Author: Olaife Ilori

PLASTIC DOES IT

PLASTIC DOES IT

Sustainable Development Goals 14 and 15 focus on conserving and protecting under water and land ecosystems.  World Environment Day, 5th of June every year drives this action for the protection of our environment, raising awareness on everyday environmental issues from marine pollution to global warming to sustainable consumption and to wildlife.

For many years now, global consumption of plastics have unimaginably increased, more often than not, from land-based sources and as plastic is composed of major toxic pollutants, it has the potential to cause great harm to the environment in the form of air, water and land pollution; with “Beat Plastic Pollution” as the theme for this year’s World Environment Day, the world, gradually, is rising to the occasion of combating plastic pollution and exploring sustainable alternatives.

WHAT IS PLASTIC?

Plastic is material consisting of any of a wide range of synthetic or natural organic materials that are soft and so can be molded into solid objects, which includes resins, resinoids, polymers, cellulose derivatives, casein materials used in place of other materials, as glass, wood, and metals. Sometimes, plastics do not easily breakdown into simple components.

Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely afflict wildlife, wildlife habitat or humans.

Although they decompose over a period of time, an average of 100 to 500 years. They however, with their immense pollution kill our planet, choking our oceans and poisoning food and water. Plastic is listed as the number one threat to marine ecosystem.

All over the world, the statistics are ever growing. Tons of plastic debris has been established at a 78% waste, many of the harmful chemicals posing serious health risks to man, land and marines. While plastic constitutes about 85% of all debris floating on the ocean’s surface, ecologists and oceanographers speculates there may be underwater trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Its effects on soil fertility and ultimately food supply, an immense woe.

Since the 1950s, an estimated 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced, of which an estimated 9% has been recycled and another 12% of plastic waste has been incinerated. Scientists estimate that several plastics are thrown away each year to circle the earth four times. Plastic accounts for around 10% of the total waste generated. Annually, approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide while more than one million bags are used every minute. It is sad to know that about 1 million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in oceans.

One million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world and that number will top half a trillion by 2021, some other statistic reveals.

Mind boggling?

In 2016, a global population of more than seven billion produced over 300 million tonnes of plastic, signifying that even as the human population increases so does the quantity of solid wastes generation. The ultimate sad facts are swirled by currents, the litters accumulating over time at the center of ocean, poisoning oceans and land, injuring marine life, and affecting human health.

With these mind-blowing facts comes WASTE RECYCLING. Waste recycling is not new, particularly in the developed world. But in the developing countries like Nigeria where it is common place to see flooded cities during rainy season due to blocked drainages, gutters and canals arising from the mountains of refuse that litter every part of the country, emphasis must be thus be stressed on plastic products recycling. Plastic recycling includes melting down plastic water, soft drink bottles and then casting them as plastic chairs and tables. Recycling of waste plastics is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products, sometimes completely different in form from their original state.

THE DAMAGE

Some of the major long-term effects of plastic pollution are; land pollution, air pollution and amongst the most seriously affected are the coastal communities which ultimately calls for increased expenditures for beach cleaning, public health, waste disposal, litter removal and waste management.

Beyond these woes, it’s time to rethink how we use plastics, for by 2050 there could be more plastic in the world’s waters than fishes. Researchers have identified 400 species of animals whose members either ingested plastics or got entangled in it. Year in year out, the plastics that are constantly thrown into the ocean are responsible for killing one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals. Did you know that every year, up to 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into our oceans?

Given the character of this major issue, proactive measures need to be taken to give lasting solution to plastic pollution such that our planets become forever protected. No need for plastic discs anymore, the internet has so become more than friendly. Mugs should come in handy anywhere and everywhere. Stakeholders should encourage the reuse and recycling of waste, especially plastic bags, bottles and containers. It’s time for us to do the rethink, let’s have a redesign, let’s improve our waste collection by sorting and reprocessing. The need is urgent, and we must continue to develop and use multiple strategies to have a waste-free environment.

Our planet is beautiful! Let’s save it!!

BEDROCK OF SOCIETY

BEDROCK OF SOCIETY

Today (May 15) is the International Family Day, NNNGO’s Ilori Olaife, NNNGO’s Communications Officer, provides her thoughts on the situation families around the world. All thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the author and does not necessarily reflect NNNGOs opinion.


