it will become as popular and as strong as the girl child advocacy.
I believe it has been an enlightening session with Eshi Anna Obute, the founder of Boy Child Initiative. Key takeaways from her experience and advice is that we need to get involved in boy-child empowerment now because these toxic tendencies are on the rise and many more men are experiencing mental health breakdowns. She’s asking us to see the urgency, think of future generations and rise to the occasion. Will you join her in this noble cause and action today?
To learn more about Boy Child Intervention, support their mission or contact Eshi, reach out to any of the following handles: