Unleashing the full potential of African youth:The success story of Hammed Kayode Alabi

Hammed Kayode Alabi [1]is the leader of Kayode Alabi Leadership and Career Initiative a Not-for-Profit Organization based in Nigeria with the aim to empower children and young people to develop life-skills through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), mentorship and advocacy.

In 2017, Kayode attended the maiden African Youth SDGs Summit i [2]n Accra, Ghana. Prior to the Summit, Kayode had no idea of what the SDGs were or what they stood for. His first time of hearing ‘SDGs’ was during his National Youth Service time when he had heard a group of people chant ‘Action’ to the call ‘SDGs’.

Passionate as he was and determined to learn more about the SDGs and how to contribute his quota to the development agenda of Nigeria and Africa as a whole, he responded to the call when the African Youth SDGs Summit secretariat opened the first call for applications to the maiden Summit.

Despite his passion and enthusiasm to attend the Summit, he was without any hope or means to travel to Ghana. The Summit like other events anticipated the financial challenges of many African youth and therefore, provided scholarship opportunities for young participants who wanted to attend the event but genuinely had no means of doing so.

Fortunately, Kayode was one of the beneficiaries of the partial scholarship awarded to more than half of the delegates of the first summit. Having managed to raise some funds for his bus fare, Kayode attended the maiden summit with an empty pocket and a mind ready to learn and tap all resources to achieve his goals. He attended each and every session at the Summit and had the opportunity to learn so much about the SDGs.

At the summit, he met and built networks with heads and leaders of larger organizations which have changed the direction of his life completely, making him one of the well-known emerging influential change makers in Nigeria, working tirelessly for the acceleration and implementation of the UN Agenda 2030.

Few days after the Summit, he had received an email from one of such contacts asking him to fill a form to be selected as a Youth Champion to be trained by African Monitor based in Cape Town South Africa, a major partner for the African Youth SDGs Summit to work on the Citizens Report initiative, a research work to be carried in ten African countries including Nigeria.

“I had the privilege to travel to South Africa for a one-week all-expense-paid trip for a workshop training on the research. Carrying out the research gave me an opportunity to travel across marginalized communities collecting data and teaching local people on SDGs in their local language” he said. “I also contributed to policy briefs which included evidence collected from the field and this was presented to the senate president of Nigeria. I never thought of myself doing that last year when I attended the Summit”, he further added.

Kayode Hammed speaking at the 2nd African Youth SDGs Summit in Accra.

Building on his career since the maiden Summit,Kayode has also had several opportunities to attend other fellowships and programs and has also won two different grants;

* USD 5000 grant from a fellowship he attended at the US Consulate in Nigeria to empower young private school teachers with contemporary pedagogue and innovative teaching method and

* Mini grants from Peace First an international NGO with which he executed a Kids rural Bootcamp, a platform where kids and teachers in rural communities with the support of youth educators create prototypes using design-thinking to problems they face within their communities. Today, he currently leads their work in Sub-Saharan Africa as a Fellow-in-Residence and Regional Manager, where he supports young people from over 30 countries in the region to create massive social change.

Kayode has had the opportunity to speak on the SDGs across several media platforms and has been recognized by UNFPA in Nigeria, the Nigerian Youth SDGs Network, the German Embassy and Australian High Commission in Nigeria as one of the 50 Young Change-makers championing the global goals in local communities in Nigeria through the work he does in his non-profit organisation which has reached out to over 3057 secondary school students in underserved communities. He also started a rural education campaign which uses the power of young people and social media to share powerful tools and stories which allows governments, CSOs and private individuals to prioritise the education of rural children.

With the 3rd African Youth SDGs Summit drawing  closer in July 2020 coinciding with the 5 year journey milestone of the SDGs adoption with a decade left to the attainment of the SDGs,it is imperative that the United Nations and its Member States, local and international development agencies, the private sector and civil society organisations, the media and all stakeholders adopt bottom-up approach to development; demonstrating beyond commitment to actions to unleash the full potential of the youth to the deliver the SDGs in the next decade.


To ensure inclusiveness & to bring different voices to the room,we have announced call for applications from interested young people for full or
partial scholarships to cover the costs of the Summit registration.To apply, visit https://youthsdgssummit.org/scholarships/ [5]

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