The Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI) recently graduated 45 students across Lagos state, Ogun and Oyo state in its 2023 cohort, while also inducting 65 students for its next cohort.
NewsTimes was on hand to report on the event which was held at the US consular general residence.
The event had in attendance the Consular general, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Youth & Social development, Ford Foundation, Assistant Director of Youth Engagement, Kessignton Adebutu foundation and other officials.
CYFI which started in 2011 was launched by the U.S Consulate- General and brings together Nigerian youth of exceptional vision, skills, and experience to design and implement projects that are having a positive impact on Nigerian society.
CYFI brings together young Nigerian individuals between the ages of 21 and 35, distinguished by their remarkable abilities and background, to create and execute initiatives spanning 12 months, aimed at enriching various aspects of Nigerian society, such as health, education, civil rights, environment, and economic empowerment.
The initiative is named after the former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, who advocated for civil liberties, democracy, and stronger U.S.-Nigeria relations. CYFI participants are therefore dedicated to translating Walter Carrington’s principles into tangible actions.
CYFI has been a longstanding, committed supporter of community development and social enterprise as a key driver for solving the nations problems.
What he said
Delivering remarks at the graduation ceremony, the alumni president, Owonikoko Olusola Samuel congratulated all and reiterated the goals of the initiative.
He then introduced the U.S Consul-General, Will Stevens who noted that the U.S. Mission has a long history of supporting through the CYFI.
He also emphasized the importance of African youths bringing innovative ideas and solutions not just to the continent but to the world. He said,
“We also need African solutions to global problems such as in the area of plastic waste, illiteracy (which is common even in the United States). It is always good to start small”.
A documentary highlighting the social impact of some the graduates was also shown after which certificates were presented.
Awarding community impact
Awards were also given to the Most improved fellows in each state represented.
Recipients included: Olayinka Adeyeye from Oyo, Adetola Adedapo from Ogun state, and Chinyere Nduu Okoro from Lagos.
A special category award named the Nigeria-America partnership award was presented to the group that had the most impact, which is to save lives.
The award went to the group – Project Aidmoms which had Innocent Okolo Ikechukwu, a Radiographer, founder of Milescent health mobile diagnosis and Titilayo Olamipo, a Pharmacist. The project was aimed at reducing maternal mortality in the Likosi community in Sagamu.
Speaking to NewsTimes, Ikechukwu said,
- “Last year I read in a newspaper article where the lives of two pregnant women were lost, so I told my team members that this community needs help. There was no diagnostic center there and they had only traditional birth attendants (TBAs).
- “The traditional birth attendants were therefore trained on how to refer cases to teaching hospitals. After this, we had a free medical outreach which was free scans for 100 pregnant women.
- “The day of the scan we noticed a woman had left ectopic pregnancy and she fainted that day after which she was rushed to the hospital where she was operated on and the life was saved.
- “This is the reason why we won the award and we hope to continue by launching a diagnostic centre in June next year as well as train more traditional birth attendants with the help of the partnership with the United States”
The US Consular-General also announced plans to start entrepreneurship training for 50 student entrepreneurs. More details will be provided in the course of the year.