Maddie Marsh, a student of human science with two minors in nonprofit, philanthropy studies and business, studying at Auburn Global studies who is making impact in the advocacy world, In January, Maddie Marsh was invited as a speaker to the ONE Campaign’s board director meeting there she met Sani Muhammad, the founder of Bridge Connect Africa Initiative, a nonprofit organization that advocates for safety , health and education for young girls generally concerned with the sexual and reproductive health of women especially young girls.
During their meeting, Sani didn’t hesitate to talk about his activism and his passion to help bridge the gap of distribution of resources. Maddie described Sani thus “When I met him, I could immediately see a passionate, hardworking and relentless activist with an overwhelming amount of compassion for others. His fierce attitude towards justice shines as he fights for the people who are born into awful circumstances that are beyond their control” According to Maddie, Sani told her the founding story of BCAI and the awful events that happens much too often in Nigeria. He further told her that there is an extremely unbalanced distribution of opportunity and resources in this part of the world. Overwhelmed by his story and the conversation they had, She was compelled and knew it was her responsibility to help.
Every Semester in Auburn Global studies, the Introduction to Global studies course tasks students with a final project that merges international philanthropy with business practice. Students were asked to make a product and sell it for a nonprofit organization. The funds raised from the sales will be given to the nonprofit to implement a community project. Maddie saw a perfect opportunity to fill in the need she pointed out from her conversations with Sani, she connected the Program with him, the global studies student ran a mini-business and about $2,700 funds was raised for BCAI.
The Project was implemented in Marke community, a rural community in Dambatta local government area which is 60km away from Kano city in Nigeria, the project was aimed at training adolescent girls in Nigeria to make “dignity kits” for menstrual health, which included resources that may not be regularly available in Rural communities, this is majorly due to the lack or rather menstrual negligence which is mostly common in communities like Marke due to poverty. Sani also added that the community was chosen due to gross deficiency in accessing maternal health care services as they lack basic primary healthcare system and basic water, sanitation and hygiene services.
80 Dignity kits containing sanitary pads, petroleum jelly, liquid soap, menthol, hair cream, toothpaste and deodorant were distributed among women and girls in Marke community, Asides training the women and girls on how to maintain a good hygiene during menstruation they were also taught how to monetize their skill, 300 other community members including men and boys, were also sensitized on the need to create safe spaces for women as they too had a role to play. At the end of the training five young girls were selected for a seed funding of N20, 000 each to scale up the new skill they have learnt because of their resilience and keen interest during the course of the training, these girls were also matched with women who have been trained as local experts and will serve as mentors to them for a period of three months in order to scale up their work.
“As an organization, we are keen on helping girls develop the right skill set, building resilience, creating a safe space for mentorship and also providing transport services for Marke and its environs, We also believe we are empowering young girls who would set the pace for the rights of other women and girls in their communities and in Nigeria as a whole”.