From Struggling Entrepreneur to Mentor: Charity’s Story

Mobile-focused Charity at her shop Fanchi Global Resources, with her garments making a colorful backdrop.

Mobile-focused Charity at her shop Fanchi Global Resources, with her garments making a colorful backdrop.

Meet Mrs. Charity Esezobor. She is a female entrepreneur, a mother of four, and a mentor to young girls in her community in Nigeria. Charity started her custom-garment business Fanchi Global Resources in 2016.

She had previously worked in an insurance company and later in a micro-finance bank. Then one day, Charity came across a store with beautiful fabrics that sparked her love for garment-making. From that point on, she devoted her passion to making attractive and affordable fabrics.

Charity standing proud as a female entrepreneur.

Charity standing proud as a female entrepreneur.

The year Charity decided to start her business was rough for Nigeria with the economy dip. The recession affected local businesses and made it a struggle for Charity to purchase more machines that make her products faster and neater. She also had difficulty with financial management and needed a more sophisticated stoning machine – critical for her work to stamp a design or graphic on a piece of fabric.

Charity and her two female apprentices embellishing fabrics with beautiful beads.

Charity and her two female apprentices embellishing fabrics with beautiful beads.

YTF came into the picture when we teamed up with our long-standing partner, Mastercard, to provide financial management training and mentorship to entrepreneurs like Charity. She received the professional education necessary to save more, keep accurate financial records, and make practical decisions for her business. She now has a generator that supplies power when the electricity supply is out. Also, Charity researched sources for the best market that provides affordable prices and quality material so she can retain and satisfy her customers. Since receiving help from YTF and Mastercard, her customer base has increased by 30 percent.

Charity using her electric stoning machine to make a new yellow, decorated garment for her store.

Charity using her electric stoning machine to make a new yellow, decorated garment for her store.

We want to empower women like Charity to have continuous growth in their field as they become self-sufficient and financially able to provide for themselves and their families.

Charity decided to take the huge step forward of leaving her job and pursuing the desire to be self-employed and create employment opportunities for youth in her community. Now, Charity is a female entrepreneur who passes the torch on to the young women in her community who have an interest in garment-making. She is helping raise the next generation of women entrepreneurs, making Charity an incredible asset for her community’s sustainability.

The two apprentices Charity mentors and supports in the garment-making business

The two apprentices Charity mentors and supports in the garment-making business

We are proud to share her story, and applaud Charity for being bold for change and standing firm by overcoming the challenges that came her way!

Stepping it Up in STEM Education: Q&A with Peace  

In a brightly-lit room, a group of students engage in an interactive education with the computers provided by YTF in Owerri, Nigeria. For nine years and counting, current teacher Peace continues her story with our organization from student and participant in her first three years to an employee inside many other rooms in the last six years. This Girls in ICT Day, we want to share her story with a Q&A session geared specifically towards her experience as a Program Manager throughout Nigeria and empowering young girls to pursue their passion in science.

Peace, Program Coordinator in Nigeria

Peace, Program Coordinator in Nigeria

 

Tell me a bit about yourself.

I am a mentor to dozens of girls and young women with the focus of inspiring them as the next generation of innovators. I believe that we make a living by what we get and get a life by what we give. I love reading about new inventions, mentoring, and travelling. I have served in various capacities implementing STEM projects especially with the focus to foster girls’ interest in STEM. I have always loved technological inventions. Technology makes life easier and connects the world. We can see the relevance of technology in every aspect of human endeavors and how it has relieved people of so much tension and stress.

How did you hear about YTF?

I heard about YTF while I was in the university (Imo State University, Owerri) in 2007. YTF had trained my faculty (i.e. faculty of Engineering) on the use of computers. After that training, I enrolled in YTF’s Tech Teens program because it was very affordable, almost free compared to what other computer institutes charged. When I resumed my classes, I found that YTF was not just a computer institute, but a family that is there to nurture youths towards achieving their goals in life. I received not just computer skills but also life skills.

Peace at a training session in Nigeria

Peace at a training session in Nigeria

 

Describe your current position.

As Program Coordinator, I have planned/implemented various programs that have impacted thousands of lives of youth, girls, and women throughout Nigeria. I also liaise with schools in YTF communities to develop partnerships and train students/teachers on appropriate technology, and I provide training on life/leadership skills for youth enrolled in YTF Academy and women in YTF communities. I worked with rural women farmers in YTF’s Agric-P.O.W.E.R. program to educate them on best farming practicing and access to agricultural information using technology: 60% testified that their crops were yielding better.

