New Telegraph

Boost for creativity as winners emerge in MWFAAN ‘My Community Innovation Challenge’

Ijeoma Idika-Chima and Dr. Bright Chimezie Irem emerged overall winner in this year’s edition of My Community Innovation Challenge, a project under the ‘The Cross-Cohort Collaboration Initiative (CCCI)’ of the Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Association of Nigeria (MWFAAN), which recognizes the role of innovation in creating changes at community, state and national level, as well as the role of capacity development programs Fellows have been able to undertake in the United States with the support of the US Government.


The duo of Idika-Chima and Irem won the Community Innovation Challenge for their project ‘Ebonyi Youth Development Project’, which not only seek to engage the youths meaningfully in such developmental project, but also stimulate interest in creativity.


Funmi Ilori and Olatunde Ajoke Omoware emerged the First Runner Up with their project, STEAM in the Library, which will stimulate interest in reading culture. Nkem Okocha and Peter Ayeni were the Third Place winners with their project, ‘She Sabi’.


The winners were presented with awards at a grand finale, tagged ‘My Community Innovation Challenge Awards and Fellows Meet Up’, held recently at Next Innovation Hub, Yaba, Lagos.


For emerging as overall winner, Idika-Chima and Irem were presented N1,500, 000 grant to support their project, in addition to plaques given to all the three winners.


Speaking at the event, Idika-Chima commended MWFAAN and the United States of America for creating the platform to upgrade capacity across many  levels and to uplift Nigerians by doing so. She added that the Ebonyi Youth Development boot camp is a leadership and entrepreneurship skills development program that converges youths in the state from different sectors for capacity building, networking and collaborations.


According to her, for three months, the project would impact 40 youths directly and about 400 youths indirectly, who would be mentored by people with success stories in the different sectors. She commended the other contestants for their “high impact community projects”.


The other contestants were also given the opportunity to present their projects, detailing the impact on their target communities so far. In her remarks at the event, the representative of The Incubator Reality,


Thelma Osadebe, noted that the importance of capacity building and using such capacities to impact local communities and vulnerable people. She thanked the US government and MWFAAN for such impactful support to Nigerian communities through the projects.


Also speaking at the event, Mr. Austin Emeanua, from the United States Consulate General, Lagos and coordinator, Mandela Washington Fellowship, described the projects as impactful and solution-oriented.


He added that the Mandela Fellowship offers a pool of the needed capacities and the best brains across many sectors, as well as encourages alumni to collaborate and achieve together as witnessed in the quality of the projects that emerged winners at the grand finale of the challenge.


Mr. Emeanua urged the winners to make good use of the opportunity, stressing that the United States of America is committed to supporting more capacity development and community initiatives for uplifting livelihoods in such areas in Nigeria.


Also, speaking with New Telegraph, President of MWFAAN, Ms. Adepeju Jaiyeoba, explained that ‘My Community Innovation Challenge’ project also aims to encourage Fellows to design and create innovative ideas, products, services or creative deployment methods for solving specific problems in their community; improve community interaction with Fellows through the implementation of their ideas, project or business; foster strong collaborative spirits in fellows across different cohorts, encouraging them to work together, share ideas and support with community implementation of projects among others.

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