By Victor Gotevbe
Volunteerism is regarded by several people as a natural endowment as not many people would do things they are not asked to do. 30 years old Philip Ogenero Daferiogho believes strongly in the destiny of Nigeria and the corporate future of Africa through selfless service.
Philip just returned from the United States of America having participated in the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP). He tells Youthful Vibes his work with youths, how the programme has impacted his life positively and how he intends to pass on the knowledge acquired.
I am a native of Ughelli South LGA in Delta State. My primary education was at Army Children School and I also attended the Saint Gregory’s College, South West, Ikoyi, Lagos. I obtained my Bachelors of Technology in Biochemistry from the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State.
WORKING WITH YOUNG PEOPLE THROUGH THE NIGERIAN RED CROSS
I serve in the Nigerian Red Cross, as the General Secretary of the Lagos Youth Wing. From my early days in the Red Cross (1997); I believed that the Red Cross can do more, aside from her Life Saving First Aid trainings and the succour she makes available to the vulnerable and victims of war, natural and man- made disasters.
The role of the Red Cross globally is not news, everybody and every community at one time or the other has or would benefit from the very important and fundamental support of the Red Cross. However, Ithink with the prevailing situation in Nigeria, we can leverage on the great resources (human and material) that the Red Cross makes available to build a prosperous and resident community.
So as the General Secretary of the Lagos Youth wing, we had set about developing a network of civic minded leaders who would engage and transform their communities through voluntary active participation.We (the Lagos Youth Wing) have designed and implemented programmes that promote holistic Youth Development (Leadership, Economic empowerment,civic participation and volunteerism).
We also advocate and articulate solution of societal concerns vis-a-viz climate change, HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, politics,citizenship, etc. The objective of these programs is to increase the capacity of our members and friends of the Red Cross so that they would be Model Change Agent (MCA) where ever they are or are called to serve.
HOW THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT HAS IMPACTED MY LIFE
Yes, I was in the United States of America for the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP). IVLP is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange programme launched in 1940. It seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders in government, politics, the media, education, the arts, business and other key fields.
We had a variety of thematic programmes, either individually or in groups, for up to three weeks. While in the U.S., International Visitors typically visit Washington, DC and three additional towns or cities that highlight the tremendous diversity of the U.S.We (I and 22 other IV’s from around the globe) attended professional appointments with our American counterparts, learnt about the U.S. system of government at the national, state and local levels, visited American schools, and experienced American culture and social life.We also shared our culture and offered insight on best practices and perspectives with our American hosts.
Thanks to the American government and people for the opportunity to be part of the IVLP, because it opened my mind and also reinforced my belief in the enviable destiny of my beloved Nigeria and our dear continent.
CASCADING THE BENEFITS OF THE IVLP
There is so much to learn and talk about, but for the sake of space, I will give a summary of my experience and how I hope to transmit it in Nigeria. The United States may not be the perfect country that we all think it is or the enemy as some had made people believe. In the U.S, I saw a people who understood and preserve history by way of documentation through museums, parks, movies, poetry, etc.
Americans always plan for the future (are proactive)- this is evident from the airport designs and location, the housing, academic system, most of the system, structure and infrastructure are serve below the current capacity in anticipation of futuristic development.
Also what is worthy of note is the ‘live for others’ lifestyle (voluntary service is a way of live, from the aged to the children – everybody lives and breath volunteerism. The army of voluntary organisations are organised and are in synch, complementing each other). The Schools offer students the chance to study at their pace with so many aid to make sure the student succeed.That is not to say that it is the utopian society, like many other society, there are flaws and errors.
As per how I would transmit my experience, I must say that the task is mammoth but not insurmountable.On a personal level, I would assist to scale up the programmes of the Lagos Red Cross Youth wing, so that we can reach out to more people and touch more communities within Lagos and her immediate environs. I would also partner with other organisation to articulate how we can better serve the Nigerian people in general.
As we know, no single individual or organisation can resolve our National issues. But from the IVLP, I found some programs/solution that would help with Job Creation, Entrepreneurship, Inspire Academic excellence, Cultural Preservation, Citizen Driven Governanc and Reduce Drug Abuse. So I will reach out to other leaders in the country, the IVLP alumnus community in Nigeria, the U.S Embassy and Consulate and other friends of Nigeria to assist in the current national transformation process.
To empower and facilitate Capacity building and strengthen the technical know how of NGO’s and Community based organizations (CBO’s). This is imperative, because most individuals and organisations operate at the basic skill level, which when improved upon can deliver a far greater dividend.
As a case in point, if trainings like Project/Programme design, management, monitoring and evaluation; NGO Administration and Management; Proposal/Grant writing, etc. If NGO’s and CBO’s are empowered with such expertise, we can expect their efficiency to increase, which will translated to effectively executed project in our communities; our people would be better for it.
SERVICE TO HUMANITY
Young people should serve with their gifts, resources, relationship, etc. We all have what we can contribute and let disappointment be the fuel for success.
YOUNG NIGERIANS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
NWAOGBOH CHRISTOPHER IFEANYI (MC krixturkar)
Nwaogboh Christopher Ifeanyi (MC Krixturkar) is from Ikwuano in Umuahia of Abia State. Hestarted his education at Ladipo Primary School OkeOja and Gaskiya College, Cardoso BadiaIjora, Lagos. He received a Diploma in public Administration from UNIFECS in 2001 and a Bachelors Degree from one of Nigeria’s premier institution of higher learning (University Of Nigeria, Nsukka) where he studied Fine and Applied Arts (Graphics Major).
His artistic inclination moved him from the art studio and stage acting to the sound studio as an On Air Personality with the institution’s radio outfit (91.1 Lion FM, UNN) for a period of 3 years before graduation. While the clarion call to National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) in 2008 fetched him a Certificate of Graduate Membership with the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM).
However, his craving for career advancement in Media and Project Management connected him to RedSTRAT Communications, owners of The Future Project and organizers of the Future Awards where he garnered some trainings. They have helped him to occupy several leadership positions.
He has also received several awards. He presently doubles as The Head of Strategy Department & Creative Director of Bravehearts Entertainment Kulture (BEK Africa), an Events and Projects Management Outfit propelled by young Nigerian Leaders in the Ajegunle where he was born, while occupying the desk of General Manager at the stable of Microres Nigeria Limited, a New Media Consulting Firm and Google Aggregator, the firm is a proud owner of What Is New (Win TV) where Christopher is a Presenter/Producer.
BASSEY BRIGHT JERRY- KADUNA
BASSEY BRIGHT JERRY (500l Nursing Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria) is a writer and speaker. He is the founder of Youths Aflame Network International (YANI), an organization aimed towards touching lives of youths especially in the area of sex, drug and alcohol.
In his own words: “We believe youths are the future of our country and so the need to make them realize the effect of youthful vices in their lives. We organize workshops, seminars and conferences for youths and teens”. This passion dates back to 2009. Bassey has written two books titled : ‘Is premarital sex and alcohol really that bad?’ And ‘Youths and teens, the future begins now’. They were both published in Nigeria, USA and Germany.
Bassey’s few years experience in the Nursing profession and as a nursing student created a deep passion inside of him to raise a sex-pure generation of youths. He sees himself owning a big secretariat where youths and teens that need to be counseled, encouraged and motivated.