28-year-old Nigeria’s Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER) ED, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, has been selected as part of the inaugural TIME 100 NEXT list of individuals who are shaping the future of their fields and defining the next generation of leadership.
The list which was released online today is a new expansion of the TIME 100 list of the most influential people in the world and highlights 100 rising stars who are shaping the future of business, entertainment, sports, politics, health, science and activism, and more. The full list and related tributes appear in the November 25, 2019 issue of TIME, available on newsstands on Friday, November 15, and can be viewed now at time.com/next.
Oluwaseun Ayodeji founded Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER) in June 2014 after surviving sexual violence during Nigeria’s 2011 elections where she served as a youth Corps electoral officer under the National Youth Corps Service (NYSC). STER is an award-winning youth-led not-for-profit organization advancing gender equality, advocating against gender-based violence and providing medical, legal and psychological support to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria.
STER Initiative, under Oluwaseun Ayodeji’s leadership, continues to lead conversations and on sexual and gender-based violence and persistently works to change the narrative of survivors and build the capacity of national institutions to prevent and respond to cases of sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria.
From inception till date, the organisation has provided medical, legal,psychosocial and financial support to numerous survivors, collaborates with Civil Society Organisations to advocacy for the passage and adoption of Laws that foster gender equality and makes provision for sexual and gender-based violence such as the VAPP Act, the Sexual Harassment Prohibition bill and the Gender Equal Opportunities Bill. Additionally, STER works with communities to generate sustainable home-grown to the issues of gender-based violence and inequality. STER also partners with local and national groups on systems-level prevention and intervention activities.
Speaking on the recognition, Ayodeji stated that “getting such a recognition reminds us all at STER Initiative that our work transcends the borders of Nigeria and is acknowledged globally. It also indicates that the immense contributions of young people in Nigeria and across the Commonwealth are key to attaining global peace and rights for all. It feels great that the work I do alongside about 200 young and passionate Nigerians is recognised beyond the Commonwealth and I am indeed grateful for such recognition. This means a lot to my community and to every survivor and non-survivors that works with the organisation to pay it forward, for STER, this also means more work! It means our tenacity for a Nigeria that upholds the rights of women and girls and protects such rights when abused must continue, and to achieve this, there is a need to intensify our programs aimed at building the capacity of national institutions to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence and providing support to survivors.”
Earlier this year, Oluwaseun Ayodeji was named Commonwealth Young Person of the year, 2019 and also Commonwealth winner, Europe and Africa for Stand to End Rape work’s in advocating #SDG5 – Gender Equality.
Of the list, TIME Editor in Chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal writes, “When we first published our TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people 15 years ago, it was dominated by individuals who rose through traditional power structures: heads of state, CEOs of public companies, actors from big-budget blockbusters, leaders of global foundations. What has been striking about more recent editions is the growing number of individuals who did not need an establishment to command international attention—people like the Parkland, Fla., students (in 2018) and Greta Thunberg (in 2019). TIME has always been a barometer of influence—and the nature of influence is changing.”
STER Initiative currently has chapters in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt but they provide support to survivors across Nigeria and are looking to expand to all states of the federation in the coming years. The organisation can be reached on social media @standtoendrape and via mail; firstname.lastname@example.org