The 2020 Global Citizen Prize: Nigeria’s Hero Award winner is Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, the 29-year-old executive director of Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER), a youth-led social enterprise advocating against sexual violence, providing prevention mechanisms, and supporting survivors with psychosocial services.
A graduate of Development Studies from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in Nigeria, Osowobi holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations with specialisation in Gender Studies from Swansea University, in the United Kingdom.
She started her advocacy work by interning at the United Nations Headquarters in New York and Half the Sky Movement, where she wrote articles on women, children, and social justice. She also worked as a project manager for Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), an advocacy organisation that works to enhance citizen engagement and good governance.
Osowobi, herself a survivor of sexual abuse, launched STER Initiative in 2014 to advocate against gender-based violence (GBV), teach prevention in communities, and support survivors with legal, social, and psychological services.
During COVID-19, STER, in partnership with The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, launched a Mental Health Toolkit, a resource to help survivors deal with the trauma caused by their abusers, as well as providing a stable atmosphere where they could heal.
On what winning the Global Citizen Prize: Nigeria’s Hero Award means to her, Osowobi told Global Citizen: “I am elated to be recognised as the first Nigeria’s Hero Award winner because it’s coming at a defining moment. The recognition puts a global spotlight on the work I’ve done in the past six years to defy the culture of silence in Nigeria and promote the safety and well-being of women. I’m joining the global network of Global Citizens!”
She added: “This recognition highlights the advocacy efforts of Stand To End Rape Initiative (STER) and fosters opportunities for networking, collaborations and funding.”
The Country Hero Award, which will be presented during the Global Citizen Prize award ceremony, honours individuals around the world who have shown exceptional commitment to the UN’s Global Goals in their country and globally, and championing the most vulnerable people. Individuals and organisations have been presented with the award in Nigeria, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Australia, South Africa, and the UK.
This article was originally published on Global Citizen.