Oxfam in Nigeria and Nigeria Youth SDGs Celebrates International Youth Day: Winners Emerge From Innovation Challenge

                                                                                                                      Lagos, Nigeria, Monday 17th August 2020


Around the world every year, August 12 is set aside to celebrate young people, their struggles, impact, collective prosperity, and prospects. To celebrate this year’s event, Oxfam in Nigeria and the Nigeria Youth SDGs teamed up to celebrate young policymakers, social leaders and social entrepreneurs making a difference across Nigeria towards sustainable community development.


With the global theme being “Youth Engagement for Global Action” and explores mediums to engage youth from the local level to the global level; there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a serious challenge but it has also presented an opportunity, notably for young people in Nigeria to develop innovative solutions; adopt creative mechanism and rebrand to meet the numerous needs which have helped place their communities ahead of the curve, improving processes and providing lifesaving systems.


Opening the conversations was Dino Correll, Youth Employment Analyst at the International Labour Organisation (ILO). He called for an “urgent large scale policy responses to protect the employment prospects of young… ensuring that human and labour rights are protected amidst the pandemic”. In a keynote address, the Country Director of Oxfam in Nigeria Mr Constant Tchona buttressed the “need for priority interventions on safeguarding the livelihood of young people, creating resilient social safety nets, calling on the government to build various support networks, financial regulatory framework, financial literacy education and innovative systems”.


In his keynote, the Director of the United Nations Information Center Mr Ronald Kayanja noted “Young people are a great asset if engaged & supported, by creating the conditions that allow them progress and play an active role. This is when we will be able to achieve peace, security, climate resilience and sustainable development for all”.


The international youth day comprised two-panel sessions: the first being Idea Sharing and Youth Engagement Best Practices with speakers Princewill Ogbodo (Oxfam in Nigeria), Chioma Agwuegbo (Founder, TechHerNG), Zainab Haruna (Program Director, Step Up Nigeria) and Innih Ikhide (Head, Poise Graduate Finishing Academy). A key take-home from this panel was made by Zainab Haruna. In her words, “youths need to have more collaboration and coalitions than trying to do it all alone”.


The second panel focused on Policies and Action: Intersectional Dialogue Between Policy Makers and Youth Leaders with Atinuke Adeniran (Regional Director, One Africa Child), Abiodun Eshiet (Advisor, Abuja Municipal Council), Emmanuel Etim (SSA Youth Affairs, Cross River State), and Ekene Ikwelle (Co-Founder, CEYAD). Creating a bridge between policymakers and young leaders, Abiodun Essiet noted that “young people should be more aware of the works happening at the local level. Youth should hold the local government accountable and be able to use our collective voice to change local narratives”.


Three (3) Winners emerged from the Innovation Challenge (#IYDInnovationChallenge) from a pool of over 113 entries submitted between July 26 and August 9, 2020. The winners were FavDoctor: a telemedicine service that connects patients to fully qualified and registered medical professionals from the comfort of their homes; Salubata: a social enterprise that recycles plastic bottles into affordable sandals and shoes and Green Axis: a recycling enterprise empowering women and girls in eastern Nigeria.


The winners will receive three hundred thousand naira in total cash prizes, mentoring, media coverage and a chance to pitch at the 2020 global innovation challenge.