The power of film in fighting suicide by Nnenna Eze

 

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Recently, i was going through my instagram feed and i saw a video of a man who almost commited suicide and was rescued by the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA) and what really got my attention was the way the man was being dragged like a thief by the LASWA officials. For the fact that someone wanted to end his life means he was going through so much, he probably looked for help but was not taken seriously or just couldn’t find the right place to ask for help. Some of us may say ‘is it not the same problem we are all facing in the country?’ but we must remember that not everyone is the same.

Growing up in Nigeria i was never educated on depression or mental health, in fact to me at that time it was one of those ‘white men illness’ you know? One of those thing we only see in American movies.  According to this report by World Bank released earlier in the year, 22% of Nigerians exhibit depressive symptoms.

Depression is beyond feeling moody, sad or a bit under the weather, it is a serious mental illness which affects millions of people and  requires medical attention. Depression affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. A person suffering from depression may have trouble carrying out normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes may feel as if life isn’t worth living which is why they feel suicide is the only way out.

In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranked Nigeria as the leading country with the highest number of people suffering from depression in Africa with 7,079,815. This rate is even more alarming because there are no adequate facilities and medical assistance put in place in Nigeria to help combat this illness. According to WHO, less than 10% of people who are depressed get diagnosed or treated effectively in Nigeria . Also, WHO’s statistics show that as at 2006, there were only 42 psychiatrists per 100,000 citizens and 20 psychologists per 100,000 in Nigeria, read more here. This could be one of the many reasons Nigerians are afraid to seek for assistance.

Asides this, there is little awareness on issues like this in Nigeria. We are not taught about this in school and we are rarely encouraged to come forward when we experience symptoms like; anxiety, feeling of hopelessness, sadness, and frequent thoughts about death. I remember when i was in secondary school, i used to feel sad a lot of times, sometimes i just wanted to get angry at someone just so i could be sad and cry and other times i just wanted to be on my own and alone. I didn’t realise until now that i was going through something more serious than just mood swings and even now saying it out loud makes me feel like i was kinda crazy. This is why most Nigerians would never come out to seek medical or professional help.

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I have always admired the sense of pride Africans have but sometimes we need to put that black man pride to the side and tackle the issues like this so that more people can speak up.

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                               http://youmatter.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

In Nigeria commiting suicide is a criminal offence, but i personally think the law should be amended and the government should consider rehabilitation instead of jail time for people who try to commit suicide. The problem still remains that there are no policies, facilities or adequate assistance provided to tackle mental health issues in Nigeria.

Although there are few initiatives like the Nigerian Suicide Prevention Initiative which provides talk therapy to patients who call in or chat them, they also provide face to face therapy sections when needed.

 

WhatsApp Image 2018-09-03 at 12.26.45 PM.jpegRaising awareness is very important and would go a long way in reducing the stigma attached to mental illness in Nigeria and a good way of raising awareness which would have a big impact is through film. The award winning American Netflix series “13 reasons why” which broke the internet upon its release last year because of its powerful message and the level of awareness it raised on suicide, is a good example of how  movies can be used as an educational tool or the Nigerian series Shuga Naija which is a multimedia campaign which educates youths on HIV, safe sex and teen pregnancy. According to this article by the Daily News, a study completed by Northwestern University similarly suggested that the impact of “13 Reasons Why” may have been more positive than negative. The study found that the show fostered communication between kids and their parents about suicide. The show also raised awareness among teens regarding issues ranging from depression to bullying. This is why platforms like  Homevida, are constantly driving for key societal issues to be highlighted through film and art because it is considered the best methods to educate people on various socio-cultural issues and depression and suicide are some of those issues.

The Nollywood industry today is the biggest film industry in Africa and the third largest film industry in the world, which is why the huge role they have  to play in ensuring adequate awareness cannot be overemphasized. We need more buzz both online and offline about such issues.

Nigerians have to understand there is absolutely no shame in seeking for assistance when these symptoms are noticed. The role Nollywood and the entire entertainment industry has to play is extremely important and more films should be made in other to increase more awareness.

 

This article was first published on Medium and written by Nnenna Eze

Nnenna Eze  is a communications officer with the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) and is passionate about positive global change.

Stand a chance to win big at the Homevida #Internet4All competition

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Hey guys!

The long wait is finally over and the Homevida team is pleased to announce the 2018 Homevida Competition .

Over the years, we have focused on providing incentives to young script writers and film makers which has birthed the production of 24 Homevida Short Films. However, this year, we are expanding our scope to include all forms of art, starting with skits and spoken words.

We are hereby excited to announce the call for skits and spoken word videos that creatively portray the theme: The Impact of the Internet on Economic Growth and Prosperity

What are we looking for?  

We are looking for videos that highlight the use the internet to incite hate speech towards using the internet to improve the quality of our economic and socio-cultural lives. We are focused on the positive uses of the internet to raise awareness on how the internet can be an enabler for improving the quality of life from different perspectives. Participants must produce a video (not longer than 3 minutes) that creatively conveys their ideas on how the internet can be used for socio-economic growth (either through a skit, or spoken words) with the caption or hashtag #Internet4All and #HomevidaImpacts.

