32 Ashoka Scholars were honoured on Saturday, July 2nd at NECA House, Ikeja Lagos State following their completion of the youth employability innovation course, Future Forward. Future Forward course, an initiative by Ashoka in partnership with MasterCard foundation, is targeted to recognise, educate, equip and empower young individuals in Africa who have exhibited leadership qualities
32 Ashoka Scholars were honoured on Saturday, July 2nd at NECA House, Ikeja Lagos State following their completion of the youth employability innovation course, Future Forward. Future Forward course, an initiative by Ashoka in partnership with MasterCard foundation, is targeted to recognise, educate, equip and empower young individuals in Africa who have exhibited leadership qualities and are passionately providing sustainable solutions to the issue of unemployment and human incompetence in Africa.
The Nigerian valedictory session, “Ecosystem Exchange Nigeria: Do Something! Innovate Youth”, was a fitting conclusion to a six-week African Changemakers course that involved thorough online training and deliberation on the Future of Work in Africa.
The event had in attendance representatives from Ashoka, Ashoka Fellows and Scholars across the country who shared their innovative experiences in different sectors – from media, enterprise development, social innovation agriculture, ICT, to education.
The event reached its climax when Ashoka Fellow and CEO of X-ray Farms African Farmer Mogaji, inspired and challenged the freshly inducted scholars with his remarkable entrepreneurial journey in Nigeria’s agricultural sector. Opting out of a conventional route of world class education and fanciful lifestyle – perks of privileged kids of Nigerian multimillionaires – he chose a local technical agricultural college where he commercially began his agribusiness career.
He has survived a N500,000 loan debt that tempted him to commit suicide just to escape and N17 million debt much later in his career. He’s now one of Nigeria’s foremost agribusiness information expert and has bagged several awards and international fellowships. His talk precipitated in a three-pronged counsel to the listening entrepreneurs – Act, Collaborate and Share Knowledge.
The amazing Topsie Egbetokun, CEO of Business Without Boundaries was the convener of the event. She challenged the new scholars with these words: “The proof that you have gone through these courses should be seen in the innovation you institute after now. “The certificate and sash are only a beginning point for you and for the many innovations that Africa expects from you in your areas of focus.”
She furthered: “While it is important to innovate, collaboration among young innovators is also important for Nigeria’s development. With this award, Ashoka and Mastercard Foundation as well as the rest of the continent are looking up to you for future of work in Africa.”
Yes, I participated in this too and I’m proud to be an Ashoka Scholar. It was a huge learning experience and has provided me with an invaluable network of like minds and resource. Thanks Ashoka and Mastercard!