Green Onyx Foundation co-Founders, Nwamaka Agbakoba and Ijeoma Popoola (Source: Nwamaka Agbakoba)
Green Onyx Foundation is dedicated to supporting the holistic well-being of individuals living with disabilities or are affected by disabilities. The foundation is on a mission to ensure; in the places where they work, that vulnerable populations living with special needs are safe, supported and adequately cared for.
About The Foundation
Green Onyx Foundation is headquartered in the United States. We work primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa with footprints in the United States and Canada. Oftentimes, individuals with disabilities are overlooked and are not celebrated for their unique abilities and allowed to bloom as they were purposed to do. In providing support(s) as an organization, we hope to bring regeneration in a sector so often overlooked.
Although their project plans are Africa-wide, the first projects kick-off in Nigeria because both Founders are Nigerian by birth. They had also previously pooled their personal efforts together on social media to benefit the inclusion space in Nigeria. Their decision to work together in Africa is simple. Both know and understand how challenging navigating disabilities and achieving the highest possible quality of life is. It is quite the challenge in places like Nigeria. In more developed nations, the journey to inclusion has not come without a fight for persons with disabilities to be afforded human rights at the very minimum.
Some of this has only been achieved through self-advocacy. Where there are such high incidences of poverty and the public sector just does not work for various reasons, how do you start to advocate for these rights? They see themselves as a support to handhold and show what is possible through education. At the same time, they are wise enough to understand the issues in the land. They want to provide practical support to families where possible, and to disability support services such as orphanages that rescue children whom their families cannot care for. These children staying with their birth families sometimes endangers them. Some of the pressure on families is societal so attention needs to be focused there as well.
Green Onyx Foundation is committed to making an impact seeking inclusion and social justice for people living with disabilities on a national and international level.
How They Work
The Foundation sponsors and creates educational, advocacy campaigns educating on various types of disabilities and healthy attitudes towards the same. They act as a resource center for parents with special needs kids, seeking out and passing on resources to enhance their children’s quality of life.
Their aim is never to duplicate efforts where they are already existent. Green Onyx Foundation (GOF) in instances where services are existent, will partner with, amplify, and provide backing through collaborations, capacity building and/or channeling funding to verified local organizations that provide critical support services to persons living with disabilities, building inclusion, creating awareness, and supporting entrepreneurial activities in the disabilities sector in Africa.
The first year has been one of putting formal structure around the Foundation, getting to know the organizations in the space, what their initiatives are and building strategies for engagement. They have executed pilot projects to understand what works and delivers the greatest impact in an ecosystem where there is so much lacking both on private levels as well as from a public sector perspective. By this they mean that you can speak all the grammar that you want on a high level until you are blue in the face, but if you are not supporting in ways that a person can have basic sustenance, then you will very soon start to find that you no longer have an audience. Their approach to tackling disabilities is therefore multipronged.
Impact Story and Aspirations
To date, they have been able to raise approximately NGN 10 million in friends and family drives. The funds they have raised have gone towards cash donations, food items, rent, holiday donations, pandemic relief, and physiotherapy for children in a special needs orphanage. What they have also done in some instances is to directly match donors in the diaspora who want to give to causes in Nigeria but might have been burned previously due to lack of integrity. Based on the relationships they have built in the sector; they are able to responsibly match make donors to causes within the disabilities sector leading to higher levels of impact and accountability recorded.
They have also provided mentorship to persons with disabilities as well as support providers in the space. Their hope is that as the team expands, they will have the bandwidth to undertake more mentoring opportunities through staff and volunteers. Research is another area of interest to them because having quality data will attract more willing and better guided donor funding as well as investments into the market. They say investments because there is a need to build universal infrastructure to accommodate everyone including people with disabilities. Accessibility is a fundamental right and we also must remember that not everyone who lives with disabilities lives in poverty.
Their hope over the next nine months of 2021, is to have formed at least three Corporate partnerships to raise funding that will enable them to begin to create content for television, radio, social media, and print in English, pidgin and at least the major Nigerian languages to formally kick off their campaign for disability rights. Their messaging as always will be to deliver education and advocacy in the simplest, most relatable means. They also hope to have made the connections needed within the public sector to help facilitate the bits of our work that the private sector cannot achieve.
About The Founders
Nwamaka Agbakoba has a business background with a BBA, Finance from Kent State University, Ohio and an MBA, Emerging Markets Finance from Kogod School of Business, American University, Washington DC. Nwamaka has spent several years working in the International Development sector including at the World Bank and on programs in Nigeria funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Outside of her formal career working in the International Development and financial sectors,she pride herself on being a serial entrepreneur. The common thread between the ventures she has been involved in is social justice.
