Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Call for Application: Euro-Africa Youth Summit 2012 #BritishCouncil #GlobalChangeMakers #youth

After celebrating their fifth anniversary last week, Global Changemakers is moving on to its next milestone: this year’s Euro-Africa Youth Summit, which will take place in Brussels on 24-30 June.

Are you interested in participating as a volunteer or facilitator? Then read on! Application is between Monday 30 January 2012 and ends Sunday February 19th, 2012.

The profile for those eligible to apply is as follows:

For Volunteers:
·      Social entrepreneurs, community activists and volunteers aged 18-24 (on 24 June)
·      They must not have taken part in any previous Global Changemakers summits
·      They must be able to communicate comfortably in English
·      They must be residents of a country in Europe or Sub-Saharan Africa

You will find the call for applications here:

(If you were selected for a previous summit but were unable to attend, and if you meet the criteria above, you may reapply for this specific summit.)

For Facilitators:
Also, the summit is looking at recruiting ten peer facilitators – who must have taken part in a Global Changemakers summit, but they needn’t be from the two regions specified. If you’re interested in becoming a peer facilitator for the event, haven’t taken part in one of the previous summits as a peer facilitator and are aged 18-25 on the first day of the summit, you can apply here:

Deadline is Sunday, 19 February 2011. Please spread the word!
NOTE: As the website has been fighting with the increased number of visitors since yesterday, the organisers have their web developers looking into ways of increasing the site’s stability.
British Council will cover all costs (i.e. travel, visa, accommodation, meals, training costs) for the selected participants.

Source: Global Change Makers

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

When should job-oriented learning start? via @efareport

Cross posted from Youth-Skill-Work

A few months ago, all fired up to change the way things work in the education sector in my country, my friends and I set up a project called “Before Graduation.” Our vision was basically to connect youth education to internship opportunities and contribute to the emergence of a skilled, employable and entrepreneurial generation of youth.

The project was not an easy feat.

We soon realize that the demand for internship opportunities was more than the actual available positions. Young people were willing to learn soft skills and practice the theory they are taught in schools. They wanted to experience first-hand the reality of the industry they will eventually serve in after graduation. But there were just no space.

I personally believe that every young people should be given an opportunity to experience hands-on education before graduation. This could be in form of short-term internship. These are one of the ways to kick-start a job-oriented learning and allow young people acquire communication, time-management and leadership skills in their chosen field of endeavour.

Corporate organizations, NGOs and government institutions should open up more internship opportunities for young people- high school graduates and college students, at the national, state, regional and local (grassroots) level.

When should job-oriented learning start? Right now, before graduation. Young people can learn as much by doing! It is never too early to learn on the job.
Source: EFA (Youth-Skill-Work)

About Youth-Skill-Work

The Education for All Global Monitoring Report is seeking the voice of the youth on youth, skills & work.
Your views will be listened to and will influence our report, which is read by policy makers all over the world. Make your voice heard by submitting your thoughts! http://youth-skills-work.tumblr.com/

Monday, January 23, 2012

State of the African Youth on Education

“As a group, African young people today have a higher level of educational attainment than any previous cohorts, but nevertheless face serious challenges that will erode their potential if governments do not prioritize investments in youth development.”
A couple of months ago, I started sharing some of the findings in the 2011 State of the Africa Youth Report, which was published by African Union in partnership with UNFPA. The report covers areas such as demographic situation, Education, Labour Market participation, hunger and poverty, Youth mobility, health, civic participation and other issues affecting youth.
Focusing on Education today, the report highlighted interesting findings, which includes a recorded increase in youth literacy rate due to improved access to primary education. “…The youth literacy rate has risen in Africa over the last two decades; increasing by 18% in North Africa and by 6% in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently 87% and 76% of young people are able to read and write in the two regions respectively.” The report stated.
As part of an effort to improve the quality of education at all levels, African government and other bodies launched the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015) a few years ago. It can be recalled that members of then Organization of African Unity proclaimed the first Decade of Education for Africa (1996-2006) in 1996. However, most of the set goals were not achieved due to lack of investment in the education sector by the government and stakeholders.
Meanwhile, according to the State of Africa Youth Report, although a third of young Africans are currently not making transition from primary to secondary school education at the set age, youth literacy rates remain high in all regions, especially in North Africa.
In October 2011, about 210 youth delegates of the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum, representing 127 Member States met at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to discuss “How YOUTH drive change”. At the end of the session, some of the recommendations they made focusing on Education include the need for Member States:

