Nigerian Youth Win Big in Generation Unlimited Nigeria BetterTogether Program by Goodwall
17,000 Nigerian youths benefit from professional growth opportunities in response to the current career and education crises
As the world grapples with the unprecedented challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, young people continue to remain the most affected socio-economically. And, while everyone is feeling the impact of the coronavirus crisis in one way or another, Nigerian youth have had a particularly difficult time. More than 50 million young people remain at home to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
While the Nigerian government, through the Federal Ministry of Education (FME), working in close collaboration with UNICEF is trying to ensure the continuity of education through remote learning, these measures will doubtless benefit some students while leaving many especially young people from hard to reach communities with no access to learning opportunities
The BetterTogether Program
To help counter the negative effects caused by the pandemic on Nigerian youth, Generation Unlimited (Gen U) has partnered and supported a variety of initiatives and local campaigns.
One such initiative was the BetterTogether program hosted by social enterprise community Goodwall, which ran from August 1 through September 18, 2020. This free online program aimed at helping young people reach their full potential, preparing them for the post COVID-19 workplace, and keeping them engaged and productive during this difficult time.
Built around a series of 10 challenges, participants had the opportunity to build important skills, gain experience, and connect with peers around the world, while competing for the chance to win up to $25,000 in prizes. The challenges were each themed around an issue related to the Sustainable Development Goals, including women’s empowerment, racial equality, and career development. On top of the challenges, over 60 world-renowned speakers from CEOs to professors hosted live “ask me anything (AMA)” sessions to share their insights on entrepreneurship, resilience, and technology.
While the BetterTogether program was open to all Goodwall’s 1.5 million+ members in 150+ countries, the Nigerian contingent came through more than the rest. Out of 40 winners overall (many challenges had several winners), Nigerians from across the country won 21 of these awards —just over half. Plus, a huge 42% of all participants were from the African continent.
For the final ‘Pitch Your Project’ challenge, the grand prize itself, a monetary award of $2,000 from HUS Awards was won by Shinen Job from Jos, Nigeria. Shinen took the top award for his idea to create a Nigerian Silicon Valley to help fill the gaps in access to education. However, when asked, Shinen came away with more than just cash, saying, “Have fun with the challenges! You’ll realize at the end that you would’ve won more than the prize! Yes! You would’ve made priceless friends from across the world!”
In addition to the challenges available to all members, Generation Unlimited and U-Report Nigeria hosted a Nigerian-only set of incentives. Eight other Goodwallers from Nigeria were each awarded ₦50,000 for sharing their near-term goals. Oluwatoyin Irewole, a winner from Ilorin in Western Nigeria, says, “Goodwall is the best medium to get opportunities and meet, chat and get your voice heard. Goodwall is the best.”
The BetterTogether program has since ended, but the hope is that the skills developed, and connections made (98% of participants said they made new friends) during those 7 weeks will last a lifetime.
With the successful delivery of the BetterTogether program for Nigeria, Goodwall and Gen U plan to use the existing framework for a more ambitious project soon. As Nelson Amadigwe from Port Harcourt, Nigeria says, “Goodwall is the best place to be as long as you dream of being successful. Looking for motivation from smart folks like you? Join Goodwall.”
Goodwall is the next-generation community and social development network built specifically to address the needs of Gen Z and younger millennials. With a global community of over 1.5 million members from 150+ countries around the world, Goodwall aims to help students, entrepreneurs, and young professionals by giving them a unique platform to share ideas, highlight achievements, showcase talents, document experience, meet like-minded peers around the world, find jobs, internships, and scholarships, and seek & provide support.