Some people usually believe that Gender Advocates carry out their advocacy from a unifocal point of view, ie with only the girl child or women as the focus. But the truth is that some of us are bifocal in our approach. The only thing is that, as an expert in gender equality, you would usually focus on your areas of expertise and the area you are most passionate about. For me, it is female leadership and girls smashing stereotypes. I chose this because I have some lived experiences that inspired me and pushed me into this. I am a woman so it is a lot easier to talk about what I have seen and experienced. However, boy child advocacy is close to my heart because I believe that with the growth of this type of advocacy, the world will better. Today, I would love to applaud the efforts of Ojobo Agbo, an Entrepreneur, a Business Development Strategist, and a Certified Life Coach. He is also the founder of The iDealMan Initiative; an initiative that creates awareness about issues affecting boys and men, while also creating platforms for raising boys to become better men.
In this interview, he shares his advocacy journey with us. He talks about how it all began, what inspired him, how it has been so far, the response, pitfalls, and what makes him go on.
Sit back, grab a glass of something cold and enjoy this interactive session:
1. Can we meet you?
My name is Ojobo Agbo, an Entrepreneur, a Business Development Strategist, and a Certified Life Coach. I am also the founder of The iDealMan Initiative; an initiative that creates awareness about issues affecting boys and men, while also creating platforms for raising boys to become better men.
2. What inspired you to start the iDealMan Initiative?
If you look critically within the fabrics of society, you will see that we have unconsciously proposed and upheld a narrative that men and boys do not have problems, do not need help, and shouldn’t ask for help. Over the years, I have interacted with many young men, my path and work have also demanded that I observe families, the education sector, social sector, human behavior, and other areas; and we noticed that there are certain areas of the society that cannot improve or be developed if we do not pay attention to the development of men and boys.
3. How has the reception been?
Over the last 3 years, we have mentored over 3000 boys, we have informed more than 8,000 young men through our projects. Like every novel idea, there is a misunderstanding of what the idea represents, but over time, reception begins to change. For the boys we have been able to help through mentorship, scholarship, or education, we have found out that many of them need help, but even if they don’t speak out or reach out for help, they know genuine help when they see it and they are willing to accept it and improve where necessary.
4. What are the Thematic Areas of your Advocacy?
– Total wellbeing of the boychild.
– Awareness about issues affecting men.
– Changing disempowering stereotypes and narratives about boys and men.
– Mentorship for Teenage Boys.
– Access to opportunities and skill development for young men.
– Responsibility in the family, workplace, and society at large.
– Men’s Role in raising the next generation of men.
5. What do you hope to achieve with The iDealMan Initiative?
We see a society where men’s and boys’ issues are taken as seriously as that of women and girls. A society where men and boys are fully developed and empowered in different areas of their lives. A society where men and young men have the requisite knowledge, skills, and resources to not just thrive but also mentor boys to become better men. We believe that through our interventions, programs, and projects, we can achieve this.
6. What is your advice to other men who want to venture into this area but do not know how to start?
I know we live in a society that sees men as weak when they choose to embrace their vulnerability or when they take a position that appears like they need help, but then we can’t continue to wait for the approval of society. The responsibility of raising the next generation of men is not for women and girls, but for you as a man. You know the struggles, you have felt the pain, you know the changes that need to be made, you have the voice and you can create systems, structures, and resources that are specific to boys and men. You can look out for the problems that boys and men face, both within the family, in their personal lives, and the society, then create specific projects, tools, resources to solve these problems; and we are willing to help you along the way.
7. What is your call to action sentence to men who want to start men and boy advocacy?
If you don’t pay attention to raising the next generation of men, nobody will.
I am sure you had a great time reading the words of Ojobo Agbo. There are lots to be covered in this area. In his words, the responsibility of raising the next generation of men is not for women and girls, but for you as a man. I am sure with this, more men who have been thinking about this will pick up the gauntlet in this area. I hope that more people would rise and take up boy child advocacy. But also, I wish that with the increasing awareness and call to action this day would inspire, more men would live out exemplarily what it means to be a good man promoting peace in an imperfect world.
If you would like to connect with Ojobo Agbor or partner with/support his advocacy, you can reach out to him on his social media platforms or on his website below:
FB- Ojobo Agbo
LinkedIn- Ojobo Agbo Eje