·      to ensure access to equal quality public education as a basic human right and to ensure free, universal and mandatory education to secondary level, especially in rural areas;
·      to eliminate all forms of discrimination, especially against the most vulnerable segments of society, and to promote human rights-based education;
·      to ensure women’s and girls’ empowerment, and also encourage gender equality in acquiring essential life skills, as well as including literacy and sexuality education;
·       to ensure access to quality formal and non-formal education, including informal education, intercultural education, values-based education and civic education, as equal parts of general education;
·       to ensure a fair educational system, taking into consideration refugee children or children with migration backgrounds and creating possibilities that these children could also succeed in school;
·      to recognize sport and arts education as key elements to prevent violence and to promote a culture of peace;
·      to include disaster-risk prevention, management and rehabilitation and environmental protection in education systems;
·      In response to employment challenges, to expand the scope of education by including entrepreneurial skills and training opportunities, and intergenerational partnerships for youth aligned to rapidly changing labour market needs, particularly in non-traditional fields, such as e-learning.

Similarly, among the recommendation for African government presented in the State of the African Youth Report, is the need for African leaders to take action and renew their commitment in realizing the goals presented in the Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015). We need to unlearn the culture of beautifully articulating solutions in documents and never taking action on them in real life.
If African government leaders really want to develop the human resource in the region and reduce poverty and inequality, then they must take the education business very seriously and invest more in it!

Friday, January 20, 2012

“Ẹni Dúró” -- No waiting, No holding back! @eMJOYtruly [Free Download]

“Ẹni Dúró,” a Yoruba phrase which literally translates to "you won't wait" in English or "no holding back” is a ‘dance-provoker’ jam fresh in 2012, almost like saying “Happy New Year, REJOICE!”

This is the latest track from quickly-emerging gospel artist, eMJOY (aka the eMJOY Channel).

eMJOY takes on the Afrobeat ‘Riverbed’ instrumental by Braille from the UK and makes it his own in this jam.

Sonically, eMJOY is an artist who pursues creating a style of music, which is intrinsically African, and of world-wide appeal. Since his first break out single, “Gracias O se Merci” (2011) – dancehall/Hip-Hop genre yet Nigerian- apparently he only veers closer in that direction.

“E Ni Duro” is a ‘dance-provoker’ indeed. You hear it and its like, “e ni duro”, ‘no holding back on this one’. “We’re gonna let go.”  

FREE DOWNLOAD: This song is available for free download on the website http://emjoy.bandcamp.com/track/e-ni-duro

About eMJOY

Born Mayowa Adebajo, eMJOY is a remarkable gospel artist hailing from Nigeria (and currently schooling in Toronto Canada) on the scene to marvelously showcase God’s grace and truth and draw us all nearer to His mind-blowing love.

eMJOY began his recording and performing career in 2010, prior to which he remembers  writing and performing at around 10 years and had his first big stage performance in high school, age 15. 

Besides premier releases  of a video (Yada Magazine's Top 25 Music Videos of the Year) and mixtape in 2011, the year also stood out for eMJOY having his most stage performances/ministration opportunities ever of over 10 events across Toronto in total including NSA gala 2011, Covenant Chapel youth Alive concert, Jesus House Scarborough Praise Weekend event, Project Lyte 2011, UofT Afrofusion, among others.

