AFRIGROWTH FOUNDATION- A FRONT LINER AND THOUGHT LEADER COMMITTED TO BUILDING A NEW GENERATION OF RESOURCEFUL YOUTH
The youth are recognized not only as future leaders but also as actors and foundation of our society, with a direct stake in the development process of our great nation.
Aishat Ismail, (New Nigerian, 2001)
Youths play a vital role in the prospect for development in the nation. Hence, they must be included as major actors in the planning, conception and initiation of national development programs. The emerging global accord on Youth development clearly emphasizes the need to ensure the inclusion of youth perspectives in the development process along with the effective participation of youth in national development. Over the years, most especially in the past decade, there has been a geometric increase in global awareness about the dynamic role of youth in sustainable development. In order for African Youths to play more substantive roles and take their place as the power-house of the Continent, there is dire need for the Youth to acknowledge that they are the solution to the current challenges faced in Africa.
AfriGrowth Foundation has pursued a positive approach to Youth development and designed laudable programs, which assert the Youth as not problems to be solved, but rather the problem solvers. The Foundation’s programs use ‘mentoring’ as the main vehicle of empowering Youths. In April 2006, AfriGrowth Foundation launched the Youth Mentoring Program, under the chairmanship of Mr. Frank Nweke Jnr, former Minister of Information. This noble program availed Youths the opportunity to be mentored directly by national icons that have distinguished themselves in their fields of expertise. Since commencement of the Program, AfriGrowth Foundation has mentored over 7,000 Nigerian Youths: 60% have been gainfully employed with the rest indulging in entrepreneurship and furthering their education. AfriGrowth Foundation believes that investment in Youth will culminate in placing them on a better pedestal to impact nation and the world at large.
As AfriGrowth Foundation unearthed the need for a collective and better understanding of youth participation; it facilitated a Strategic Roundtable Session in August 8, 2017, anchored on repositioning Nigerian Youths as National Assets. The representatives from ten other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in attendance underscored the need for effective youth participation and engagement in nation building, socially, economically, morally and politically. After series of presentations and highly interactive discourse, AfriGrowth Foundation resolved to initiate a National Youth Summit, which will change the current mindset of young Nigerians finally convened on September 13, 2018. The Repositioning Nigerian Youth Summit, which held in Abuja had in attendance over 250 Nigerian Youths: social workers, humanitarians, community leaders, activists, practitioners, academics, and entrepreneurs. The theme of the Summit- ‘Birthing a Generation of Impact Creators’ was indeed most appropriate, as the Foundation sought to reposition the mindset of Nigerian Youths as the engine of growth that will positively impact their immediate space of influence, in leadership, enterprise development and social transformation.
The Keynote Speaker, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, Chairman, Editorial Board of ThisDay Newspaper, delivered an outstanding paper on Building a New Generation of Impactful Young Nigerian Leaders. He stressed that in order for youth to impact the nation, they must strive to be a source of positive influence. Other notable speakers and resource persons at the Summit included, Mrs. Dayo Keshi, the President/Founder AfriGrowth Foundation and Former Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Ambassador Joe Keshi, Chairman, Board of Directors of AfriGrowth Foundation and Director General of BRACED Commission, Dr. Paddy Kemdi Njoku, the Chairman of the National Examination Council (NECO) Governing Board, Mr. Hugue Ngandeu Ngatta, Program Specialist, UNESCO Regional Office Abuja, Mrs. Latifat Aduke Balogun, CEO/Founder of Hatlab Ice Cream Delite, Dr. Magnus L. Kpakol is the Chairman, CEO and Chief Strategist at the Economic and Business Strategies (EBS), Mr. Oluseyi Oyebisi, Executive Director, Nigeria Network of NGOs and Dr. Noel Akpata, Founder of Stratex Pro. The major resolution at the end of the Summit was the unanimous decision to spread the tentacles of this enlightenment campaign anchored on changing the current mindset of Youths and repositioning them to take their place as assets and engines of growth beyond Nigeria to other African countries. This resolution birthed the Illuminate Africa Youth Conference.
Presently in line with the theme of 2020 International Youth Day, “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, which seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of Youths at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, AfriGrowth Foundation has developed the Illuminate Africa Youth Conference as an international platform for African Youth Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), key stakeholders on Youth Development in the continent and Africans in diaspora to converge with the intent of developing the requisite values, and attitudes they need to succeed as vibrant and vision driven assets in building Africa, socially, economically and politically. The first edition of the Conference with the theme ‘Instituting Pan-African Youth Engagement and Inclusion in Post COVID-19 Africa will explore the roles of African Youth CSOs in a post COVID 19 era, especially in the implementation of the African Youth Charter. Based on the current COVID 19 pandemic, the Illuminate Africa Youth Conference will be implemented as a Virtual Conference, which will broadcast for participation using a veritable Online Meeting Application. This Conference is founded on the belief that a Pan-African approach is required to catalyze growth and development in Africa. African Youths must understand and collaborate with their peers across the continent to remove barriers to trade, end conflict, and stimulate widespread positive change. More information on the Conference can be accessed at illuminateafricaconference.afrigrowth.org.
AfriGrowth Foundation remains in the front line of instituting a course of reflection and focus for renewed action centered on adding values to the lives of African Youths. The impact our programs have had on the lives of Youth cannot be overemphasized as they all emerged with a different and distinct mindset about life at the end of the each program.