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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.

FfD 3: Global Day of Action Round Up

FROM Egbeda, Maryland, Yaba to Akoka in Lagos, Ita Fia in Osogbo through to Bannet Plaza in Abuja and Dugbe Alawo in Ibadan, the Nigeria Network of NGOs FfD mobilisation team were at public places in these areas where we sensitised Nigerians on the FfD process and asked them in joining their voices with ours to call on ‘’our government and other world leaders to Finance the Future by taking action in the days, weeks and months ahead’’

Interested citizens had the opportunity of posing for pictures while holding a board with the inscription ‘’we call on our government and other world leaders to Finance the Future by taking action in the days, weeks and months ahead’’ those who are camera shy or who do not want their face to be seen can then use the board to cover their face. Flyers explaining what the FfD is and the global day of action were produced and circulated with 5000 copies distributed in Lagos, Osogbo, Ibadan and Abuja.

The Global Day of Action would not have ended well without some ‘’shakiti bobo and shoki dance steps at the Action 2015 National Coalition’s day of action with 15 year olds. The floor was shaking and the room was filled with fun as celebrities and children added their voices to the call on world leaders to ‘’finance our future’’. Declarations by children and speeches by different speakers also graced the day.

Asked what she is taking away from the meeting, a 15 year old said ‘’I know my future is now being planned and I will monitor it, I will also tell my parents not steal from my future’’. Also in attendance at the event are our colleagues from the media.

In improving the domestic resources mobilisation component of the financing plan, we encourage the African Government to support goals and targets aimed at increasing efforts of African Governments to strengthen tax systems by taxing ‘’justly and spending fairly’’ Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, National Focal Point, action2015 Nigeria stated while addressing newsmen at the event.

Reporting Back: Global Forum 2015: Shaping Civic Space

The Global Forum 2015 a global event focusing on the legal space for civil society, bringing together over 200 of the world’s leading minds in civil society, government, multilateral institutions, and the donor community opened in Stockholm, Sweden on 10th May 2015 with two surprising video messages from President Barak Obama of the United States and UN- Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon.

“Strong successful countries need strong civil societies” said President Obama in his welcome address.

“Our goal is to build resilient CSOs” explained the UN Secretary General in his speech.

Every half-decade, the International Center for Not-for-Profit (ICNL) convenes its Global Forum, a one-of-a-kind platform bringing together leading thinkers with the aim of assessing where civil society stands – and how to make it stand taller.

The Nigeria Network of NGOs Executive Director, Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, participated at this year’s event as a Global Forum 2015 Fellow.

Speaking about his experience, Oyebisi noted ‘’the event provided me with the opportunity of learning first hand from colleagues in over 80 countries what it means to work as a civil society actor in different parts of the world’’ At a time when civil society’s existence is threatened, ‘’the Global Forum 2015 allowed participants to build solidarity and to provide solutions to the challenges facing civil society today’’.

Leading a session as a panellist on the topic ‘’Civil Society Freedoms and the Post-2015 Agenda’’, Oyebisi along other panellists argued that an “enabling environment” for the sector is pivotal to all aspects of development, and should therefore be explicitly included in the Post-2015 agenda.

Participating at the Sub-Saharan African Regional Meeting during the Forum, the over 14 countries in attendance shared experience on the enabling environment for CSOs in Africa, opportunities for joint solidarity including ongoing initiatives on protecting civic space across the region.

Over the course of 3 days, from May 10 to 12th 2015, several key themes relevant to the 3rd sector were discussed, ranging from arguments and strategies CSOs can use to defeat undue restrictions, access to resources, freedom to communicate and connect through to peaceful protest, civic space and Development including how civil society can claim its place as a legitimate – indeed, essential – element in governance and rights for all.

‘’The experience gained and lessons learnt at the Global Forum 2015 will continue to be useful in our work on protecting civic space in Nigeria especially in the areas of evolving a conducive and enabling environment for Nigerian NGOs to thrive’’ concluded Oyebisi.

Nigeria Network of NGOs Launches Yemisi Ransome-Kuti Leadership Awards with N 50,000 cash prize for winner.

PRESS RELEASE

Nigeria Network of NGOs Launches Yemisi Ransome-Kuti Leadership Awards with N 50,000 cash prize for winner.

 The first generic membership body for civil society organizations in Nigeria that facilitates effective advocacy on issues of poverty and other developmental issues.

LAGOS, Nigeria, May 27, 2015/- The Nigeria Network of NGOs (www.nnngo.org ) has announced the launch of the Yemisi Ransome-Kuti (YRK) Leadership Awards to honour 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). This award is the first for celebrating civil society actors in Nigeria. Participants in the award will compete for N 50,000 cash prize and a one year technology support.

