May 1, 2019

LEADERSHIP AND LIFE SKILLS - The Metamorphosis

Studies reveal that young people in Nigeria aged 15-24 account for over 60% of unemployed youth. In addition, secondary education is the highest educational level attained by almost 60% of unemployed youth, suggesting that there are significant barriers to access to higher levels of education. Education is a key driver in facilitating growth and development. Unfortunately, there is an inequality of educational opportunities for people in underserved communities for leadership, social and economic development, which ultimately contributes to gaps in knowledge and soft skills.

 

One of the reasons, NGOs, Nonprofits, CSOs are set up is to improve the lives of people along with their thematic areas for the growth and development of communities across the country. For LEAP Africa, one of our interventions to secure youth development is the iLEAD Fellowship which bridges soft skills gaps among secondary school students in Akwa Ibom State in partnership with the Ford Foundation. The Fellowship has been designed to provide youth in select public secondary schools in the state with the leadership, life and employability skills to achieve personal success and transition into higher education or paid employment. In the third quarter of 2018, 15 new cohorts were inducted into the fellowship for 2018/2019. Essentially, they are equipped to guide students of these secondary schools in the iLEAD Fellowship through the ideation and implementation process of a community “Change Project”.

As we began the year 2019, our team went on a monitoring and support visit to our iLEAD schools: Akka Ofot Secondary School, Etoi Community Secondary School, Four Towns Secondary School, Mary-Harney Girl Secondary School, and Government Secondary School to assess the level of impact of the community change projects carried out by our students for five communities. During the visit, we asked students to describe their leadership journey since they joined the fellowship, their descriptions vividly mirror and reinforce our bias that leaders are not born but are made.

Matthew is a senior secondary (SS) 2 student at Akka Ofot Secondary School, Akwa Ibom state. He described his leadership journey with the analogy of a naïve infant. He writes – “before I joined LEAP Africa, I was like a baby confused in life, yet still a potential success. I was like a growing baby; I was made to undergo certain training that would make life a walkover for me”. Like a child who has grown into self-actualization, Matthew yet again describes his present leadership position as that of a grown child, who is now fully self-aware, he writes – “presently, I am a child that has been informed and transformed both socially, educationally and emotionally and gasping for more”. 

 

 

Parallel to Jeremiah’s experience, Favour fantastically summarizes her leadership journey after joining the fellowship in comparison with the growth process of a chicken from laid eggs – hatched eggs – chicks – a full grown chicken. At the “laid egg” stage, Favour says she perceives herself as a failure who will never have a bright future. At the “hatched egg” stage, she describes how she starts to hatch out of negative thought of about herself and points that she has found a reason to believe in herself – “chick stage”. The “full grown chicken stage” is the most inspiring. At this stage, she is now self-aware and confident to pursue her academic and life goals.

 

 

Similar to Jeremiah’s life, Timothy likens his own leadership journey to a small fish swimming in a local stream due to low self-esteem. “When I did not join the iLEAD programme, I did not have self-confidence and I was not bold enough to stand before the crowd, so I was swimming like a small fish in a local stream. When I joined the (iLEAD) programme, I was taught self-identity and confidence, so with that, I started developing bit-by-bit and then leaving the local stream to swim in the sea”. For Timothy, the modules on self-identity and self-confidence form a major turning point in his leadership journey. In describing his present leadership status, Timothy states that he now has the confidence to address the public, and doing this, he has gained the respect of people and has a new level of influence. He describes this outcome saying “…my life changed from swimming in the sea to swimming in a big ocean as one of the biggest fishes”.

We are enthusiastic about the progress made with this programme; first in advancing youth agency, building an ecosystem of change agents and facilitating a shift of mindset, attitudes, and abilities of the students. The intrinsic notion here is that leadership and life skills are capable of shaping mindset, behavior, attitude and culture in such a manner that transforms lives. Jeremiah, Favour, and Timothy are just a minute fraction of the over 55% of young people enrolled in a secondary school in Nigeria who are still in the dark regarding their leadership and potentials, waiting for answers.

Apr 22, 2019

ONE IMPACT - RIPPLE EFFECT

 

Far back in 2007, LEAP through its Youth Leadership Programme (YLP), provided training and mentorship support to 40 young people who were passionate about leadership development of Africa. Akin was a participant in the programme in 2007 where he developed a passion for youth leadership in Nigeria. Recently – after 12 years – he conveyed the “Empowered for Change 1.0”, a Leadership and Civic responsibility Training Programme for young people in Ekiti state, a south-western region of Nigeria where LEAP Africa is located. Oluwadunsin is a young lady in her early twenties, passionate about the girl child, lives in a local community in Ekiti State and participated in the “Empowered for Change 1.0” training programme.
Unlike Lagos, Ekiti has a relatively lower reach of interventions and support from development organizations. The people live in communities full of needs and people with an untapped passion to solve social issues. She is emotionally depressed by the daily trauma young underserved girls in her locality go through when they cannot get access to decent sanitary pad to use monthly; exposing them to several episodes of infections. Even out of the odds, these young girls still thrive to go through life daily and have surrendered to their sad realities. Oluwadunsin believes every girl deserves a decent lifestyle regardless of their social status but she lacks the basic technical requirements to achieve her leadership potentials.
Her story is like many young people in Africa, who have brilliant ideas capable of transforming millions of lives and make living a lot easier for the people. But their ideas are suffering and in most cases, abandoned because there is no equipped institution in West Africa with full facilities that can provide a holistic training, research and curriculum development for personal, organizational and community development. That is why we want to take up this responsibility of building the LEAP Institute.
The LEAP Institute is an oasis for leadership development, training, and research, which will help the generation of solutions to the issues that affect the development of Africa. It will be the first fully equipped institute in West Africa with facilities for personal, organizational and community growth to supply training and research and curriculum development.