Thursday, May 15, is World Family Day, a global initiative by the United Nations General Assembly to draw attention to the various problems facing the family. The day reflects the importance the international community attaches to families globally.
This year’s observance of the International Day of Families focuses on the role of families and family-oriented policies in promoting early childhood education, the overall well-being of their members and raising awareness of the role and importance of the institution.

Family constitutes basic unit of the society, we are born into them and some of the most important developing years of lives are spent growing up with families. Family consists of parents rearing their children and it is out of this group that broader communities grow, such as tribes, villages, people, and nations. Families are strongest and healthiest when everyone is empowered to access health care, acquire an education, contribute to their homes and communities and realize their full potentials.

In recent years, researchers who study the structure and evolution of families express unsullied astonishment at how rapidly the family has changed all over the world. The transformation has exceeded predictions of presumed layout.

In Africa, Nigeria, the fate is no different; homes are becoming more segregated with each passing day. There is no connection between spouses, parent-children and siblings, this, sadly might in turn breed bad blood especially when parents become oblivion to the day-to-day activities of such children. Most of the recorded incidences of domestic violence, child molestation, abduction of girls and lack of proper education are as a result of these dysfunctional family backgrounds. Our traditional family cohesion and bond are weakened due to daily life challenges of trying to make ends meet.

The era of a nuclear family, with a dad who went to work and the mom who stayed at home, has declined to the point of no return. Today, family is no longer what it used to be, in the bid to provide extensively for needs, family standards have regrettably gone into extinction, many thanks to several financial needs that cry for attention. Globally, more than 240 million people live outside their countries of birth. And half of them are women risking everything in pursuit of a brighter future for themselves and their children.

Alarmingly, the number of women who are their families’ sole breadwinner has soared to 40 percent today from 11% in 1960. According to some data, more than 80% of children in Asia and the Middle East live with two parents, In America; two-parent households are somewhat less prevalent. However, two-parent pattern is more mixed in sub-Saharan Africa, ranging widely from 36% in South Africa to 78% in Nigeria. Some of the children living with two parents are in households that are also included as extended family.

One change that has caught many family researchers by surprise was the recent dip in the divorce rate after many decades of upward march, followed by a long stay at 50%, however the rate began falling in 1996 and is now just above 40% for first-time marriages.  The decline has been even more striking amongst wealthy couples with sound education. Less than one in three marriages is expected to end in divorce. It is indeed disheartening!

Lest we forget that FAMILY is one of society’s oldest and most resilient institutions. Although the structure of the family may vary around the world, the value of family still and must by all means endure. ‘Hosea Balon Farr’ a spiritual leader says: “Education commences at mothers knee, and every word spoken within the hearsay of little children should tend towards the formation of character”.

As a matter of urgency and in spite of the demanding pace of life, parents must by all means teach children worthy morals cum finding time to reconnect with families for living schedules can become hectic and so there must arise the need to slow down and spend time with families and in turn children must be worthy AMBASSADORS of their family tree. A hug, a smile would go a long way in boosting the morale of family members. A HAPPY FAMILY IS A HAPPY SOCIETY, A HAPPY SOCIETY IS A HAPPY NATION AND A HAPPY NATION IS A HAPPY WORLD.

Kicking Out Malaria

Kicking Out Malaria

As the world celebrates the world malaria day, our Communications Officer Olaife Ilori provides staggering statistics and updates on the progress made so far to build a malaria free world.

One of the Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages and in keeping up with this goal THE MOSQUITOES are thus making it seemingly impossible with their overtly schemed route to ensuring that this one goal does not see the light of day.

Malaria is a life-threatening blood disease caused by parasites transmitted to humans through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. Once an infected mosquito bites a human and transmits the parasites, those parasites multiply in the host’s liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells.

When an infected mosquito bites a human host, the parasite enters the bloodstream and lays dormant within the liver. For the next 5 to 16 days, the host will show no symptoms but the malaria parasite will begin multiplying asexually. The new malaria parasites are then released into the bloodstream when the red blood cells are infected and begin to multiply again. Some malaria parasites, however, remain in the liver and are not released until later, resulting in recurrence upon an unaffected mosquito being infected once it feeds on an infected individual, and the cycle begins again with the readied symptoms which include cold sensation, shivering, fever, headaches, vomiting, sweats followed by a return to normal temperature, with tiredness.

