…as Starzs Investments Boss Says Maritime Fiction Can Spur Increased Female Participation
By JOY OKOLI
The absence of Maritime Literature for children undermines the industry and bars younger generations from the opportunity to explore and settle in the industry, Ms Ifeoma Ifechelobi, a Clinical Psychologist has said.
Ifechelobi, a guest speaker at the just concluded Maritime Writes Project spoke on the need for early exposure of children to maritime books adding that the industry deserves a fair share of maritime-themed literature.
She said that not exposing children to the maritime world early enough through literature implies a deliberate exclusion of children in the sector and by extension, the next generation from the amazing professions in the industry.
According to her, when the industry literature is rarely read, the professions in the industry are undermined and the younger generation would not have the opportunity to explore them.
“Think about it this way, if people don’t get to hear or read about maritime and all the activities that exist in that field, it implies undermining those professions and also undermining the industry. Therefore, you have the best brains moving towards other professions.
“So if we have children books talking about the maritime industry, children get exposed to this field early in life. This is how we develop the brain tissue and the muscle. The more you read, the more your brain tissue expands and becomes bigger and stronger.
“Until we expose people to stuff, we have not given them a fair playing ground. The brain triggers you to read such books that you enjoy. Now if you are a child and you start reading medical books from early childhood, your brain just gets used to it because it is what you have done over and over again.
“So, if you saturate the market with maritime writing there are people who are going to get interested in those books. And that is giving children of the world a fair playing ground”, she said.
Ifechelobi added that with reading, emotional attachments are formed to sectors and individuals build strong personal opinions which they carry with them through life.
She urged the participants to make good use of the opportunity given to them by the organisers of the Maritime Writes Project (MWP) 2021 and be the change the maritime industry needs through their creative work.
“You ladies are the people who can change the world by creating the literature of the maritime industry. If the industry loses out, the entire world also loses out so, this is my charge to you all, go out there and write maritime books,” she said.
Mrs Chibuzor Ejiofor, the General Manager Human Resources, Crewing and Corporate Services at Starzs Investments representing the Managing Director, Ms Iroghama Obuoforibo at the event urged females to show strength so they do not get sidelined.
Mentioning the commitment of her organisation to the employment of female cadets on vessels, she said it is sad that many females do not participate in seafaring and expressed optimism that the works of participants would lure more women into the industry.
“Right now, we have a target for female inclusion, because we found out that for the seafaring activities, not many women are rising to the top. For us as an organisation, we decided to change that narrative and make sure we guide the ladies who come in through cadetship scheme to be able to get to the ultimate pinnacle of this career. We put a lot of policies in place to enable them to do that for a period.”
Ejiofor also narrated her experience as one who came from a non-maritime background and progressed to becoming a manager of seafarers.
“I joined from a non-maritime background into this company and of course I already have a baseline education on what to do with human resources. But when I came into the maritime industry, everything was very strange to me. Things were like Greek to me and again it was a male-dominated area. If you know the industry very well, almost ninety percent are male. it is just now that women are beginning to come in.
“I currently manage over a hundred and forty (140) seafarers directly. In fact the level of relationship and involvement I have gotten with them, they cannot take particular steps until they have consulted or discussed it with me. That is business knowledge, you need to understand the intricacies.
“This year’s theme for seafarers says ‘Fair Future for Seafarers’, for us in Starzs we looked at it and we had to break it down let it be clear.
“For us it means that whilst our guys are offshore working, we take care of their needs here in the back end. How do we support their work, how do we take care of their families, how do we ensure that they are having a successful career in Starzs,” she stated.
Jason Ugwala, Nigeria’s teen diver also shared his experience with the trainees.
TNMN reports that the trainees have progressed to writing their maritime-themed stories for children, which will be reviewed and the best 10 works published by the Maritime Writes Faculty.