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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.

13 things NGO’s need to know about the 2016 budget from the President’s Speech

13 things NGO’s need to know about the 2016 budget from the President’s Speech
By Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, Executive Director, Nigeria Network of NGOs.

Just some few weeks of sleep or sleepless nights until the 2016 budget is passed, however from the President’s speech we have gotten a firmer picture of what the Federal Government has planned for the next 12 months in 2016.

While we are working on accessing the budget itself with the hope of publishing a more analytical piece, here are 13 things Non Government Organisations (NGOs) in Nigeria need to know about the 2016 budget from the President’s speech.

1.    In what is becoming a cliché, the President stated that “our problems are not beyond us’’ and spoke about how the solution lies in, ‘our farmlands, our corporations, in the universities, in the hearts and minds of our entrepreneurs; through the gallantry of our Armed Forces; and the resolute spirit of Nigerians’, indicating that the Federal Government (FG) is giving priority to agriculture, education, entrepreneurship (job creation) and security.

Nigerian NGOs and coalitions working in the areas of agriculture, education, entrepreneurship and security will need to up their game in providing the government with needed intelligence, evidence based data and model projects and programmes that the government can scale up in these sectors of the economy.

2.    The Federal Government is ready to tackle corruption head on and is not relenting in its efforts to rid Nigeria of corruption. NGOs working on good governance should expect ‘many more initiatives’ coming from the FG in fighting corruption. It is imperative that NGOs working on good governance support government’s efforts in the review of any new anti-corruption initiative and also engage with anti-corruption agencies on how best citizens and citizen organisations can support government’s anti-corruption plans.

3.    The Federal Government has adopted a zero budgeting system. Wikipedia explains zero budgeting thus: Zero-based budgeting is an approach to planning and decision-making that reverses the working process of traditional budgeting. In traditional incremental budgeting, departmental managers justify only variances versus past years based on the assumption that the “baseline” is automatically approved. By contrast, in zero-based budgeting, every line item of the budget, rather than only the changes, must be approved. Zero-based budgeting requires that the budget request be re-evaluated thoroughly, starting from the zero-base; this involves preparation of a fresh budget every year without reference to the past. This process is independent of whether the total budget or specific line items are increasing or decreasing.

NGOs working on budget monitoring will need to build new capacity if needed in understanding how the zero based budgeting process works and what this means for their work and how it helps in balancing FG budgets. NGOs working on public procurement will also have to step in, since this system might open up new challenges in the areas of contract inflation and over pricing.

4.    Cooperative societies will be the platform through which the FG aims to support (through loans) and train market women, traders and artisans in partnership with State and Local Governments. Cooperative based NGOs especially have an important role to play in monitoring and shaping how these loans and training’s are delivered.

5.    Social protection is an integral part of the 2016 budget and will be implemented in phases. A full social protection programme will be launched soon and will include, ‘conditional grant transfers to the poor and vulnerable, home-grown public primary school feeding and free education for science, technology and education students in our tertiary institutions.’

This is an important area of work for NGOs working on social protection, poverty reduction, child nutrition, education and health including organisations working on anti-corruption, public procurement to monitor implementation of the social protection programme.

6.    “Compilation of registers of the poorest persons is ongoing’’ indicates the President in his speech. All NGOs must ask questions here when did this start? How is it being implemented? What data is being used? What is the definition of the poor and vulnerable? Which agency of the government is handling the registration? These and many more questions need to be asked with a view to strengthen the system and ensure that the poorest and vulnerable in our society are truly the ones registered.

7.    The 2016 budget proposal is ‘N6.08 trillion with a revenue projection of N3.86 trillion resulting in a deficit of N2.22 trillion’.  ‘Deficit will be financed by a combination of domestic borrowing of N984 billion, and foreign borrowing of N900 billion totalling N1.84 trillion.’

The expertise of NGOs working on the economy is needed here to inform the National Assembly and Government on the implications of this for our future and our debt profile as a country.

8.    Domestic resource mobilisation for the budget will come from ‘oil related revenues’, which is expected to contribute N820 billion. Non-oil revenues, comprising Company Income Tax (CIT), Value Added Tax (VAT), Customs and Excise duties, and Federation Account levies, will contribute N1.45 trillion. Finally, by enforcing strict compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 and public expenditure reforms in all MDAs, we have projected up to N1.51 trillion from independent revenues.

Tax justice NGOs, NGOs working on extractive industries, procurement NGOs all have their work carved out in 2016.

9.    In his speech the President hinted on the possibilities of a subsidy removal in the future. “I have directed the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to adjust its pricing template to reflect competitive and market driven components. We believe this can lower input costs and attain efficiency savings that will enable PPPRA to keep the selling price for all marketers of petrol at N87 per litre for now.’’

