Nigeria Social Entrepreneurs Emerge Ashoka Changemaker Scholars

32 Nigerians were honoured on Saturday, July 2nd at NECA House, Ikeja Lagos State by Ashoka in collaboration with the Mastercard Foundation. It was a fitting conclusion to a six-week African Changemakers course that involved intensive training and deliberation on the Future of Work in Africa.

The Nigerian valedictory session, “Ecosystem Exchange Nigeria: Do Something! Innovate Youth” brought together had representatives from Ashoka, Ashoka Fellows and Scholars across the country share their innovative experiences in different sectors. Some of them are in the media, enterprise development, social innovation agriculture, ICT, and education.

In what became a very inspiring session for the awardees and visitors, the event had all the highlights of what being a “Changemaker” entails. According to the Ashoka representatives, the idea for a course was to stimulate meaningful discussions about the future of work for the teeming young population in Africa.

Nigeria’s facilitator, Topsie Olatilewa Egbetokun, was joined by her counterpart from Cameroon, Franklin Gabila Neba to organize a hugely impressive event. They advised the scholars to remain committed to bringing about innovative change across different sectors of the economy.

1According to Topsie Egbetokun, the narrative about Nigeria is being replaced with meaningful activities of young people and encouraged them to do more for love of country and humanity.

“The proof that you have gone through these courses should be seen in the innovation you institute after now. “The certificate and sash are only a beginning point for you and for the many innovations that Africa expects from you in your areas of focus.”

“While it is important to innovate, collaboration among young innovators is also important for Nigeria’s development. With this award, Ashoka and Mastercard Foundation as well as the rest of the continent are looking up to you for future of work in Africa.”

Some of the scholars who shared their experience in a panel include agriculture innovator, Stella Ozemoya, media and enterprise development proponent, Olufemi Omotayo and social entrepreneur, Belema Ogbuigwe. Others are youth development expert, Razak Adekoya who is visually impaired and tech entrepreneur, Bernard O’bien.

They thanked Ashoka and Mastercard Foundation for the recognition award noting that the Changemaker Courses have exposed them to the challenges and opportunities in Africa.

Other scholars include co-hosts Henry Akwuebu and Oludare Akinlaja, Oluwaseun Oyeniyi, Emmanuel Olutokun, Moses Alabi, Ibikunle Funso, Temitayo Adegoke, Ihidero Victor Osae, Vicky Udomi, Nafiu Habibu, Dr Maymuna Kadiri, and Benjamin Akinmoyeje among others.