Connect eMJOY:
eMJOY’s music available for download at www.emjoy.bandcamp.com
Email for bookings, inquiries, etc. at emjoychannel@live.ca
Like on Facebook/theemjoychannel
Follow on Twitter: @eMJOYtruly

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chi bu subsidim by @Cheeomarh

By Chioma Chukwuneta (Guest Writer)
I was occupying my couch on Monday morning when I received a text message from a friend, it read, “An Igbo man whose wife had just delivered a baby boy named him Chibusubsidim which means the Lord’s my subsidy." I guess the message is one of those jokes making rounds on social media and Blackberry chats, attempting to make mockery of the of the fuel subsidy crisis or trying to view it from a lighter note.

If the aim of whoever composed that particular message was to make people laugh, then it was achieved because the joke cracked me up. But it also got me thinking- Can the Lord really be my subsidy? Can Chibususidim be a real Igbo name?

Subsidy is money paid by a government or organization to reduce the cost of services or of producing goods so that their prices can be kept low, examples are the fuel and fertilizer subsidy. I am convinced that that any Igbo man who name his child thus didn’t make a mistake. The name Chibusubsidim isn’t out of place at all. As a Christian I believe that Jesus came to pay for my sins and so God has subsidized the cost of by salvation by sending his son. Actually, did He subsidize it or gave it all for free?

In the midst of the whole subsidy brouhaha, we can’t deny how Nigerians have grown from their subservient state of mind into becoming analytical intellectuals. Gone are the days when we accept any government policies by sitting back at home and saying to ourselves "It is well" or consoling ourselves with bible passages like Philipians 4:19 "But my God would supply all my need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" or Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." It is not that these verses are not relevant but not to make us wallow in self pity and denial.

Eight years back, many of us wouldn't have reacted this way towards the fuel subsidy removal. We would really nam our Children Chibusubsidim and afterwards go on with our normal businesses waiting for God to provide more money for us to meet up with the high cost of living.

Thank God we Nigerians are beginning to realise that God made Lemon and gave man the brain to make lemonade. We are gradually seeing reasons why we should to leave our comfort zones and get more informed on our rights and responsibilities as followers and citizens. 

And of course, our government leaders are noticing the difference too- it is no longer business as usual!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

@AppsBidder set to pitch at Investor Feedback Forum and Pitch Showdown (New York)

 Appsbidder.com is introducing a platform where users can collaborate with developers to implement app ideas and suggest billing system. Besides rewarding app downloads, the site also rewards social engagement and gives out monthly prizes.  Read more
Appsbidder.com is registered to pitch at the first Ultralight investors feedback Forum (along with about seven other startups) on Thursday January 12, 2012 by 7pm. See details of the event here: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2509102794/efblike

Are you based in New York? Please attend and support our friends @appsbidder They have an innovative business idea to improve how developers and apps users relate, buy and sell! The venue of the event is: Microsoft, 1290 6th Ave  6th Floor New York, NY 10104. Thursday, January 12, 2012 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (ET).

If you are outside NY, you can also watch the live-stream here: http://ultralightstartups.com/video/video-stream/

Don't forget to Tweet and vote for @appsbidder using the hashtag #ultralight between 7:30pm and 8.15pm New York time on January 12, during the pitch showdown!

To learn more about AppsBidder, please visit: www.appsbidder.com

You can also read their review on CP-Africa.com

Please share the info with your tech friends and apps enthusiasts!

Thank you! :-)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Fuel Subsidy is a major channel for corruption? #OccupyNigeria

You can't put a cart before the horse and expect to move forward!
Millions of Nigerians this week, starting today, are gathering in different parts of the country to protest against corruption, petrol price increase and bad governance.

Do you know that this struggle is not just between the government and the masses? The fight is between the government and masses on one hand, and persons who are bent on continuing their age-long “milking” of the system for their personal benefits, on the other hand.
So while we OccupyNigeria against a greedy bunch of government leaders, lets not forget to include the others who although are not part of the 3 arms of government are key stakeholders in ensuring Nigeria remains under-developed, for their benefit! Some of them are fighting the removal of fuel subsidy because it will also be a big blow on their callous activities.

Okay back to the purpose of this blog post- to share the benefits of fuel subsidy removal that has been silenced all the brouhahas. However, this is not an approval stamp for the government to go ahead with their insensitive implementation.