Globally, an estimated 214 million cases of malaria occur annually and 3.2 billion people are at risk of infection. Approximately 438,000 deaths were attributed to malaria in 2015, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where an estimated 90% of all malaria deaths occur. Upon this record, malaria remains still one of the most severe global public health problems worldwide, particularly in Africa, where Nigeria has the greatest number of malaria cases.

Nigeria, suffering from the world’s greatest malaria burden, with approximately 51 million cases and 207,000 deaths reported annually (approximately 30% of the total malaria burden in Africa), while 97% of the total population (roughly 173 million) is at risk of massive infection. Malaria accounts for 60% of outpatient visits to hospitals which always lead to 11% maternal mortality and 30% child mortality, especially among children less than 5 years. This devastating disease affects the country’s economic productivity, resulting in an estimated monetary loss of about 132 billion Naira in treatment costs, prevention, and other indirect costs.

Since 2000, malaria prevention has played an important role in reducing cases and deaths, primarily through the scale up of insecticide-treated nets and indoor spraying with insecticides. In 2008, the National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP) in Nigeria adopted a specific plan, the goal of which is to reduce 50% of the malaria burden by 2013 by achieving at least 80% coverage of long-lasting mosquito nets together with other measures, such as 20% of houses in targeted areas receiving Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), and treatment with two doses of intermittent preventative therapy (IPT) for pregnant women who visit antenatal care clinics. To this effect, the percentage of households with at least one mosquito nets increased to over 70% by 2010, compared to 5% in 2008 with a high rate coming from Kano State, North Central Nigeria.

While in 2015 across other parts of Sub Saharan Africa, an estimated 53% of the population at risk reportedly slept under a treated net compared to 30% in 2010 together with the preventive treatment for pregnant woman.

malaria

According to the latest estimates from WHO, many countries with ongoing malaria transmission have reduced their disease burden significantly. On a global scale, new malaria cases fell by 21% between 2010 and 2015, the death rates fell by 29%. Be that as it may, the pace of progress must be greatly accelerated upon this, WHO’s Global Technical Strategy for Malaria has thus called for a 40% reduction in malaria cases and deaths by 90% by year 2030, compared to the 2015 estimation.

2017 is recording a slow and steady progress as it were and with this year’s global theme which is End Malaria for Good, it is indeed hoped that Malaria will be ended for good.

World Changers Foundation

World Changers Foundation

Mahatma Gandhi said “You must be the change you want to see in the world”.

Changing the world begins with life changing experience. If you change yourself you will change your world. If you change how you think then you will change how you feel and what actions you take. And so the world around you changes. Not only because you now view the environment through new lenses of thoughts and emotions but also because the change within can allow one to take action in ways that would not have thought about while stuck in the old pattern of thoughts.

If only 7 percent of world population can care for the distressed, banish selfishness and embrace selflessness, we would be quite amazed by how much we can change the world.

Not underestimating the power of vision to change the world and readily born out of the need to work out the renaissance and orientate the moral value of people in the society, World Changers Foundation in 2011 desired and began to create social network with the responsibility of raising World Changers for nation building.

Taking due account of the presence of genuine future leaders across political divide and the need to quickly attract these birds of same plumage who represent the repressed, depressed, oppressed and deprived populace in the society, WCF envisions a society that is effective, reformed and restructured that these communities may become the ambassadors of change and create a better world for themselves, their state and the nation.

Strategizing to promote behavioral change, WCF has been networking and collaborating with organizations that share common goals and visions to design and develop a youth friendly curriculum geared toward vocational skills to enhance capacity building for self-sustenance which would in turn affect their lives positively.

Opuda Sotonwari, the coordinator of WCF said that the foundation has been able to organize training for about 300 secondary school pupils and youths in the city of Port Harcourt, Rivers state on skills acquisition in soap and bead-making and decoration. This, she said will continue to be part of their  agenda for the youth in the society which would transfer them to the position of employers of labor and will automatically help take burdens off the shoulders of their parents.

According to her, masses in River State are gradually loosing hope for a better future, these threatening challenges again woke WCF to the state of the economy in the state and vowed again never to stop giving humanitarian services. Building the capacity of “In school and Out” school youths, people with disability, less privilege, widows, women and indigent children through empowerment programme and scholarship scheme hence became part of the important goals that must be achieved and reach at least about five hundred thousand people in Nigeria. Opuda Sotanwari revealed that this cause will continue till the year 2025.

