Welcome to February!
Our Young Person of the Month is Damilola Fasoranti from Nigeria. Damilola is a professional educator, with 6 years’ experience of interfacing with citizens, public and private institutions in Africa to create sustainable solutions to education problems. He is the Founder and Chief Listener at Prikkle Academy, a 2015 Kanthari Fellow, 2017 Dalai Lama Fellow, 2017 SIP Fellow-LEAP Africa, 2018 Global People’s Fellow, and a 2018 African Changemaker Fellow.
Damilola was also a nominee for the 2018 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award and 2018 Gratitude Award. In 2017, he launched Nigeria’s first solar-powered grassroots innovation hub (called Makerspace) to unleash the ingenuity, talent, and passion for Nigerian youths. Damilola emerged second place in the 2018 Opportunity Desk Impact Challenge.
Read his story below and be inspired!
Damilola is a professional educator, with 6 years’ experience of interfacing with citizens, public and private institutions in Africa to create sustainable solutions to education problems. He is the Founder and Chief Listener at Prikkle Academy, where he co-creates open innovation hubs with rural stakeholders to uncover their potentials, then mobilizes it to create street-smart solutions. In 2017, he launched Nigeria’s first solar-powered grassroots innovation hub (called Makerspace) to unleash the ingenuity, talent, and passion in Nigerian youths.
His journey as a changemaker began during the compulsory 1 year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in a remote community in Benue State, Nigeria. While his job was to help students improve their Biology grades, he couldn’t ignore the fact that some students were suddenly dropping out of school. His curiosity pushed him to inquire further about the situation and he discovered two problems: the parents lacked finances and the school curriculum wasn’t relevant to the challenges they faced.
Damilola began critically thinking how he could help rural children and youth to get tailored, personalized and quality education which will ensure they learn effectively, get competencies for decent jobs, and are engaged and leading peaceful lives in the future, no matter where they go. He decided to create a team of 7 which later assembled more than 200 students for two days to brainstorm entrepreneurship and skills polishing. The results were amazing. They ended up creating enterprises which are up and running until today.
The one year National Youth Service put into his hands the tools his heart desired. His profession in education and his passion finally kissed, fuelling the solution he had imagined. He was selected as one of the 3 Nigerians to attend the Kanthari International (an unconventional school raising ethical leaders and social entrepreneurs), India in 2015. From the program, he returned to Nigeria with a burst of energy. He quit his job permanently and moved into the rural community to start Prikkle Academy.
On his successes and challenges
Together with his team, Damilola has implemented a number of innovative projects at Prikkle Academy such as converting human waste into charcoal, installing plastic bottles into rural communities as solar lights, and inventing vegetable-cutting machines made out of trash and local materials. They have also facilitated international internships. Prikkle Academy was selected as 1 of the Top 100 Global Most inspiring Social Innovations by Social Enabler, India. They have also been profiled as one of the 450 Global education innovation organizations by Centre for Education Innovations (An Initiative of Results for Development Institute), USA.
Damilola says lack of funding and government bottleneck are some of the challenges he faces in his work. For instance, Prikkle Academy tried to engage the government to approve the government abandoned buildings for the youth to turn it into a Makerspace. It proved abortive until the community youths engaged them and they backed it up with media analytics of their work.
His Words of Advice to the Youth
The best time to start your awesome dream was yesterday, don’t wait! Don’t apologize for the gifts, skills and talent you have, use it!
Who will be the Next Young Person of the Month?
You can be the next Opportunity Desk Young Person of the Month! All you have to do is get a friend to recommend your work or fill out the nomination form here. We want to use the platform to recognize and celebrate the efforts of amazing young people around the world. O! And you must be an active Opportunity Desk member, either as a fan, reader or subscriber!
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