LEAP Africa’s SIPA 2018 – Social Innovators Programme and Awards – have come and like a breeze on the first flight of spring may have fizzled, yet the memories and insights will linger in our hearts – well, that is if you were at the event. Like I said to some folks, I want to rant about my experience and here I will do that – it’s still my blog anyways. Laughs!
But first what do you know about LEAP Africa?
Sorry to deflate your hopes, we know nothing about them, not because we shouldn’t but because we are a superficial bunch of crazed youths who desire to be spoon-fed rather than taught how to make our own manna fall from the sky. I was really embittered when thirty minutes into this event, the hall was more than half empty and so much more was my bile when the event ended and item seven was still very plenty – pardon my gbagaun. Can you imagine that, item seven still in surplus after an event and I’m like where did all of the Nigerian youths in Lagos go to?
I think I am getting paranoid, let’s start all over. Sighs deeply!
Leap Africa is an organization built on Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism and for over 15 years they have stayed true to their mission which is to equip a new cadre of African leaders. To make this mission possible, SIPA was formed to support creative young Nigerians aged 18-35 with ideas and initiatives that proffers effective solutions to identified challenges in local communities across the country.
Now, the last sentence was lifted off the pages of the program brochure, I just needed to use the right keywords there but simply what LEAP Africa does through SIPA – Social Innovators Programme and Awards is to provide creative Nigerian Youths in that age range with tools and training that enables them build their ideas to the level that it becomes a solution to the many challenges affecting our dearest mother/fatherland. SIPA is a one year fellowship or program that incubates these creative youths passing on the elements – leadership, effectiveness, accountability and professionalism to them. At the awards ceremony, the most outstanding fellows get monetary awards and new fellows are inducted.
Everything I have written here is basically from spending few hours as a volunteer at the event, which in my judgment was a well-planned one. Those guys at LEAP are pretty well organized, everything from start to finish was smoothly run and to their credit it was the most impacting event I have attended so far in 2018.
SIPA 2018 had in attendance Dr. Patrick Awuah Jnr. Founder and President, Ashesi University College, Ghana. He passionately spoke on our collective role in changing the African landscape and in his words and rightfully so, “In the next 30 years, we’re going to run faster than ever before because Africa is running fast.” See other quotes from him below:
Often, great things start small, but you should have a forward-looking vision of where you want to go. You have to be determined and not be discouraged.
There will always be people who would do the wrong things, but what is important is having majority who do not support the wrong things done.
The challenge for us to move forward is- How do we scale out our career path? How do we face the world?
My answer is that we can do that through collaborative efforts…we need to support each other.
The journey of a thousand miles starts with a step, but the journey of a thousand miles does not end with the first step, you need a second and third step, until you get to the thousandth mile.
You don’t have the luxury of changing the system overnight. It takes a while for your creative ideas to make impact. And for a period, you have to work within the system.
Change does not come easily. To transform a country won’t be easy, it’ll be difficult. You have to get there with this mindset.
In my lifetime, there has never been a better time to live in Africa than today.
That done, I just want to express my displeasure before I round off. First, I expected that the hall would be filled to capacity and maybe the organizers may have to borrow chairs from the neighbors but mba, the youths for whom this event was planned ‘fall my hands’ I was really pained. What exactly is our problem in this country? We complain that things are not moving forward and there was a program that could give us some sense, an event that could change how we think about what is really important as youths. As Dr. Patrick Awuah Jnr. also said, we can never create that society we want when we continue to celebrate mediocres and mediocrity.
Until we understand that changing a country lies in championing life impacting programs like SIPA, attending events and conferences where our senses are formatted instead of events where we shack all night and dance shaku shaku like our life will stop if we don’t, until we stop thinking less of motivation speeches and more of growth, we won’t get it right. And please please, next year nobody should let any food waste at all, borrow money and attend. I don’t like it and I believe even baba God doesn’t like food wastage.
In case you missed it, Femi Leye was there to thrill us with beautiful lyrics and I really enjoyed the rendition of his hit track, Ayo and Asiko. More lyrics to the fine unkle. And not just him, thriving social innovators like Nkem Okocha of Mamamoni was there to inspire us with their growth story and how Mamamoni is changing the lives of rural Lagos women. Folawe Omikunle, CEO, Teach For Nigeria, a social enterprise on a mission to end education injustice in Nigeria could do no less but fill our memories with beautiful description of how Teach for Nigeria was birthed and really, she’s a beautiful storyteller. Immediately she touched the mic, all of us volunteers at the content and scribe desk had to listen up – like who’s that talking? Akintunde Oyebode and Olufunbi Falayi of Passion Incubator had intellectual nuggets to share with the attendees. And yes, it was a day well spent, it gave me hope to believe I am part of the league that can change our hi-STORY.
My rant can die down now, please follow LEAP Africa, their social media pages and maybe it’s time you started asking yourself, how can I contribute to social innovation and change in Nigeria? Next year and the year after it and even the ones far off are waiting for you. LEAP Africa and similar organizations are here to make it easier than it was yesterday, only that Instagram celebrities cum influencers won’t let you think there’s gain in being a social entrepreneur.
I celebrate all the volunteers for SIPA 2018, especially my gregarious team members Cynthia, Fiyin, Chucks and Fauzzzz – Faustina. These memories will keep us aglow.
Thank you for reading through, I am switching back to my storytelling mood, oh, you have forgotten this is a creative writing blog? But I will keep bogging you till you get it right! Where are my writers, we are social innovators in our own rights too.
See you at the next edition, that is if you will even attend.
Long Live Hope!