Meanwhile, WCF’s coordinator further stated that promoting primary health services through advocacy, social mobilization and free medical services in the area of malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other related epidemics to remote and hard to reach communities have also been part of the societal transformation the foundation envisioned which till date she said to its credit continues to benefit hundreds of lives.

Vision without action is merely a dream, action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can massively transform the communities around you. This, Opuda Sotonwari proudly said World Changers Foundation has embraced as a watchword.

NNNGO Trains Chief Executive Officers

Over 50 Chief Executive Officers within the membership of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) from the six geo-political zones of the country gathered in Lagos on the 6th of April 2016 to learn, share experience and adopt global best practices in NGO management at the Network’s capacity building workshop with a special focus on responsibilities, productivity and efficiency held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Alausa, Ikeja.

The workshop which was mainly organized for members of the network took participants through the functional core duties of a CEO of not-for-profit organisation. Findings from our work revealed that not many NGO leaders have clear terms of reference for their work which has in most cases impacted negatively on their ability to lead effectively.

Taking participants through their functional roles, Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, NNNGO’s Executive Director noted that efficiency is most important for a terrific outcome, he thus laid emphasis on job specifications, stressing the need for a robust knowledge, intelligence, commitment and dedication in ensuring and ascertaining a successful and impactful touch to their foundations which were established for the sole purpose of service to humanity.

And as result of the changing dynamics of running an NGO, Oyebisi admonished the CEOs to cultivate a healthy relationship with their board of directors for better and clearer strategic direction, further noting that a non-profit director should not only maintain a positive working relationship with employees but must as well function effectively balancing day to day leadership duties with accurate accountability to the board of directors, emphasizing that proper balance and accountability can only be achieved when both the board and the executive directors’ roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. He added that some initial degree of tension or disconnect between the executive director and board of directors is natural but that steps to address challenges will definitely instill mutual trust and strengthen the organization’s operational capacity at the long run.

Participants at the end of the workshop garnered more capacities on the running of their NGOs which included tips on executive director’s job description, committee responsibilities, working with board of directors, maximizing board meeting productivity, staffing, human resource, budget, finance and obtaining grants amongst others. The CEOs were most delighted on this new development which they said has broadened their horizons.

In particular was a participant who confessed that prior to the training, she had little knowledge of how to manage her organisation, she further opened up that she has been a sole funder of her Foundation since its inception but she realized that “it is now getting out of her hands and cannot handle it anymore” however with the knowledge gained at the workshop she now ‘’knows what to do in taking her organisation to the next level’’

The Nigeria Network of NGOs, established in 1992 represents over 2000 organizations ranging from small groups working at the local level to larger networks working at the national level.

Profiling YRK Award Winner: Ms. Ndifreke Andrew-Essien

Living the Life

Little did she know then that a wheelchair would become a support, but today Ndifreke has risen above the wheelchair and now she chairs her way into the lives of the less privileged through her life transforming impacts. – This is Ms Ndifreke Andrew-Essien, the very first YRK Award winner giving insight into the driving force of her charitable works. The Yemisi Ransome –Kuti (YRK) Leadership Award was established in March 2015 to honor outstanding Nigerians working in the not-for-profit sector who exemplify the leadership ideals of Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, a civil society activist and founding Executive Director of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) .


The accident was absolutely incredible, I never saw it coming” recounted Ndifreke Andrew-Essien in reminisce, who as a young adult in that particular year was on her way to rack up an impressive resume of becoming a medical student at the University of Calabar.

For Ndifreke, year 2002 was a very pleasant year coupled with the fact that she was doing very well in her academics. The day, December 26th, 2002 began with studying, a ritual she had of course grown accustomed to, she then decided to visit friends where at that moment for her it became rather unfortunate that fortune did not smile and met with the never to be forgotten accident even as she boarded a commercial motorcycle on that fateful day.

After two sets of long surgeries (in Tel-Aviv) and being bed-ridden for close to two months, doctors tried to explain nicely the damage that had been done to her back – a burst fracture of spine and that the best surgeries would do, will be to help her sit. “I have had to use a wheel chair ever since and rehabilitate myself to be independent” she confessed.

