A day in the life of Falilu Opeyemi Agbaje

IAS Member and Founder and Executive Director of OROL Youth Empowerment Initiative, Nigeria

My name is Opeyemi Agbaje and I am the founder of a youth led initiative called OROL, “Our Right, Our Life”. OROL aims at empowering and educating young people on issues related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. We mainly work with orphans and homeless children and we focus on three core areas: Human Rights for the Youth, Gender Equality, and Complete Empowerment. OROL currently counts 13 executive members, over 60 non-executive members and 35 volunteers working at both domestic and international level. All affiliates work together cohesively as a team trying to reach one major objective: transforming lives.

OROL has been established three years ago, and in this time we have successfully implemented a variety of community outreach projects targeting vulnerable youth in specific communities across Nigeria.

Projects on HIV education for young people, orphans, and vulnerable children successfully implemented and supported by OROL include presentations at ICASA 2011 and AIDS 2012. On the occasion of AIDS 2012 we also worked on a conference hub.

Over the past five years I’ve been working on numerous programmes all focused on improving the health of Nigerians. I have been involved in projects on HIV/AIDS prevention, family planning and other strategic areas of sexual and reproductive health for the youth. In my pursuit of educating and empowering the youth, I have published several articles, held public forums in multiple of international conferences, while still diligently caring for the refugees and the youth of Nigeria.

I am committed to three aspects of community and economic development:  Community Construction, Entrepreneurship and Development of Social Enterprises for Individuals.

In the course of my work I discovered that poverty tends to drive people into engaging in risky sexual behavior and this is one of the most important reasons why I am so passionate regarding social enterprises. This is a behavior that may put people lives and health at risk as well as others.  I currently spend a lot of time researching entrepreneurship and community/economic development issues for communities because I know the substantial value of life for young men and women who desire self-reliance and economic independence. This passion has allowed me to obtain a vast amount of experience in mobilizing and leading youth groups, churches, commercial businesses and local multinational organizations to invest in my cause to address sexual and reproductive health concerns, including HIV/AIDS, in order to create an effective change in Nigeria.

In my prior roles, I was elected as the National Focal Person for the Global Youth Coalition (GYCA) on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. GYCA is a youth-led global network of over 6,000 young leaders and adult allies working on the youth regarding HIV/AIDS; in over 173 countries world-wide. GYCA's mission is to empower young leaders with the skills, knowledge, resources and opportunities they need to scale up HIV/AIDS interventions amongst their peers.