Our Voice Is In Our Hands

9505967156_97f78bb06d_bThe internet and social media give youth an enormous opportunity to amplify their voices, writes Emmanuel Olutokun, 23, a Correspondent from Lagos in Nigeria, who looks at ways these remarkable tools have been used for positive change.

The youthful age offers so much opportunity, potential and prospects to build, learn, and explore. A period to create the future we desire and work towards accomplishing it. But as an adage ironically puts, ‘many use their youth age to make their old age miserable’.

There was a time in the history of mankind when we thought the only way to make our voices heard was through protesting, fighting and even shedding of blood. But with the disruptive intervention and explosion of the internet, this conception is fast eroding.

Our voice is gradually moving to our hands. With our internet enabled mobile phones, our voices can hardly be ignored. It is simple but effective. There are immense opportunities that we the youths have to hone and positively make use of.

Recently, there was a premature coup in Turkey, where some disgruntled individuals in the military decided to overthrow the present government. The coup would have been a success if major traditional means of communication – radio and television – had been taken over.  But another importance means of communication was underrated, and that was the voice of the people. People who had access to the internet in Turkey took to their social media platforms to hear from their president, express their displeasure and dissatisfaction with the ongoing coup, and re-affirm their support to their president. These raised the consciousness of the world to crisis in Turkey and in no time the attempted coup was crushed.

This essentially brings to fore how loud and how far our ‘hands’ can go if used positively and in the right manner. Social media creates a very suitable platform for youths to start an initiative, galvanize support and implement projects that are beneficial to the society.

One such tool is Twitter. This platform is 320 million people strong globally and has been seen as a community where matters of importance are being discussed by people whose voices might never have been heard if there was no internet.

Last week, a hashtag #SaveMayowa was trending on Twitter Nigeria, which was a call for financial support ror a Nigerian lady who was diagnosed with cancer and in need of immediate medical attention. The unity of Nigerians was reflected when people took empathising steps to ensure that the needs of the lady were met. A Gofundme account was set up for her whereby people could donate, and within three days, over 31 million naira was raised for her operation.

Change.org is another social tool whereby youths everywhere in the world can start campaigns, mobilise support from concerned fellows and also work with decision makers to drive solutions. Just starting a petition over an observed ill in your nation is now sure to be the first step to solving that ill. Amazingly, all these social platforms are free.

The truth is, there is never a better time to start than now. The change we desire to see in the world rests in our hands. Just start.

photo credit: Find your voice via photopin (license)

First Appeared on Your Commonwealth

 

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APPLY-Social Intrapreneurship for Innovation in Health and Wellness

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Course Dates: November 7 – December 16, 2016
Rolling Admission between September 12th and October 14th

Course Description

In our rapidly changing world, employee skills—such as intrapreneurship, agility, teamwork, empathy and collaborative leadership— are fundamental to an institution’s ability to innovate and grow into the future. The pitfalls of ignoring these skills can lead to loss of opportunity and competitiveness, along with increased redundancy and inefficiency. Social intrapreneurship is a methodology for sparking, cultivating, advancing and scaling social innovation within institutions. It involves intrapreneurial employees capitalizing on trends such as technology advancement and globalization, and deploying agile, startup strategies. Check out why Forbes is calling the Social Intrapreneur the Most Valuable Employee of 2014.
Ashoka, one of the world’s largest networks of social innovators and entrepreneurs, has teamed up with Boehringer Ingelheim, a world-leading health company with a vision for “value through innovation”, to create a six-week online course in social intrapreneurship for innovation in health and wellness. This course is part of the global “Making More Health” initiative to explore innovative pathways with non-traditional stakeholders to improve access to healthcare. In this course, you will connect with a global community of participants from institutions across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors and convene to learn entrepreneurial and start-up strategies for creating social and business impact in the health and wellness space. Social entrepreneurs are also included in the course to enable knowledge exchange between innovators within and outside of large organizations.

In the course you will:

  • Prepare for a lead or supporting role in developing a health and wellness innovation with social and business impact
  • Gain skills and strategies to garner internal and external support for innovative projects
  • Learn how to collaboratively advance innovation in a bureaucratic setting
  • Become familiar with the intrapreneurial strategies of co-creation and prototyping
  • Connect with a network of intrapreneurs and innovators to share ideas, make critical connections, and get continuous support and feedback on your own innovation ideas
  • Engage with the Ashoka network, including Ashoka Fellows, staff and other innovators
Through the online dynamic learning environment, which utilizes Ashoka’s knowledge and networks in intrapreneurship, participants will join facilitators and leading experts in the field to discuss the topics above,  while exploring case studies, major trends and social business ideas, thus keeping you on the cutting edge of intrapreneurship.
Apply here

Where Does Change Begin?

fb_img_1473411772326The present administration rode into power on the mantra of change and many Nigerians did buy into it because the insight was apt but more importantly Nigerians were in dire need of change. But barely 16 months into power it seems this mantra has turned against them biting them at the back, as the only change the people believe they have experienced is a downward slide and an overburdened standard of living.

