Monday 22 April 2024

The Vital Role of Storytelling in Advancing the SDGs

Our Film, Report It, which addresses gender-based violence and sexual abuse, was screened at the 2023 Abuja Literary and Arts Festival (ALITFEST).

By Cynthia Umeh

Stories, from ancient myths, passed down through generations to modern-day social justice initiatives, have an unrivaled potential to inspire, educate, and organize people toward common goals. In light of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), storytelling emerges as an important instrument for encouraging understanding, empathy, and action toward a more sustainable and equitable future.

Monday 1 April 2024

Combating Poverty Amidst Economic Challenges in Nigeria

Photo by Roman Nguyen on Unsplash

By Ruth Ajawu

If you continue to give temporary solution
To the poorest of the poor
One day the poor will become poorest
And the poorest will become the poorest of the pooresters
Let's have a rethink
Let's think about this again
And give the permanent solution to the poor

Thursday 14 March 2024

Inspiring Inclusion

by Adetayo Adetokun

Let us clap for women, for their resilience, courage, and the indelible mark they have left on the pages of history. International Women's Day, celebrated every March 8, is a resounding applause for the achievements, struggles, and progress of women worldwide. 

Monday 4 March 2024

Watch Our New Short Film, FLOW!

Premiere of FLOW in Abuja

I did a thing!

For the last few weeks, I have been saying this regularly about every achievement I have because I tend to find the faults in my ‘stars’ rather than celebrate the luminance that they represent. I constantly have to remember to be my first cheerleader.

So…I did a thing. Or more appropriately, we (Shades of Us) did a thing! We developed our first film in two years. This one is called FLOW.

Monday 26 February 2024

Addressing Period Poverty with Our Short Film, FLOW


By Ruth Ajawu

Let us talk about something that affects millions of women and girls worldwide but often remains shrouded in silence and stigma: period poverty and shame. Period poverty is a deeply troubling issue that extends beyond the mere absence of sanitary products. It encompasses a broader spectrum of challenges, including the lack of knowledge and understanding about menstruation that perpetuates harmful stigmas and the promotion of periods as unclean and something to be ashamed of.

Wednesday 21 February 2024


Photo by Cliff Booth on Pexels

By Ruth Ajawu

My eyes fly open courtesy of the sharp pain shooting through my lower abdomen and instant panic grips my heart. Please let it not be what I think it is. It is way too soon: I am not ready.

Mental Health Services in the Workplace

Photo by RDNE Stock project on Pexels

By Cynthia Umeh

The success of an organization depends critically on the mental health of its workforce in the fast-paced, high-pressure work settings of today. Employers are realizing more and more how important it is to help employees with workplace mental health services and address mental health issues. Employers and employees alike must comprehend how these services contribute to a productive workplace and increase employee satisfaction.

Saturday 17 February 2024

Embracing Happiness

Photo by Obibini Kobby on Pexels

By Cynthia Umeh

Bills, deadlines, and nonstop work abound, so happiness might seem like a far-off fantasy, a fleeting sensation best left for travel brochures and Hollywood scripts. However, what if I told you that happiness is a genuine, attainable reality rather than just a mirage in the distance?

Saturday 10 February 2024

Hiring: Volunteer Administrative and Finance Officer

Shades of Us Storytelling Initiative for African People (‘Shades of Us’) is a non-profit organization using storytelling to address the socio-economic issues affecting Africa, Africans, and people of African descent, to facilitate open and honest conversations that lead to introspection, analysis and perspective change towards the greater goal of a redefined continent and people.

Our goal is to promote a just, equitable, and sustainable society for Africans and people of African descent.


Our objectives are:

-   To use storytelling to promote equitable societies for African people.

-   To spark conversations on human rights, roles, and responsibilities for more equal African societies.

-   To promote African cultures and increase indigenous, national, regional, and continental pride in our heritage.

-   To promote learning, development, and capacity building of young people to push for African development and growth.

-   To create safe spaces for survivors of abuse geared at facilitating healing and shared communities for growth.


We have this position open and look forward to interested individuals applying. 

