Founded in 2007, BraveHeart Initiative (BHI) is a youth-led, community-based organization empowering young people between the ages of 10 and 25 years with the information and skills to make informed life choices and become self-actualized adults.
The Vision is that the youth become inspired and motivated to become the best they can be.
Overall Objective is to improve knowledge and understanding of sexual and reproductive health and rights among rural secondary school students as a means to achieving gender equality and preventing unwanted pregnancies.
The organization began as a youth development club in 2002 in Igarra, a rural area of Edo State, one of the least industrialized areas of Nigeria. Several activities on areas of skills and HIV/AIDS have been organized over the years. In April, 2007 it formally became a youth-led, youth-focused, non-governmental organization. In October 2009, BraveHeart Initiative for Youth and Women became registered at the federal level in Nigeria.
- In 2008 BHI, held a seminar on SRRH for 79 rural Nigerian secondary school students (41 boys, 38 girls) in five public schools in Igarra. The seminar provided information on how to prevent unwanted pregnancy and the consequences of unsafe abortion and the importance of gender equality and sexuality education. Six weeks after the intervention BHI conducted an evaluation that showed: increased knowledge on sexuality issues by the students; increased awareness of BHI’s existence and activities resulting more youth applying to volunteer at BHI and prominent leaders pledged their support; and requests for sexuality education: three of the five principals asked BHI to conduct outreach visits to their schools on SRRH issues.
- BHI reaches out to over 2,000 young people between the ages 10 to 25 in local secondary schools on SRRH-related topics. BHI’s outreach team develops the lesson plans together on topics such as HIV/AIDS and other STIs, sexual harassment and abuse, and menstruation.
- BHI’s assessment of past outreach visits showed increased awareness of issues related to sexuality among the young people sensitized and an increase in the number of schools inviting BHI to address their students. BHI has also seen an increase in volunteers, young people coming to the BHI office seeking guidance and prominent community leaders pledging their support.
- BHI will conduct a seminar for 35 teachers from the 12 outreach schools to increase their understanding of young people’s SRRH, debunk myths about sexuality education, and build support for BHI’s activities.
- BraveHeart Initiative for Youth & Women with financial support from the International Women’s Health Coalition, New York is now registered with The Corporate Affairs Commission, Nigeria (Federal Level)
- BHI is also acknowledged and supported by Akoko Edo Local Government Council as a youth development NGOThe coordinator has received several opportunities/sponsorship to attend international conferences; this has built her capacity and as a result improved the organization’s impact.
- BHI's coordinator was a finalist in the Adolescent Health category of the Inaugural “Nigeria’s Talent Hunt Exhibition Project” sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Youth Development.Six secondary schools have fully integrated our activities into their school calendar.
- Four rural community leaders have indicated interest in our work and have pledged their support.Approximately 180 young people (over 2,000 total) in each of the 12 outreach schools receive information on SRRH, particularly on how to protect themselves from unintended pregnancies and contracting HIV and other STIs.
- 35 teachers from the 12 outreach schools will receive information on SRRH and increase their understanding of how comprehensive sexuality education is a valuable tool to prevent unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion and STIs.
To learn more about BHI, click here to read a speech given by Priscilla Ikos Usiobaifo, Program Coordinator of BraveHeart Initiative at the official ceremony of Nigeria's
49th Independence Day celebration held at Public Field, Igarra, Edo