Sunday, October 17, 2010

Find your Bright Spot: The Warri-Makeover

As an undergrad, interning at Warri Refinery of NNPC gave Ogunyemi Bankole Taiwo an opportunity to understand the practical application of what had been taught in the Ivory Tower- Lagos State University. Working at the Tank farm of the Oil movement section as a shift worker, Taiwo was able to transform the paper layout of the Pump house A flow chart to a Computer Aided Design format voluntarily. Due to his computer competency, he was given a bigger task to monitor the pumps and calculate the various Pump heads. He became the youngest of the team that re-scheduled the work instruction mechanism of the department. While in Warri, Bankole got interested in environmental reclamation of wasted lands that were affected by oil spill. In his final year project, he focused his dissertation around this theme, which won him 3rd position in the Society for Petroleum Engineers (NAICE) Competition in February 2010.

During his internship, Taiwo became interested in developing the young people in Warri, dispelling the norm that you only repair the village of your kinsmen. After graduation, Taiwo returned to setup a Youth Development Center called THE VISIONARIES ACADEMY (TVA) focusing on Environment, Entrepreneurship and ICT.

So far, the organization which started on the 26th of April, 2010 has inaugurated Green Clubs in Public and Private secondary schools in Warri, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education; participated in environmental sanitations organized by the State Government; organized a capacity building program for the Green Ambassadors on climate change during the 2010 World Environment Day; and also held the 1st Summer Technology in Delta State- Warri-South LG and Uvwie Local Government. About 616 Public Secondary School Students were trained on the practical use of a computer for two weeks.

Not deterred by the lack of sponsorship for his projects, Taiwo and his team will be hosting the 1st youth-driven Community Service in Delta state tagged ‘Warri-Makeover’ on the 29th-30th of Oct, 2010- to spur the culture of youth participation in Nation Building, at community level and eradicate the culture of “waiting for the government.”

Warri-makeover will feature young people from different parts of Nigeria coming together to paint 3 Public Primary and Secondary School each in Warri, and also plant eco-friendly trees. This will usher a new wave of Community rebranding of Warri whose image has been daunted by the international community as a region where militants are groomed, men are lazy and unsafe environment. With a mission of empowering tomorrow’s leaders today, Taiwo, has pitched his tent in the Warri region, building synergy with youths in Niger-Delta for progressive Social development. For more information on how to get involved in the Warri-Makeover, email Change is possible!

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