Monday, August 24, 2009


“It was a success”, “Very impactful.” “It was great to see young people doing things and older people encouraging them.” “It is my first time attending this kind of programme and I really enjoyed it.” “It is really engaging youths, the best I have attended so far this year.” These were some of the comments from some of the youths after the August 12 2009 International Youth Day (IYD) Celebration themed: SUSTAINABILITY: Our Challenge, Our future.

Over 100 Youths in Lagos and it’s environ were actively engaged in marking the event organized by Global Change Makers, Global Xchange, Belongings and other young Volunteers. The event which was tagged “Photo for Life” was sponsored by The British Council, Global Change Makers with support from Ola.lens. The young organizers turned the usual pyramid of IYD celebration upside down by stepping out of the norm (conference and talk shops) and presented the challenges of sustainability through a photo exhibition.

The event kicked off at about 11am at the British Council Multimedia hall in Lagos with the compere for the day-Stephen Oguntoyinbo coordinating the participants in taking the National Anthem. The special guests and panelists- James Uche Iroha, a reportage photographer; Tunde Kelani, a internationally renowned cinematographer; Boye Ola, a photography coach; Damola Taiwo, a web designer; and Tunde Aboderin, a development cinematographer were invited to the panel table. Olayinka Taiwo and Jennifer Ehidiamen gave an overview of the event after which the Assistant Communications Manager of the British Council Nigeria- Mrs. Omotayo gave an opening remark on behalf of the British Council.

The parlance “to know the road ahead, ask those who have gone ahead”, was in view when during the plenary session, the experienced adults panelists- James Uche Iroha, a reportage photographer; Tunde Kelani, a cinematographer; Boye Ola, a photography coach; Damola Taiwo, a web designer who made a presentation on maximizing web 2.0 for photography; and Tunde Aboderin, a development cinematographer drew from their wealth of experience to share with the youths first-hand knowledge of what they can do to be solution providers instead of being a problem.

In their words, “what is the energy of youth for if not to drive a positive change? It could be a big mistake to invest in material things instead of investing in human resource. Young people of this generation should take advantage of the opportunities and maximize the new technology to create a means of livelihood. Education is important, it is either you train yourself or get a formal training. Learn to embrace mentorship and prepare yourself to be able to pay the price in order to win the prize. Always think of inner satisfaction before money.” They all encouraged youths to make effective impact towards development and create positive change with photography or whatever they are passionate about.

Also speaking at the event, a Consultant with the Freedom Foundation, Mrs. Funmi Ode from Abuja advised youths to replicate this year’s IYD forum, noting that leadership starts from individuals leading by example. She also appealed that youths should make young adults who are achievers their role models and engage in good works.

Francis Anyaegbu also made a video presentation on Global ChangeMakers which was put together to commemorate the International Youth Day 2009. The video highlighted the various youth led efforts from around the world and he encouraged youths to be actively involved in the development process.

The participants enthusiastically shared their feedback and asked questions during the “Open Mic” session facilitated by Ayodele Taofiq-Fanida, followed by a closing remark on behalf of the organizing team.

After the plenary session, the Exhibition was declared opened by Mr. Tunde Kelani and everyone proceeded to appreciate the work of art that was put on display at the exhibition.

The event tagged “Photo for Life”, an Exhibition of photographs by young people highlighting the various challenges and prospects in their communities, was aimed at using the Art of photography to create an engaging means of involving young people to be active in building community. Considering the need for youth to embrace the challenge of sustainability in its fullness, young people told their stories using images with a focus on impacting community and creating an engaging form of expression through photography with the hope of not only telling the story accurately but also motivating other youths to take action to effect positive change. Photos from Olayinka Taiwo a young landscape photographer based in Lagos Nigeria with a passion for the Art as well as other young photographers passionate about using their talent/passion to impact their community positively were exhibited.

For some of the participants who attended the event, it is an experience that has reawaken their faith to embrace a new sense of hope, for others it might be that they are better inspired to ignite their innate creativity and passion- “creativity is key to survival” opined one of the participants. One thing that is undisputed is that our demeanor has changed for good and no longer will we sit passive in a materialistic, narcissistic or nonchalant way in the face of the challenges that confronts us.

In conclusion, the event was attended by a total number of One hundred and forty-seven (147) people. The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Silverbird Television and Superscreen TV were among the Television stations that provided media coverage for the event. It is also interesting to note that the event report was able to reach a wider range of audience, based on the fact that the first two television stations are on Cable television. A news report on the programme was showed on Network service news and Nationwide programme on NTA at primetime and this was later relayed as a news feature during the week, other television also followed this pattern. In attendance were also various print media houses including; Lagos weekly, The Nation Newspapers amongst others.

We are indeed grateful for the immense support received from the British Council, the Global Changemakers and other partners. We are gladdened by your unequivocal commitment to youth development in Nigeria as we look forward to celebrating IYD 2010

Report compiled by:

Jennifer Ehidiamen and Francis Anyaegbu

With support from 2009 IYD team members

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