My session on the CELF Camp: A facilitator’s report
By Nafiu Toyin Abdulqadri
Today, I have the privilege to be a facilitator at the ongoing Countryside Emerging Leaders Fellowship (CELF) organised by Haashim Iniatiative for Community Advancement (HICA) under the leadership of my able Boss, Lawal O. Olohungbebe.
This is a very rare event and I must say that the chosen fellows from across all the 16 LGAs of Kwara State are very lucky. The programme is an initiative designed to equip secondary school leavers with skills on entrepreneurship, self and community development.
My discussion was centred on how young people can start thinking about making impact in order to make a difference.
Usually when you advise young people to start making impact, they tell you they do not have the wherewithal to do anything. But impact does not necessarily mean you have to start dashing people money, hence I told the fellows that making impact is not rocket science. It is all about doing good things and doing it consistently.
I higlighted some key points they have to focus on as young persons that desire to make a difference in their immediate communities.
Firstly, I told the fellows they have to work on themselves. Anyone that wants to impact a fellow man positively must not be a bad example himself. So I told the young college graduates they need to be distinguished. As Nelson Mandela would say, “If you want to change your society, you must first change your self.”
Secondly, I let them know that having a mentor or mentors won’t be out of place. As much as they want to be distinguished, they must be humble to learn from those that have made it in the direction they have chosen to follow. I told them it will be wrong to limit the search for their mentors to celebrities alone. The fact that Wizkid is handsome and sings well does not make him a perfect mentor to them, unless they have chosen a career in music.
Another important step towards making an impact is to develop the habit of helping others. A good student in Physics or Mathematics should not see himself/herself as the lord, but rather offer to help his friends by making himslef available to teach others what he knows. Help your parents at home as required of you. Run errands for elderly ones in your community. Do these things passionately and you won’t be far from making a difference.
I also enlightened them that picking up trash and disposing them properly is another noble and wonderful way to register impact. This habit would pass a message across that you care about the environment and care for your neighbourhood.
I equally told them that they can decide to be voluteers. Volunteering is another noble way for the fellows to make themselves available for service in their various communities without expecting to be paid. If you have a skill or you are a professional in a particular field, you can decide to volunteer to help people in your community for free provided its not going to harm you.
Virtually all of fellows are on social media and I made them realise that they can impact the world through it. More than just strolling pages of celebrities, they may choose to send out contents that can help people.
I prepared the minds of fellows for challenges that do come with wanting to be different. I let them know that every innovation all over the world is always met with some levels of resistance. Due to long time habit, relationships and environment, they would be laughed at, abused or even beaten. I told them they cannot give up. All they need to do is to build strong mental capacity to withstand all forms of resistance.
I ended the discussion with the quote from Anita Roddick:”If you think you are too small to make an impact, try going to bed with just a mosquito.”
CELF 2020 has been quite inspiring for me and, I hope, for the fellows and all those involved.