I implemented YTF’s Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs and Mobile Value Added Services program. This program has equipped over 10,000 women entrepreneurs with the necessary financial, business, and technology skills/capabilities needed to excel in their business. The program includes planning, recruiting participants, training staff, and delivering training to women entrepreneurs. Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs program resulted in 40% increases in participant income after applying the principles they were taught—this actually made me very proud.
I’m actively involved in Girls in ICT Day program—connecting over 400 girls from 30+ secondary schools throughout Nigeria. The girls were connected to female STEM mentors to encouraged them to pursue STEM careers and participated in 3D printing.

What’s your philosophy in teaching technology?

Technology is an integral part of our lives and few can imagine living without it.  As technology continues to advance and direct even more easiness in our lives, it is imperative that we equip today’s youth with the necessary skills so that they can be employable.

Tell me about a difficult circumstance you handled. What action did you take? What were the results?

My role is to oversee the implementation of various gender-related programs. An unexpected obstacle occurred while implementing YTF’s She Will Connect program. We had already strategized with secondary schools and universities throughout Nigeria to meet the program’s goal of training 12,000 girls/women in basic ICT and entrepreneurship skills and had worked with them to implement the program. Then in the middle of the trainings, the universities went on strike and many students vacated—you can imagine the frustration. The program had a timeline so it was evident that if I didn’t do something about it, I would be in trouble. So I had to put on my thinking cap. I had to conceive another approach that would help us achieve our deliverables. Instead of universities, we partnered with faith-based organizations and community leaders to recruit participants. Fortunately, we were able to train the required number of clients with impressive results.

Who has most influenced you, and how did they influence you?

I have been influenced by so many people, but the two people that have most influenced me are my parents. My parents taught me to be diligent, courageous, and optimistic; and most importantly to put God first in everything I do. They are generous and always eager to help others, their love, care, and motivation has brought me where I am today. Another person that has influenced me is my boss. I am inspired and motivated by her leadership style, commitment, creative and innovative ideas. Her dedication to work has made very dedicated to my duties at Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF). Through her mentorship, I have been able to achieve a lot. She brings out the best in me.

What if a student/participant doesn’t “get it?” What do you do to help them understand?

If a student doesn’t get it in class, I arrange a private class for her where I will try to teach her at her pace and also use examples that she is familiar with.

Peace and Prince, a student of YTF Academy

Peace and Prince, a student of YTF Academy

 

 

What’s the difference in teaching ICT to the different age groups?

Each age group has a unique way of assimilation. It’s a lot easier for younger participants (8-30) to understand ICT than it is for the older participants (35-55). The youths are eager to learn, enthusiastic and do not have much distractions, while the older participants are occupied with family, work etc. It requires a lot of patience to teach them.

Which student/participant has most inspired you and why?

The student that most inspired me is Edward Rita. She is 19 years old and she is from Imo state, Nigeria. She loves drawing and designing and has always done them on paper until she enrolled in YTF Tech Teens program where she was taught how to appreciate technology and use it as a tool for change. Her light bulb moment was her ability to design on the computer and also emailing her design to her aunt. She felt very elated when her aunt showered her with praises. She loves designing and technological tools like the computer has made it more fun, easier, and interesting

With this ICT Girls Day, what’s your takeaway with the discussion happening in Empower Women?

Being part of the moderators on the e-discussion on science, technology, and innovation (STI) is a great opportunity to brainstorm with others on the future of STI. Let’s #stepitup by moving from teaching young girls STEM to taking young girls to STEM. Let them see real life application of science, technology, and innovation. It’s time to take a more proactive approach towards gender equality such as changing STEM education. Let’s step away from teaching STI to a more practical approach thereby creating an enabling environment for girls to see STI in action such as what YTF does on Girls in ICT day Celebrations.

The Skills Gap Up Close and Personal: Chiamaka’s Story

Secondary school graduate Chiamaka worked happily in sales at a supermarket in Owerri, Nigeria until they adopted a cashless policy and she was forced to quit due to her lack of experience with electronics. Fast forward six months, and Chiamaka has now acquired all the skills necessary to tackle any technological endeavor. The tables have turned so much that she now works at a technologically-focused company as a secretary, beloved by her boss. What changed?

Chiamaka in the middle of her classmates at graduation.

