LEAP Africa launches its Social Innovators Programme and awards in Lagos

by Akintomiwa Agbaje

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LEAP’s SIP is an initiative developed in partnership with YouthActionNet®; a programme of the International Youth Foundation (IYF), a nonprofit organization supporting youth development programs in 80 countries. The SIP joins the YouthActionNet® global network now comprising 16 national/regional youth leadership institutes across the world. SIP seeks to identify, develop and support young Nigerians who are addressing social challenges in their communities through creative and sustainable solutions. It also enhances the chance of the Nigerian young social innovators to apply to YouthActionNet® Global Laureate Fellowship.

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As part of the launch, LEAP hosted an innovation workshop for secondary school students and teachers. The goal of the workshop was to engender a culture of creativity amongst students and their teachers. Sessions were led by Mr. Taiwo Akinlami of Taiwo Akinlami Inspires and Mr. Philip Obamighie of PuzzleExtra. Some schools present at the workshop include: The Bells Comprehensive College Ota, Eko Akete Grammar School, Dowen College, Oxbridge Tutorial College, Randle Senior Secondary School and Yewa College Ilaro.

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At the programme launch, twenty young social innovators, selected from applications received from across Nigeria, were showcased and inducted as SIP Fellows for the 2013/2014 class. The key criteria for selecting the inaugural class of social innovators included leadership, motivation, creativity in problem solving approach and potential of initiatives for increased impact. Selected social innovators will have access to training, mentoring and networking opportunities with collaborators and other change agents across the world.

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Some of the SIP Fellows inducted include: Ayoola Ajebeku, co-founder of Nearest Locator, an app designed for developing countries for easy navigation; Jackson Akor, co-founder of Initiative for Youths with Disabilities Empowerment and Advancement (IYDEA) which empowers physically challenged youth with skills to become entrepreneurs; Halimat Odewale, co-founder Nigeria Diabetes Online Community (NDOC), an initiative to improve diabetes care via the use of social media; Otto Orondaam, founder of Slum2School Africa, an initiative which provides educational support structures in slums.

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The keynote speaker at the event was Mr. Rick Little, founder of the International Youth Foundation. He addressed the audience on the key principles for actualization; stressing the need to live in the gap providing innovative solutions to social problems- adopt a learning approach and persevere through challenges.

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LEAP formally presented its newest publication, How to Get a Job, targeted at job seekers and those who want to make career changes.
LEAP board members present at the launch were Mr. Udeme Ufot, MD/CEO SOU Saatchi& Saatchi who gave the opening remarks, Mr. Babatunde Dabiri, Chairman of the Lagos Pension Commission, and Mrs. Ndidi Nwuneli, LEAP’s founder. Some guests at the launch were Mr. Niyi Yusuf, Accenture Country Manager; Dr. Anyium Chibuzo, SPDC and Dr. Florence Etta-AkinAina, ED, TY Danjuma Foundation.

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Since 2004, LEAP Africa, a non-profit organization with a mission to develop dynamic, innovative and principled African leaders, has celebrated and supported Nigerian youth change agents through its Annual Nigerian Youth Leadership Awards. The Social Innovators Programme and Awards replaces this initiative by incorporating a 12-month development programme, to support potential awardees in improving the impact of their initiatives.

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