Working on disability issues comes from a personal place for her. She identifies as a person living with disabilities. The conditions she live with are Rheumatoid Arthritis and a chronic lung impairment. She is also a Mom whose young child lives with Cerebral Palsy and a couple of co-occurrences. The awareness of these societal issues and her personal issues cemented her interest in focusing on helping other parents and persons living with disabilities navigate this difficult road by educating themselves enough to find a voice to become their own advocates.
Ijeoma Popoola is a very strong advocate and resource for persons living with disabilities. She has experience as a Special Needs Educator with a Severe/Profound Special Education certification. Ijeoma has three master’s degrees in Special Education Administration, International Relations and Human Relations. She is currently a Doctoral candidate pursuing an Ed.D in Educational Administration and Leadership. Her Doctoral research is focused on special education in Nigeria. Ijeoma is also Founder for Mrs. IJS Kids which is a knowledge house that disseminates information on building an inclusive educational system both from the public sector and educator perspectives.
Ijeoma’s journey to working on disability issues started as a burden on her heart to be of more assistance to her neighbors. As a Mom of three daughters, she strongly believes there is a Proverbs 31 woman inside each one of them that will drive change in the world to include persons with disabilities in every career field. Ijeoma’s passion continued to grow after she took on a job teaching in the public-school system in Oklahoma. The rapport she was able to build and the ensuing impact on kids who have severe disabilities, and their parents was an affirmation on what can be achieved with the right tools, systems, and nurture. It prompted her to keep enhancing her knowledge on inclusion in the educational system.
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LEAP Africa and DOW Partner to Activate Youth Action for Sustainable Development Across Africa
LEAP Africa, one of Africa’s leading non-profit organization focused on youth leadership development and Dow, a global leader in materials science, are pleased to announce the fourth edition of its Pan-African ‘Youth Day of Service (YDoS)’ campaign, a youth-led social impact campaign with the theme – Youthful and Useful.
Scheduled to be held till August 31, 2023, Youth Day of Service is a month-long campaign that seeks to foster the spirit of service to community and volunteerism among the youth population in Africa with focus on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This campaign which is in commemoration of the International Youth Day seeks to rally young people, corporate organisations, Governments, the Private and Social sectors across Africa to advocate and renew the spirit of active youth citizenship and collective responsibility.
Speaking at the Pan-African Press Conference and Stakeholders Engagement, Kehinde Ayeni, Executive Director LEAP Africa said: “One of our strategic pillars at LEAP Africa is to raise talents for the actualization of the SDGs. This campaign is a demonstration that LEAP Africa remains committed to youth-led actions for Sustainable Development across Africa. We believe in the power, voices, numbers and agency of young people and that an urgent commitment to creatively engaging with youth, creating platforms such as this and retooling youth with the skills and support to shape SDGs implementation across the continent, is the greatest need. We cannot do this alone, therefore we are fostering partnerships to bring the achievement of the goals closer.”
In her remarks, Mumbi Keega, Public Affairs Lead-Africa, Dow, said, “Dow is committed to fostering positive change and building resilient and sustainable communities in Africa. We believe that this can only be achieved by working together with the African youth, who are vital to promoting social welfare. Through our partnership with LEAP Africa, we are supporting the Youth Day of Service (YDoS) initiative, which empowers young people to use their skills and talents to make a difference in their communities. We are proud to be a part of YDoS and to support the next generation of African leaders who are working to create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.”
Chege Ngugi, Africa Regional Director of ChildFund International in his remarks called for increased investment by governments and other stakeholders in youth development programs. “While many laudable initiatives, such as national youth funds exist, there is still a dire need to do more to ensure all youth, given the huge number, are adequately resourced to achieve their best potential, no matter where they are from. We must move beyond giving the youth a seat at the table to investing in them to use that seat for good. The youth must be enabled to act as equal partners of positive social change.”
Emerging Leaders Foundation-Africa one of the implementing partners for the Youth Day of Service, represented by Caren Wakoli the Founder and Executive Director lauded LEAP Africa for investing in this initiative for the second year in Kenya. Caren noted that ELF-Africa had lined up week-long community activities across nine counties, addressing five different SDGs. She further re-affirmed ELF-Africa’s commitment to championing transformational youth action in Kenya and Africa for a sustainable future. Caren concluded by calling on young people and grassroot organisations across Kenya to join the different Youth Day of Service activities in counties near them, especially the nine counties where ELF-Africa will be working, these are Migori, Bungoma, Narok, Kericho, Uasin Gishu, Murang’a, Makueni, and Kilifi.
