The fight for gender equality has been in existence since time immemorial, although progress has been made, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
Burdened by her cousin who had to drop out of school at age of 15 after falling pregnant, Elizabeth Williams’ passion for sexual reproductive health and gender equality was sparked. She is Founder and Executive Director Sustainable Impact and Development Initiative for Adolescent and Youth (SID INITIATIVE).
Her amazing work has been featured on BBC Media Action Naija for using the media in promoting and advocating for the sexual reproductive health of young people. Part of Elizabeth’s most prized achievement is leading the Youth Participatory Platform team at UNFPA LLO to advocate for the inclusion of comprehensive sexuality education into the curriculum of non-formal vocational training in Lagos state, which was successfully adopted in September 2019 by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth.
Over the years, the advocate has served in several capacities both in Nigeria and beyond. She is the National Deputy Coordinator of the African Youth and Adolescent Network on Population and Development (AFriYAN), Nigeria, a Leaving No Nigerian Behind (LeNNiB) Champion, a Young African Leader Initiative (YALI) Regional and Leadership Center Alumnus, West Africa. Her main focus is on sexual reproductive health, FGM/C, family planning, HIV/AIDs, and gender-based violence.
As part of her movement, Elizabeth also ensures not just focuses on the girl child teaching them their rights, but carries young boys along as well.
Her journey into activism kicked off at age 17 upon completion of secondary education in 2013. She was selected alongside 5 other youths to work as Youth Programme Assistants in the organization after applying to participate in the Youth Skills Development Programme (YSDP) in Action Health Incorporated (AHI). This was the first introduction to the development space specifically in the areas of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights.
Although she gained admission into the University of Lagos to study accounting, passion dictated otherwise propelling her to take up volunteering roles with organizations that worked in the areas of SRHR and young people. These work and volunteer experiences birthed her first international engagement. Elizabethwass nominated to represent Nigeria on the Girls Engagement Advisory Board, which comprised 10 girls from around the world advocating for the prioritization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. she had the opportunity of speaking on a panel organized by the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) just before the United Nations General Assembly in New York on the importance of gender equality.
Afterward, she got selected as a member of the UNFPA Youth Participatory Platform (YPP) in 2016 and elected as the YPP Youth Coordinator for the Lagos office in 2018.
The Nigerian advocate also runs an online Blog called “SRH Hub” where she provides young people with sexuality education. This blog metamorphosed into the Sustainable Impact and Development Initiative (SID INITIATIVE) in April 2019.
Every day, news spreads about young people having to deal with life-changing unplanned pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS. SID Initiative is working tirelessly to put a stop to this.