We seek to IGNITE, NURTURE, and HARNESS the intellectual and social strengths of adolescent girls and young women through education, mentorship, and life skills development to promote strong character, excellence, good health, and community among girls.
SEGEI envisions an equitable world where every girl and woman feels supported and empowered to reach her full potential.
We believe in the power of working collaboratively to bring about transformation and sustainable development in themselves and in their communities.
The Strong Enough Girls’ Empowerment Initiative (SEGEI) began with 10 adolescent girls in Kisumu, Kenya. During her first trip to the country in the summer of 2012, SEGEI Founder, Onyinye Edeh, had an opportunity to sit down for lunch with adolescent girls who shared their life stories and the challenges they face as girls in their schools and communities. The encounter and the stories the girls shared awakened Onyinye to the harsh realities of girls’ lives and their vulnerabilities, particularly in developing countries. Most importantly, Onyinye realized the crucial need for girls in low-resourced communities to have access to role models and mentors who can advise them and provide positive guidance as they navigate the challenges of growing up. Upon her return to the U.S., Onyinye began a letter-writing initiative between her female friends and the Kenyan girls to provide sustained mentorship and friendship to the girls. The
letters helped nurture sisterhood bonds between the adult women and adolescent girls, and proved to be a valuable tool for empowerment. A blog site was soon set up to share more inspirational girl-centered posts. Following a one-year experience with adolescent girls in Nigeria in 2015, Onyinye partnered with Nnenna John, a like-minded Champion for girls’ empowerment. Together, they registered SEGEI as a non-profit initiative with the aim of empowering women and addressing the everyday challenges that adolescent girls in low-resource settings face, namely denial of their human rights to education, good health, and social empowerment. The name Strong Enough Girls reflects their desire to empower girls and young women to know, feel, and see that they are/can be strong enough to be who they are, pursue big dreams, and resist societal norms/pressures.
SEGEI empowers adolescent girls and young women through education, mentorship, and life skills development. We support girls to identify, embrace, and utilize their physical and mental strengths for a better, safer, more loving and equitable world. SEGEI is a commitment to build a network of girls’ and women’s rights advocates who work together to achieve common goals while building each other up. We desire a world with educated girls who are healthy and valuable contributors to their societies. We empower girls to be strong from the inside out.
Founder and Chief Empowerment Officer
Onyinye (Own-Yin-Yay) is an “Americanah-Nigerian” Global Health professional with a strong passion for advancing the health and rights of girls and women through empowerment and advocacy. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in Global Health and is a proud alumna of a women’s college. Onyinye understands the tremendous potential that young people, especially girls, possess and the value they contribute to society at large. She feels fulfilled when she is able to help a girl/woman harness her potential, academically, professionally, and socially.
#StrongEnough story: Onyinye walks with a limp (the result of a fall when she was 12 years old). This condition led her to build a very strong self-esteem as a teenager, which has allowed her to thrive as an adult. Onyinye is one of the most active and energetic young persons you’ll meet. She wants her life to be an inspiration to other girls and women; no matter what hiccups may come along the journey of life, your life has meaning and you should pursue your passion(s) with strength, grace, and perseverance. Keep up with Onyinye’s exploits on Twitter @MsOEdeh
Linda is a Counselor and a Public Health worker with over 4 years of working experience. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and Literary Studies and a Diploma in Mass Communication. She is most passionate about Adolescents and Young People’s access to Comprehensive Sexuality Education and as a change agent, she often lead outreaches to underserved Communities and schools where she attends to the needs of vulnerable young people, especially girls teaching them Comprehensive Sexuality Education. As a Certified Counselor she has provided counseling to individuals and young people experiencing psychological distress and she actively volunteers with the MindWheel Project and RemediumNg to offer Psychosocial support to Nigerians during the Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown. She is an alumni of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung’s Open Mind Young Voices Nigeria, where she actively serves in the Manifestrack project along with other young activists in assessing the implementation of the President’s electoral manifesto and campaign promises in Nigeria.
Education Program Coordinator (Nigeria)
Taiwo is an avid researcher and analyst with a flair for education and governance in all spheres of life. She is a graduate of Political Science from the University of Lagos. And an Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) scholarship recipient at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam in Netherlands, where she received a Master of Arts in Development Studies majoring in Governance and Policy Development and further specializing in Women and Gender Studies (WGS) and Public Policy Management. At SEGEI, Racheal manages the Girls’ Education programme where she recommends out-of-school girls for scholarships. She supports them academically by teaching them maths and English to keep them up-to-date with their peers. She also supports them mentally by sharing her life stories with them to keep their hopes and dreams alive. Racheal enjoys philosophizing, writing poems, short stories and little pieces on women, girls and people who are marginalized based on their race, sexuality and gender. She recently published her first poem which was featured in World plus story of the week. Racheal loves and lives life completely and adores traveling as, according to her, “it is the easiest means of broadening my horizons.”
#StrongEnough story: As a teenager, Racheal overcame many hurdles to be the confident woman she is today. She was told that her type wouldn’t see the walls of a place like the prestigious University of Lagos, talk more of studying there. But she graduated from the school coming out as one of the best students in her class.
Follow Taiwo’s journey towards fulfillment and connect with her on Twitter @Gods_Poetr
Ifunanya is a Public Health Professional with a deep seated passion to create a better world for girls and young women. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Health from the University of Technology, Owerri. She also has five years experience in the development space where she uses data and advocacy to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents. She has interest in health policy and leadership, grooming young people to create social change and improving the reading culture in adolescents. When she’s not working, she enjoys kicking, reading and travelling.