Endowed by World Hope Foundation a Nigerian and United States of America based Foundation; the YRK Leadership Award will be presented to an individual whose leadership within the Nigerian 3rd sector space, activities, causes or organizations have improved community life in any part of the Country. The Award also comes with one year of free technology support from TechLooms, our technology partners.

‘’We are launching the YRK Leadership Award in order to celebrate Ms Yemisi Ramsome-Kuti for her outstanding record of leadership in the not-for-profit sector and for the country but also to celebrate social entrepreneurs who engage and collaborate as they work to promote sustainable change in their areas of focus, transformational leaders who work across borders to motivate and mobilize those they lead and to significantly raise the profile and impact of the broader civil society sector in Nigeria’’, says NNNGO Executive Director, Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi. ‘’Additionally we are launching our Executive Mentoring and Coaching for Nigerian NGOs a comprehensive approach to equip leaders within the 3rd sector in Nigeria with the right set of skills to manage challenges and opportunities by leveraging expert knowledge and finding new ways of achieving effectiveness’’.

Applications for the YRK Awards and Executive Mentoring and Coaching for Nigerian NGOs will open on June 1 and close on June 30th and 15th respectively. Civil society organizations from any part of the country are eligible to apply as long as they are members of the Network in good standing.

Further details and information on applications can be found at http://nnngo.org/the-yemisi-ransome-kuti-leadership-award/ and http://nnngo.org/executive-mentoring-and-coaching-for-nigerian-ngos/

The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) is the first generic membership body for civil society organizations in Nigeria that facilitates effective advocacy on issues of poverty and other developmental issues. Established in 1992, NNNGO represents over 1000 organizations ranging from small groups working at the local level, to larger networks working at the national level. www.nnngo.org

Executive Mentoring and Coaching for Nigerian NGOs

Background

The success of the Nigerian NGO sector depends substantially on the quality of its leadership. The communities we serve vary widely and are rapidly changing. In these extraordinary times of constant change, Nigerian NGOs must be able to exercise effective leadership at both the organizational and community level. Not-for-profits in Nigeria must therefore equip themselves with a talent pool of capable leaders who are skilful, creative, forward thinking and efficient.

The Nigeria Network of NGO’s Executive Mentoring and Coaching initiative is a comprehensive approach to equip leaders within the 3rd sector in Nigeria with the right set of skills to manage challenges and opportunities by leveraging expert knowledge and finding new ways of achieving effectiveness. This initiative aims to through mentoring and coaching facilitate exclusive learning opportunities for NGO leaders in order to influence their organizational mission accomplishment, outcomes and operational strategies.

Over the course of the year, NNNGO will attach NGOs to carefully selected professionals locally and abroad who will mentor and coach Nigerian NGOs. The initiative will also feature specifically designed leadership learning resources, engagement with thought leaders to develop solutions to organizational and sectoral challenges, and the promotion of peer connectedness.

Process

Mentees are selected from the NNNGO membership and attached to well sought-out sector leaders who are professionals and brands in their own rights. For a period of 3 months, 10 selected NGOs will undergo direct mentoring and coaching including visits by Mentors to their offices where possible. Workshops and thought leadership seminars will also form a part of the mentoring and coaching process. The first batch of this initiative is expected to start in June and end in August. The 2nd batch is expected to be from October to December 2015.

Criteria

Participants in the mentoring and coaching programme will be leaders of small and medium sized NGOs within the membership of the Nigeria Network of NGOs. We will aim, through this initiative to build a pool of NGO leaders who represent the diversity of our sector spanning a range of gender-based, geographic and organizational characteristics. Participants demonstrate that they can exercise leadership in a range of contexts.

The selection criteria will encompass the following:

1. Be employed as Senior Executive or Founder of a NNNGO member organization at the time of application
2. Be available to participate in all elements of the program
3. Participant organization must have an established track record of impact and contribution to the community or sector they serve
4. Demonstrate a commitment to advancing personal growth and development
5. Commit to send to NNNGO a monthly report detailing their experience within the programme

Selection Process

In order to ensure equal opportunity a strict deadline for the submission of applications will be enforced. An online application form will be created and circulated widely amongst the NNNGO membership. Applications will be reviewed by the NNNGO Secretariat with the support of carefully selected sector leaders. Only selected participants will be contacted directly. The selection committee will be lead by NNNGO’s Membership Manager. NNNGO’s Executive Director will not play any role in the selection process.

Apply

Click this link to apply: http://bit.ly/1HwqQYp

Report from the African regional workshop on Protecting Civic Space

Report from the African regional workshop on Protecting Civic Space

U.S. President Barack Obama hosted 47 African heads of state in Washington, DC on August 4-6, 2014 for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Civil society’s contributions to development and the trend of closing civic space in Africa were among the topics addressed during side events such as the Civil Society Forum. Convening a regional workshop focused on protecting civic space was among the key recommendations coming out of the Forum.

