Your little effort can make a difference in a young person’s life – Danjuma Mohammed Haruna
By Victor Gotevbe
This weekend we bring you the story of Danjuma from the Northern part of Nigeria. Danjuma is a one- time winner of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, National Essay Competition. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Economics 2004, from Kogi State University, Nigeria, a Proficiency Certificate in Management from the Prestigious Nigerian Institute of Management, 2006. He is also a member of the Institute. What is most remarkable about him is his interest in Youth empowerment and activism in spite of his academic background as an economist/ a financial analyst.
What would you say was most interesting about your childhood?
I will say the most interesting part of my childhood is the good education my parents gave to me. Truly, that is the best gift you can give to any child. I never lacked any educational materials right from my elementary education up till my tertiary education. I had all my text books.
You emerged winner of a national essay competition, could you tell us more about the competition?
This is slightly above a decade. It was an annual essay competition organized by the Nigeria Stock Exchange for both Secondary and Tertiary institutions. I think I was in my 200 level as an undergraduate student of Kogi State University. I was walking through the Student Affairs Department when I saw the advert on the notice board.
I decided to send in my entry ,and I was selected as a state winner category (Kogi State), that is the best entry from Kogi State. I got the award on October 22, 2002 at a ceremony in Lagos. I was honored with a certificate and an amount of money in the form of shares in one of the top brewery companies in Nigeria. That was one of the happiest moments of my life, because everybody including my parents and my siblings were all proud of me.
You have been involved in training young people. What has been the motivation for this, and the level impact of these training programmes on the target?
I have had the privilege of volunteering with various NGOs for over 7 years now. It has been a wonderful experience for me. As the Kogi State Coordinator of an NGO whose aim and vision is ICT empowerment for young people it has offered me ample opportunity to contribute my quota to youth empowerment in my community. I received training from the NGO to become a trainer and facilitator; even though I had strong ICT skills myself.
All I needed was the capacity on how to transfer the knowledge to young people. I hate to see people being denied access to what is supposed to be a necessity and not luxury. That’s the reason why I have been using my little resources and knowledge to help the youths in my community. I have trained a lot of young people in my community through the ICT programme of the NGO.
My motivation has to do with the fact that in my community several young people have limited access to ICT skills, I needed to fill the gap . This has been my motivation which is primarily empowering young people. Level of impact? We have really tried our best through various partnerships and collaborations from stakeholders, getting to use some internet café and computer laboratories of some institutions since our trainings are absolutely free of charge.
The impact has been massive as we have succeeded in training hundreds of young people in my community. I love working with young people, it gives me joy and fulfillment to see them get opportunity to achieve their dreams through my little effort.
Your background is Finance/Economics, but you seem to have a flair for climate change initiatives. Could it be because it attracts a lot of financing?
Yes, I hold a Bachelors degree in Economics but I got into climate change initiative about 4 years ago arising from its effects on the earth crust, women and the entire human race. In August, 2012, I was voted into the office of the North Central Zonal Coordinator of African Youth Initiative on Climate Change-Nigeria. Personally, I consider it an opportunity to contribute more to climate change campaign.
Climate change initiatives attract a lot of financing, but for me that shouldn’t be a motivating factor and I have always financed myself to various events I attended. So, it has nothing to do with money. You saw what flood did to us in 2012. That is a wakeup call for us to know that climate change is real.
I have been involved in preparing several youth position papers on various climate change conferences (COP) and have also participated at various levels of climate change initiatives, seminars, workshops and youth round table all geared toward enlightening different communities and stakeholders about climate change effects.
What is your advice for Nigerian youth?
I would recommend that they first believe in themselves. They should always look inward for answers to them achieving their dreams. In the words of J.F Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you— ask what you can do for your country” if youths have this in their minds, it will help a lot in understanding that what’s important is that you put in effort to achieve your dream and not wait for government that don’t have all the resources to assist.
How has the security situation in the North affected young people in pursuit of their dreams?
It is no news again that we are faced with serious security challenge in Nigeria, but I think the government and other stakeholders are trying their best to curtail the situation. The first prerequisite for development or growth is a peaceful atmosphere; a country where peace exists tend to achieve its potential faster than those with security challenges.
Yes, there is, especially those making a difference in their various communities. No one will want to visit conflict-prone states to carry out his or her social work. Even though this challenge has affected mostly youth from the northern part, the story has been different for youths in other parts of the country especially southwest where they enjoy peaceful co-existence.
In all, I strongly think if the young people look more at themselves as a stronger unit there is light at the end of the tunnel for them. They will surely achieve their dreams.
YOUNG NIGERIANS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
ATTA DANJUMA ABDULMALIK KOGI STATE
If you are reading this without the aid of your glasses, you would probably appreciate what it means to be virtually impaired or even blind. Atta Danjuma Abdulmalik is the founder and CEO of the Danjuma Atta Eye Foundation. This 36 years old hails from a tribe in Okene and was born into the noble family of late Alhaji and Hajia Shehu Atta with full potential and enthusiasm from his background.
His passion for the foundation was borne out of an earnest desire to address the persistent degenerating healthcare service across the country that resulted in his incapacitation at a tender age. This situation started with itching of the eyes which deteriorated and finally rendered him visually impaired. Hence, he since determined to ensure that such avoidable incidents do not occur again, especially to the less privileged citizens of Nigeria.