The Integrated Student and Youth Initiative (ISYI) for Health and Sustainable Development is a youth-and-student led organization working in the 36 states in Nigeria, university campuses, secondary/high schools, primary schools and numerous special institutions for the physically challenged young people in Nigeria.
ISYI was founded in 2015 to address the gap between young people and development work going on in the communities and cities geared towards promoting gender equality and ending VAWG. Ideally, young people are excluded or not fully engaged in development works. This is because such projects or programmes are conducted in the villages and cities’ conference rooms where young people who are in the schools – universities, secondary and primary schools – have little or no access to due to their academic engagements.
To address this challenge, the young people and youths in the schools and communities, led by Anabaraonye Chizurum Michael, founded ISYI to bring these programmes into the schools to engage young people towards achieving the sustainable development goals especially gender equality. We have succeeded in bringing organisations like UNICEF, UNFPA, The Girl Generation and the Federal Ministry for Women Affairs and Social Development into the schools to conduct programmes that will engage and empower the young people in the schools to contribute towards effecting social change critical to the health and wellbeing of women and girls and the society at large.
Since inception, ISYI has engaged over a million youths and students who are doing their best in their communities to improve the lives of women and girls by bridging the gender gap. With the assistance of our partners, UNFPA/UNICEF, Federal Ministry for Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWASD) and The Girl Generation, we have led the widest youth-led advocacy against gender inequality, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), child marriage, denial of education for girls, domestic violence and all forms of VAWG in Nigeria in over ten states and fifty communities.
The youths are vital and indispensable in the internationally agreed goal to promote gender equality and end all forms of VAWG. Excluding them or not engaging them fully is detrimental. This is because they are the future parents. ISYI has leveraged on the youth power to promote the abandonment of female genital mutilation and child marriage, and this has brought about great benefits and positive stories of change.
We are unyielding in our resolve to eliminate all forms of VAWG. We want a world where all women and girls can fully participate in and achieve their potentials without any form of limitations.
We believe in the utility of discourse, debate, dialogue and advocacy, as vital tools and instruments for social integration and cohesion which will question the aspect of culture that upholds gender inequality which is the deep-rooted cause of VAWG. We strive and remain dogged to this vision till every form of VAWG is completely eradicated. We also build and strengthen partnerships with the civil society, organisations and the government to achieve this vision.