Entries for this competition must be original and creative so have fun with your videos and be yourself.

Winners of this competition would be walking away with  N250,000, N200,000 and N150,000…  you don’t want to miss this!!!

Click here to view the criteria for submission. We can’t wait to see all your creative submissions!

This competition is supported by Google

The Era of Digital Parenting

While digital parenting seems like a huge responsibility for many, the truth is that technology and internet are here to stay and while its essential and mandatory for everyone to embrace this innovation, we must ensure that we enunciate the safety aspects.

The internet offers enormous benefits like quick and easy access to information, a  knowledge hub for learning and improvement, easy access to scholarships/bursaries, easy access to educational materials, simplified communication and research, easy access to fun educative activities/games and many others.

Fatima, is a passionate teenager, who was determined to positively impact her generation. Through the internet she became the first ever Nigerian Webrangers ambassador at age 14. Webrangers are online super heroes that educate, encourage and promote the safe and responsible use of the internet among their peers.

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As a young internet user, Fatima was opportuned to positively impact her school and community by creating fun campaigns on online safety which earned her a trip to California USA to meet with other Webrangers from all over the world. Without relenting on her  responsible and safe use of the internet, she further scored for herself two scholarships to study in South Africa. Fatima in her own little way has used the internet as a learning hub and is still revelling from the vast opportunities being thrown at her.

On the other hand, we have Chioma. Chioma is an 11 year old girl who was exposed to a cyber paedophile online. According to the mother, Chioma has been requesting to be on a social media platform which she finally gave in to. Little did she know that she had opened the door to a paedophile right inside her daughter’s bedroom. Although she had given her daughter strict instruction to never accept friends she doesnt know, she paid little attention to supervising her daily online activities.

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Chioma’s favourite online game and social media platform became her worst nightmare. This experience hunted her for years before she was compelled to share her dilemma with her mother, even though the damage already made was irrevocable. At 11 Chioma’s first sexual experience was seeing the penis of a paedophile masturbating through a WEBCAM, she was groomed, sexually brainwashed and molested right inside the comfort of her bedroom.

Here’s the simple but yet highly effective method, the peadophile used to gain Chioma’s trust. He managed to make ‘’friends’’ with other girls at Chioma’s school and by the time he sent Chioma a friend request, he already had 32 mutual friends. Here’s another trick, his profile picture looked like a teenage school girl wearing a school uniform.

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While we see the vast opportunities offered on the internet through Fatima’s story, we can also see that as parents we need to carefully monitor our children’s activities so that they do not fall victims to cyber crime like Chioma.

This story is a wake up call to all parents to take away all privileges attached to allowing any kind of device in their child’s bedrooms overnight and also ensuring their daily online activities is been supervised. So dear parent/s it’s your obligation to concentrate more on your child’s online safety and how they use digital media rather than just for how long they use it.

From my past online safety trainings, I’ve discovered that lack of these trainings in schools can result to young internet users falling victims of cyberbullies, cyber paedophiles/predators, hackers, phishers,  fraudsters, impersonators, sexters; amongst many others.

These young internet users are super excited and inquisitive about the online platform and so this could cause them to be vulnerable to any online attacks. The need for them to be safeguarded and well-equipped with online safety knowledge should be prioritized as this will optimize their chances of fully embracing the benefits the internet offers. The same way we educate them about road safety, should be the same way we educate them about online safety.

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The rising norm these days is demands from some schools requesting that each child owns his/her personal gadgets in other to make digital learning more effective and easier. At school they get supervised and monitored on their activities and internet usage and ofcourse the school management ensures they block access to all inappropriate websites. At home same supervision/monitoring should also be put in place by parent/s. The true fact  is that the probability of a child accessing the right content online is also equal to the probability of accessing inappropriate content online.

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Every child’s first point of contact when faced with fear is their Parent/s, so being self-conscious about your child’s online activity and safety is paramount as this will help you cultivate the habit of fastening your child’s online safety belt. As a parent, it’s your utmost responsibility to ensure that your child is safe while enjoying the internet. Ensure you purchase and install softwares like parental control Apps on your child’s device/s as this softwares tracks your child’s online activities, blocks and filters out inappropriate contents from their device/s.

Always remind your child to wear their safety hat whenever they access the internet. Remember that karma has no specific menu…

…you get served what you order.

 

This article was first published on Medium and written by Chidimma Udeh

Chidimma Udeh is an Online Safety Advocate with the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) and is passionate about creating an online safe haven for young internet users.

 

Watch out movie of the week: Foreigner’s God

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Who else is excited to see the period piece Foreigner’s God? I know i am.

