LEAP Africa Inducts 20 Young Fellows For Its 2014 Social Innovators Programme
As part of an initiative to empower young change-makers in Nigeria, a Lagos based organization- Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism (LEAP) Africa, is creating a network of young African social innovators through its Social Innovators Programme (SIPA).
The programme also enables Nigerian social entrepreneurs access funding and mentorship opportunities needed to expand their enterprises for the benefit of the communities they serve.
Young social entrepreneurs from diverse background have benefitted from this programme since its inception and the new beneficiaries are 2014 fellows who were inducted on Thursday, during an award ceremony held in Lagos, Nigeria.
“I was very happy when I got to know I was selected for the fellowship, because that means my work is being recognized. I know LEAP Africa will help to grow my organization, this one year fellowship I know I will be able to actualize some of my dreams,” said Ogunye Doyinsola Dolapo, Founder Environmental Development Initiatives for Children, and 2014 fellow of SIPA.
LEAP Africa is a nonprofit organization that is committed to developing dynamic, innovative and principled African leaders. This Social Innovators Programme and Award is one of the offshoot of LEAP’s Annual Nigerian Youth Leadership Award (ANYLA) which, since 2004, has been a platform for recognizing the efforts of outstanding young Nigerians who have distinguished themselves by making positive impact in community development.
“LEAP Africa has a huge knowledge base and they are also good in the area of funding and mentorship of their fellows,” said Ogunye.
“I am very excited for being part of the 2014 fellowship. It is an avenue for me to learn, connect and take my initiative -Reachout22- to a greater level,” said Omoyele Isaac, another beneficiary of the programme.
Meanwhile, a 2013 fellow of the Social Innovators Programme, Ayoola Micheal Ajebeku, Co-Founder, Nearest Locator, while sharing his experience said that it couldn’t be quantified in monetary terms.
“The lessons I learnt was beyond the money- it was really great,” he said.
“With LEAP Africa I was able to learn things within months, things that will take me two to three years to learn in a business School where I will pay hundreds of thousands of Naira” Ayoola said.
The programme is described as one that young Nigerian social innovators always look out for because of the quality of leadership training it provides.
One of the uniqueness of the organization is that they engage young social entrepreneurs who are very active in their communities, especially under-served communities.
“LEAP Africa found me when I was [a year less as] a founder,” says Comrade Douglas Garuba, Founder Kaduna Aid Forum, an initiative working to bridge the gap that exist between the youth of Northern Nigeria.
He said LEAP Africa gave him the platform to express his leadership potential.
“The truth is you don’t expect LEAP Africa to give you money because you must have started doing something. They expect you to have an improvement in your business before they help you,” he added.
Garuba encouraged Nigerian youths to maximize the available social media space.
Adding, “I got to know about this LEAP Africa through someone I know on social media and even up till today I do not know that person physically, so Nigerian youth should make use of the social media.”
LEAP Africa inaugurated twenty new fellows this year and all of them will be going through leadership development training. They will also receive various mentorship advices throughout the year-long fellowship.