Chiamaka in the middle of her classmates at graduation.

This 22-year-old worker with no idea how to use digital stock inventory systems or conduct point of sale transactions on the computer isn’t that much different than others her age. According to a 2014 study by PWC, 96 percent of CEOs in Africa (compared to a global average of 63 percent) are concerned about the lack of skills.  

“In Nigeria, too many graduates lack non-academic skills.” Dozie Okpalaobieri, Director, Quincy Advisory Limited

At least two-thirds of unemployed youth in Africa are between 15 and 24 years old. Chiamaka did not receive ICT (information and communications technology) skills training in high school. Even if she had, technology has continued to advance drastically. Once she left the job at the market, she decided to enroll in YTF’s six-month program.

Once she left the job at the market, Chiamaka decided to enroll in YTF’s six-month program.

A Rejuvenated Future with a New Job

Our teachers noted how Chiamaka’s motivation and fast learning led her to high confidence once she joined the program. We provided her with internet access, a computer, a digital camera and other learning materials like practical booklets.

Chiamaka then had the chance to practice her skills as a YTF Academy graduate intern for two months.

Chiamaka second from the right focused on working her new-found skills on the computer.

Chiamaka second from the right focused on working her new-found skills on the computer.

After completing the program, a company called “FOR HIM COMPUTER” hired her as a secretary. This position builds on what she learned in YTF’s program and helps her further develop her skills in a professional setting. Plus, Chiamaka receives a round-trip transportation stipend each time she comes to work.

Chiamaka clearly has a desire to keep learning, with plans to attend a university next school year.

A Higher Education Motivation, Boosted by YTF

Chiamaka keeps dreaming of what she can achieve with her newfound skills, now hoping to be a world-class nurse in the future. We are so proud to see a student like Chiamaka go through a complete turnaround – from technology novice to a girl who can leverage technology to reach new dreams. 

We know hope remains for many other students just like Chiamaka, who is one of more than 100 YTF Academy students who go above and beyond in their studies. It’s not a surprising path, considering 96 percent of YTF program graduates go on to higher education within two years of graduating.

We at YTF see stories like this every day, and we can’t help but share our favorites. Stay tuned for the next student’s transformation journey.

A Supportive Community Equals a Thriving Business

What comes around goes around and a network of entrepreneurs keep the circle of support in the communities of Umudiator Village in Imo State. Mother and wife Mrs. Oluchi has the passion and creativity innate to support her trade. Since training with us, Mrs. Oluchi has also had a reliable network and the technological wisdom to continue a thriving business. Now Mrs. Oluchi gives back to the community and provides a tour of her workplace to YTF participants learning about entrepreneurship.  Continue reading

A How-To Guide: Building Partnerships with Credible Organizations

 

An employee is at their best when they are at the right job with right organization or company, and I’m lucky enough to have found the right fit. It’s been three years since I started working with the Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) as a Program Coordinator for the Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs and Mobile Value Added Services Program. The program is designed to provide women entrepreneurs with broad-based training, specifically business skills and financial capabilities, to help them strengthen and scale their businesses.

So what have I learned from my time at YTF? First, I’ve had the chance to really shape my career as a development worker. Despite my educational background as a social worker, YTF has helped cultivate a terrific skill of finding and engaging different partners locally for our gender-based programs. This is a role I enjoy playing.

Ifeoma pictured with our women entrepreneurs trainees from Taraba State, Nigeria.

Ifeoma pictured with our women entrepreneurs trainees from Taraba State, Nigeria.

A Partnership Philosophy

Those in similar program coordinator positions may wonder why I find it easy to find and engage partners within a short period of time, especially when many other organizations find it difficult to get a right partner for their project. At YTF, we work hard to build incredible relationships with likeminded organizations. We view every organization we work with as a partner, coming alongside YTF’s work as a critical support. That is why we sacrifice everything to create success with every partnership agreement we enter into.

It is very crucial to build a strong and sustainable partnership with credible and appropriate organizations. A thorough understanding of your program and programmatic goals typically creates a strong instinct and decision process on who to partner with to achieve success. There are plenty of benefits to bringing together a successful partnership. Each organization brings something unique to the table and learns something different when they enter into a partnership. Plus, the scope of each organization is expanded exponentially as more people get to know  each organization in new locations and each partner builds a stronger network.

Finding and Cultivating New Partnerships

At YTF, we’ve discovered partners are easy to find. Many are waiting to see who will call or email – it just takes the first outreach. Many of our new partners come by recommendations from current partners.