By now you are used to hearing, "fuel subsidy removal is good but the timing is wrong" or "Fuel subsidy removal is good but we cannot trust a corrupt government with it!"

Here are some facts from the government:
Do you know that:
• Petrol Subsidy is a major channel for corruption?
• The inefficiencies of the subsidy regime have created an enabling environment for corruption to thrive. A small group of wealthy persons have benefited significantly from this system with little benefits accruing to the common man.
• Petrol Subsidy will eventually bankrupt Nigeria?
• 30 percent of total federal government expenditure or about 4.2% of GDP is spent on payments to fuel marketers as petrol subsidies, yet the government has to borrow a fraction of this figure to finance the budget deficit. This level is unsustainable and this unlimited liability exposes the government to volatility in oil prices.
• Petrol subsidy is denying Nigerians jobs?
• Since 2000, about 20 refinery licenses have been issued to private investors which should have led to hundreds of thousands of jobs being created but not a single refinery has been built because the subsidy will not allow investors to recover costs.
Removing the monies paid to petroleum marketers as subsidy is the only way out. But where will the savings go?
The Federal government has established a Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE – P) that Nigerians can use to hold government accountable. The discontinuation of the current fuel subsidy will save additional resources for investing in programmes targeted at mitigating poverty and spurring economic growth.
• Healthcare—many of our mothers, sisters, and daughters are dying in childbirth. At 545 deaths per 100,000 live births, Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world. In addition, our children are dying from preventable causes. 1 in 6 children will die before age 5. The SURE – Programme will provide additional N 73.8 Billion to save the lives of 12 million pregnant women and children over the course of 4 years. 
• Youth Employment— over half of Nigerian youth are unemployed, a socially unacceptable phenomenon. The SURE Programme has earmarked N81.1 billion to provide 370,000 jobs per year across the country for the unemployed youth through labour-intensive public works scheme, vocational training and youth employment programmes.
• Urban Mass Transit Scheme – given that Nigerian households spend between 30 to 40 percent of income on transportation, the government’s SURE programme has allocated N20.5 billion to increase mass transit availability in order to alleviate the transportation challenges of ordinary Nigerians.
• Roads—our roads have become death traps! Nigeria is ranked 191 out of 192 countries in the world with un-safe roads, with 162 deaths per 100,000 population, resulting from road traffic accidents. An additional N283 billion will be invested into the road sector, under the SURE programme, to complete over 1,326 km of high-quality roads across the country.
• Power—our epileptic power supply is crippling the growth of this economy. The SURE programme will invest N195 billion in the construction of large, small and medium hydropower plants that will generate a cumulative capacity of 2740 megawatts of electricity, while also providing counterpart funding for the development of coal power projects with a potential to generate 1000 megawatts.
• Food Supply—how can a country so blessed with arable land and hardworking people continue to spend about US$10billion on food imports? The removal of subsidy would free resources for a drastic increase in investment in Agriculture to ensure food security for our people.
• Other critical infrastructure investments –funds from the SURE-Programme will also be invested in the following sectors: Petroleum, ICT, Niger Delta, Agriculture, and Water. Specific projects include:
- Construct 3,877km of railway lines;
- Revitalize irrigation projects on 28,850 hectares of land;
- Build 3 new refineries with a combined output of 30 million litres of petrol in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Lagos States.
- Completion of the East West road across major towns in the Niger Delta.
In spite of the good intentions of this removal of petrol subsidy, the Nigerian government should learn to put one foot in front of the other. You can't put a cart before the horse and expect to move forward. Tackle corruption first, clean out the skeleton in your closet and corridors of power, then come back and create a dialogue about the removal of the fuel subsidy with Nigerians, who put you in that office to serve.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Fuel Subsidy Removal: It is NOT all about us! #OccupyNigeria

I read a ridiculous comment on Twitter that some people are more concern about trending on the social network and being featured on CNN than what they are protesting about.
Good call. But not true.
Nigerians are protesting against Nigeria Government leader’s greed and insensitivity. Well, at least that is why I support the #OccupyNigeria movement.
We can’t continue to sit on our hands and watch as things fall apart.

