God created every man powerful. We are all created in the image and likeness of an all-powerful God. He conferred on us the priceless capacity of being a co-creator with Him. He gives us the power to lead change, first in our personal lives, then in our families, then in our community. I have never felt powerless. I have never been idle in the last 15 years. By the grace of God, I always give myself enough to chew. I thank God that He has given me a big mouth to contain and chew.
Permit me to continue my series on 12 Attributes of a Child-Friendly Workplace. Today, I will share with you the 7th Attributes: Commitment to Family Planning Education and Implementation. This may sound odd but I must tell you it is not. It is actually the responsibility of our government to embark on enlightenment campaign on family planning and I think this campaign is more relevant to the poor in our society.
If the government will not take up this responsibility, a child friendly work place could. It means that the workplace will take it upon itself to educate their staff, particularly the junior staff on family planning. The junior staffs are within the influence of the workplace and would easily be persuaded if the workplace works out a program to teach them through regular sensitization about family planning. These people may never be reached by the government, but they are reached by the workplace every day.
What is family planning? It is simply a commitment to bring to this world the number of children parents have the spiritual, mental and financial capacity to take care of. The number one ingredient, which parents need to bring up their children, is love. Love, to children simply means attention and acceptance. In my work, ‘Taiwo Akinlami’s 35 Child Protection Creed, I submitted, ‘No one or family should bring or be allowed to bring to this world a child they have no concrete plan for his/her spiritual, emotional and physical development. This is a case for family planning as a family initiative and government policy and not an endorsement of abortion, except where the life of the mother is endangered. ‘
My friend is a medical doctor. His wife also is medical doctor with LUTH. He has 2 children. He understands what it takes to bring up children. Now, his gateman in his office has 9 children. One day, my friend asked him why he has so many children. He responded by saying that he had so many because he believed that at least of his 9 children will make it in life and become the family’s lifeline out of poverty. Do you see his thinking?
I must also tell you that this is the general thinking of people in this category. Unknown to him, he does not know that the more the children, the more the possibility of them not getting the required care and the leaner the chances of any one of them making it in life except by divine intervention. Another reason why the poor have many children is because of the general belief among them that some of the children will not live. They need to have so many so that when one or some die they may have children left. Another reason why the poor, many middle class and even the rich have many children is when they are not pleased with the sex of their children. In most cases they want a male child. Erroneously, they believe that the girl child is inferior to the boy child. It is an unfounded traditional belief, yet so strong in Africa.
I believe a child friendly workplace, may take it upon itself to educate and advise their members of staff, particularly, the junior ones on family planning. Human Resources personnel should be interested in this area. I believe it has unusual impact on the productivity of the staff. In my opinion it is better to have 2 or 3 children and give them the best of training than to have 5 or 6 and begin to struggle.
There are 133 million births each year. 29.2 million of the 133 million are born in Africa. The question is what is the plan for these children by the parents and society? In recent study by The Economist, Nigeria has been identified as the worst place to be born in 2013. The Economist explains: ‘America, where babies will inherit the large debts of the boomer generation, languishes back in 16th place. Despite their economic dynamism, none of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) scores impressively. Among the 80 countries covered, Nigeria comes last: it is the worst place for a baby to enter the world in 2013.’
I think we should be careful how we bring children to a country without a viable social support system for child development. It must therefore become the responsibility of the informed among us to educate the uninformed and debrief the misinformed. The workplace, I believe has a major role to play here.
I beg to sign out here. I urge you friends, Think the Child, Think Today, Think the Future. Have an INSPIRED day.