Knowledge of your program will guide you into getting the right partner. First, it’s critical to look for the partner whose organization has a similar mission to the program you manage. Second, don’t rely on a potential partner’s self assessment about their capability. Rather, a solid knowledge of the program and your needs, plus thorough research about the partner, will determine their credibility.

Criteria Checklist

When you first contact a potential partner, there are key characteristics you should look for to determine their credibility. Here are some of my top evaluation steps I go through in the due diligence process before recommending an organization as a new partner for YTF.

  • Website: The organization must have a website for you to research their activities to understand their mission and vision.
  • In-Person Meeting: The potential partner must have a physical and functioning office. Visit the organization to see things for yourself. Don’t be in a hurry when you visit and find out as much as you can about them by interacting with the staff and everybody you come in contact with. I try to see myself as a staff member in their organization and work with them for the day to get a true sense of how they work.
  • Relationships over Revenue: The partner’s core interest must be on building a relationship with you and not financial compensation from the program. I’ve found some organizations are driven by the financial benefit instead of identifying with other partners.
  • Experience: The partner must have a track record of successfully carrying out similar projects with the types of clients you are seeking.  This experience will help you ascertain how knowledgeable the partner is about your program’s concepts and how well they can perform. 
  • Practical Functions: The partner must have the ability and capability to reach out to the expected client; in many cases the youth and women we work with
  • Externally Vetted: Their organization must be credible NGO registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria, for instance, or equivalent vetting organization, and have a corporate bank account.

The best part about building a strong partnership is creating a thriving environment for your organization to function, especially by reaching new locations where you are not based. My work at YTF is not only inspired by the participants I interact with every day, but also the beneficiaries I’ve learned about  by getting to know our partner organizations and learning what they do to impact people’s lives. 

Ifeoma with our women entrepreneurs trainees from Taraba State, Nigeria.

Ifeoma with our women entrepreneurs trainees from Taraba State, Nigeria.

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Ifeoma Isiogu is writing from YTF in Nigeria where she is a Project Coordinator for YTF’s Gender & Entrepreneurship Programs.  With an educational background in social work, Ifeoma is passionate about working with women and youth to educate them on ways in which to advance their businesses through financial education, networking and business skills. 

 

Chidubem’s story

 

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Chidubem is a 12 year old TechKids student at the Owerri Digital Village (ODV) in Nigeria. He first learned about YTF’s work from a neighbor and says he enjoys his time learning as the “aunties” and “uncles” (as he refers to the teachers at ODV) are very nice and are patient.

Chidubem’s favorite subject in school is social studies because he learns about different cultures and people. He says he is blessed that he is able to attend the TechKids program as a scholarship recipient and hopes that many other young people, like him, will have the opportunity to attend. He wants to be an engineer when he grows up because he likes to use his hands to build things. “In what ‘ways’ can we develop Africa? Airways, railways and others.” he said. “These are the ‘ways’. Africa needs infrastructure and it starts with having good engineers”.

Chidubem’s hobby is reading and he recently completed, “The Black Stallion’s Filly”, a book that inspired him to want to travel to see the world. “One day, I may just end up at the Kentucky Derby, he said. I will love that!”

 

Youth, Social Media, and the Nigerian Elections

 

Today, president-elect Muhammadu Buhari will be sworn into office in Nigeria.

The 2015 Nigerian general elections have been described as the most peaceful in the country’s history – this was the first time where a sitting president was ousted through the ballot box, the elections recorded the highest number of electorates’ turnout. While expectations were that the elections would be marred by violence – threats by politicians and interest groups were made before the election – the nation managed to form a stronger bond without brutality.  

Also notable was how election campaigning and commentary played out on social media, in particular on Twitter. In a youthful country like Nigeria where half the population is under the voting age of 18, if you can’t win the youth vote, you won’t win the election. And while Nigerians doesn’t always have electricity at home or in schools, social media still is the place where young, smart-phone-thumbing residents in big cities like Lagos hang out.

Prior to the elections, the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the opposition party created Twitter accounts and directly engaged with the young people. Voters, in turn, turned to social media as well to make informed decisions and have discussions around the election process. Hashtags like #NigeriaDecides and #NigeriaElection2015 were used throughout the campaign by the both political parties and voters.  

