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LEAP Africa partners Ford, MacArthur foundations on $5m Nigeria Youth Futures Fund

LEAP Africa partners Ford, MacArthur foundations on $5m Nigeria Youth Futures Fund
September 15
19:19 2021

LEAP Africa, a youth-focused leadership development organisation, will manage the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund (NYFF) — an initiative to equip Nigerian youths with leadership skills and educational opportunities.

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The initiative is a five-year collaborative fund seeded by $3 million from Ford Foundation, and $2 million from MacArthur Foundation.

The NYYF, which was launched on Monday, is said to be inspired by the #EndSARS movement.

According to the organisers, the NYFF will “increase leadership capacity, educational opportunities, and build relationships between youth leaders and regional governments”.

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The initiative will also facilitate the convening of young people aged 35 and below, who will explore and discuss visions, challenges and opportunities for Nigeria in 2025, 2030 and 2050.

The NYYF will also “support hubs of innovation to advance the development of ideas including economic, civic, and social enterprises by and for young people”.

Speaking on the importance of the initiative, Femi Taiwo, executive director of LEAP Africa, said investing in Nigeria’s youth population will also contribute towards putting the country on the right path of development.

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“Young people hold a world of promise and it is strategically imperative that a country like Nigeria has leaders ensuring the delivery or actualisation of this promise,” Taiwo said.

“Our role in youth development is creating platforms, opportunities, and room to ensure that young people and their agencies are well supported.”

Also commenting on the initiative, Kole Shettima, Africa director of the MacArthur Foundation, said: “Today’s youth embody the hope and promise of a thriving Nigeria that will lead the African continent for generations to come. There is no better time to invest in the civic engagement and participation of our young people, and the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund will sustain their work locally and amplify their voices in the halls of power.”

On his part, Dabesaki Mac-Ikemenjima, programme officer of the Ford Foundation, West Africa office, said: “I believe that the fund is a critical part of efforts to empower youth, enhance their leadership capabilities, expand opportunities for them to be engaged in national development, and facilitate a proactive and constructive
relationship between the youth and governments across Nigeria.”

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More information on the initiative can be found here.

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