I long to accomplish a great and noble task; but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble – Helen Keller
The saying two heads are better than one rings true in the article you are about to read.
At LEAP, we encourage our youth participants to develop projects that promote development and transformational change. That means involving as many as possible of those who are affected by or have an interest in any project, initiative, intervention, or effort. We believe strongly that, in most cases, working with partners will lead to a better process, greater community support and buy-in, more ideas on the table, a better understanding of the community context, and, ultimately, a more effective effort.
And so far, we have been able to achieve a great deal of success through our Youth Development Training Programme (YDTP) for public secondary schools in several states across Nigeria, where you’ll read or hear stories of students initiating change projects for their host communities, during the school year. (Find our more on our website www.leapafrica.org)
The write-up below was written by Vovwe Tonukari, a participant of yet another youth programme; the LEAD The Way summer holiday programme for teens. Different from the YDTP, the programme caters to private secondary school students who we believe can also create value by virtue of the lessons derived from our curriculum. Sessions on leadership, patriotism, goal setting, vision and mission statements, self-confidence etc., transform the thinking faculties of these children, helping them to understand who they are, their capabilities and how they can apply their minds to creating sustainable solutions to social problems in Nigeria.
At the end of the five-day programme, the students are divided into groups and encouraged to follow up on the projects given to them to implement.
And today, we are pleased to share the story of one of the groups, as written by the group secretary. We hope you’ll be inspired…Have a good read!
The ‘Let’s Feed Them’ project was inspired by the ‘End Hunger’ project which was given to ‘Group Four’ during the ‘Lead the Way’ Easter holiday programme which took place between March 28th – April 1st, 2016. The aim of the programme was to teach teenagers about leadership, what it means and how to be an effective leader.
The 28 teenagers who attended the programme were divided into four groups of seven members each. Each group was given a topic to research, analyse and discuss. Topics were to be presented on the last day of the program. ‘Group Four’ was assigned a project with the title ‘End Hunger’ project; the project was divided amongst the group members in order to ensure that all the important aspects of the topic were covered.
Group four consisted of three girls and four boys: Tamilore Ogunranti, Haneesah Abdurauf, Vovwe Tonukari, Chuka Mgbenwelu, Feyi Coker, Ayodeji Adeleye and Tolu Karunwi.
Mrs. Chinenye Etoniru, one of the instructors, walked up to the group while we discussed how to make our presentation stand out amongst others and she said to us, “You should know that your project doesn’t end here, you guys should be creative and do something that will go on and on, something that will last a long time.”
At first we were all in a dilemma, thinking of what we could do that would go on and on and was also creative. Considering we had simply planned to do our research and provide the class with facts on the topic, our original plan was clearly bland and without any innovation.
On the fourth day, Thursday, 31th of March, 2016, immediately after our arrival from the Makoko community in Lagos, we were asked to sit in our groups and finalize our plans for the presentation. Our excursion to Makoko had a significant effect on the group; their lifestyle was quite different from ours. While we had lunch, Tamilore Ogunranti, who was voted the group leader, suggested that we go to a place where there are less privileged people, like we had seen in Makoko and supply them with food.
It was a good idea, it still is. We all liked the idea but there was a problem, we were and still are a small group of teenagers, yet to have stable paying jobs. All of us are yet to complete our education. We thought to ourselves, “Where were we going to get the money to fund all the expenses that comes with trying to feed a community as large as Makoko?” We knew we couldn’t depend on our parents for ever. At one point or the other, we would move out of their homes and become independent adults, who then will fund our big projects? Depending on our parents forever will make all we had learnt at the ‘Lead the Way’ programme meaningless. We had no choice but to restrict our vistits to orphanages in Lagos, then other states in the country and hopefully, the world. And if possible, we would move from orphanages to communities.
One of the tricky parts we had to go through was naming the project, we had names like ‘Feed Lagos’, ‘Let’s feed them’, ‘Feed Africa’, ‘United Feeders’ and a few others but we agreed on ‘Let’s Feed Them’ because it was simple and didn’t limit our destinations to Lagos or Africa or anywhere at all. We agreed to keep in contact with each other and to meet every few months at a new orphanage to supply food.
As a group, we agreed on some rules that restricted the kind of donations we received: For instance, we are not allowed to bring cooked food because we don’t know whether or not it is permitted at the orphanages we are to visit; are not allowed to bring water because we don’t know what brand of water is supplied at the orphanage; are not allowed to bring drinks, chocolates, cookies etc because we promote ‘eating healthy’ but fruit juices were allowed.
Now, back to the class project: We realised that we had conquered the aspect of the project that would go ‘on and on’, but we were yet to be creative about the ‘End Hunger’ project. After the class sessions, Tamilore ordered three dozens of cupcakes and gave Vovwe a call telling her about the new idea she had.
On the 1st of April, 2016; the last day of the programme, we made our presentation which we thought was average. But just when we were about to conclude, Tamilore executed the plan which she had discussed with Vovwe the day before. We gave each person in the room a cupcake and Tamilore said, “The satisfaction you get from this cupcake is the satisfaction we want to give the world. Everyone one is happy when they have something to eat and we want to spread this happiness”. The entire class enjoyed our presentation and had fun eating the cupcakes!
In order to make our plans a reality, the group had decided to meet at ‘Living Fountain Orphanage’ but had not picked a date. After several calls and e-mails, we agreed to meet at the orphanage on the 13th of April, 2016. 71.5% of the group (5 out of 7) were unable to make it but some sent their donations. Vovwe and Tamilore met at the ‘Living Fountain Orphanage’ where they took a tour and presented our donations on behalf of the group. It was successful and pictures were taken to mark the moments and this was how ‘Let’s Feed Them’ came to be. Currently, plans are being made for another visit to a different orphanage this summer.
Would you like to sign up for the programme? Another edition of the programme begins this summer. See flier for details. Click here to fill the application form.