YTF’s PeaceOpoly program is based on the premise that technology has the power to bring democracy in countries like Nigeria. We’ve held workshops at universities and vocational institutions throughout the nation to teach and inspire youth to use social media to strengthen their voices and capacities. This year in particular, we were humbled to hear our students’ testimonies as they described how the program influenced their participation in the 2015 elections both online and offline.  

In particular, we encouraged PeaceOpoly participants’ use of the #MyPollingUnit hashtag during this year, which was designed to be a unifying hashtag for students to ask hard-hitting questions and create a deep conversation between peers.

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We’ve previosly wrote that democracy is possible in countries like Nigeria through civic mobilization and technology. We’re thankful to the Nigerian citizens for proving us right, and we’re confident that sustainable and stable governance in the long-term is also possible.

We’ll continue to work hard at bringing democracy through programs like PeaceOpoly until Nigerian citizens prove us right again.  

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Bankole is a content developer for PeaceOpoly.  He describes himself as an incurable media junkie, a rookie accountant and a book reader and a movie addict.  

 

 

Celebrating Girls in ICT day in Nigeria

 

In late April, YTF held two Girls in ICT Day events in Lagos and Imo State in partnership with Cisco to encourage and inspire Nigerian girls to pursue careers in ICT (information and communications technology).

Meeting with over 450 girls (50 in Lagos and 400 in Imo State), we showcased 3D printing technology, which most of the girls hadn’t previously had access to, and held discussions around engaging girls in STEM, particularly in the Nigerian cultural context.   

We showcased 3D printing technology.

We showcased 3D printing technology.

The highlight of the Imo State event was a keynote speech by Chinyere Kalu, Nigeria’s first female pilot. She shared her journey along the way, particularly the obstacles she faced and overcome as a female in a male dominated field, which left many girls inspired.

She noted the important role of the government and educators in encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers, and shared that she is now dedicating her life to advocating for gender equality in STEM fields.

Chinyere Kalu, NIgeria's first female pilot, spoke at the event.

Chinyere Kalu, NIgeria’s first female pilot, spoke at the event.

We were so inspired by the intelligent, ambitious girls we met, we wanted to introduce some of them:

Promise aspires to be an entrepreneur.

Promise aspires to be an entrepreneur.

Promise, a junior from Queen’s College, Lagos, aspires to be an entrepreneur in the fashion industry. She confessed that her parents want her to become a lawyer instead, but that she hopes to convince her parents through her hard work in school and dedication to her vision. She’s very interested in acquiring ICT skills as she recognizes their importance in business, and is thankful that the Girls in ICT day event allowed her to learn about 3D printing technology.

Elizabeth is passionate about fashion design.

Elizabeth is passionate about fashion design.

Elizabeth, a 14-year-old student from Nigeria Navy Secondary School, Lagos, is passionate about fashion design. She says that access to the Internet has allowed her to learn about international fashion trends, an experience that has allowed her to realize the usefulness of technology. She’s eager to learn new technology skills, and says she’s particularly interested in how 3D printing can be used in the fashion industry.

Blessing dreams of becoming a pilot.

Blessing dreams of becoming a pilot.

Blessing, a Federal Government Girls’ College student, says that she wasn’t sure about her dream career but that she’s inspired to follow Captain Kalu’s footsteps and become a pilot. She also says that she plans to register at the YTF Academy to learn about ICT and that she hopes to be able to give a talk in front of a large gathering like another YTF Academy student did.  

Something that many girls had in common was that their parents wanted them to go into medicine or law. One reason is that parents don’t have adequate information about careers in ICT/entrepreneurship. In fact, during career days at schools, only careers in medicine, law, engineering, and management sciences are showcased. Girls themselves don’t have easy access to information in careers in ICT or entrepreneurship.   

The Girls in ICT day event offered the girls the rare chance to experience the latest technology, learn about ICT careers, and be inspired by women leaders in ICT.  

Engaging girls in ICT is something that’s near and dear to our heart, and we are hopeful that our efforts are helping launch the next generation of Nigerian women ICT leaders.

 

Mobile Banking Innovation: Meet the New Agents in Lagos, Nigeria

As part of the Mobile Financial Services for Women program, we recently trained 388 women entrepreneurs as mobile banking agents in Lagos State, Nigeria.

This not only gives a boost to the women entrepreneurs, but also their entire community. The women as mobile banking agents will offer branchless banking services as part of this program to people in their community, who otherwise won’t have access to basic financial services.

