Joining the leadership program was quite challenging at first because LEAP made me convince them that I really wanted to be part of the training. Nevertheless, the intensity of the programme was good for me, as it helped me realize how passionate and determined I was about my interests.
I have always had this deep desire to care for the needy because I was saddened by the height of poverty in my community. I knew I wanted change the circumstances around me but didn’t know how to go about it. This desire pushed me into volunteering for community projects (which I still do) and I had a sense of fulfillment but was short-lived. I knew I needed a push to come out of myself and maximize my potentials to the fullest. So when a friend, Bayo Omoboriowo told me about LEAP Africa’s Youth Leadership Programme in 2007 and it’s benefits I just knew that was it; that was the push I needed! I craved direction and proper orientation and was really excited when the opportunity came.
Joining the leadership program was quite challenging at first because LEAP made me convince them that I really wanted to be part of the training. Nevertheless, the intensity of the programme was good for me, as it helped me realized how passionate and determined I was about my interests.
The training gave me a wider perspective on the concept of leadership, visioning and goal setting, project planning and management, creativity, and creating the right values amongst others. The lessons really shaped my mindset; they were indeed remarkable!
Later on, I volunteered at LEAP and was privileged to manage projects at some secondary schools in Lagos for two years. The projects I coordinated recorded great successes because I applied the life and leadership principles I was taught at LEAP Africa. Volunteering also gave me a platform to apply the skills I had acquired in a more practical way.
While serving as a Youth Corp Member in Katsina State, I facilitated over 10 major projects with the MDGs (now SDGs) at the state and national level. I have also been privileged to volunteer and manage projects for Organizations such as the Department for International Development, Centre for Human Development, Community Information Project amongst others.
I later began a project called Love, Order, Value and Empowerment Initiative (Love Initiative) in 2012 which was primarily designed to implement sustainable programs that will create opportunities for people living in poverty and despair. The initiative was born out of a desire to inspire hope and mitigate suffering and poverty. Over 2,500 women, youths and children have been beneficiaries of this project. Our special Empowerment Programme is targeted at youths and our goal in the next two years is to empower and train 5000 youths.
We also have been able to execute health and welfare projects in communities which is a great privilege for us. Our programme first started in Bariga community where the participants enjoyed free medical treatment and distribution of various food items and in 2016 we had a free health seminar and gave free mosquito nets to residents in Makoko.
Also, more than 120 orphans and disadvantaged persons have been mentored and trained on different vocations and ICT skills between 2014 and 2015 in partnership with the Lagos State Government. A lot of the things we do at Love Initiative came from LEAP Africa; particularly because the Leadership training program shaped my initiative.
Personally, values taught at LEAP has formed my character and life principles. I apply this principles professionally at my work place.
Odunayo Adebayo studied at the University of Lagos. He is the last child of four. He runs a foundation called Love Initiative and also works at a Telecommunications Firm.
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