Volunteer Title: Volunteer Administrative and Finance Officer 

Reports to: Founder and Portfolio Director 

Location: Abuja 

Duration: One Year


This position will be responsible for using the organization's accounting templates, overseeing financial transactions, complying with financial and tax laws, and projecting the financial growth of the organization.

Sunday 4 February 2024

The Women of Sunny Street

Image by Richard Badejo on Pexels

By Marire Adebanjo

It is that time of the month again. My mum has already collected the donations from each person in our street. My mum and our next-door neighbor had gone to the market a day before to get food items, clothing, and other things to give back to the community. This usually made me happy.

World Cancer Day Walk 2024

By Ruth Ajawu

On February 3, 2024, Shades of Us attended the World Cancer Day Walk hosted by Project PINK BLUE. Since 2015, this organization has been at the forefront of World Cancer Day activities in Nigeria, and this year's edition carried the same message: cancer is a serious and often misunderstood illness that affects millions of people worldwide. By raising awareness and promoting early detection, we can help to improve the lives of those affected by the disease and increase the chances of successful treatment.

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Learning for Peace

Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash
By Adetayo Adetokun 

Imagine a world not too distant from our own, where the shadows of conflict cast a pall over communities. Amid this turbulence, educators and visionaries emerged as storytellers, crafting a narrative where classrooms became sanctuaries, not merely for the transmission of knowledge, but as spaces for understanding, healing, and unity.

Sunday 7 January 2024

Purple Ball 2023

By Nwachukwu Nkem

Since 2018, Strong Enough Girls'​ Empowerment Initiative (SEGEI) has been working with Stephanie Apel as a Co-Convener of the Purple Ball, an event that brings women together to celebrate themselves and their achievements and also provide mentorship for each other. 

Twelve Lessons For African Youth

Photo by Peace Alberto Iteriteka on Pexels

By Adetayo Adetokun

Africa stands at a pivotal moment in its journey. With the largest youth population globally, the potential for transformative change is boundless. These young Africans are the torchbearers of their nations, poised to steer the continent toward a brighter, more prosperous future.

Lessons for African Youth: Cyberbullying Awareness and Mental Health Support

Photo by RDNE Stock project on Pexels

Lesson 12: Cyberbullying Awareness and Mental Health Support

In an increasingly digital age, the twelfth lesson for young African youth is a call to raise awareness about cyberbullying and prioritize mental health support.

Lessons for African Youth: Drug Avoidance and Violence Prevention

Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels

By Adetayo Adetokun

Lesson 11: Drug Avoidance and Violence Prevention

In an era where African communities grapple with the consequences of drug abuse and violence, the eleventh lesson for young African youth is a resolute call to avoid the pitfalls of substance abuse and to champion non-violence.

Lessons for African Youth: Resilience and Adaptability

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

By Adetayo Adetokun

Lesson 10: Resilience and Adaptability

The tenth lesson for young African youth is a call to embrace resilience and adaptability as essential life skills. In a world marked by uncertainty and rapid change, the ability to bounce back from adversity and adjust to new circumstances is paramount.

Lessons for African Youth: Leadership and Responsibility

Photo by Khyta on Unsplash

By Adetayo Adetokun

Lesson 9: Leadership and Responsibility

Leadership is not about titles or positions; it is about influence, impact, and responsibility. The ninth lesson for young African youth is a call to embrace leadership with a strong sense of responsibility and ethical integrity.

Lessons for African Youth: Financial Literacy

Photo by Joslyn Pickens on Pexels

By Adetayo Adetokun

Lesson 8: Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is a skill that empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their money, and it is the eighth lesson for young African youth. In a rapidly changing economic landscape, this skill is essential for personal financial stability and well-being.

Lessons for African Youth: Gender Equality

Photo by Laker on Pexels

By Adetayo Adetokun

Lesson 7: Gender Equality

Gender equality is a fundamental human right, and the seventh lesson for young African youth is a call to champion this cause. Africa, like the rest of the world, has made significant strides in advancing gender equality, but there is still much work to be done.

Lessons for African Youth: Environmental Stewardship

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels

Lesson 6: Environmental Stewardship

Africa's breathtaking natural beauty, from its majestic mountains to its lush rainforests and pristine coastlines, is a source of wonder and pride. The sixth lesson for young African youth is a call to embrace environmental stewardship as a moral and practical imperative.