The women in this program are hardworking, resilient people who seek better lives for their families, particularly their children, and they were all excited that their work as banking agents will help them better provide for their family. And serve their community as an added bonus!

Meet some of the women entrepreneurs:

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“I run a hair salon in the toll gate area of Lagos. Because of poor electricity supply, I’ve had difficulties running my business. I’m so excited that I’ll be supplementing my income with my work as a banking agent — offering banking services doesn’t require electricity after all!”

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“I run a supermarket and am good friends with most people in the neighborhood (they always come buy stuff at my store!). So I think I’m in a good position to offer banking services, and I’m happy that I can further serve my community.”

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“I’m a native doctor (I sell local herbs) and the business is doing well. I’m the only one in this line of business in my area, so it’s popular particularly among mothers. I’m excited my work as a mobile banking agent will bring more income, and I’m thankful I can better provide for my family.”

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“Although I don’t have a formal educational background in Pharmacy, I studied the subject independently and now I run a successful pharmacy store (yes, I had to work hard for this!) I feel like I’m well-respected in my community because of my business, so I feel that I’m in a great position to offer banking services to people in my community!”

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“I opened a beauty store to help supplement my husband’s income. Unfortunately, the business hasn’t been doing as well as I hoped for, but I’m hopeful that my work as a banking agent will provide additional income for my family.”

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Ibukun Oluwalowo is writing from YTF in Nigeria where she is a Master Trainer. In this role she partners with the women entrepreneurs YTF works with to equip them with entrepreneurship and financial capabilities skills. Educated as a social worker, Ibukun enjoys tackling issues that affect women and children because they are most vulnerable in any society.

Democracy through PeaceOpoly: A Model of Student Workshops

 

Is democracy possible in developing countries? In a country like Nigeria where post-election violence accompanied every major vote in recent history, many wonder if it’s possible to bring stable, sustainable governance.

According to research conducted at the Stanford Hoover Institute, the answer is yes. They explain “even seemingly entrenched regimes could well become democracies within a generation” through civic mobilization and the development of ‘liberation technology,’ or technology that empowers individuals, strengthens an emergent civil society and expands economic freedom.

PeaceOpoly: A Solution

The Youth for Technology Foundation’s (YTF) PeaceOpoly program hinges on the idea that vibrant civil society and technology are the keys to unlocking democracy. YTF has spent many years harnessing technology to make a difference people’s lives, in particular those who are marginalized. Now, through programs like PeaceOpoly, YTF believes technology has the power to bring democracy in countries like Nigeria.    

PeaceOpoly uses workshops and social media to strengthen voices and capacities of youth to demand greater accountability and responsiveness from public officials. A new PeaceOpoly mobile portal is also in development to help youth throughout Africa share their thoughts on public service and accountability as they relate to democracy.

PeaceOpoly holds workshops at universities, secondary schools and vocational institutions throughout Nigeria. In early February, 56 students from the University of Ibadan Oyo State met with YTF through the PeaceOpoly program. Students were especially interested and hopeful in the program’s outcomes, looking to Nigeria’s general elections just one month out.

PeaceOpoly workshop session at the University of Ibadan Oyo State on Feb. 3, 2015

PeaceOpoly workshop session at the University of Ibadan Oyo State on Feb. 3, 2015

Youth in the session focused on generating ideas on how they, as citizens, could help bring sustainable governance in Nigeria without causing any kind of violence. This peaceful outcome was developed to progress from the last Nigerian general election in 2010, which left as many as 1,000 dead.

Ideas stemmed from personal experiences and cultural realities. For instance, many youth participants expressed frustration over having to travel so far to obtain Permanent Voter Cards, which they feared might disenfranchise some voters. The students and YTF staff brainstormed ways to use social media to help remedy the problem in innovative, peaceful ways.

Students having heated discussions around innovative, peaceful use of social media in helping bring political changes

Students having heated discussions around innovative, peaceful use of social media in helping bring political changes

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Looking Ahead

YTF has met with about 3000 youth throughout the nation through PeaceOpoly workshops to date.

“We feel rather optimistic about the future of democracy in Nigeria,” said Njideka Harry, YTF founder and CEO. “Yes, there’s a long way to go. But the intelligence, optimism and resilience we saw in Nigeria’s youth leave us confident that the nation has the talents and passion needed to bring about good governance, security and peace.”

Learn more about PeaceOpoly and stay updated on Twitter.

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