The Future Africa Leadership Foundation (FALF) an arm of Chris Oyakhilome Foundation has concluded the ceremonies marking the Future Africa Leadership Awards (FALA2020), a project aimed at exploring and expanding the leadership potentials of young people in Africa and for Africa. The Foundation has as mandate the need to identify, celebrate and support young Africans who have demonstrated exemplary leadership by impacting their generation positively in areas as diverse as education, youth empowerment, mentoring and through other projects aimed at building young people and preparing them for positive leadership impact in future.
At the press conference which was held in Lagos on Tuesday, the Foundation unveiled the award winners, most of whom had amazing stories to share about their experience and how they contributed to their various communities which earned them the prize. The Star Prize which has a monetary value of $25,000 attached to it went to Gwei Michael Wawa, a 22-year-old Cameroonian social activist while the other 9 finalists each got $10,000. The 10 finalists were picked from over 15 million applications received for the 2020 Edition of the awards.
Since its inception 13 years ago, over 81 young Africans have won prices in various categories of the award. The award winners thanked the founder Pastor Chris Oyakhilome for his vision and dedication towards discovering and empowering future leaders in Africa. The profile of the 10 finalists according to the organizers show that inspite of the pervading hopelessness across the continent, Africa still has shining lights it should be proud of.
The winner of the Star Prize Gwei Michael Wawa is a 22-year-old social activist, who is passionate about scientific and technological solutions for Africa’s advancement. He started an NGO called ‘Youth Empowerment through Science and Technology’ (YEST). The organization held 34 Conferences and 14 Seminars that directly impacted over 18,000 young people. In collaboration with the College of Technology, Michael organized a mega technological trade fair, with professors in the technology/engineering sectors of various universities invited as judges to review and award over 15 new inventions, and also to sensitize over 2,000 secondary school students on continuous innovation.
He partnered with Nervtek, a tech-based NGO, to sponsor and organize a Teck Community Challenge, where 200 students from 5 tertiary institutions in Cameroon showcased their skills through design and implementation of novel hardware solutions like power banks, smart dustbins, automatic temperature/humidity regulator, soil moisture detector sensor, a robotic arm, and a metal detector. The top 3 winners received incentives worth over $1,000 (US) each and accessories to upgrade their inventions.
Challenged by the high demand for blood in Cameroon, Michael created a Digital Health Service platform called YEST-IN DHS, which provides 24-hour online free consultation and supports services for hospitals, health centers, and non-profit organizations; with special attention to helping them manage their blood donation process digitally and networking blood donors, hospitals, blood recipients, and health care workers. Over 10,000 people have registered on the website, with more than 2,400 liters of blood donated in just five months of operations. This solution has been adopted by 118 hospitals, health centers, and health organizations across the country.
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, schools in Cameroon were closed for six months. Concerned, Michael instituted a 3-month training project called ICT4Teens and 150 teenagers were trained and equipped in media & information literacy, robotics, web development, programming and computational literacy.
Michael initiated an Agricultural Value Chain Project (AVCP), through which he established a 2-hectare plantain farm that engaged 85 University students who worked with him to create a multi-crop flour-making machine. AVCP is currently being used as an internship program by universities for their agricultural and technological interns. For the International Youth Day, Michael mobilized over 200 young people and partnered with a local dirt handling company to carry out the biggest cleanup campaign in his city. Michael, for his exemplary accomplishments, has notable awards and commendations from the governments of Japan, Brazil, Rwanda, Kenya, Chad, Saudi Araba and Ethiopia.
The next runner up is Christian Majeed Kwesi, an inspiring 23-year-old from Ghana with a passion for transforming the youths in Africa. He established Young African Great Mind, an organization empowering youth for success, national development and global impact.
Through various initiatives such as the “GLOW PROJECT” (for Girls Leading Our World), the ‘GROW Project’ (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women), ‘Every Girl A Leader’ and the ‘SMART Girl’ Projects, he has carried out programs aimed at helping young girls and women by educating them on their rights and leadership opportunities, and also providing support for them to engage in farming and other entrepreneurial endeavors. Over 3,000 girls and women have been impacted through these initiatives.
For environmental sustainability, he partnered with several organizations and 30 volunteers to plant 400 trees in the ‘Plant One Save One’ and ‘Greening UDS’ Projects. He also organized a cleanup exercise in the city Tamale and had a sanitary sensitization session for community members.
He made remarkable contributions to youth development through outreach programs such as Success Motivation, Strategic Leaders for Change, and Radio programs that reach youth on a weekly basis. He has inspired over 10,000 young people throughout the Northern Regions of Ghana through motivation, capacity building, and mentoring.