Independence and resoluteness then became her watchword which propelled the birth of her Foundation Freky Andrew-Essien Care Foundation well known as FAECARE Foundation that has a mission to inspire, motivate and empower creative minds for a better, bright and possible future and going further again with visions to add value to the lives of targeted vulnerable groups with disability and the less privileged in the community and thus creating life changing opportunities for them.

Ms Ndifreke who after the ugly incident could not bear to remain unresourceful, became involved in a lot of volunteering before she began channeling her little energy into FAECARE Foundation hence the achievements which include an annual children’s scholarships to vulnerable children who are out of school and the Hope Again Initiative which is a community based vocational skills which is targeted at female persons with disability.

All of these achievements which are fast becoming a milestone have thus paved way for the recognition of her foundation even in the new ‘hall of diligence and hard work of the YRK Awards coupled with some other international recognition, one of which is the Mandela Washington Fellowship and the recognition which went as far as being able to be part of the 40-member committee who got engaged with the first lady of the United States on issues centered around girl child education.

When asked if she ever felt she would emerge winner of the YRK Awards, she said “I honestly didn’t think I would emerge in the top 10 tackles of winner. Ever since I found myself as part of President Barak Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative and emerged a Mandela Washington Fellow, I advised myself to take advantage of opportunities even when I don’t rate myself high or feel worthy. When I received the detail via email of YRK awards, I was actually in Ghana on a 6-month internship program at an International –NGO. I think I received at least two mails before I decided to apply. My general thought was that for sure someone in Lagos or Abuja would definitely get it not me far and somewhere busy doing my thing in Rivers state…basically I was thrilled when I got the mail that I had made top 3 and was definitely shocked when I was announced winner during the NNNGO’s conference”.

Ms Ndifreke who did not fail to acknowledge the giant and huge step of the organizers of the YRK Leadership Award pledged never to relent nor fail in this worthy course but that the award would serve as a boost to intensify more efforts and dedication in the third sector both as an individual and as an organization.  She further stated that she hopes to increase her circle of influence and encourage more youths into selfless service which has its own reward system which may not necessarily be monetary. “The YRK Award is a motivation to continue on the path I am on and strive for improvement and development” she concluded.

World Teachers Day- Our Teachers: the past, present and future.

Our Teachers: the past, present and future.

They show exemplary leadership skill in the field of study, so patient and tolerant albeit shortcomings, assisting along the way without any sign of resentment. In moments of success, when students do extraordinary well, they rejoice to the moon and back. Encouraging students to feel good about themselves and edging them to envision there is nothing impossible that cannot be achieved cum making a one stop call at homes of absent students just to ascertain their well-being.

Their insistence for the right things to be done has shaped many lives tremendously. Their compelling guidance and tutors to obey parents, respect elders, leaders, and to fear God are footsteps and marks that cannot be easily erased.
Teachers have played pivotal parental roles in lives and continue to do so even in the lives of children. Taking care of one or two children is never an easy task in homes, let alone of a teacher taking care of a whole class of about twenty to thirty students.

Teachers in diverse ways have encouraged, motivated and sometimes even sponsored students crawl to higher pedestals in lives. There are some students, in brief distress moments in their lives, some might have stayed out of school if not for the insistence of teachers. That is the distinguishing mark of a sincere dedicated teacher.
Teachers are an investment for the future of countries. What today’s children will face in adult life cannot be predicted and so the teachers of today and tomorrow need the skills, knowledge and support that will enable them to meet the diverse learning needs of every girl and boy.

It is recognized that teachers are not only a means to implementing education goals they are the keys to sustainability and national capacity in achieving learning and creating societies based on knowledge, values and ethics. They however continue to face challenges brought about by staff shortages, poor training and low status
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics estimates that to achieve the goal of universal primary education by 2020 countries will need to recruit a total of 12.6 million primary teachers. World Teachers’ Day on October 5th hence highlights the fact that teachers must be empowered as an important step towards quality education and sustainable societies.

Today, October 5th, the world celebrates the 20th anniversary of World Teachers Day. The day commemorates the adoption of the ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the status of teachers in 1966.   In many countries, the quality of education is undermined by a deficit of teachers. About 1.4 million teachers are missing in classrooms and they are needed to achieve Universal Primary Education (UPE) by 2015, which is this year, according to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. But fortunately again the SDGs are looking into making goal 4 workable on or before the year 2030.

