• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Ashoka Africa empowers youths with skills to lead, solve social problems

Ashoka Africa empowers youths with skills to lead, solve social problems

…Unveils third cohort of changemakers

Ashoka Africa, an organisation dedicated to fostering social innovation, has unveiled the third cohort of Ashoka Young Changemakers in Nigeria, nurtured to lead and solve social problems.

It was part of efforts to build a network of social entrepreneurs,

The group of young individuals, ranging from 15-20 years, is aimed to make a positive change in their communities.

Ashoka also launched the Changemaker Teachers Activation Programme (CTEACH), a transformative learning-teaching solution that mobilises educators, students, and communities in the education ecosystem.

Speaking at a Young Changemaker Festival held in Lagos recently, Angelou Ezeilo, co-president of Ashoka Africa and director of the CTeach programme, said the young minds do not just wait for change to happen but they create it.

“They don’t shy away from challenges; instead, they develop impactful solutions to tackle issues like environmental protection, gender equality, and access to education,” she said.

According to her, the programme recognises the importance of collaboration across generations and building bridges with adults, government officials and social entrepreneurs.

“We are witnessing the creation of networks where young people can share their perspectives with experienced leaders. This exchange of knowledge and resources is crucial for driving sustainable change,” said Ezeilo.

She said Ashoka believes in the power of shared leadership, where everyone contributes their unique strengths for a greater collective impact and also inspires others.

Also speaking, Josephine Nzerem, director of Venture and Talent for Ashoka Africa and regional director for Anglophone West Africa, said the young changemakers are more than just dreamers.

She said the programme goes beyond identifying exceptional youth, which is why this year’s programme was expanded to include teachers, creating a year-long journey of shared learning and growth.

“They are action-oriented, exceptional and adept at identifying problems within their communities. We also believe empowering teachers can inspire and guide future generations of leaders,” said Nzerem.

This collaborative approach fosters a supportive environment where both students and teachers can develop the skills and knowledge needed to become effective changemakers.

“We are fostering a collaborative environment where teachers and students work together. This equips future Ashoka Young Changemakers with the necessary skills, but more importantly, it builds a mass of future leaders who can tackle Africa’s challenges,” she added.

On her part, Paula Ugwu, the Youth and Partnerships manager for West Africa at Ashoka, said the idea is to groom young people to have strong teams with friends, family, and volunteers.

“This allows them to implement their solutions and create a lasting impact. The young changemakers are also becoming powerful advocates for their peers. They are becoming vocal advocates for young people’s needs and perspectives. Their voices are being heard, shaping a more inclusive future for all young Nigerians,” she said.

The nine Ashoka Young Changemakers were recognised for their exceptional leadership and groundbreaking solutions to Nigeria’s pressing social issues including challenges in mental health, education, environmental sustainability, and gender equality.

They include 19-year-old Favour Effiom, founder of We Are Reality Foundation; Precious Damian, 17-year-old and founder of The Rabah Initiative; 17-year-old Flourish Alonge, founder of Global Insight MHI (Mental Health Initiative); Eunice Omojola, 20-years-old, founder of TechinEdu; 18-year-old Naomi Bamgbose, founder of Girls Techie, and Ashraf Maisikeli, 18-years old and founder of Inspire Change Foundation.

Others include 19-year-old Peter Adebowale, founder of ESD for Communities; Dawn Cobham, 17-year-old and founder of Go Learners, and 19-year-old Saviour Iwezue, founder of Team Illuminate.

“The election process for the Ashoka Young Changemakers programme helped me refine my ideas. During the process, I was asked several critical questions that made me sit back, rethink, and find answers. This made me more confident in my change-making abilities,” said Saviour Iwueze.