International advocacy organisation, Global Citizen, has welcomed the first enrollment of ten Nigerian fellows for its third annual Global Citizen Fellowship Program powered by BeyGOOD. Along with five fellows from South Africa, these Nigerian fellows will be going on a dynamic year-long, full-time, paid learning program.
Based in Lagos and Johannesburg, the fellowship will focus on Global Citizen’s four pillars of activity: creative, campaigns, rewards, and marketing, and will work towards achieving Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan For The World.
The program also features a four-phase learner-centered curriculum designed to equip the fellows with a variety of practical, useful and pragmatic skills, such as problem solving, critical thinking, how to build community, professional and personal development, advocacy, international development, and global citizenship.
During the course of the year, the fellows will learn how to use digital technology for social change, storytelling tactics that shift attitudes, and the process of building lasting professional relationships. The program also aims to foster an in-depth understanding of the role that innovation plays in an ever changing digital world.
The Global Citizen Fellowship, supported by Beyoncé’s BeyGOOD philanthropic initiative and US actor and filmmaker, Tyler Perry, works with young aspiring Africans, taking them through a multi-phase curriculum, specifically designed to equip and empower them with the skills and tools they need to thrive, not just during their time with Global Citizen, but also in any future professional environment.
Launched in 2019, this fellowship is aligned to Global Citizen’s vision of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030, providing young people with opportunities to gain experience working on social impact projects.
Chebet Chikumbu, Regional Director of Southern and East Africa at Global Citizen said she is “really excited to welcome our first Nigerian fellows, who will be joining their peers from South Africa, for an invaluable paid year-long fellowship designed to inspire, empower and elevate each young person. Now in its third year, the Global Citizen Fellowship Program 2021 Powered By BeyGOOD, offers each fellow the opportunity to become equipped with skills and tools for life. Our unique model calls on young engaged citizens, such as our rising fellows, to actively contribute to social change via digital activism and realise their own role in our overarching mission to mobilise communities towards the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030.”
Sophiyat Sadiq grew up in a low-income household and experienced first hand the lack of opportunities for girls in her community. It is what drives her passion to advocate for access to quality education for girls in underserved communities. She applied to the fellowship to hone her campaign and policy skills to influence change in her community.
“Everyone everywhere should be able to access quality education and opportunities regardless of gender barriers, cultural beliefs and stereotypes, socio economic background or financial status. I want to gain practical work experience by actively engaging with various stakeholders involved in the process of making a change or passing a law.” Sadiq said.
Adekunle Adepoju has always had big dreams and aspirations especially when it comes to using technology to help small businesses and rural communities overcome challenges. “I strongly believe that economic growth and sustainable development in Africa can be truly led by small businesses and I have seen first-hand how technology can be leveraged to create wealth and jobs over a short period of time,” he told Global Citizen.
Adekunle hopes that the fellowship will provide him with knowledge and resources because he wants to build a business in future.
As a writer, Sanusi fully expresses her belief that everyone deserves to live a full and liberated life. Her work cuts across reduced inequalities, quality education and gender based violence, and has been featured in publications like Teen Vogue and VICE UK.
“Growing up as a woman in Nigeria, I saw first-hand how women were silenced and limited simply because of their gender,” Tife Sanusi told Global Citizen. “I want young girls to grow up learning about the passionate revolutionaries who came before them and recognize that they too can change the world.”
Azeez Abubakar is passionate about sustainable development, innovation, and technology. He is particularly driven to help vulnerable communities facing the impacts of climate climate change and extreme poverty. He actively campaigns for the United Nations’ Global Goals, and mobilized fifty of his peers to join him in standing for them. He’s also taken part in the World Bank Youth Summit on Resilient Recovery for People, and won the 2019 BIM Africa Student Advocacy Program thanks to his innovative designs aimed at promoting environmental sustainability.
“Millions of people, especially in Africa, lack the resources to quickly recover from the effects of climate change, specifically those who did the least to cause it,” Abubakar said. “It is imperative that developed countries take immediate action to mitigate climate change and help the most vulnerable people adapt and build resilience against climate-induced loss and damage.”
