By Ikenna Asomba
The Regional Director, Ashoka West Africa Anglophone, Mrs. Josephine Nzerem, has stated that the vision of the socio-entrepreneurship initiative region is to continue to create demand for a new framework that fosters changemaking and empathy in the people and communities of Africa, adding that it addresses continental challenges by engaging social innovators and co creating with the companies, youth ad African Diaspora members.
In a statement, on the sidelines of its Ashoka Youth Years’ Work In West Africa, held recently in Lagos, Ashoka Africa, hailed the generosity of its program donor and collaborative partner, Mitsubishi Corporation, saying “the Mitsubishi Corporation made the work and that of our program participants possible.
“Ashoka Youth Years’ Work In West Africa would not have experienced progress without the generous support from you who sponsored the youth years’ work which includes: selection and engagement of Changemaker Schools, Youth Champions and Youth Ventures.”
The statement read: “We have had the opportunity to work strategically with the change leaders in the various Changemaker institutions. All these work culminates to transform the youth years of young people in Africa.
“We are advancing ‘everyone a changemaker world’ in Africa where every child thrives and is trusted to lead. To ensure we achieve this goal, Ashoka Africa contextualized its strategy to achieve an everyone a changemaker world.
“Our vision as a region is to create demand for a new framework that fosters changemaking and empathy in the people and communities of Africa in order to address continental challenges by engaging social innovators and co creating with the companies, youth ad African Diaspora members.”
On its approach, the statement noted that “Ashoka Africa works in a team of teams environment focused on four key constituent areas- social entrepreneurs, young changemakers, companies and Diaspora. The teams will be focused on the following missions- Social Entrepreneurs: Fostering systems Change and mindset shift in Africa by showcasing new patterns in social innovation. Everyone a Changemaker: creating an everyone a changemaker world where youths thrive and are trusted to lead. Everyone a changemaker companies: engaging African companies in changemaking partnership to create wealth, solve problems and ensure wellbeing for all.
African Diaspora communities: Inspiring Africa’s Diaspora to invest and adopt in system changing innovation to drive change back home.
“Having stated our current reality, every program planned and executed has aligned to achieve the vision of Ashoka Africa. On the 1st of September, 2017, we brought together the change leaders from Ashoka Changemaker Schools in Nigeria. This was the maiden edition of the Teachers Strategy Session, as this session availed the teachers, the opportunity to connect and collaborate across boundaries. We had in attendance 30 people, where 18 were change leaders from the various Ashoka Changemakers Schools.
“We had two external facilitators who had experience in the use of the media as a tool to spread changemaking and raising changemakers. Mr. Wale Akinyanmi is the CEO of Accent Kid & Teenprenure, African Centre for Civic Entrepreneurship & National Transformation, ACCENT.
“ACCENT believes that entrepreneurial thinking and activities, as well as transformation of skills and abilities to wealth can be introduced from early primary and running through early teen age. The watchword is “Entrepreneurship: Better Quiet Early”.
“During the training session with Mr. Wale of ACCENT, the discussion where around; what we think need to shift for change making to happen in school and co-operations?
“The contributions we got were: Educate and encourage staff to take the job as their own, being conscious of their role in the organization. Be an Intraprenure in your organization. Communication skills need to be improved and there should be opportunity to problem solve with the team. Believe that the children have skills that could be utilized.
“Some other points of discussion and deliberation were centered on, discussions on the barriers to raising changemakers, how do we encourage other teachers in schools to focus on Changemaking skills and begin to harness it in the young people they lead. He also made every one express their thoughts on the achievements of an everyone a changemaker world with respect to it possibilities and achievements. This session was very interactive and enlighten both for the leaders and Ashoka as we got better insight on how we can engage the teachers better to achieve the vision of Advancing the EACH world
“In the bid to Advance the EACH world we discovered in Ashoka that it is pertinent to involve the Media in all fora to spread the story of Changemaking. Thus, the next session revealed to the change leaders a better way to strategically engage the media to tell success stories. This session was facilitated by a media expert, Mr. Victor Gotevbe, Chief Executive Officer, Conduit Communications Limited and Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Diplomatic Watch, Nigeria’s first digital diplomacy magazine.”
“There was a great understanding on a more effective way to engage the media in its two forms- the traditional media and the social media.
“Aspects about messaging, Questions to ask in your message, understanding journalists, Approaching Journalists, How to construct a press release, were all handled in this session. At the end of these meetings, the leaders were equipped with the right tools and network to raise more Changemakers,” the statement added.