Ayomikun Olugbode is the Founder at Inspired Youth Network
Alaba Ayinuola spoke with Ayomikun Olugbode Founder/Executive Director at Inspired Youth Network, inspired with a vision is to create a platform where young people will be deliberately empowered with the skills, drive and character required to be a transformational leader. Excerpt.
Alaba: Tell us about Inspired Youth Network and the role you play.
Ayomikun: Inspired Youth Network is a not-for-profit organization based in Lagos, Nigeria. Our mission is to deliberately prepare young people for future leadership role, by increasing the participation of young people in the fight against corruption, providing a platform to demand accountability from government representatives and advocate for youth inclusion in governance and democratic processes. I am the Founder/Executive Director.
Alaba: What is the vision behind this initiative?
Ayomikun: The vision is to create a platform where young people will be deliberately empowered with the skills, drive and character required to be a transformational leader.
Alaba: How are you funding this Initiative?
Ayomikun: The initiative is being funded through support from partners, personal sources and fund raising activities. In 2018, we received financial support from Youth Alive Foundation to implement the Make a Difference Against Corruption Today in My School (#MadACTInMySchool) project under the Youth Participation Against Corruption (Y-PAC) project.
Alaba: How does the organisation measure its impact?
Ayomikun: We measure our impact by listening attentively to our stakeholders to get their feedbacks, focus on our outcomes by assessing the progress of our objectives, as well as learning from others.
Alaba: What are the challenges and how are you overcoming them?
Ayomikun: The challenges are numerous and cannot be exhausted. Some of the challenges we face include inadequate fund to implement projects and limited capacity building programs for my team. Another major challenge is the barrier created by stakeholders especially the gatekeepers and members of communities. Many developmental projects initiated by NGOs have been hindered because of the barrier created by stakeholders. The processes involved in getting some of the stakeholders on board could be very tedious. Some even expect you to give them money before implementing projects in their community. This is sad! Furthermore, changing lives and people’s attitude can be very tasking especially in this society of ours where people are faced with unemployment, illiteracy and different religious belief that affects their mindset.
However, the challenges will not stop us from making impact and achieving our goals. In order to overcome the challenges, we have collaborated with a number of not-for-profit organizations and we are open to more partnership. In 2018, we received support from Youth Alive Foundation to implement the #MadACTInMySchool. We’ve had collaborations with ActionAid Nigeria, Youth Leadership Initiative for Social Justice, The Africa We Want, GoldLife Initiative, Youth Agenda Initiatives and many more to reduce cost and make more impact. In terms of capacity building, we are working with partners to build the capacity of our team. In December, 2018, two members of my team were supported by Youth Alive Foundation to attend the Africa Youth Congress Against Corruption (AYCAC). We also encourage members of the team to participate in capacity building programs. We make our projects open to the stakeholders and we get them involved at all stages of the implementation. Based on our level of integrity and reputation, we have been able to build a mutual relationship with our stakeholders to the extent that whenever we have a project it speaks for us. One of the key strategies we use in changing public attitude is to engage people using practical examples of the consequence of an action or the benefit to them as the case may be. We have also been able to engage influencers to get our messages across to the people.
Alaba: What are the major issues facing African youths today and solutions you can proffer?
Ayomikun: The youths are the power house of Africa. About 42% of people in Africa are under the age of 25. The major issue facing young people in Africa is corruption, which has resulted to high rate of unemployment, poverty, poor state of education that has led to illiteracy and unfriendly government policies among others. I have heard people say African youths are lazy, but I disagree with them. African youth are not lazy, it is the bad leadership that brought us to where we are. Most of the recent innovations in Africa were created by young people. No citizen will think straight in an unfriendly atmosphere where leaders are not accountable and transparent. We cannot continue this way. The youth should get involved in governance by making government representatives accountable. Young people should also change their attitude towards corruption because you cannot fight corruption with corruption. The youths should support their fellow youth who has the competence, character and vision to lead. The strategy being used by the older generation is to divide the youths so they can’t speak in one accord. Young people should collaborate and speak in one voice to save their future.
Alaba: What advice would you give potential social entrepreneurs who intend to start an initiative or invest in Africa.
Ayomikun: Africa needs more young social entrepreneurs to develop the continent. As a potential social entrepreneur, you have to believe in yourself and challenge yourself. Do not let your current situation hinder your success. Potential social entrepreneurs should identify people of like minds and collaborate with them. You must be willing to learn and unlearn, and most importantly don’t compromise your integrity. Integrity is everything.
Alaba: What’s the future for your initiative and what steps are you taking in achieving them?
Ayomikun: We have been working with communities and students of tertiary institutions in Lagos to increase their participation in the fight against corruption and promote accountability and transparency. Plans are in the pipeline to extend the projects to other tertiary institutions and communities in Nigeria. Discussions are currently on with both local and international partners to build the capacity of my team and implement innovative youth development projects. Furthermore, our core values and impact of our initiative will make us an attractive option for partnership and will improve our chances of receiving grants from funding organizations.
Ayomikun Olugbode holds a Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry from Adekunle Ajasin University and a Masters Degree in Biochemistry from University of Ilorin. He holds a certificate in Project Management for Development Professionals (PMD Pro) from APMG International, United Kingdom.
He is the Co-Convener of Make a Difference Against Corruption Today in My School (#MadACTInMySchool) and the Convener of #iStudyiVote Campaign. Ayomikun is a Fellow and President of Canvassity Pan African Youth Democracy Fellowship 2018, a Fellow of Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Regional Leadership Centre (RLC) and an alumnus of Kukah Centre Young Leaders Program. He was a delegate at the Canvassity Learning Visit 2018 to the African Union (AU) Headquarters, Addis Ababa to understudy the African Governance Architecture (AGA).
Ayomikun is passionate about the participation of young people in the fight against corruption and inclusion of youth in democratic governance. He has about four years experience working with both local and international organizations.
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.
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