Monday 22 July 2024

What Does It Mean To Be Nigerian?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels

By Ruth Ajawu

My parents in their benevolence kept me in a bubble: a bubble of perpetual provision and financial security. I had zero worries and big dreams. There was this picture in mind of what my life would look like: graduate from the university by 19, get a well-paying job that would cater to my expensive tastes immediately after, and make a meaningful impact in my community by funding sustainability projects. 

Sunday 21 July 2024

A Braid of Love

Girls Braid Ojonugwa's Hair in An IDP Camp in Abuja

By Ojonugwa Yahaya and the IDP Children

The afternoon sun bathed the camp in a warm, golden light as I sat on a small stool, surrounded by a sea of eager faces. Today was a special day dedicated to sharing and bonding through a simple yet profound act—braiding hair.

Food Insecurity in Nigeria

Photo by Overly Olu on Pexels

By Ruth Ajawu

One of the most pressing challenges facing Nigerians today is the skyrocketing prices of food. I went to the market the other day and a bag of rice was priced at 72,000. The minimum wage in Nigeria, in the States that pay minimum wage, is 30,000, which means the average Nigerian cannot afford a bag of rice. The general cost of food has surged, putting immense strain on household budgets and pushing many families into food insecurity and extreme poverty. 

Wednesday 19 June 2024

What Happened to Claudine Gay?

Image Credit: Harvard Gazette

By Adetayo Adetokun

In academia, few stories captivate the imagination quite like that of Claudine Gay’s ascension to the presidency of Harvard University. A distinguished scholar, and a trailblazer for diversity and inclusion, her journey to the helm of one of the world’s most prestigious institutions is as remarkable as it is inspiring.

Inclusive Healthcare for Gender Non-Conforming People in Africa

Photo by Tessy Agbonome on Pexels

Written by Adetayo Adetokun

In Africa, queer and gender non-conforming individuals face significant challenges in accessing healthcare, exacerbated by legal and social discrimination. According to a 2021 report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA), 32 out of 54 African countries still criminalize same-sex relationships, with penalties ranging from fines to life imprisonment. This legal landscape is rooted in colonial-era laws and has been perpetuated by contemporary political and religious influences.

Thursday 13 June 2024

Digital Harassment: Recognizing and Addressing Cyberbullying

Photo by Julia Larson on Pexels

By Adetayo Adetokun

"You are too fat to be a fashion influencer!" – a cutting remark that echoed through Lily's mind, sending shockwaves of insecurity and doubt coursing through her veins. As a micro-influencer aspiring to break into fashion and beauty, Lily had never anticipated such hurtful criticism. Yet, there it was, staring back at her from the screen, a harsh reminder of the cruelty that lurked in the digital space.

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Worsening Recession in Nigeria

Photo by Tope A. Asokere on Pexels

By Ramatu Ada Ochekliye

On September 8, 2016, I wrote about the state of the economy under the former President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. It started with my bold statement, ‘There is a recession in Nigeria’. Today, I am writing on the same topic as we navigate the economy under our current President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Eight years after the fact, there is still a recession in Nigeria. 

PS: Most of what I said in the original letter will not change. So, let us get into it.

Sunday 2 June 2024

Red Shoe Campaign Against Gender-Based Violence

The Dorothy Njemanze Foundation and Nguvu Collective
at the Red Shoe Campaign Event

By Cynthia Umeh

On March 15, 2024, Shades of Us participated in the #RedShoeCampaign organized by Nguvu Collective and the Dorothy Njemanze Foundation (DNF). This campaign was aimed at combating Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and supporting survivors of sexual, and gender-based violence in Nigeria.

Empowering Women at the Wassa IDP Conference

Stand With A Girl (SWAG) Initiative Hosting A Conference for Women in the Wassa
Internally Displaced Persons' Camp in Abuja, Nigeria

By Cynthia Umeh

Stand With A Girl (SWAG) Initiative hosted an event at the Wassa Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp in Abuja, Nigeria, to commemorate the 2024 International Women's Day. The conference gave internally displaced women a forum to share their experiences, honor their strengths, and pave the road for a better future. 

Saturday 25 May 2024

Empowering Youth Through Education and Employment

Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels

By Umeh Cynthia

In the journey towards sustainable development, investing in the education, training, and employment of young people is not just a goal—it is a necessity. Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) highlights the importance of promoting youth employment, education, and training to foster inclusive and sustainable economic growth. By 2020, the aim was to substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education, or training. While progress has been made, there is still much work to be done.

Friday 24 May 2024

Building a World of Equal Opportunities

Photo by Angela Roma on Pexels

By Umeh Cynthia

Assuring equal opportunities and minimizing outcome disparities are essential cornerstones in the endeavor to create a just and equitable society. To accomplish Sustainable Development Goal 8 (SDG 8), it is imperative that discriminatory laws, policies, and practices are abolished and that acceptable laws, policies, and actions are promoted. It is about establishing an environment in which everyone, regardless of background or situation, has an equal chance to prosper.

Thursday 16 May 2024

Since We Are All Mad Now

Photo by RDNE Stock project on Pexels

by Marire Adebanjo

"This isn’t the first time this has happened", I said. The room went quiet for what felt like an eternity. The deepening silence nearly broke my eardrums.


I can not take it anymore. I have to speak up. I thought this to myself. I am hoping something different will happen this time. I have tried several things before resorting to telling my family.

Thursday 9 May 2024

Thursday 2 May 2024

Pursuing Good Health and Well-Being in Nigeria

By Ruth Ajawu

Nigeria has made progress in certain areas of health, such as reducing child mortality rates, increasing immunization coverage, and combating infectious diseases like polio. However, the country still faces many health challenges that impact the well-being of its citizens such as high maternal mortality rate, the increased risk of non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes, inadequate healthcare infrastructure, and a shortage of healthcare workers.

Sunday 28 April 2024

A Call to Action for Human Rights

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

By Ruth Ajawu

Human rights are fundamental rights and freedoms that every person is entitled to, regardless of their nationality, sex, race, religion, or any other status. These rights are based on principles of dignity, equality, and respect. They encompass civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, ensuring that every individual can live a life of freedom, justice, and dignity.

Apply for Our Content Creator (Audio) Volunteer Role!

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.

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.