Added to the challenge of numbers is one quality all too often, teachers are found working without resources or proper training. The stakes are high, because today, global learning crisis is another challenge, with an estimate of 250 million children not acquiring basic skills of reading and writing.  As countries have accelerated towards 2015 and the new development agenda is now shaped, the fourth goal being quality education, it is essential that teachers should and forever remain a priority.

Parts of Global Thematic Consultation on Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda states the essentials for supporting teachers’ effectiveness: good conditions of employment, including appropriate contracts and salaries, and prospects for career progression and promotion; good conditions in the work environment, creating school contexts that are conducive to teaching; high-quality pre-and in-service training for teachers, respect for human rights and the principles of inclusive education; effective management cum teachers recruitment and deployment.

In Nigeria, civil servants are generally not treated well teachers inclusive. Teachers have endured enough, the often expressed theory that teachers rewards are in heaven is beautiful but again the reward should begin here on earth. They are often not provided with instructional materials to carry out their jobs and yet they are the first to be blamed for the poor performance of students, yet these Nigerian teachers still go about their business of making a difference in the lives of these students with the hope that the future smiles bright on them.

At this critical point, the international community, governments, parastatals and individuals need to stand united to support teachers and quality learning worldwide, especially in those countries where the highest number of out-of-school children exist. Teachers are our angels.

FUTURE TARGETS

As we celebrate the International Youth Day, NNNGO’s Olaife Ilori spoke with HillCity Foundation- a member of the Network on what they are doing to develop young Nigerians.

Future Targets

The overall well-being of youths has sharply declined in the last few years and the chances that these youths might be prone and tend for the worse have more than doubled.

Youths, the future of the nation and the driving force of tomorrow wills more than ever to lay down her own quota to the development of the nation but typically and ever so unfortunate that the hopes of these young lads always are dashed to shreds.

Looking at the plurality of labor market, financial and unemployment challenges that young people face, one could expect that national policies should address the long-term problems of young people and that the crisis should act as a facilitator in this respect.

For these unfortunate incidence to be forever forgotten, forsaken and never re-visited at least not in this part of the world made HillCity Foundation compelled to take action, believing that every young person needs hope, love, care, direction, motivation and support, in order to discover, develop and deploy their potentials maximally. Founded on infallible principles of life in the year 2004, HCF envisions to discover, develop and deploy young destinies to enable them fulfill their potentials in life maximally.

Soares Oladamola, The Executive Administrator of HillCity Foundation said that the Foundation particularly aims to discover, develop and deploy young destinies to fulfill their purpose in life even amidst all the challenges of life.This is achieved through carefully designed programmes as captured as 4 AXIS OF IMPACT which are: educational support programme, mentorship programme, self-discovery and personal development programme and economic empowerment programme.

Through the Educational Support Programme, HCF supports young university undergraduate through an annual scholarship scheme. The mentorship programme seeks to discover, recover and maximize the destinies of young lives. While the self-discovery and personal development programme wills to assist young lives to discover, develop and deploy their potentials. The last axe which is economic empowerment programme also seeks to empower young lives by assisting young graduates to start up business by empowering them with a start-up capital.

Mr. Soares Oladamola, with a gladsome heart affirmed the achievements of HCF, that from inception till date, the foundation has been able to award over 500 University Scholarships through the educational support programme, Over 600 mentees have gone through the HCF Mentorship Programme,the Foundation has also been able to organize several self-discovery seminars on the platform of the Self Discovery programme and the Foundation also organized several self-discovery seminars on the platform of the Self Discovery Programme which has received lots of laudable ovation from the declared testimonies.

“Overall, it seems that younger generations indeed face several systematic issues more than previous generations, yet adequate individual, family and state support is largely lacking. Hopefully societies and the government do not realize too late that in order to maintain a well-functioning economy and society, younger generations need a firm footing in the job market and all other areas of the economy with ample stability” concluded Mr. Oladamola

Young people today and tomorrow

From social entrepreneurs to journalists, from voluntary workers to members of community organizations, from acclaimed celebrities to social health workers, young people are always seen contributing and shaping society to lead it towards political, cultural and economic renewal.

The UN defines the worlds’ youth as the age group between 15 and 24 years old, making up one-sixth of the human population. Many of these young men and women live in developing countries and their numbers are expected to rise steeply.

The idea for International Youth Day was proposed in 1991 by young people who were gathered in Vienna, Austria, for the first session of the UN’s World Youth Forum. The forum recommended that an International Youth Day be declared, especially for fundraising to support the United Nations Youth Fund. In December 17th1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.

