The Sozo networks welcomed the 7th cohort of teenage leaders to her SAFE Leadership Academy on the 19th to 31st of August 2019 in Ibadan. The cohort of 21 teenagers from low-income homes and public schools went through 12 days of intensive experiential and practical training sessions. The sessions facilitated by young experts invited from different social service organizations and businesses covered personal development, communication, self-awareness, social etiquette, emotional intelligence, leadership, design thinking, entrepreneurship and proposal writing. The technical sessions include training on graphics design, Microsoft office, and blockchain technology. The immediate outcome of the academy was evaluated using pre and post-tests, reflections and program evaluation surveys. The pre-test scores improved from an average of 45% to 90%. 98% of the participants reported that the academy surpassed their expectations. At the end of the academy, the participants exercised their learnings by implementing 4 community development projects covering sustainable development goals 3, 4, 6 and 13. The following are some of the highlights.
The self-awareness session was deeply introspective. It helped the teenage leaders to understand their personalities, values, strengths and learning capabilities. Tofunmi, who is in her final year of high school, confidently described herself as a kinesthetic learner while other participants testified that the social etiquette session taught them to be appropriately courteous and professional. They reported to now understand the importance of active listening and empathy through the emotional intelligence session.
A leader’s words ought to inspire people and drive action toward change. – Racheal
Most of the participants are from communities where young people are not allowed to speak or contribute. The communications class empowered them to contribute meaningfully in their schools, home, and public gatherings. They demonstrated an understanding of writing, storytelling, content creation and effective delivery.
“My friends and I have been involved in businesses before, selling snacks to hand-made fashion accessories but we ended up at a loss. The entrepreneurship session helped to identify our mistakes and provide solutions.” – Victoria
The entrepreneurship class impacted participants with financial intelligence and geared participants to make income by solving problems in their communities. The session also emphasized early savings and investment. The second week at the Academy was dedicated to digital literacy, specifically to learning desktop publishing and on Kolibri (an e-learning and e-resource platform from our partner- MAYEIN). Digital skills are essential for the 21st-century workspace, but public schools in Nigeria have little or no facilities to equip their students with these skills.
“What I loved the most about the digital skills class was the hands-on session. I got to try out real-time what Uncle Dipo was teaching. I don’t get to do that at my school.” – Samuel
The session on “Inclusion and Diversity” was enlightening, it emphasized open-mindedness, hospitality, receptiveness, and nondiscrimination in leading change. The advocacy session showcased young people leading various advocacies against different social vices and challenges. Participants plan to emulate Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg and other young people in speaking up.
“I felt so unhappy and was at the point of tears seeing children my age and younger suffering from physical, sexual and emotional violence. I hope to start an advocacy program tagged “Say No to Girl Child Discrimination.” (Karimat, 15)
At the end of the two-weeks, participants were divided into 4 groups, then funded and guided by Sozo Network to design and implement community service projects targeting specific global goals. Projects covered sustainable development goals 3, 4, 6 and 13. The participants were also assigned to mentors for a 6-month mentorship period and will join our SAFE alumni network.