British Council will today unveil events to celebrate 75 years of creating opportunities and making an impact in Nigeria by launching its ‘Thanks to You’ campaign.
The first library, known as British Council House, had opened on the Marina in the old Exhibition Hall, Lagos on June 9, 1944. “Since then, the British Council has changed the lives of millions of Nigerians through our different programmes”, the body said in a statement, yesterday.
The British Council is the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities and we currently operate in over 100 countries globally. The statement went on: “At the British Council, we have realized that people deserve opportunities that can provide better livelihoods, and that valuable connections can facilitate these opportunities. In Nigeria, we do this through our work in education, providing training and capacity building initiatives to people in the Arts, enterprise, society and education sectors.
“We also provide access to global opportunities through our exams, where we provide Nigerians with globally recognized professional and university qualifications right here in Nigeria. Every year, we reach out to thousands of students, educators, policymakers, academics, researchers, creatives and entrepreneurs in Nigeria with our work across these sectors.
“A sustained, 12-month campaign of exciting gala events, community gatherings, TEDx-style talks and social media activities, both across Nigeria and in the UK, will showcase 75 amazing stories of how the British Council has been a part of people’s lives in the last 75 years and how these in turn, have positively impacted the lives and communities of millions of others.
“Inspirational examples will include the likes of, Itoro Eze-Anaba, founder of the remarkable Mirabel Centre, a first of its kind sexual assault referral facility in Nigeria, it has provided free forensic medical and counselling services to over 3,000 clients from different parts of Lagos State.
“This followed Itoro’s British Council-sponsored, educational trip to study Violence Against Women. “I was impressed and immediately made up my mind to open a centre in Nigeria. The British Council provided the funding to establish the Mirabel Centre. Without this support, it would have been really difficult”.
“Also, Nwamaka Ogboanna, a political economist and research analyst, who was a beneficiary of the British Council’s Future Leaders Connect Programme. “I feel much more empowered and convinced about my long-term ambitions to significantly develop and implement successful industrial policies within Nigeria and across Africa.”
“And, Stephen Oke, a recipient of a NLNG-British Council Postgraduate Scholarship to the University of Cambridge in 2014, who is now a top Associate with Nigeria’s leading commercial law firm. “The intellectual stimulation of studying at the University of Cambridge and the privilege of interacting in a cultural convergence of people from all parts of the world gave me new perspectives that I will forever be grateful for.”
“The British Council works with more than 10 million people every year out of offices in Abuja, Kano, Lagos and Port Harcourt reaching audiences of more than 52 million.
“To put the scale of the British Council’s activities in Nigeria into perspective, in 2018/2019 alone, 117,352 internationally recognised exams were taken by Nigerians connecting them to worldwide learning opportunities, which will improve their life chances. 2,935 teachers have been trained through schools and English language programmes since 2018. More than 3,900 students across 26 schools have gained access to an international dimension in their education through the International School’s Award to help them prepare for successful future careers in an increasingly global economy. Also in 2018, 4,832 artists were provided with empowerment opportunities through training and networking platforms.
“As part of the anniversary celebration campaign, the British Council in Nigeria is inviting all those whose lives have been transformed or empowered by its work to get involved in the celebration by sharing their British Council story”.