About the LEAP Institute
LEADERSHIP, EFFECTIVENESS, ACCOUNTABILITY AND PROFESSIONALISM (LEAP Africa) seeks to create an environment that pushes the boundaries of comfort and channel creativity in leadership. An atmosphere that promotes individual, community and community transformation.
The LEAP Institute is an oasis for leadership development, training and research, which helps find solutions to the issues that affects the development of Africa. It will be the first fully equipped institute in West Africa with facilities for personal, organizational and community growth to supply training and research and curriculum development. It will also have facilities for seminars, group retreat, conferences, etc.,
By 20215, LEAP expects to we are expected to have impacted 10 million Africans Nigerians directly and gained quantum leap in building ethical leaders and businesses to drive Africa’s realization of its full potentials. This vision is only possible through the support of both local and international organizations, partners and individuals that share our passion for an Africa that will lead a new frontier for good governance, inclusive growth and economic prosperity.
Positive transformation in Africa may seem like a dream to many, but to us, we believe nothing is impossible when we work together. We invite you to make the LEAP institute a reality and give Oluwadunsin and others access to free and affordable leadership training.

The LEAP Institute is an oasis for leadership development, training and research, which helps find solutions to the issues that affects the development of Africa. It will be the first fully equipped institute in West Africa with facilities for personal, organizational and community growth to supply training and research and curriculum development. It will also have facilities for seminars, group retreat, conferences, etc.,

Jan 22, 2019

FROM WASTE TO WASTE BINS

FROM WASTE to WASTE BINS

Across the world, due to massive urbanization and increase in population, inappropriate waste disposals in our cities and communities contributes massively to the growth of dunghills. On a daily basis, this keeps increasing in a manner that endangers the livelihood of Citizens. Unfortunately, the challenges of inappropriate waste disposal follow a similar pattern across the world. However, the degree of similarity differs from country-to-country based on the level of social infrastructural development.

Nigeria, with a population exceeding 170 million is ranked one of the largest producers of waste in Africa1. Nigeria generates more than 32 million tons of waste annually, out of which only 20-30% is collected. According to the World Bank Urban Development Brief on Solid Waste Management 2, annual waste generation is expected to increase by 70% from 2016 levels to 3.40 billion tons in 2050.

Adequate waste management is a prerequisite for decent living and sustainable communities. However, this remains a mirage for many communities in Nigeria. Down in Surulere; a local community in Lagos, Nigeria, known for a relatively dense population with social activities at its peak, thousands of wastes are disposed daily and most of which are disposed indiscriminately; exposing its inhabitants to a high risk of health-related issues due to climate pollution, unavailability of decent water to drink and  especially young boys and girls of school age. The extent of dirt in the community remains a repulsive site that unfortunately has not grown enough to attract the attention of the authorities.

The impact of improper solid waste disposal affects both the old and the young in the community and naturally cheats the people of Surulere the chance to live a decent life. In a way to reduce the already heaped waste, students in secondary schools are mostly at the receiving end as they are forced to handpick some of these waste (without any form of protection against germs) as punitive measures for lateness to school. This act is offensive against the law of humanity and global health best practices. It does not only expose students to germs but the fact that some of them fall sick from preventable diseases is a colossal embarrassment to the leadership of the community.  

Not satisfied with the state of decadence in leadership, students of Gbaja Boys Senior High School, Surulere, Lagos, (who are part of the selected few currently benefitting from LEAP Africa’s leadership and life skills training programme called iLEAD) set out to fill the leadership gap in their community. As part of activities of the iLEAD programme, students are taught to always demonstrate self and community leadership at any given time. For them, reducing the level of solid waste disposed indiscriminately within their school environment was a responsibility they have charged themselves to undertake to demonstrate their leadership capacity.

Using already existing resources, students of Gbaja Boys Senior High School identified a rather innovative way to recycle the solid waste in their school environment. They broke themselves into groups and each group went to different angles to collected pet bottles found littering the school environment. Having gathered over 500 pet bottles, they assembled them so that they expertly created trash bins out of them. With a seed fund of N50,000 (approx.  $150) provided by LEAP Africa, students were able to complete six (6) waste bins made from solid waste which hitherto were causing damage to the health and well being of the people of Surulere.

 

  1. Read report at : (https://www.bioenergyconsult.com/solid-waste-nigeria/)
  2. http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/urbandevelopment/brief/solid-waste-management
 
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