This year, LEAP Africa will be leveraging the support of strategic partners like ChildFund International, Emerging Leaders Foundation, BellaNaija, Forgotten Bottom Millions, Legit, Zikoko Citizen, W4 Immerse, Dotts Media, African Climate Reality Project, Strategic Youth Network for Development Ghana, Youth Development Organisation Zambia and Global Shapers Community, among others, in delivering the Youth Day of Service.
Miss Career Africa: Empowering Young Female Entrepreneurs in Africa
Miss Career Africa Women (Image: Supplied)
Recognizing the need to empower aspiring young female entrepreneurs in Africa, the Miss Career Africa Organization (MCA) was established. The MCA program aims to uplift young women professionals, entrepreneurs, and students by offering university scholarships, career guidance, entrepreneurship incubation, leadership training, and networking opportunities.
The Miss Career Africa competition is a transformative experience for aspiring young women entrepreneurs from across the continent. With a vision to create a movement of 450,000 young women entrepreneurs and professionals across Africa, MCA aims to empower these trailblazers to become influential leaders in their respective countries.
Each year, 20 exceptional candidates aged between 18 and 24 years are selected from hundreds of applicants based on their projects or businesses and specific criteria. These talented young women then compete for the title of “Miss Career Africa.” The journey to the crown begins with a pre-selection and online voting process. The finalists undergo a rigorous 5-day boot camp, where a team of experts helps them refine their ideas into viable and scalable business models.
The Grand Finale features a distinguished panel of judges from different countries and disciplines who will crown winners in various categories, including Miss STEM, Miss Arts and Talent, Miss Hospitality, Miss Agriculture, Miss Conservation, and Miss Speaker, as well as regional winners representing the Southern, Northern, Central, Eastern, and Western regions. Prizes for the winners include seed capital, a six-month incubation training period, and continuous guidance and follow-up support to help them turn their dreams into reality.
Meet the Visionaries
Hail from Rwanda, Sandrine Munezero is a true innovator. As an entrepreneur, innovator, and business modeling coach, she has dedicated her life to helping the next generation create their own opportunities by harnessing their talents and gifts. Sandrine’s unwavering passion drives the growth of Miss Career Africa across the continent. She holds a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management from St. Joseph’s College in India and a Bachelor’s degree from Bishop Heber College in Trichy, India.
Passionate about empowering girls and young women, Portia Addae Annin is a force to be reckoned with. Her exceptional motivation and commitment to excellence have led her to serve in various prestigious positions. With a Master’s Degree in Economics from Bangalore University in India and a background in Economics and Business Management from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, Portia brings a wealth of expertise to the organization.
OSNON Academy Announces Scholarship Opportunity for the 2023/2024 Academic Year
OSNON Academy is delighted to announce its exclusive scholarship opportunity for the upcoming 2023/2024 academic year, dedicated to students from low-income families, and marginalized communities. This prestigious scholarship aims to provide the selected exceptional students with a world-class education that has the power to shape their future.
Under the “Innovation and Excellence” banner, OSNON Academy is passionately committed to nurturing young minds and unlocking their full potential. As the premier free boarding school in Anambra state, OSNON Academy is devoted to transforming talented young individuals into the leaders of tomorrow.
This scholarship opportunity is specifically tailored for parents, guardians, and school students who aspire to receive an outstanding education that paves their path to success. By applying for this scholarship, students will have the remarkable chance to benefit from OSNON Academy’s innovative and well-rounded learning experiences.
“We firmly believe in providing students from low-income families, marginalized communities, and vulnerable backgrounds with a transformative education that not only equips them with academic knowledge but also instills core values and unlocks their potential,” said Onyinye Anyaegbu, Chief Executive Officer, Chude and Ego Foundation. “Our ultimate goal is to create thought-provoking and valuable members of society who will positively contribute to their communities.”
Interested parents and guardians are encouraged to pick up the application forms for their ward(s) today at one of our designated locations to seize this incredible opportunity. These forms will be the crucial first step towards a life-changing educational journey. The dedicated team at OSNON Academy is readily available to assist with any questions and provide comprehensive guidance throughout the application process, ensuring a smooth and supportive experience.
Take advantage of the chance to join OSNON Academy and join a community fostering excellence, innovation, and personal growth for a successful future!
For Scholarship enquiries, please contact:
OSNON Academy Team: +2348063876581 or email: email@example.com