The ‘now’ (with emphasis on it by the President in his speech) suggests a possible change in the oil pricing structure which may necessitate the removal of fuel subsidy at some point within the life of this administration. Civil Society Organisations must work together in feeling the pulse of citizens on subsidy removal and not leave organised labour and opposition parties alone to lead the process. We must find evidence based data for our stand on either the removal or non-removal of subsidy; this must not be based on sentiments but on real economic analysis and representation of citizens’ opinion.

10.    The cause of the fuel scarcity we have been experiencing in the last couple of months according to the President is caused by ‘market speculators and resistance to change by some stakeholders.’

It is imperative for Nigerian NGOs as representatives of the issues affecting the common man to evolve an advocacy and campaign programme that can mobilize citizens’ action in addressing issues of excessive market speculation and strengthen reform in the oil and gas sector.

11.    Capital expenditure for the budget is N1.8 trillion as against N557 billion in the 2015 budget. The very first time capital expenditure will be 30% of the total budget – Works, Power and Housing – N433.4 billion; Transport – N202.0 billion; Special Intervention Programs – N200.0 billion; Defence – N134.6 billion; and Interior – N53.1 billion.

The increase in capital expenditure by the FG demonstrates its understanding of the need to build critical infrastructure that can support the growth of other key sectors of the economy.  NGOs must mobilize citizens and citizen organisations to ‘follow the money’ and monitor implementation of government projects.

12.    In his speech the President called for support in the implementation of the 2016 budget. Though NGOs are specifically not mentioned in the President’s speech neither was the civil society, we have other institutions within the civil society family mentioned; ‘organized labour, industry groups, the press and of course, our religious and traditional institutions.’

There is the need for NGOs to be recognised as important actors and contributors to national development by governments at all levels, as NGOs are working hard to support government in several sectors of the economy.

In moving rhetoric to action on the need to support government, The President and his team will need an office to coordinate civil society’s support in the implementation of the 2016 budget that is why the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Civil Society is important including an Office for Partnerships.

13.    Missing from the President’s speech is the mention of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whose implementation starts in 2016 though sustainable development was mentioned twice in his speech there is evidently a lot of work for SDGs campaigners in analysing the 2016 budget and to ascertain how best it can jump-start the attainment of the SDGs in Nigeria.

End

Yemisi Ransome-Kuti Leadership Award: Winners Announced

Yemisi Ransome-Kuti Leadership Award: Winners Announced.

The Nigeria Network of NGOs has announced the three short listed winners of the ‘’Yemisi Ransome-Kuti Leadership Award 2015’’ and launched a delegates voting campaign for the award’s favourite winner.

The short listed winners are:

Ndifreke Andrew-Essien, Mandela Washington Fellow and Executive Director FAECARE Foundation, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Crystal Chigbu, Executive Director, The IREDE Foundation, Lagos, Nigeria.

Aremu Stephen Akinyele, Executive Director, Hope for Family Development Initiative (HFDI), Osogbo, Nigeria

The YRK Leadership Award aims to honour outstanding Nigerians working in the not-for-profit sector who exemplifies the leadership ideals of Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, a civil society activist and founding Executive Director of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO).

Congratulating the winners, NNNGO Executive Director Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi emphasized that ‘’for decades we have witnessed how the civil society sector has continued to contribute as an important stakeholder to the development of Nigeria. Intervening in various sectors from health, education, poverty reduction, entrepreneurship through to agriculture, environment, gender, ICTs and lots more, the three short listed winners are striking examples of how Nigerian non-governmental organisations are helping to bring about development to the poor and vulnerable in our societies.

At the 15th Annual NNNGO Conference on 9 December, delegates will have the opportunity to hear first hand from the three winners and vote for their favourite winner through an online voting process.

NNNGO partners Development Diaries for 15th Annual NNNGO Conference

NNNGO partners Development Diaries for 15th Annual NNNGO Conference

Lagos-Nigeria, November 3, 2015

The Nigeria Network of Non-Governmental Organisations, NNNGO, has partnered with Development Diaries LTD/GTE to host the 15th Annual NNNGO Conference in Lagos-Nigeria on December 9, 2015.

The partnership which is premised on the need for productive partnership within the development sector will see Development Diaries, a pan-African media-for-development organisation collaborate with the NNNGO as the official media partner for the one-day national event.

In its fifteenth year, the NNNGO Annual Conference has been the only major civil society gathering in Nigeria with the central instrument of fostering exchange on the work of NGOs in Nigeria whilst exploring effective ways to continually strengthen the Nigerian third sector space.

With the theme ‘Global Good Practices in NGO Regulations’, the 15th Annual Conference aims to be a learning event, offering participants drawn from government, civil society, donors and multi-lateral organisations, amongst other sectors the unique opportunity to contribute their experience and knowledge to the theme of the Conference.

The Conference will have Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Former First Lady, Ekiti State, a celebrated and well renowned global development actor as its key note speaker.

