November 23, 2011

Young High School Leavers in Calabar roll out of Youth LEAD 2011: A rare blend of Fun and Impact!

Starting on November 9 and ending on November 15, 2011, selected Young School leavers in Calabar successfully completed the 5-day intensive and hands-on Youth Leadership, Entrepreneurship and Academic Development (YLEAD) training organized by RYPE Initiative in partnership with American Corner Calabar.

It is true that youths are the hub of the nation and the agents that will foster development. But it is saddening that most of them are unreached and do not have the necessary leadership skills to serve as agents of change in Nigeria. The value system and principles of ethics seem to have been swept down. The good news however is that many of these young people are eager and willing to learn and acquire skill set to get from where they are now to where they want to be. 
It is in the light of this that Youth Leadership Entrepreneurship And Development (YLEAD) program was introduced to help reach many underserved youths. Recognizing that young people are the ones who would meet the specific manpower needs of the nation, RYPE Initiative in partnership with American Corner Calabar set out to inspire, empower and prepare a select group of young school leavers to become leaders, movers and shakers of Nigeria and the world at large. This aim was not defeated.

The 5-day training program was intensive and hands-on, fun, interactive, engaging, entertaining, and informative and like never before, very impactful. Using presentations, interactive talks, group work, break outs, video sessions, individual presentations, outdoor volunteering and round-table mentoring, the selected team of experienced young professionals, mentors and volunteers impacted new knowledge in the participants and sparked up something within them to start taking positive strides today.
 more photos here
Volunteer trainers included:
Jonah Benson, Human Resource Consultant at HCRB;
Eno Praise, Leadership speaker and consultant at Leadin Consults;
Grace Ihejiamaizu, Project Coordinator at RYPE Initiative;
Ann Mesembe, ICT trainer/American Corner Coordinator and 
Lilian Ekanem, Founding Executive Director of WYCUT. 
On the panel of judges at the Business Challenge included some of the trainers with FullBright Scholar State Alumni, Dr. (Mrs.) Franca Bassey.

Topics covered were; Self-awareness, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Goal setting/Time Management Ethics and Etiquette, Networking and Interpersonal Relationships, Effective use of the Social Media, Volunteering, Public Speaking and Communication.

There were group exercises which helped the participants to work in teams, widen their horizon, think creatively and outside the box, air their views and opinions on various issues affecting youths, proffer solutions to these issues and demonstrate leadership.

The Volunteering activity really swept the participants off their feet as most of them had never been involved in such. 

Emmanuel, one the participants said; “I never knew the essence of volunteerism until I volunteered and my heart was filled with joy because I actually helped somebody to do something without being paid”, this was after the volunteer session at a Crèche.
“I have neither seen nor used a saw before, but today, I was opportune to use one while volunteering at the Calabar Municipal Council” said Matilda, one of the participants. 
“Right before we left for the Family support School, I always knew volunteerism was the right thing to do, We did some chores like sweeping, cleaning, and fetching water, some of us even had the chance to teach; and when we left the school, I knew I had done the right thing”, another participant while playing the ‘right and left' game after the volunteer session.
Participants expressed deep satisfaction with the program. There was 100% increase in knowledge and 100% affirmation that the program fully met their expectation and has helped them make new decisions to contribute positively to make this world a better place.

In their own words,
“My Aunty has been forcing me to read Medicine and Surgery. But with all I’ve learnt especially on goal setting and time management, I have decided to go for my passion.” Edidiong Akpan 
“I don’t have the right expression to use but YLEAD has inspired and empowered me to go out into the world, use my skills and make a positive change. I have decided to go and teach and empower others.” Bisong Veronica 
“I feel very great and happy and I have decided to deploy my skills and become an entrepreneur.” Effiong Ayaya 
“I did not know what it takes to be a leader. But with this training, I am more of a leader now” Umoh Okokon 
“The sub-conscious state of a free-thinker and the reading ability within me has been revived.” Redarokim Ikongha
YLEAD 2011 went beyond the training program to provide mentoring and also place the participants on internship programs to learn various skills. The participants were divided into three major groups that cover their skills of interest. The partner firms offering these internships include Altramar Servies Limited (Computer Technology), Gladem Digital Company (Photography and Editing), and Keem Prestige (Fashion Designing).

With support and sponsorship from the Michelle Obama’s Young African Women Leader’s Forum Small Grants, YLEAD was a full package. 

Following the training, was the business hunt show where five (10) of the graduating students presented their creative business ideas. While only one of the participants, Edidiong Akpan emerged winner of the grand prize of ₦50,000 to start up a business, the others were encouraged to activate these business ideas and seek for opportunities to realize them. “It was a wonderful and life-changing experience” said Redarokim one of the contestants after the program. They all expressed their gratitude to the organizers, recommending an annual running of the program for upcoming secondary school graduates to benefit.

“The essence of this program which was to infuse independence, self-awareness, ethical values, leadership and entrepreneurial skills into young people was not defeated” said Grace Ihejiamaizu, the Project Coordinator of RYPE Initiative/YLEAD. “We have instilled the right values and skills in them at a very young age and we no longer hope, we believe that they would remain inspired and develop problem-solving ideas to make a difference in Nigeria.

ESPECIALLY THE Michelle Obama Young African Women Leaders' Forum

1 comment:

Effiong Ayaya said...

My name is Effiong ayaya, i attended the youthlead programme that was held @ the american corner, and i benefited tremenduosly coz now i can boldly tell sum1 that i'm a leader, i have learnt that success doesnt come through miracle bt by what u actually sowed, i learnt that the poor use time 2 save money while d rich use money 2 save time, i thank the organizerz of the programme and i pray that God should give them the enablement 2 do more. I pray i should become an entreprenuer sumday with d sole aim of solvin a problem rather than 2 make money, plz o. Aunty ann,grace,peter una 2 much

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