The 2-Day Lagos Learning Journey embarked upon by the ASHOKA Anglophone West Africa (@AshokaWA) was a successful one. The goals were to explore the challenges of Social Entrepreneurs in Lagos; the learning journey was also to proffer solutions to the issues discovered and chart a course for the Ashoka Fellows and Changemakers in taking the next Step to build …nurturing environments that allow young Africans, Lagos Youths in particular to become leaders both today and tomorrow.

Experiencing this journey firsts hand were Josephine Nzerem a Social Entrepreneur and the Regional Director of Anglophone West Africa, Arjun Durr, the program officer for Global Venture and Fellowship, Ifeyinwa Egwaoje, Venture and Fellowship manager of Anglophone West Africa, and other Ashoka changermakers from different walks of life and corporate bodies were represented -Microsolft, Intel, ISAIAH Wealth Initiative, JOBMAN, DEEPEN, Syscomptech and Alder Consulting

The journey saw them to Mediacon where Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode, explained in details her battles to protect victims of child sexual abuse. She made a point that most child sexual abuse are committed by familiar people to the victims and not strangers. The challenges include Silence by parents, cumbersome Court processes are discouraging and inadequate misrepresentation by the media. In proffering solution, she suggests Parents speak out more, Government get involved, creating polices that will protect the child from access to pornography and internet molestation.

Dr. Princess is a criminal justice psychologist, child protection consultant and victim advocate and Chief Executive Officer of Media Concern for Women and Children Initiative (MediaCon). An organization that is committed to addressing and contributing to effective and sustainable sexual violence response in Nigeria and Africa.

The ASHOKA Learning Journey also took participants to the heart of Lagos Island, to W.Tec, Women’s Empowerment Technology Centre, a nonprofit organization set up to encourage girls to use technology to empower themselves socially and economically. The founder and Executive Director, Oreoluwa Lesi also shares her goal in training girls and women to use technology to do business or to better their lives. They particularly deal with school girls from ages 13 to 17 to use computer applications to solve daily problems, design games and robots. Of particular interest is a teenage Lagos girl, who struggles daily with the journey from home to school, to the W.Tec Center and back home through dangerous and busy streets of Lagos Island. In spite of that, she remains outstanding in her learning and proves that Lagos youths can be an asset for the society. TIPTOP International School, in Festac Town, a Changemaker School, was also visited by the ASHOKA team where students are taught to be part of the change needed in Lagos state. The well-taught, highly brilliant students were armed with questions for the ASHOKA team on the spate of insecurity of children in parts of Lagos, child rape, and poor standard of education in some Lagos public and private school. Of importance is the exposure of pupils to internet porn and hazards of ICT equipment, which is very disturbing. It was discussed that the government should put policies in place that would control access to internet porn and to protect the children from radiation from cellphone and telecoms mast all over the place.

A visit to African Farmer Mogaji was one of the highlights of the event. It was incredible to hear that the farm at Yaba, right in the heart of Lagos Mainland supplies over 80% of the vegetables consumed in Lagos Mainland. This farm, which is thye effort of several team of farmers boast of spring onions, green, and other vegetables in commercial quantity, goes a long way to prove that Lagos youths, if well motivated can make and create wealth through agriculture and be the needed Change maker in our society. AfricanFarmer Mogaji who coordinates this effort is taking advantage of available platforms to reduce unemployment, underemployment, transform lives out of poverty, promote enterprise development among rural and urban farmers in Nigeria and Africa. Little wonder he has been named by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as a ‘Champion for Change.’

Ashoka is a global network of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs identifying and supporting social entrepreneurs and changemakers with innovative solutions for youth employment in sub Saharan Africa. The initiative also convenes a wider community of practitioners, thought leaders, and young Africans who spread insights and effective approaches with a vision to redefine meaningful work and opportunity in the 21st century.

At end of the 2-day Lagos Learning Journey, it is clear that an average Lagos Youth is not a threat to the society. All hands must be on deck to expose the available resources we have and support must be provided to translate the skills of the youth into productive and meaningful employment. Not only will young people find lasting jobs, they will also create them.

~ EmdeeDavid

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davoice (22358 Posts)