According to the Executive Director, NNNGO, Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, “the 15th Annual Conference will take place at a critical time in the history of our work as the National Assembly seeks to regulate how Nigerian NGOs receive and utilize funds including how to coordinate and monitor NGOs. Beyond the bills, there has been an increased call for NGO transparency and accountability by various stakeholders.”

Oyebisi expressed delight in the partnership secured with Development Diaries LTD/GTE as the official media partner of the 15th Annual Conference.

“We are pleased to collaborate with Development Diaries as the official media partner for the 15th Annual NNNGO Conference. There is so much optimism that this collaboration will yield maximum advantages for both parties”.

Managing Partner, Development Diaries, Femi Aderibigbe, stated that the partnership with the NNNGO is in response to the need for civil society organisations and development agencies to leverage media platforms and expertise to enrich their work as well as engage their stakeholders.

The 15th Annual NNNGO Conference will amongst other things feature opening and closing plenary sessions, keynote address and lead presentation on the title and theme of the Conference as well as interactive panel discussions and breakout sessions.

The conference will also feature the launch of the Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, YRK awards and presentation to 2015 awardees.

For more information, please log on to: www.nnngo.org/conference or join the conversation online using the hashtag #NNNGO15.

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ABOUT THE NNNGO

The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) is the first generic membership body for civil society organizations in Nigeria. NNNGO facilitates effective advocacy on issues of poverty and other developmental scope. Established in 1992, NNNGO represents over 1800 organizations ranging from small groups working at the local level, to larger networks working at the national level.

Website: www.nnngo.org

Facebook.com/nnngo

Twitter – @nnngo

ABOUT DEVELOPMENT DIARIES

Development Diaries is a leading Media Professional Service Agency for Africa’s non-profit industry. It exists to assist, advise, support, amplify, give credence to and ensure professionalism in communications and media services and practice for development initiatives across the continent.

Website: www.developmentdiaries.com

Facebook.com/developmentdiaries

Twitter – @dev_diaries

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.

Her Excellency, Mrs. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi to give keynote at NNNGO’s 15th Annual Conference

Lagos, Nigeria, 05 October 2015/– The Nigeria Network of NGOs (www.nnngo.org ) will host the 15th annual NNNGO conference in Lagos, Nigeria on 9 December 2015.

The conference will bring together not-for-profit organisations working in Nigeria to discuss topics ranging from NGO regulations, to the importance of a self regulatory framework and the necessity of adequate compliance mechanisms on NGO regulations in Nigeria. Her Excellency, Mrs. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, former first lady and one of the 20 most influential African women on the continent as named by New African Magazine will give a keynote address centred on theme of the conference ‘’global good practices in NGO regulations’’.

Nigeria Network of NGOs’ Executive Director Oyebisi Oluseyi said ‘’we are honoured to have Mrs Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi join us at the 15th annual conference of the Network, she is an industry expert with years of experience, working within civil society, government, donor community and multilateral organisations, her experience will be useful to the theme of the conference’’ The 15th annual NNNGO conference offers huge potential for the growth of the not-for-profit sector in Nigeria including opportunities for participants to network, share experience and showcase their work.

Some participants already confirmed for the conference include:

Abia North Industrial Development Initiative | Olumide Emmanuel Foundation | HillCity Foundation | African Youth Animation Network | Dynamic Women International Association | Global Community Health Foundation | Education for all initiative | Dewdrops Care Development Foundation | Dahiel Ogechi Akujobi Memorial (DOAM) Foundation| The Irede Foundation | Society to Heighten Awareness of Women and Children Abuse (SOTHAWACA) | Less privileged children Encouragement Initiative | Reconciliation Trainers Africa (RETA) | Sesôr Empowerment Foundation | Steps to Life Nigeria |Centre for Citizens Emancipation and Empowerment (CFCEE) | Global Healthplus Initiative | All Nigeria United Nations Students and Youths Association ( ANUNSA) | Women’s Board – ECS | Morgan Smart Development Foundation.| Sanitation and Hygiene Education Initiative | Hope Builders Skill Devp & Acq. Foundation | Dove Generation International Youths Organisation | Association of Women Professional Financial Managers (AWPFM) | Centre for Alternative, Development and Self-Enhancement | The Youth Future Savers Initiative | Act Of Random Kindness Foundation International | Women & Children’s Rights Development Centre (WOCHRID) | Community Women Progressive Association | Apiri Hallowed Foundation | Life-Skills Initiative For Youth Empowerment And Development | Global Hindu Charity Foundation (GHCF) | Glorious Child of Hope Foundation | Foster Paradise Orphanage

Oyebisi noted further that ‘’the long term growth of the Nigerian 3rd sector space ultimately depends on an effective self regulation mechanism backed by adequate legislation. There is so much energy around NGO regulations in our county at the moment, one which can and should be tapped into by both government and the civil society community. That is why we are so committed to engaging with government and NGO stakeholders, to share a vision of a potentially self regulatory environment for Nigerian NGOs’’

End

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.

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.