Blossom Egbude is a qualified lawyer who practices intellectual property and corporate law in Nigeria. Her personal experience growing up in a community where girls’ education is not prioritised motivated her to advocate for equal access to education.
“My grandmother did not get a formal education because it was believed in her community that it was preferable to train boys instead,” she said. “It was believed that boys ultimately built successful careers but girls ended up married, making their education useless. Despite these challenges, she raised three children as a single mother through her work on her farm.”
“Education is a tool to end global poverty, bridge the gap of inequality and create global opportunities and this is why I am interested in providing a more equal world for girls through education like my grandmother never had.”
In joining the fellowship program, Egbude is most looking forward to creating innovative campaigns that drive change, and using the skills she’ll gain to tackle the world’s deepest inequality, specifically in education.
Gideon Oluwabunmi Fakomogbon
Gideon Oluwabunmi Fakomogbon believes that access to quality education is important to develop a sustainable and inclusive society and that is why he studied education policy in the university. Fakomogbon applied to the fellowship to gain skill and training to make his dream of ensuring everyone has access to quality education become a reality.
“I look forward to engaging with and gaining insights from mentors and peers constantly. The fellowship program will be a guide way for me to learn about the various values, attitudes, knowledge, training, and skills required to understand and solve complex challenges relating to educational access.”
Fakomogbon has obtained more than ten project management, technology, and leadership related certifications from top universities and companies worldwide.
Corruption and economic mismanagement that continue to result in worsening inequality and poverty in Nigeria are the reasons why Jenny Emem is motivated to make a difference.
“Tackling poverty caused by mismanagement and unequal allocation of national resources is a cause that grips my interest because of how rampant and normalised the inequality has become,” Emem said. “The worsening poverty and inequality in Nigeria has opened the gateway to several other issues in governance, social relations and even national security. I expect the fellowship program to be a season of new challenges, mental growth and exposure to dynamic leadership and mentorship.”
Mohammed Bayero Yayandi
Social activist, Mohammed Bayero Yayandi, is a changemaker who has been featured on the British Council of Nigeria’s blog as one of the 75 most inspiring stories by British Council Nigeria.
Yayandi seeks to make a change through digital literacy, having founded YandyTech, a platform that supplies young people, women, and children with skills in the Information and Communication Technology space.
“I am interested in girl child education and digital literacy, because I believe that education is key to social development, a reasonable society can’t deny the fact,” he said.
Yayandi aims to grow his skills in the fellowship program, and hopes to learn from the other fellows, as well as the dedicated mentors, in order to further his knowledge and empower him to continue to make an essential contribution to his community.
Oluwafunmilayo Taiwo is a development communications professional with over 4 years experience. She is passionate about advancing the sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of young people through age-appropriate sexuality education.
“Every region of Nigeria has dynamic SRHR issues, all of which are directly linked to the high rates of unplanned pregnancies and the resultant increasing poverty rates,” she told Global Citizen. “I believe that tackling these issues [by encouraging] young people [to be] aware of their sexual and reproductive rights is key to eliminating extreme poverty across generations.”
Taiwo applied to the fellowship to learn about improved ways to leverage technology for advocacy and storytelling for impact.
Rukayat Tokosi is interested in human rights and providing educational access for underprivileged and vulnerable groups in her community, particularly children, young girls and women. Her passion is rooted in personal experience too — she was denied a fair chance to contest for class governor in her university because of her gender, she told Global Citizen.
“No one cared about my credentials or past successes but for them ‘why should a woman lead a sea of men?’ This was one of the many defining points for me where I realised that there’s a gap between men and women that must be bridged quickly,” Tokosi said.
Tokosi is particularly interested in improving her storytelling skills so that she can “shine the light on people’s differing perspectives which in turn builds their empathy for others and build a community of inclusiveness.” She is a former youth representative with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Lagos Office, and a member of the African Youth and Adolescent Network on Population and Development (AfriYAN).
You can read more about the Global Citizen Fellowship Program powered by BeyGOOD when you visit www.globalcitizen.org/fellows, and more about the Global Citizen movement when you visit www.globalcitizen.org.