Wahab, a protester, expresses it better:
“I am tired of a sick, anti-people and visionless government. I am tired of a government that harbours corruption and wants a feeble populace to carry the burden of corrupt and ineptitudes of some selected few.
I would protest because I have never and would never trust this government.
I would protest because my government plan to kill my people in mass with one ordinary policy. I would protest for my future I would protest for my children and I would protest for the good people of Nigeria.

In spite of his passion to protest, Wahab agrees that the removal of fuel subsidy is not a bad idea

He says, “Yes I know so well. But when you don’t trust your government and when you look back and find out that nothing has worked in the past…”
Enough is Enough!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs) on Fuel Subsidies #OccupyNigeria

Have you been following the debate about the Fuel Subsidy removal? Don't swallow everything you hear hook, line and sinker without verification. Ask questions, but make sure you are asking the right person with the right information!

To learn more about how the deregulation of the Downstream Petroleum Sector and Removal of Petroleum Subsidy works, please click this link to download the FAQs on Fuel Subsidies

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Employability vs Long-term employment? Which do you choose?

What do young people really want? Keeping in mind the harsh reality of unemployment statistics in our society, will young people choose “employability” over “long-term” job security? Is one more importance than the other? As a young person, would you prefer stability of long-term employment or knowing that your skills make you adaptable to wide range of jobs?

“Your employability is your job security, not the job itself,” says Douglas Imaralu, a young Nigerian Graduate.

Imaralu is currently taking up different professional management trainings and foreign language classes to augment his degree certificate, in preparation to take on full time employment. 

He adds, “The fact that you can work and fit anywhere is security. Skills will make you adaptable.”
The Lagos State University Graduate says the world is changing, old methods are being revised so with more skills one can easily adapt and become employable anywhere.

Olamide Ogunleye, who graduated last month from a university in the US, agrees with Imaralu. “I would acquire skills that make me adaptable to different positions. In other words, carve a niche for myself,” she says.

She reiterates the importance for young people to acquire skills that will make them adaptable to different jobs.

“In a world where technology is on the rise, it is imperative for every individual to acquire new skills that will set him or her apart from others.” She adds.

Ogunleye points out that settling with the “employed” status is like opting to fit in instead of standing out.

“If there is a chance for you to make yourself better, you should jump at it. Often times, you find people changing jobs for a number of reasons. People even leave jobs that pay well; they leave when they feel they are not growing. You cannot grow if you don’t enhance your skills.” Says Ogunleye.
To buttress her point, the Eastern Michigan University graduate noted that it is true that a company will hire you if you have the degree they want but they’ll hire someone with degree plus experience (additional skills) over you.

“The work force is a society on its own. It is a competitive society and whether you like it or not, someone is eyeing that position you call stable,” she says.

Imaralu and Ogunleye, although live in two different parts of the world with unique socio-economic climate, do not prefer stability of long-term employment to employability.
Why limit yourself? Why not take on skills that make you adaptable to different positions?” asked Ogunleye.

They both advocate for young people to embrace opportunities that will allow them acquire competent skills adaptable to wide range of jobs.

In Nigeria, the National Bureau of Statistics puts unemployment at 23.9 per cent while according to the US Labour Department data, unemployment rate in the US stands at 8.7 per cent, as of December 2011.

Whether living in the US or in Nigeria, after pounding the pavement for several days, weeks, months or years and you finally secure a position in a company, “aim to be an asset to that company.”  One of the ways to be an asset is not to get comfortable in the “employed status” but rather to acquire new skills that will enable you manage different responsibilities that comes with it or move on to a more interesting employment opportunity

Monday, January 02, 2012

Lessons to learn from #GEJ's leadership style

I read an interesting article in the Punch newspaper (January 2nd, 2012; pg 12) about how some members of the House of Representatives disagree on President Goodluck Jonathan’s leadership style.

According to the report, while members of Reps posit that Jonathan’s style of leadership is defect, thus worsening the situation in the country, Jonathan defended himself saying he does not subscribe to the idea of hasty decisions.

