|What’s the name of your project?|
|Teens Connect Africa|
|What problem are you solving with your project?|
|7 in 10 teenagers in Zuba face the risk of dropping out of high school, getting pregnant, and being addicted to drugs and other social vices, which is a result of poverty, lack of exposure, and access to mentorship and positive engagement. |
We have identified the following challenges:
1. A High number of teens drop out of high school.
2. Increase in teens’ restiveness and social vices in the community.
3. High level of illiteracy and poverty.
|How does your project adequately solve this problem?|
|Teens Connect Africa is connecting teenagers in underserved communities to mentorship, resources, and opportunity to develop their potential and become productive members of society.|
Our programs include:
1. Monthly mentorship meetings
2. Talent Development and Skill Acquisition Program (TDSAP)
3. Career exhibition and leadership development
4. Community service project
If young teenagers can be abducted and mentored to become terrorists and violent extremist who disrupts peace, then we believe that with the right mentorship and opportunity for teenagers, they could become productive, and contribute to the community and national development.
|What groups of people will benefit from your project?|
|How do you intend to generate revenue in order to become sustainable?|
|1. We have a book called “Beyond the Classroom”. Proceeds from this book are used to fund some of our projects in Teens Connect Africa.|
2. In the TDSAP, teenagers are trained for free after which they work with us; producing and offering services in exchange for payment and a percentage of the money comes back to the organization. They also become trainers in subsequent editions of the training program.
3. Grants and funding
4. Goodwill donations from community partners.
|What makes your project unique or better than other projects solving this problem?|
|Our project is unique because, unlike extracurricular club activities that exist in schools, ours exist in communities giving opportunities to teenagers both in school and out of school to access mentorship and opportunities to develop their potential, acquire skills and become productive members of society. It’s more inclusive and flexible, and it creates opportunities for teens to network and collaborate with their peers from other schools and those learning skills in the non-formal sector.|
|What strategies will you adopt to scale the impact of your project in the future?|
|1. After teenagers grow past their teenage, we recruit them as volunteers who will be instruments of spreading the clubs to other states in Nigeria and beyond.|
2. We partner with global organizations to create experiences for these teenagers.
3. We leverage technology to digitize mentorship and reach out to more teenagers in underserved communities in Africa.
|What impact does your project have on your community, region, country, or the world?|
|From September 2020 to date; every month, we bring together the teenagers in the Zuba community at the Women’s Development Center for a monthly mentorship meeting. Here, we connect them to mentors and activities to positively engage them. Through the mentorship meeting, we have directly reached out to over 720 teenagers and also had over 15 guest mentors. |
We have also implemented two editions of The TDSAP, which is an annual event that provides a platform for teenagers in Zuba to express their creativity, exhibit their talent through the talent clubs, gain access to mentorship tailored to suit their talent, and learn strategies to develop and monetize their talent for self-development and economic empowerment. The objective of this project is to curb teens’ restiveness and create talent clubs as a means of converting their restiveness into creative and productive uses. We have reached out to over 250 teenagers through this project and also created talent clubs.
|What makes you the right person or team to solve this problem?|
|I grew up in the Zuba community and I witnessed the increase in cultism, teen pregnancy, school dropout, and other social vices among teenagers. I was able to escape these negative vices due to mentorship from my mother, who is a teacher, and through positive activities and engagement with the SAGE Club.|
In senior high school, I was a member of the SAGE Club (Student for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship) and the club had activities that positively engaged me such as skill acquisition, project implementation, courtesy visits, and rehearsal for national and international competitions, etc.
I was so engaged that my holidays weren’t spared. I had little or no time to engage with the social vices in the community. In 2010, at the age of 14, I traveled out for the first time with my school team to Cape Town, South Africa, for the SAGE International Competition after winning the national competition held in Enugu state.
At that time, I was in charge of producing liquid soap for my school team. In 2012, I became the president of my school’s SAGE club. I led my team to win the national competition in Tinapa Calabar and that qualified us to represent Nigeria in San Francisco, USA, where we won the SAGE International Competition in the Social Enterprise Business category.
These activities positively changed my perspective on life, made me desire more and I realized that even though I still lived in Zuba with my parents, I knew I was made for more and I wouldn’t settle for the environmental limitation. I lived a productive life as a teenager, serving in different leadership positions both in church and school, and I experienced extracurricular activities firsthand.
These experiences stood me apart from my peers and I believe I’m in the best position to create opportunities for teenagers in underserved communities, not just in Nigeria, but in Africa, to reach for greatness, develop their potential, and become productive members of their society.
Their restiveness can be harnessed and converted into productive use, which will lead to their personal and community development.
This is why I founded Teens Connect Africa.