Participants in the Forum identified the need to deepen conversations, foster collaboration among key actors and to translate broader principles into actionable strategies for protecting civic space.  To  address  this,  the  co-conveners held  an  African  regional  workshop  on  “Protecting  Civic Space” on November 17-18, 2014 at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

The workshop included 48  participants,  including  19  African civil society representatives from 14 countries in East, West, Central and Southern Africa and 9 Africans representing international organizations and donor agencies. One third of workshop participants  are  women.  Participants were chosen based on their knowledge of key issue areas, experience  in  mobilizing civil society, history of  engaging with government actors, influence on other civil society actors within their own  countries  and  the  region,  and  success  in  defending  and/or  expanding  civic  space.

Download report here

Autism: Living in my world

LIVING IN MY WORLD
As the world celebrates World Autism Day today (April 2), Olaife our Communication’s Officer shares this story.

That word sounds bizarre or is it the action now or perhaps the inaction on the part of the sufferer/patient. Seemingly a bit amusing at first observation of the uncharacteristic motions exhibited.Then you tell it to that man on the street and he goes “I beg your pardon” and one can’t help but wonder if the word does exist at all.

AUTISM! About 1 percent of the world population has this disorder. Research suggests that employers are missing out on abilitiesthat people with this spectrum have in greater abundance than “neurotypical” workers do – such as, heightened abilities in pattern recognition and logical reasoning, as well as greater attention to details.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is the world’s third most common development disorder. Some of the latest studies suggest its sharp rise globally.It can be categorized as a complex neurological disorder with an unknown cause  that involves a person having impaired social interaction, communication and learning difficulties as well as behavioral issues.It is associated with the brain’s development affecting the processing of information, development of skills and regulation of bodily actions and senses.Autism is seen as heritable and a few studies suggest that lack of proper oxygen supply to the fetus’s developing brain may trigger the condition. Symptoms may be seen to surface right during infancy or early childhood and generally establishes itself once a child enters his/her second or third year then becomes much more prominent.

Keeping in mind is a key factor of the fact that every autistic person differs from one another and has his/her own idiosyncratic characteristics. In simpler words, an autistic child has a unique condition wherein the senses as well as the development of various skills are not in sync. This disparity may lead to a situation where a child may have rapidly developed cognitive skills while language, social or motor skills may lag behind or vice-versa.  Some maybe excessively sensitive to noise, light or smell whereas some may find social interaction or communication quite challenging.

Research also reveals that the disorder may be more pronounced in others some of which are: display of indifference, little or no eye contact, communication difficulties like delayed speech and social aloofness,Inappropriate laughing or giggling,sensitivity to sounds, textures, smells,engages in repetitive behavior,repeated clapping, ticking, rocking, skin picking, self-poking etc. unusual attachments to certain objects and finding it most difficult to accept change.

Ordinarily parenting an autistic child is a challenging task. Identifying symptoms at the earliest may help to some extent. Lack of gestural or verbal activity in newborns should be taken into observation. If an infant shows no signs of babbling or gesturing by a year or finds it difficult to form words or phrases by the age of two, parents should consult a pediatrician immediately.Since there is no medical cure for autism; this makes the condition a lifetime ailment and exerts a lot of mental and emotional courage, optimism, patience and of course, acceptance from the parents.

An expert explained that autism should be addressed and managed differently for different children. “Some children may exhibit highly aggressive behavior; hence they need to be handled differently as compared to others. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) should also be followed wherein every child has an individualized educational programme which would teach variety of skills including social,communication,academic,occupational and self-help.The expert also suggested psychological, behavioral, speech and language therapy.

It has however been observed that specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of autism especially here in Nigeria is significantly absent but be that as it may some schools are now located in focal areas to address this issue in ensuring that they eventually live normal and independent lives becoming useful to themselves and the society after being able to clear the hurdle of possible unemployment and discrimination

Next president and post-2015 development agenda

Culled from Punch Newspaper: http://www.punchng.com/opinion/next-president-and-post-2015-development-agenda/

FOR nearly 15 years, Nigerians watched their government at the federal, state and local government levels as it makes efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Set in 2000, the MDGs are globally accepted development frameworks aimed at achieving eight important goals, the first of which is the reduction of poverty by half by 2015. Read More

Woman, Make it happen

Woman, Make it happen

As part of its objectives as an organization to empower women in the society, the Women Of Essence Foundation hosted the third edition of the International Women’s day Conference with the theme Woman! Make It Happen. This was held on March 12th, 2015 at Events center, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
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