Lessons for African Youth: Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Photo by RDNE Stock project on Pexels

By Adetayo Adetokun

Lesson 5: Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The ability to innovate and create is a priceless asset. The fifth lesson for young African youth is a call to embrace entrepreneurship and innovation as potent tools for personal and societal advancement.

Lessons for African Youth: Critical Thinking Matters

Photo by Josh Couch on Unsplash

By Adetayo Adetokun

Lesson 4: Critical Thinking Matters

Critical thinking is a mental toolkit that every young African should sharpen. It is the ability to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information, and it is a skill that underpins informed decision-making, problem-solving, and innovation.

Lessons for African Youth: Education is Empowerment

Photo by Baim Hanif on Unsplash

By Adetayo Adetokun

Lesson 3: Education is Empowerment

Education is often described as the key to unlocking your potential, and for young Africans, this lesson is a fundamental truth. It is a call to embrace the transformative power of knowledge and to recognize that education is not merely a path to personal success but also a catalyst for societal progress.

Lessons for African Youth: Preserve Indigenous Knowledge

Photo by Liz Martin on Unsplash

By Adetayo Adetokun

Lesson 2: Preserve Indigenous Knowledge

A major lesson for young African youth is a call to preserve and cherish indigenous knowledge. Embedded within the customs, rituals, and wisdom of Africa's diverse communities is a wealth of insights and understanding that have sustained societies for centuries.

Lessons For African Youth: Embrace Cultural Diversity

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

By Adetayo Adetokun

Africa stands at a pivotal moment in its journey. With the largest youth population globally, the potential for transformative change is boundless. These young Africans are the torchbearers of their nations, poised to steer the continent toward a brighter, more prosperous future.

Monday 1 January 2024

The Future of Health Conference: The Private Sector as a Catalyst for a Resilient Health System

By Ruth Ajawu

Shades of Us attended the 9th edition of the Future of Health Conference on October 12, 2023.

The Future of Health Conference is a yearly gathering hosted by Nigeria Health Watch, and this year's theme was a game-changer. Nigeria Health Watch has come a long way since its first health conference in 2015, where the discussion centred on Universal Health Coverage. Over the years, they have delved into diverse topics, from ‘Health Meets Tech’ in 2016, to ‘The Business of Health’ in 2017, the ‘Diaspora as Nigeria's Brain Gain’ in 2018, ‘Quality in Healthcare’ in 2019, ‘Innovations in Health’ in 2020, ‘The Political Economy of Health’ in 2022 in anticipation of the 2023 elections. This year, the spotlight was on ‘The Private Sector as a Catalyst for a Resilient Health System’.

Unveiling the Power of Solutions Journalism

Highlights from the Nigeria Health Watch Solution Journalism Africa Initiative Close-out Event

Are you ready for us to take you on a journey that culminates in the Nigeria Health Watch Solution Journalism Africa Initiative Close-out event? Buckle up and get ready for a  recap of this momentous occasion that celebrated the power of solutions-focused storytelling.

Exploring Mental Health as a Universal Human Right: Insights from The Sunshine Series' Annual Symposium 2023

By Cynthia Umeh

Interviewer: Did you attend The Sunshine Series' Annual Mental Health Symposium? 

Shades of Us: Yes! We not only attended, we were partners and screened our short film at the event. 

Interviewer: Why was it important for Shades of Us Storytelling Initiative for Africa and People of African descent (Shades Of Us) to be present at this symposium?

Shades of Us: We were present because it is a valuable opportunity for us to contribute to the discourse on mental health, collaborate with stakeholders, and use the power of storytelling to advocate for improved mental health support in African communities and for individuals of African descent.


Now let us take a comprehensive and fun journey through the key moments of this remarkable event.

Accelerating Global Sanitation

Photo by Mélissa Jeanty on Unsplash

By Cynthia Umeh

World Toilet Day, observed on November 19, serves as an annual reminder to focus on Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) aimed at providing clean water and sanitation to all by 2030. The theme for 2023, 'Accelerate Change,' underscores the need for urgent and determined efforts to overcome the challenges hindering global access to clean water and sanitation.