He established a Soccer Academy that caters to about 30 children who are provided with equipment and coaching sessions. These sessions have led to improvement in the behaviors of former juvenile delinquents. Furthermore, he organized the Youth Peace Festival, which was broadcast live on national television, after the country’s general elections.
His contributions to Quality Education include the annual WASSCE Conference that has improved academic performance for beneficiaries in 6 schools, and also equipped them to embark on business ventures. Through the ‘Read 2 Lead Campaign’, he distributed 200 books to a rural community school in the Upper West Region, where he established a library and set up reading clubs.
In addition, his BECE Project has provided books and stationery to over 400 students, free tuition for 200 students, as well as remedial tutorial classes that benefitted teachers and enabled students to catch up when schools resumed after the COVID-19 lockdown.
Christian has partnered with various organizations to achieve his objectives, such as the National Youth Authority (NYA), the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the US Peace Corps, Forestry Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, and many more. All these and many other laudable projects, campaigns and initiatives have put Christian in the limelight, with special recognitions from various youth organizations and international bodies, as well as special commendations from local and foreign dignitaries. Indeed, Christian is an exceptional Future African Leader igniting dreams, inspiring generations, and transforming lives.
The next young African leader is Elsa Cethia Milandou from Congo Brazzaville. Elsa is a passionate humanitarian with an unquenchable zeal to end the suffering of youth and children in her nation. As a women’s right activist, Elsa mobilized other youth across her city to organize a symposium for 172 young women and educated them on the challenges of unwanted pregnancy. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Elsa and her team distributed palliatives, including food items, hand sanitizers and handwashing gels to over 520 households in Kinsoundi communities, impacting 1,360 people. She also organized handwashing symposiums and donated 15 handwashing buckets to the police, markets and power supply companies in the PEKA community, in commemoration of Africa Day 2020, reaching over 7,000 beneficiaries.
She co-founded ‘Perfection Home Brazzaville’, a mini beauty factory where she tutored and instilled entrepreneurial skills in 47 youth in Congo Brazzaville and gainfully employed 13 of them. Elsa’s products have gained ground in the international market, providing even greater motivation for the youth she mentors.
Elsa has mentored 23 Leadership Initiative Award (LIA) influencers in her nation and, together, they’ve organized various workshops, ranging from education orientation, to personal development and skills acquisition, impacting over 500 youth. She conducted mental awareness programs in 8 high schools using ‘Power of your Mind’ book upon resumption after the lockdown, reaching over 12,000 students. Elsa also impacted 10 police cells and the central prison in Brazzaville, reaching 847 inmates with food items, hygiene kits and Christian Materials. Elsa oversaw the renovation of Government High School in Barrage, Kinshasa, which had been abandoned for over 47 years. She renovated the administrative block and classrooms, repaired 82 broken benches, installed electricity, and donated a water tank. This impacted over 3,800 students and the entire Community.
Through her NGO, ‘Avenir Maintenant’, Elsa collaborated with the French and Italian Embassies to cater to 2,253 physically and mentally challenged children in various schools/homes. Also, in collaboration with the National Blood Donation Center (CNTS) under the Ministry of Health, she organized two days’ blood donation campaigns in two locations where 160 youths and adults were mobilized to donate blood.
On the World Environmental day, Elsa and her team volunteered in various horticultural spots and flower selling outlets, helping sellers revive their dying plants after the lockdown. She also collaborated with Caritas Internationalis Congo to carry out various humanitarian activities in Brazzaville, reaching out to elderly homes and maternity wards. Elsa is truly a remarkable change maker, a beacon of hope and an inspiration to many young people in Congo Brazzaville. We applaud Elsa Cethia Milandou for her selfless services and commitment to nation building.
The next future African leader is Mary Mukeba Julius,
an inspiring and innovative 22-year-old with a passion for helping disadvantaged youths residing in refugee camps in South Sudan and Northern Uganda, through a network of young volunteers that she has trained and mentored.
Mary started an agricultural project for 5 refugee camps in South Sudan; she purchased two acres of farmland and employed over 20 youths who plant cassava, rice, and maize for the refugees. To mitigate the shortage of planting seeds, she started a Seeds Giving Project for common household crops, which impacted over 540 households in the camp. She also started 2 greenhouses where they planted fruits, vegetables, and herbs, and the produce was distributed to the 14,382 households spread across the 5 camps, which helped sustain them. She also started a monthly maize distribution program in Rhino camp and organized a food relief drive for disabled persons, which supported them during the COVID-19 lockdown.
