New $ 5 million fund launched by Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation will increase leadership capacity, improve educational opportunities and build relationships between young leaders and regional governments
LAGOS, Nigeria, September 13, 2021 – / African Media Agency (AMA) / – Today, the Ford Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation announced the launch of the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund (NYFF), a new $ 5 million fund that will support and strengthen the youth leadership ecosystem in Nigeria. In close partnership with LEAP Africa, which will manage the fund, NYFF will build on the momentum in the region inspired by the youth-led #EndSARS movement.
Young people under the age of 30 make up more than 70 percent of Nigeria’s population, with projections that this figure will continue to rise in the coming decades. Given the large number of young people, the researchers suggested that Nigeria’s future progress is based on the extent to which young people are educated, skilled, healthy and active in civic and political processes, including their involvement in the process. formation of development strategies.
“We are excited about this launch because over the past decade several analyzes have shown that there is likely to be an excellent return on investment among young people in the economic, social, political and technological areas of Nigeria’s development,” said said Dabesaki Mac. -Ikemenjima, Program Officer, West Africa Office, Ford Foundation. “I believe that the fund is an essential part of efforts to empower young people, strengthen their leadership capacities, broaden their opportunities to engage in national development and facilitate a proactive and constructive relationship between young people and governments across Nigeria. ”
NYFF is a five-year collaborative fund funded by $ 3 million from the Ford Foundation and $ 2 million from the MacArthur Foundation to facilitate youth leadership and civic engagement in Nigeria, with the goal of raising $ 15 million dollars from additional partners and other foundations.
“The young people of today embody the hope and promise of a prosperous Nigeria that will lead the African continent for generations to come,” said Kole Shettima, co-director of the MacArthur Foundation’s Nigeria program and director of the Nigeria office. “There is no better time to invest in civic engagement and participation of our young people, and the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund will support their work locally and amplify their voices in the halls of power. “
Building on the momentum gained by the #EndSARS youth-led protests against police brutality in 2020 and social movements over the past decade, NYFF:
- Convene an Imaginative Futures working group of young people aged 35 and under at national and state levels to explore and discuss visions, challenges and opportunities for Nigeria in 2025, 2030 and 2050 as part of official strategy efforts to government vision;
- Support innovation clusters to advance the development of ideas, including economic, civic and social enterprises by and for young people;
- Create a fund that will provide small to medium-sized action grants for young activists and anchor organizations at national and subnational levels; and
- Enable young people to take advantage of social and economic opportunities offered by governments and international agencies through an online portal.
Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism (LEAP) Africa, which will manage and operate the fund, is a youth-focused, nonprofit leadership development organization whose mission is to inspire, empower and equip a new executive cadre with personal skills and tools, organizational and community transformation. Its interventions with young people fill gaps in effective leadership, education, employability and entrepreneurship, and awaken civic participation of citizens to demand good governance and creatively address social issues across the continent. .
“Young people hold a world of promise and it is strategically imperative that a country like Nigeria has leaders who ensure that this promise is fulfilled or kept. Our role in youth development is to create platforms, opportunities and space to ensure that young people and their agencies are well supported. Amid the many challenges that the Nigerian youth ecosystem has faced, particularly in the aftermath of the pandemic, we remain committed to advancing the inclusion of youth voice, capacity and agency ”, said Femi Taiwo, Executive Director of LEAP Africa. “We are leveraging our 19 years of experience working with Nigerian youth and our multi-sectoral mobilizing power to build a stronger and more resilient youth ecosystem that will make a decisive contribution to Nigeria’s long-term development plans. ”
“It’s important for young people to realize that they have a powerful voice. As a dynamic group, young people have the power to unite, harness their potential and bring about positive change, ”said Sarah Egbo, Policy Support Officer, Gender Mobile Initiative. “The Nigeria Youth Futures Fund comes at an opportune time for young people, because in order to develop the skills and knowledge of young people for effective participation, decision-making and knowledge co-creation in various spaces, there is a need to capacity building sessions and interventions aimed at strengthening young leaders for sustainable development.
To kick-start youth engagement, NYFF will launch an online competition to encourage young people to design the logo for the new Nigeria Youth Futures Fund.
To learn more about NYFF, please visit www.NigeriaYouthFund.org and follow on Instagram at @naija_youthfund.
Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of the Ford Foundation.
Ford Foundation, responsible for strategic communication
MacArthur Foundation, Senior Communications Officer
+1 (312) 348-3239
LEAP Africa, Senior Communication Coordinator
About the Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent, non-profit granting organization. For more than 80 years, she has worked with courageous people on the front lines of social change around the world, guided by her mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation and advance human achievements. With its headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
About the MacArthur Foundation
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions and influential networks who build a more just, green and peaceful world. MacArthur is betting that truly meaningful progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including promoting global climate solutions, reducing nuclear risk, promoting local justice reform in the United States, and reducing corruption in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows program and the global 100 & Change competition, the foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsive democracy and the vitality of our home city, Chicago.
For more information on the foundation’s On Nigeria program, visit www.macfound.org/nigeria.
About LEAP Africa
For over 19 years, Leadership, Efficiency, Responsibility and Professionalism (LEAP) Africa has remained true to its mission of equipping a new cadre of African leaders. LEAP Africa achieves this through its training programs, research publications, meetings and, most recently, e-learning. Our program interventions focus on two core thematic pillars: raising talent to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and making secondary education work in Africa. Through it all, our overall goal is to change the mindset of young people, equip them to lead ethically, motivate them to make positive changes in their communities and create sustainable social enterprises for transformation. socioeconomic.
Visit www.leapafrica.org for more information.
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