So not only is this movie star packed with some of nollywood’s best Actors like,  Ini Dima-Okojie, Sharon Ooja, Linda Osifo, Annie Idibia, Toyin Abraham, Lala Akindoju and Kunle Idowu. it also stars super veterans like Pete Edochie, Onyeka Onwenu and Sam Dede. We are also going to see an appearance from the famous Big brother Naija double wahala couple BamBam and Teddy A

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The movie which is centered in Nigeria’s colonial era tells a love story filled with twists and turns of an  English documentary photographer who falls in love with a Nigerian girl who was accused of being a witch living under subhuman conditions, in a witches lair  in the middle of the jungle.

Though an official trailer is not out yet but our minds can’t help but wonder and imagine what a beautiful, powerful and culturally filled movie this would be.

Kudos to director Ifan Ifeanyi Micheal and we can’t wait to see this Movie!

 

We are back with our MCM of the week…

Hey guys,

Been a minute right… we missed you all too!!! 🙂

So on this edition of #MCM we have a big crush on the  award winning filmmaker, director and actor Udoka Oyeka, For those of you who watch TINSEL you may know him as the “scheming yet handsome” Tsav.

Before he landed the big role in the hit series TINSEL he had accomplished and received numerous awards both nationally and internationally.  He released his first feature “ZR-7 (The Red House Seven)” in 2011 which was nominated for Best Child Actor at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in 2011. After this feat he went further in the film industry to produce other award winning pieces such as “Down and Out” ,  “Living Funeral”, and “No Good Turn”

Over the years Udoka has received over 10 nominations from the prestigious Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) and Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) and screenings for prestigious film festivals such as; Cannes Film Festival 2014, Durban International Film Festival 2014, Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles 2014; the African Film Festival New York 2014, Zimbabwe Film Festival 2014 and the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) 2014.

Udoka is one man with who has accomplished a lot in nollywood both on the national scene and international scene.

And that’s why he is our Man Crush!

 

Create, Connect and Share Respect: A Better Internet Starts With You

Hey People,

Wanna learn about all the juicy details of our 2018 SID celebrations? Then you are in the right place.

The event which held at stonehedge hotel in abuja saw over 160 students in attendance from over 10 schools across the FCT and as well as thousands of students in all the 36 states in Nigeria.

The Executive Director National Film and Video Censors board Alhaji Adedayo Thomas, in his welcoming speech said this year’s Safer Internet Day celebration marked a milestone because it was celebrated across all the states of the federation.

A highlight of the event was when the ED made commitments towards ensuring that that SID is always celebrated in schools across the country and also that safer internet is incorporated in school curriculum.

He also noted that NFVCB is collaborating with the Ministry of Education to include Digital literacy in the Nigerian school curriculum which will go a long way in providing the youth with the basics in getting on with the trending digital innovation and also benefit from the digital environment as they  follow the laid down measure to sustain the internet provision which has a lot of benefits.

The Web Rangers Ambassador Fatima gave a brief presentation on her tenure which just ended. She gave the students and insight to how she became a web ambassador and all she has been able to achieve for the past two years, she also gave them a step by step explanation on how the become Web rangers.

The day featured cinema time where the students watched a movie while having popcorn ,there was an internet safety presentation where the kids answered questions and went home with lots and lots of gifts.

SID 2018 was a fun, educative and inspiring and the students had lots to eat and drink before heading back to their schools.

Here are some pictures from the event, ENJOY!

Safer Internet Day 2018. Create, Connect and share Respect: A Better Internet Starts with YOU!!!

Hey peeps!!!

It’s that time of the year again where we celebrate our annual Safer Internet Day and we are so grateful that we have been a part of this great cause. The Safer Internet Nigeria team in partnership with National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) with support from Google proudly presents Safer Internet Day (SID) 2018.

SID is a globally held event celebrated across the world on the second day of the second week of the second month of each year to promote safer and responsible use of the internet especially among young internet users.

Birthed in Europe in 2014, SID has grown beyond its traditional geographic zone and is now celebrated in over 100 countries across the world involving thousands of stakeholders to play their part in creating a better internet for everyone.

We have celebrated SID for three consecutive years now in Lagos State and this year SID 2018 will be celebrated in Abuja. Last year’s event was educative, Informative and fun. We had about 75 students from different schools across Lagos and the day featured the “Balloon Challenge”, a fun game created to tackle cyber bullying. The Students were also given advice from dignitaries and keynote  speakers on how to be safe online while enjoying all the benefits the internet offers.

The theme for this year is: “Connect, Create and share Respect: A Better Internet Starts with You and the event is set to hold on Tuesday, 6th of February, 2018. We are expecting 150 students from 10 public schools and 5 private schools across Abuja

We are super excited to announce that we will be expecting the Executive Director of National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) Alhaji Adedayo Thomas and the Minister of Information Lai Mohammed.

We are also happy to announce that this year we are syndicating the event in all 36 states across the country.

The aim of this yearly event is to sensitize everyone especially young people on the responsible use of technology in line with cyber security.

The event promises to be educative, informative and also entertaining with fun activities.

For more information about the event, follow us on Instagram/Twitter @saferinternetng and Facebook- Safer Internet Nigeria

Remember A Better Internet Starts with YOU!!!

Here are some pictures from last year’s event. Enjoy!!