On leadership development, she organized a program called ‘Arise as a Leader Conference’ that was broadcast on radio, reaching over 40,000 youth. Through her participation in the Back-to-School campaign, Mary and her team reached over 7,000 students in different schools in Juba city, South Sudan, by providing career guidance and thus inspiring contributions to nation-building. She also hosted the ‘Rise of Champions Conference’ with attendance of over 800 students from 5 schools. As a result of the conference, the Ministry of Youths & Culture invited her for a national talk show during the International Youth Day on the National TV Station in Juba City to speak on nation-building and youth empowerment.
Through her work with orphans and other vulnerable children, she reached out to various orphanages and teenage remand homes, helping them with food supplies and Christian literature. An organized training for teenage girls on personal hygiene and managing psychological trauma from child abuse had a ripple effect, as it impacted many young girls who – in turn – shared the content with their peers. She used her platform to promote the protection of human rights and prevention of child abuse.
She actively campaigned against forced recruitment of young boys into the army and against forced early marriages in the country. She also championed women empowerment and skills acquisition projects through which many learned crafts and began selling their products. Mary focused on improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene practices in her community by organizing hospital outreaches with her team, during which they cleaned the local hospitals and handed personal care items to the patients. With these extraordinary deeds and more, Mary Mukeba Julius of South Sudan has proven to be an innovative Future Leader who will contribute to changing lives across Africa.
Another outstanding winner of the FALA2020 Prize is Victor Emeka Mba, a 22-year-old innovative young leader, socio-preneur and humanitarian advocate with an undeniable passion for social change. Faced with various educational challenges as a teenager and forced to drop out of school, his formal education was gained through relentless determination for success. His realization that education is invaluable for creating a better world fuels his commitment to helping young people who have similar stories as his.
At age 20, he founded WeBuild Africa, an NGO that coordinates and utilizes the creative abilities of rural youth for the improvement of community life. Through this platform, He organized educational campaigns to inspire and mentor hundreds of young people, spearheaded the construction of 10 school libraries, and donated over 3,000 textbooks and stationery across 10 community secondary schools in Lagos State, Nigeria, which resulted in creation of reading clubs and improvement of academic performances.
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown that led to the closures of schools, children who were already at risk of being excluded from quality education were mostly affected, so Victor developed and launched the ‘MEV Mobile Tutor Finder Application’ that enabled 500 students find tutors and arrange tutorial sessions. He also raised funds to provide internet data services and educational materials for over 1,000 out-of-school children who had not received instruction, feedback, or interaction with their teachers during the lockdown. He also collaborated with a network of grocery stores, local food retailers and individuals to embark on a daily food drive project catering for and sustaining 500 vulnerable families over a period of 3 months.
Through his ‘End Hunger Campaign’, he made comprehensive strategic meal plans for more than 300 low-income families, providing them with access to nourishing food daily. He also initiated a 6-month funding campaign in July 2020 in partnership with Sunesis Farms, under the Nigerian Farmers’ Association, securing 15 plots of arable land for the production of 3,000kg of quality Rice, to provide subsidies, especially for the most vulnerable populations. This ongoing mega agro-project has also gainfully employed over 70 rural youth and is projected to be an advantage over the anticipated food crises by January 2021.
Victor is committed to seeing that more women have access to quality education, and that they participate in nation-building. He’s organized youth empowerment programs and skills acquisition initiatives for 200 young women This year, He collaborated with organizations such as She Voices Africa and Selflessness Service Foundation in providing sanitary pads to over 1,000 young girls, whose learning activities had been altered because of their menstrual flow. Over 5,000 sanitary pads have been donated across Nigeria, Ghana, and Cameroon. Victor also led campaigns such as ‘SAVE FOR A KID BOX’, where he raised funds for medical care of orphans.
Through these programs and initiatives, Victor reached over 15,000 beneficiaries from East, West, and Central Africa, Asia and Europe. He has proved himself to be an effective change agent, inspiring motivator, and intelligent young leader.
Our next winner is the 23-year-old Tebogo Moroe from South Africa is an inspiring visionary and a solution to her generation. She has distinguished herself by looking out for various needs in her local and continental sphere of contact and meeting them. As a result of the COVID-19 Lockdown in South Africa, many people began to encounter extreme hunger and panic. Tebogo responded promptly by raising funds through sponsors and initiated an Emergency Food Relief Program, the focus of which was to feed women and children who were not government grant beneficiaries in towns and informal settlement areas. This consistently assisted 100 identified households in different areas of the South Western Towns (Soweto), as well as in the informal settlement area of Kliptown.