While some critics are of the opinion that these current mishap is majorly an administrative failure others hold firm that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is just a child born in a turbulent time claiming that there is a global economic crunch which includes Nigeria, not also forgetting the large scale of corruption that exists in the country.

Recent report from the National Bureau of Statistics reveals that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in real terms, declined by 2.06% at the close of the second quarter of 2016. This implies that for the first time in 20 years the Nigerian economy has plunged into a recession.

The Nigerian economy is presently in a state of comatose and a heightened brouhaha, with various multinationals daily suspending or closing down their companies due to the daily free fall of the naira against the US Dollars and many companies in the private sectors are also quietly laying off hundreds of their staffs.

I believe the government is developing innovative ways to combat this menace and providing sustainable solutions to the economic crunch the country is experiencing.

As one of the ways to salvage this situation the Federal Government has initiated a National Re-orientation campaign tagged ‘Change Begins With Me’. The campaign was set up to primarily entrench the values of accountability, integrity and inculcate positive attitudinal change amongst Nigerians. It is expected to trigger positive change that will boost Nigeria’s image, enable the country gain acceptability and command respect in the comity of nations.

According to the Minister for Information and Culture, “The campaign is not a replication of the War Against Indiscipline which the Buhari-led administration initiated in 1983 but that it would achieve the same goal using a different mean”. Noting that what is wrong with Nigeria is not limited to the elite, the political class or the civil service, rather the change we want must address all issues and target every strata.

An objective look at these initiative in relation to the present economic condition of Nigeria provides two different perspective. First is a deeply thought out and well-crafted declaration of incompetency on the part of the ruling party. One would recall that during the campaign season there was a lot of promises and ‘we will do this’, ‘we will do that’ if only you bring us into the helm of affairs but a cursory look at those promises prove that 90% of them are yet to see the light of day top amongst them is the provision of 3million jobs in the first year in office.”

A Nigerian columnist puts succinctly “Change does not begin with the average Nigerian. No, it begins with those who promised us change a year ago. They go into office and Nigeria turned out to be animal farm where clueless pigs replaced clueless animals.” She brings to bear that before Nigerians accept the new initiative there should be some display of integrity by the government and not some intellectual manipulation.

Second perspective is an admonition and a truth that change cannot be accomplished in isolation but a joint, mutual and harmonious effort. A re-orientation that change is essentially achieved if it goes through a bottom-top approach, quelling the perception that the government would perform magic overnight.

According to the president of Nigeria. “The campaign is all about the need for us to see change not merely in terms of our economic, social progress but in terms of our personal behaviour on how we conduct ourselves, engage our neighbours and how we relate with the larger society.

I strongly believe that change begins at both level for while the government is trying to educate and sensitize the populace on the need to lead a responsible life which would one way or another impact the progress of the nation, they should also live up to expectations and be an ardent doer of what they preach.

What are your thoughts?

Apply for The PitchIt @ LendIt Competition for Fintech Startups

LendIt, in partnership with Capital One®, introduces PitchIt (a competition for fintech startups) to its Europe agenda for the first time. This partnership will nurture emerging talent throughout the competition, provide selected finalists with unparalleled access to industry expertise as well as invaluable exposure at the leading marketplace lending event in Europe.

This is an opportunity for fintech startups have their pitches heard by the international fintech community, and to secure investment and partners by meeting investors. Receive mentorship from industry leaders as well as gain valuable exposure through global PR.

Benefits

  • Selected finalists will receive up to 2 free passesto LendIt Europe 2016
  • Selected finalists will receive up to $1,000 for travelto PitchIt
  • Winner receives a complimentary Bronze sponsorship packageat next year’s LendIt Europe conference (£7,500 value)
  • Winner receives a personalized mentor planfrom Capital One including mentorship from experts associated with Capital One Growth Labs, a partnership between Capital One and L Marks
  • 50% off Startup Zone boothsfor the eight selected PitchIt finalists

Eligibility

  • Applying organisation must be a high-growth fintech startup.
  • the organisation must have only raised less than £4M in funding.
  • Must have at least 2 full-time founders.
  • Must have created a working prototype with customer interaction.
  • Company must have been founded in between 2014 and 2016.

Deadline

Applications for Pitchit @ LendIt Europe 2016 are due September 12.

Click here for more information and to APPLY