By Udeme Akpan
THE Mandela Washington Fellows Alumni Association of Nigeria (MWFAAN) is set to host over 1000 active Nigerian youth leaders with the goal of collaborating actions that will promote sustainable national development through the Young Leaders Assembly.
In a statement sent to Vanguard, Margaret Nongo-Okojokwu, Publicity Secretary, MWFAAN, stated that the vision of the program is to over time become like a local replica of the United Nations’ youth assembly where young leaders, including young civic leaders, entrepreneurs, public managers, activists and student leaders working to promote national development and the sustainable development goals are recognized and celebrated.
The statement stated that the summit with the theme: Paradigm shift; Creating a youth-led development agenda for Nigeria will feature 3 powerful keynote speeches, 3 Panel Sessions, 1 set of syndicate sessions and an action plan development session.
It stated, “This summit will also feature the Beyond School Community Challenge grand finale and the President Barack Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI) Awards presentation and will hold in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on the 22nd of September, 2018.
“Invited guests and speakers include Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Mr Tonye Cole of Sahara Energy, Governor Godwin Obaseki, Mrs Tara Durotoye of House of Tara, Doctor Amy Jadesimi of LADOL and the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Symington.
“The project is envisioned strategically to position Nigerian youths on the pivotal roles in the realization of Sustainable Development Goals in all critical sectors of the economy by 2030 through a coordinated infusion of entrepreneurial and leadership skills through YALI network.”
It disclosed that the Beyond School Community Challenge will host the top 10 finalists selected schools and students to compete for the grand prizes in the Beyond School Challenge final pitching competition.
The statement stated, “As a national community development and entrepreneurship program for secondary school students, it aims to engage young people in Nigeria for the purpose of creating impact within their community and developing critical entrepreneurial skills.
“The program further seeks to inspire students to improve their communities through entrepreneurial action. Each finalist team is made up of 3 high school students with a teacher.
“Each team will be tasked to provide an innovative idea or solution in their community within the framework of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“The finalists would be transported, accommodated in Abuja and fed by the BSC team for all the duration of their stay. There would be a mentoring session and dinner for the finalists by selected Mandela Washington Fellows.
“The 2018 finalists would be taking on-site the Ventures Platform, a tour of important places in Abuja and visits to selected Fellow’s start-ups and organizations.
“Finalists would also attend an exclusive networking dinner alongside the YALI leadership Awardees and will be attended by Mandela Washington Fellows and representatives of other notable youth networks and organizations in Abuja.
“The grand finale will hold during the young leaders’ assembly, and each of the 10 teams of finalists will be given 10 minutes each to present their business idea/project.
“Judges would be Mandela Washington Fellows in the Business and Entrepreneurship track and winners would be selected based on the viability, feasibility and sustainability of the idea as well as audience votes.
“Prizes will include a total grant of N400, 000 to the best 3 projects teams, access to three months mentoring from industry experts and Fellows, additional educational grants for each winning team member, award plaques, certificates for the Schools involved and Cash Prizes for the best Mentor/Teacher.
“The Assembly will also feature the YALI Leadership Awards which aims to recognize, celebrate and encourage youths and individuals who are contributing immensely towards the pursuit of the sustainable development goals as well as youth and economic development in Nigeria.
“Potential Awardees include YALI Network members, youth leaders across the country and some corporate Nigerians. The Awardees would be hosted in Abuja, with flights and accommodation paid for, would attend an exclusive networking dinner with Mandela Washington Fellows and other business and industry experts, they’ll be presented a plaque, certificate and YALI Network professional development materials.
“The award process started with an online nomination method where individuals self-nominated or were nominated by people who trust them. The Nominees were then reviewed, investigated and selected, based on their level of evidence-based, demonstration of leadership and commitment to national and youth development through their different categories.”