The Federal Capital Territory on Saturday 4th December 2021 hosted the launch of the Global Youth Mentorship programme for students of the FCT. The Mentorship programme was organized by the Centre for Media and Dialogue Initiative (CMDI) in partnership with the Global Youth Leadership Network which has a presence in over 42 countries of the world.
The launch was a pilot programme to kick start a Mentorship activity for students in Senior Secondary Schools across the Nigerian states. This has become imperative as a result of the increasing cases of violence, bullying and misdemeanour in our schools. It is also needed to help students understand and discover their talents and achieve their potential in life.
The launch was attended by representatives from selected schools and other organized groups as well as representatives of the Mexican Embassy and Gambia.
The Global Youth Leadership Network is an international youth platform focusing on youth leadership development through mentorship. It operates in over 42 countries of the world and has membership in many international platforms such as World Citizenship Council, United Nations Major Group for Children. The body is represented by continental leaders in Africa, Europe, North and South America, Asia, and partners with international organizations that share similar objectives.
The Centre for Media and Dialogue Initiative (CMDI) is a Nigerian-registered platform to engage Nigerians in public conversations on issues of public interest including mentorship in schools. Based in Abuja, the organization takes up issues of nationalism, bullying in schools, domestic violence, political issues, peace through dialogue and other related matters.
The Mentorship Programme is aimed at helping students to build self-esteem, motivating them to explore different career possibilities not often available in the classrooms or work setting and helping them to be self-reliant and productively engaged.
The Programme also engages the students on how to break down stereotypes surrounding certain professions and handle diversity and cultural teamwork.
The Mentorship provides a platform for the young generation of students to learn how to promote the youth problems solving approach and advocate for increased youth participation in awareness against violence. Provides an opportunity for interaction and reflection to raise community awareness and standards for education and leadership.
The programme launch was attended by schools selected by the FCT Secondary Education Board: Government Girls Secondary School Dutse, Government Secondary School Bwari. Government Secondary School Kuje as well as Saint John Knox College, a privately owned School, also in Abuja.
Over 50 students who were led by their teachers from various selected schools benefited from the mentorship launch.
The FCT Secondary Education Board was represented by the Director in charge of Mentorship Pastor Ozoemena. The Consular Officer of the Mexican Embassy in Abuja HE Mr Redrigoz Ramos was present as well as a representative of the Gambia Embassy. The Chairman of AMAC Market Association Evang. Joseph Chinedu. Representatives of Ambassadors Initiative for Development and Empowerment Mr Samuel Chimene and Proprietor of Edu Radio Mr Oman Dave were in attendance. The host of the event Hon. Edwin Anayo Nwonu, a Federal Lawmaker, had earlier hosted the delegates to the Mentorship meeting from Mexico during which he thanked them and assured them that Nigeria needed such initiative at this moment of our life and urged them to bring their experience and knowledge to help our young students in different schools across Nigeria.
The delegates from the United States and Mexico who came for the Mentorship launch were Victor Fernandez, Michelle Macias, Valentin Camano who is also a United Nations Ambassador for Youth Development and Andrea Gassier. The Global Youth Leadership Network was represented by Mr Victor Okorie, a Nigerian based in Gambia. The CMDI officials on the ground to coordinate the programme was Dr Jerry Uhuo and Mrs Chioma Osuagwu among others.
Interactive session during the launch:
The Mentorship launch was a success following the active participation by students. The delegates led by Victor Fernandez and Michelle Macias during their presentation told the students to understand that mentorship is a process that leads to capacity. They told the students that the best way to succeed in life is to develop self-esteem, be confident, have passion for one’s desire, devote time and energy to achieve such desire, avoid being teleguided, be confident enough to convince your parents why you needed to study a particular course and not another one being proposed by a third party. They taught students that success begins the moment they can understand why they make certain choices and can defend such choices. They informed them that silence is not a solution to a problem. Therefore, students should be able to speak up when there are issues that needed the attention of parents or teachers. On gender, violence and bullying, the delegates told students to avoid being intimidated in an era when it is very easy to communicate. They urged students to resist gender violence and report the same to authorities. Bullying was reported as an emerging danger in some schools today in Nigeria which has caused some lives. The Visitors told the students to report cases of bullying to teachers, law enforcement agencies and parents and never keep silent where such happens. That is the only way to tackle it and nip it in the bud. The delegates also told the students that there would be an exchange of programmes to enable some of the students to visit the United States of America and Mexico on programme exchange in due course.
The event also had questions and answers during which many students had the opportunity to ask different questions addressed by the delegates. Many questions bother me in how to choose a course of study, how to develop self-esteem, issues of violence and bullying, gender matters and the relationship with parents’ choice of courses. Many of the students from the representing schools actively participated in the interactive session. The Mexican Consular officer was actively engaged with the children providing answers to their anxieties.
The Mexican Ambassador in response to some questions asked the students not to be intimidated by the number of people offering a particular course in school but to be motivated by the passion for such courses. He told them that it is not ordained anywhere that one must stay in one course, that people can study one course and still do other professions according to how they can develop themselves. That is why a medical Doctor can become a musician or a political scientist and end up as a Mechanical Engineer. It is a matter of passion and creativity. Many other people who spoke at the event encouraged the students to rule their world as leaders of today and tomorrow by taking their education seriously.
The programme had a picture section where all the participating schools took group pictures with delegates to the launch. The main activities of the mentorship are expected to begin in February 2022 and would cover the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria reaching out to all Secondary Schools.
The CMDI and Global Youth Leadership Network would develop an interactive platform for the students to follow up with them through their schools on the mentorship in other to answer some of their queries and address their anxieties. That will be a way to track their performance in their schools for purposes of further engagements.
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