Early January we reached out to children in 4 different juvenile centres in Nigeria. We empowered them with key leadership and life skills. We also equipped them with design thinking skills and they created solutions to many of the societal problems. The response was great and we were inspired by the children, the level of intelligence they possess and the potential to make a difference in the 21st-century world. We decided to include C-LECT (career, leadership, entrepreneurship and character training) into our curriculum. This is a 7 week-long program that deepens the knowledge of children at the juvenile centers in leadership, career development, and character training.

We had the first pilot today at Oregun Correctional Centre for Boys and Idi-Araba Correctional Centre for girls. We employed the training of trainers approach and we had 50 students representative in each class. We Introduced them to personal and servant leadership. We brought in seasoned leadership experts/youth educators. They learned about how they can lead themselves first. You can’t give what you don’t have one of the speakers said. The students learned how to develop a mission statement, vision statement, core values, and importance of time management. Student-Teacher (Midway) or Discussion method of teaching was employed. “Leadership is not being in charge but taking care of the people you are in charge of.” One of the things they went home with. We also learned about the concept of servant leadership and they learned that before they can make decisions for others, they have to put people first.

They had readings from the book “The Africa I Dream To See” to enhance their literacy skills and to also encourage them to take action and find their African Dream. Several inferences and analogies were drawn from the book on leadership.

It was an exciting moment, as the session ended with a leadership game titled “Unlocking the circle”. Some set of students formed a circle, held each other’s hands and tried to change positions without hurting others and their hands locked. It was really interesting to see how students learned about some key leadership skills throughout the game.

To end the session, we had three students share their reflections from the session and summarized what they have learned.

Students also commit themselves to cascade to other students within the centre and commit to reading the introduction and chapter one of The Africa I Dream To See before the next class which holds next Saturday.

We appreciate Hammed Kayode Alabi for playing a huge role in the conceptualization of this project and also facilitating the first session for the boys. We also appreciate Ennie Sophie Oluwa for facilitating the first session for the girls.

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