Sunday, February 01, 2009


The popular Ecowas Cosmopolitan College in Otta recently organized a student interactive program, a mentoring session aimed at educating the students about Leadership and personal issues such as adolescent Reproductive Health. I was at the event and was awed at the approach which Miss Modupe Ajewole, the organizer of the program adopted. Honestly, when I walked into the hall, I was expecting to see a high table with distinguished adults all dressed up to address the students who were eager to learn but instead found only youth workers in jeans and trainers who were selected to train the students.

The framework of World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Youth mentorship can thus propagate a responsible, safe and productive lifestyle among youths. Youth-to-youth mentorship refers to a strategy where experienced, successful and knowledgeable youths are able to directly counsel or “coach” their peers with the aim of influencing them positively. Such Mentorship has become a popular trend that facilitates a formal relationship to further their peer’s knowledge, skills, or career aspirations.

According to Mr. Wole Adegbola, the principal Ecowas, the approach was adopted as a result of its interesting and effective way of having a direct impact on the participants. One of the invited youth mentor, Francis Anyaegbu while expressing his support for the strategy said “The importance of Youth-to-Youth mentorship is that youth connect better to each other, that is why peer-to-peer education remain one of the most effective HIV preventive method.” Francis considers himself an active youth mentor who is consciously and consistently challenged by his peers which inspires him to aim high. “The major challenge I have with that older generation is that they don’t tell you the truth, they are very theoretical. Youth-to-youth mentorship is very sincere and practical. After all we learn better by stories told and shared and youth are the people who can do that and influence their peers.” He added.

The positive effect of youth mentorship includes the enhancement of the potentials of protégés who benefit from learning first-hand the success recipe from their successful peers. Meanwhile Stephen Oguntoyinbo, another youth mentor advocates for a forum where business entrepreneurs like Wale Adenuga will have the privilege of mentoring an average Nigerian youth entrepreneur who aspires to set up a Telecommunication company in future. “A lot of young people out there have business entrepreneurial spirit in them and mentoring is one of the tools that can help them attain greater height.” However, he points out that one of the reasons why mentorship programs fail in this part of the world is because of our culture do not allow young people to freely relate and share ideas with adults “There is this egocentric spirit that creates gap between the two generations”.

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