In 2015, thirty female students ages 13-19 took part in the Amdo Health Club, at Government Day Secondary School in Tal, Biliri Local Government Area, in Gombe State. “Amdo” translates to “Love.” The Health Club met two times per week for four months. At the meetings the girls discussed reproductive health, hygiene, maternal and child health, life skills and career advancements. The students then worked in groups to create a stage play, illustrative posters, a poem, and a short story to communicate the health practices they discussed. In this video, a Health Club participant named Rifkatu reads excerpts from a poem that she and other participants wrote together.
I grew up in a little village in the North where the tradition was very patriarchal. But my family was quite revolutionary. My father, right from the beginning, supported all of his children to go to school. When he got ill, he told my mother: ‘You must promise me this: If I’m not around, and you are forced to choose between who to send to school, always choose the girl. The boy will inherit the land; he will always have a livelihood. The girl, she is not allowed to inherit anything; the girl child needs an education to find a livelihood for herself. ‘
My father passed on when I was in secondary school. My mother held onto his words, and ensured we all went to school. I wanted to go into medicine and become a doctor. My mother said, ‘If I can help it, I will support you.’ I became a doctor. And, I knew that I needed to fight for other girls to have access to health and education to be able to reach their full potential.