A sustainable development course on Coursera inspired Anastasia to start a community organization that helps young girls learn critical life skills. Here’s her story:
I live in Kaduna town, which is the capital of Kaduna, one of the older states in Northern Nigeria, West Africa. I studied architecture in university, but I have about 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, working primarily with community organizations that focus on women’s and children’s issues.
I first took the Introduction to Sustainable Development course (now The Age of Sustainable Development) at the end of 2015. At the time, I had heard a lot about the Sustainable Development Goals, but didn’t quite know what they meant. The course completely changed my mindset. I learned to think holistically, globally, and to see my community as one of many that needs to improve its standard of living. I realized that there are many opportunities to do good, and that anyone can take advantage of them.
After completing the course, I was deeply motivated and inspired to act—and I realized that I had the knowledge I needed to do so. I decided to start a community-based organization called Attitude Plus, with the mission to help young people, and especially young girls, make better life choices so they can reach their full potential. I’m currently holding meetings with a group of young girls, coaching them on life skills such as self esteem, goal setting, and negotiation and educating them on reproductive issues like family planning and HIV protection.
I also went on to explore several other courses; I just completed one on social norms (Social Norms, Social Change) from the University of Pennsylvania, and am thinking of taking Emory University’s Understanding Violence next. Ultimately, I would like to continue my education so I can be in a better position to support women and girls in my community. I want to play a part in improving circumstances for women through better access to reproductive care, education, and economic opportunity.