If you were in Nigeria on Christmas day or you keep abreast on different issues affecting Nigeria, then you’ll recall how long it took the 1st citizen of Nigeria to respond to the suicide bombing/Boko Haram attack of St Theresa Church in Madalla, Niger State.

But Jonathan says the reason why it took him so long to respond to the crisis and other national crisis was because he consults widely before taking action. Not a bad idea, huh? 

In his words, “When I am challenged, I think more, I don’t rush to take decisions, I listen more to people. That is why sometimes it looks as if I’m slow…”

I'm not impressed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Not that he is out to impress me anyway. But instead of sitting and sulking over how things are growing from bad to worse at the moment, I have decided to list some things this government leader is teaching me about leadership. I hope others are taking note and learning from him too.

The Goodluck Jonathan administration has taught me that:1. As a leader, don't be afraid to learn from history. Learn from the mistakes of your predecessors and walk the talk.
2. As a leader, keep in mind that the wrath of the poor is like grease in the stomach. Don't incite it upon yourself.
3. As a leader, when you get to the position of power, never ever forget where you are coming from. If as a child you walked to school barefooted, don’t try to make a tech savvy generation go naked from lack.
4. As a leader, don't ever rob the resilient spirit of Nigerians on their faces by implementing cruel policies.
5. As a leader, don't surround yourself with too many "wise" or special advisers and sub-advisers. It will lead you to distraction and confusion.
6. When there is a crisis in the country, even if you must go dancing, don’t go. Pause the music and speak to the Nation. Nigerians as gullible as they appear are not so gullible.
7. Fire your speechwriters if upon reflection your speeches don’t correspond with your actions. The inconsistency will make you appear schizophrenic.
8. Nigerians know serving or ruling in Nigeria is not as easy as its spelling. It is okay to resign. Leadership is not by force.

Let’s keep learning. But don’t spend your energy romancing with pink politics; it might be our turn to serve tomorrow. God help us if we forget to learn from history.

Pounding the Pavement in Nigeria

Take a close look at this picture. The young man roaming the streets with the raised banner lists his educational qualifications and contact phone numbers, with a heading that reads, "I need Job." It depicts the desperation of millions of unemployed youth across the world pounding the pavement, hoping to find a well-paying job. Or hoping the ideal job finds them.

Someone posted the picture on Twitter, one of the top social networking websites. It was re-tweeted by others, including me. When I re-posted it on my Facebook wall, a few people hit the “like” icon, while some others left the following comments:

Khalifa: I wish he knows that the world, or Government does not owe him a Job. HE CAN CREAT A JOB FOR HIMSELF.

Femi: Hilarious...trust me some of the greatest challenges confronting labour is lack of integrity & zero work ethics on part of d employees. Employers especially SMEs are afraid to commit their resources into d hands of people for fear of fraud...

Abdullah: Aristotle was right when he said, "Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime"

Matthew: This is so touching. Hmmm...

Ehimika: The job issue is so alarming that all Nigerian youths are forced (groomed) to become industrialist. Certainly we will!

Toluwani: I believe the guy is not looking for job. I strongly believe he is just posing or better put, an advocate of solution to unemployment in Nigeria. With the qualifications emblazoned on the banner, he can do something for himself. However, there are two structural shifts needed to tame the monster: political will to introduce system to create more jobs and individual will to be creative, self reliant, to go the extra mile to make ends meet.

Okechukwu: Will a man create job for himself out of no means? Should our lofty status be viewed as related to everyone? Is it not imperative that we should consider the dire situations we once faced in the past, when we seeked job? And if it had never once been rough for for you, how do know the insecurities & frustrations of the unemployed, when there are many responsibilities to cater for. To stay without the basic needs (food & shelter; nobody is talking about clothing anymore) is the fear that engulfs the unemployed. Right, most firms are afraid of fraud, and they need hands, or better still, quit employing, what's the gain? You ask for guarantors, they're provided! You ask for results, they're provided! Now you ask of an experience of five years, with a Masters, AND YOU BLAME THE GUY WITH THE CARD?