At Young Changemakers Festival, UWGN, Ashok Call For An End To Pointing Of Fingers In National Issue

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United Way Greater Nigeria (UWGN), Ashoka Africa and others have called for an end to singling out individuals or groups for blame in national issues.
They made the call at this year’s Ashoka Young Changemakers (AYC) Festival held at The Zone, Gbagada, Lagos.
With the theme: Inspire, Enable, and Activate Youth Changemaking in Nigeria, the festival aimed to enable and inspire young individuals to positively impact their communities and the world. The event provided a platform for learning, networking, and showcasing the incredible projects and ideas led by young changemakers in Nigeria and other countries.
The festival brought together 300 participants, including students and educators from Lagos State, young changemakers, social entrepreneurs, partners and others.
The AYC programme curates a network of young leaders under 21 who exemplify
inspirational leadership within their communities. These changemakers innovate, lead teams, and assume roles as youth influencers and peer allies. The programme connects them with essential tools, opportunities, and supportive networks to amplify their impact.
Speaking at the programme, Executive Director, United Way Greater Nigeria, Deola Durodola, said: “Much like the Global United Way headquartered in the US, United Way Greater Nigeria firmly believes in the power of collaboration. Across Nigeria, we partner with nonprofits, companies, governments, and individuals to help people and communities thrive. Over the years, we have consistently worked to improve the quality of education and learning outcomes for students and young people. Additionally, we provide grants and support to young people making a difference in their communities through our yearly International Youth Day Grant. Our partnership with Ashoka Africa on the CTEACH initiative, and by extension the Ashoka Young Changemakers Festival, aligns with our mission and goals. We are incredibly proud to inspire these young people to recognize their potential as agents of change and motivate them to take tangible actions to address social, environmental, and economic challenges in their communities.”
Speaking also, Regional Director, Ashoka Africa, Josephine NZerem, said: “Our vision is to build a world where everyone is a Changemaker; we must know that no one can build the world where everyone is a change maker if we don’t have young people and teachers involved. We need to change the mindset of teachers thinking that education is about passing Mathematics, English and other subjects.
“Africa’s Young Changemakers in recognition of all the young people all over the world who have found their paths, recognise the problems and design the solution.
“This is a pilot programme that started on September 26, 2023, now this is celebrating all the teachers and students that were involved. We have had boot camps and others before the festival so, it’s a celebration.
Speaking on young people and the use of social media, she said: “We are making young people understand that what they have in their smartphones are tools of engagement and campaigns so, they are using their social media platforms to recruit other young people for them to understand social issues and design solutions. We believe that once we teach them how to see things differently, they will do differently.
“We need everyone in Nigeria today, we don’t want people pointing fingers, we must respond to social problems and we are proud that the young people we have found are not young people pointing fingers but doing the job.
Advising young people, she said: “My message to young children is that they should be observant of their community, start small and solve problems.
The highlight was the culmination of the CTEACH program, an innovative initiative designed as a learning journey for secondary school teachers in Lagos State. Additionally, the event introduced nine remarkable Ashoka Young Changemakers recognized for their exceptional leadership and groundbreaking solutions to Nigeria’s pressing social issues including challenges in mental health, education, environmental sustainability, and gender equality.
When asked who she became one of Ashoka Young Changemaker, a 17-year-old Founder of Go Learners, Dawn Cobham, said: “Go Learner is an online educational platform for secondary school students and we are focused on giving students after classes and resources they may not have so, I have a mentor who shared the information about AYC with me based on my work and he guided me and it’s been good since then.
When asked about the inspiration for her work, she said: “I did not have the money to pay for after class and most of my classmates had an edge over me so, I told myself that I do not have to wait and that I must help others in my shoes.
“My advice for young people like me is to find their passion and when they do, they will be successful.
On her part, CTEACH Director, Angelou Ezeilo, “We are interested in inspiring teachers to inspire the children by bringing in change-making attitudes like collaboration, and empathy. 21-century skills are essential for young people to thrive in this changing world.

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