This day seeks to promote young people’s effective inclusive civic engagement at all levels, acknowledging them as essential partners in change and an opportunity to raise awareness of the challenges and problems facing them. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the creative force that young people bring to every society aiming to promote ways to engage them in becoming more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities and celebrating their potentials as partners in today’s global society.

The theme of International Youth Day, 12 August 2015, is “Youth Civic Engagement.” The engagement and participation of youth is essential to achieve sustainable human development. Yet often the opportunities for youth to engage politically, economically and socially are low or non-existent. Statistics show that young people are three times more likely to be employed than adults, credits to AGILITY, yet another statistics show that almost 73 million youth still look for employment. The UN Population Fund estimates that the global population of young people between the ages of 10-24 has hit 1.8 billion constituting 18 percent of the global population.

Nigeria‘s population is estimated at over 150 million people which the youth constitutes 70 percent of its population yet the government keep making empty political promises to the Nigeria growing youths without fulfillment. Since Nigeria gained independence in 1960, only few privileged youths had opportunity to gain political power at the local, state and federal levels. Some so-called Nigerian youth claim to represent the interest of the youth at the federal government are above 50 years, this sadly indicates the gloomy future of Nigerian youth.

Today our youths are nobodies, Boko Haram insurgents continually increase daily in the Northern region many thanks to the political leaders in this region who continually fail to provide for its youth who finally succumb to callous activities. Gone were the days when youth see educational pursuits as the only way to success but the reverse is the case today that the more educated as a youth, the higher the rate of joblessness. It is rightly quoted that an “idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.

Gladly, in September of this year, world leaders will meet in New York to announce a new set of global goals, the Sustainable Development Goals, which will hopefully shape the future of people, young people and planet by ending poverty, inequality and climate change.

Action/2015, a global movement which desires change in all spheres will continue to mobilize the public worldwide and remind leaders that the world is watching and calling for ambitious goals, the youth most inclusive for they are the tomorrow that must be invested in today.

We are young, we are inexperienced, some may call us naïve, but get there we will someday, Rome was not built in a day. We dream of a better world, a world where there is absence of inequality, where parents, the society and the government believe and invest in us knowing fully well and being assured that there will be multiple yields and that massive greatness lies in us.“Young people must be considered the drivers of change, and not only beneficiaries or targets” Irina Bokova UNESCO Director-General

Member of the Month: Arms of Comfort Foundation

As children’s plights increasingly escalate every day and continually groan in dismay Arms of Comfort Foundation has led and broadened the path of women and children to amazing choices and transformation leading many of them to making more sustainable choices especially on the part of the women.

More than seven thousand persons have been making resounding testimonies on the great graces they have benefited from this foundation that has given them value and a true identity.

Arms of Comfort Foundation (AOCF) a charitable organization in the city of Lagos saw the need in 2006 to stretch forth its helping hands to the society. The President of the Foundation Mrs. Toyin Atilolari Afolabi who envisioned that every woman and child’s needs should be met by all means had the burning desire to making certain that the dream sees the light of day.

Noting some of the Foundation’s achievements, The Executive Director Mr. Kolawole Afolabi Sam Adeboye said that Arms of Comfort has indeed been extended to the poor, especially the women and children orphaned by various situations and circumstances in the society through the provision of rehabilitation and educational opportunities with a strong operational presence in Lagos and Ogun states in South-West of Nigeria. Provision of micro credits, skill acquisition, scholarships, upkeep programmes and as well as counseling.

AOCF, Mrs. Afolabi said has been involved in the implementation of ACCORD (Assistance and Care for Children Orphaned and at Risk) Project, which was sponsored by USAID through Hope Worldwide Nigeria from January 2011 to July 2013, in seventeen communities in Lagos State. Within this period, she stated that AOCF was able to serve a total of 7,522 vulnerable children from 2387 households.

Meanwhile, since February 1st to date, AOCF has been involved as an implementing Civil Society Organization in the ARFH LOPIN-1 project sponsored by USAID. The project which is tagged LOCAL PARTNERS ON ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE CHILDREN IN NIGERIA (LOPIN) is meant to run for five years and implemented in Kosofe LGA, and other relevant stakeholders in the community as partners, stated the Executive Director.