Catfish and Catalysts Move Nigeria Forward

Chance favors the prepared mind, said the French scientist Louis Pasteur (1822-1895). For a modern case in point, meet Joy Adeoti, aka Miss Purpose, a nickname rooted in biblical verse; Roman’s chapter 8 verse 28, that inspired her to seek purpose in work.

 

In Bowen University, in Iwo, Osun state, Nigeria, Ms Adeoti studied zoology, a branch of biology that centers on the behavior of animals. The program required an extended stay on a catfish farm, where Ms Adeoti learned all about a major food source in West Africa. When she completed her studies, the youngest of six sisters found jobs of any kind scarce. So she put her education to use by starting ThreeFold Resources Enterprise; an organization that provides her customers with hygienically processed smoked fish and tutors people to start their own business.

 

Raising catfish kept Ms Adeoti busy yet still left time to think about teaching, a profession that comes naturally to someone whose mother taught in the secondary school until her retirement and whose father was a Director of Education and a school administrator. Three sisters are teachers and she eventually joined their ranks. Now she equips secondary school students with basic fisheries management knowledge.  She also volunteers her time to train people who want to learn about raising and smoking catfish sold in local markets near her home town, Omu Aran, Kwara Province, Nigeria, a city with with 150,000 residents according to the 2006 census.

 

Since returning from university in 2013 and the compulsory National Youth Service Corp scheme in 2014, Ms Adeoti could not help but notice boys and girls, many on the street. who were completely uninformed about the disruptive and at times perilous consequences of sexual activity, a subject that is often a taboo in their homes. If family members would not talk to them, Ms Adeoti would.

 

True to her nickname, Miss Purpose, she launched The Catalyst Change Club, a four-day program to promote abstinence by taking sex out of the dark. “The essence of the club is that children speak their minds,” says Ms Adeoti. They ask questions they may not be able to ask their parents, such as why they should abstain, how to handle peer pressures and what happens to their bodies as they mature. “Nigerians can’t ask at home what is going on with me?” says Ms Adeoti. By reducing teen pregnancies, transmission of social diseases and emotional crises in young people unprepared for sex, the program saves countless lives.

 

Parents gladly outsource difficult conversations to the Club and children flock to it. In August 2017, year three, about 200 children ranging in age from 13 to 19 will attend, nearly triple a year ago. The camp is nonreligious, open to Christians, Muslims and other faiths across the region.

 

 

So far, Ms Adeoti covers the modest costs with contributions from local sources. The government has not offered support. But when friends call you Miss Purpose for good reason, not much stands in the way.

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