Amidst increasing restrictions and closure of schools, young Tebogo rose up to the occasion by providing students with onsite tutorial classes in preparations for examinations on weekdays, right in her backyard. The classes grew from 4 students to over 50 secondary school students in different grades, until the activities caught the attention of the local patrolling law officials. As a result, Tebogo had to build an online teaching and learning site called ‘i-funde’ which means ‘learn it’ in the IsiZulu language (https://i-funde.org.za). The learning and teaching site catered to many senior class students in different provinces and beyond her city.
Determined to improve the life of the African child, Tebogo pioneered a project called ‘Little Feet Africa’, which has made an impact in South Africa, Malawi, and Kenya. The project sponsored 120 pupils in South Africa back to school, with new uniforms and shoes to mitigate high injuries and chigoe flea infection in school children who walked long distances barefoot. It also supported families who were unable to afford sanitary materials for their female children by availing funds or providing sanitary materials.
Tebogo partnered with a construction company in Alexandra to build 10 new toilet structures with suitable electricity, sufficient water supply, and ramps for persons living with disabilities in the community, reducing the rate of toilet infections. Today, these toilets are working efficiently and are well maintained, serving their purpose for the community of Alexandra.
Heavy rain storms in the community of Gladmore in Johannesburg damaged many homes and placed inhabitants at high risk. Tebogo joined forces with the Grand Force Construction Project to assist the city in rebuilding housing structures that were in hazardous conditions. In this great year, Tebogo leaped out of her comfort zone for the purpose of perfecting the lives of humanity. She is a true success, as she looks out for needs and meets them.
Michelle Mumba is the next on the list, she is a 23-year-old Student of Law at the University of Lusaka and a socio-cultural and humanitarian activist, driven by the need to help less privileged children and empower women within various communities in Zambia. In collaboration with Entheos and ‘Fountain of Life Africa’, Michelle provided free hearing aids to over 200 people in Chibombo District. Michelle and two of her recruits raised USD$1,000 to donate to the ‘Hemophilia Foundation of Zambia (HFZ)’ towards the purchase of a mobile coagulation machine for the free diagnosis of hemophilia and other blood cancers in children, specifically in rural areas where people can’t afford or access these facilities.
To tackle high rates of early marriages and pregnancy among teenage girls in Chibombo District, as well as paucity of health and educational facilities, Michelle commenced the construction of a missionary school, which will contain 10 classrooms, 4 ablution blocks, and 1 kitchen. The school will provide free primary education, and house a community development agency to give people access to information on reproductive health and safe sex, and will provide skills development training.
Due to the dramatic rise in rape and gender-based violence in Zambia, She established a sexual assault and Gender-Based Violence recovery support group called Mending Hearts that helped over 100 affected girls and women boost their self-esteem and learn how to cope with the trauma. Michelle further partnered with the Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Lusaka to give free legal assistance to special needs orphans and women. Accompanied by a psychologist, she reached over 1,000 individuals through school gatherings, and educated children and parents on human rights, as well as mental health awareness to people who were deeply affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.
Through extensive food drive programs held in 3 community centres, Michelle sustainably fed over 660 people, including 25 families, underprivileged children, orphans, and widows. Also, in order to improve access to safe drinking water for students of Kachema Musuma Community School, she donated two 200-Liter water storage drums.
Michelle conducted a voluntary community clean up in PHI area of Lusaka to abate the illegal piling of waste along a roadside in that area. They also donated bins to promote appropriate waste disposal. Also, she founded ‘The Change Motus’, whose objectives are to tackle hygiene, health, education, human rights advocacy, youth and women empowerment.
Above all, through her organization, Michelle has raised over 30 active youth leaders and has impacted over 5,000 individuals across Zambia. she has proven to be an exemplary leader through her tireless endeavors to improve lives in Zambian communities and will certainly impact multitudes through her hard work, passion, and love.
Avante Susan Mafusire is an innovative 24-year-old leader from Zimbabwe who has provided solutions that transformed millions of lives in Africa. In response to the adverse effects of Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe, she organized a special impact initiative called Revive Education, which provided affected communities with educational resources, including libraries, tables, and chairs, as well as thousands of textbooks, exercise books, and other materials. Over 1 million residents benefited from this project. She organizes food and clothes drives, reaching over 3,000 orphans and homeless people monthly. Also, she donates free sanitation and educational materials to 4 prisons in Zimbabwe; she donated over 600 textbooks, which helped inmates study and write their final exams while serving time. In partnership with the American Embassy, she hosted career guidance seminars and skills acquisition programs in several schools, with over 30,000 beneficiaries. She also organized free scholarships for 5 beneficiaries.
She has reached out to over 3 million listeners and viewers through her radio and television talk shows, creating awareness on the plight of disabled persons and other social issues, spurring her listeners to action.
Michelle provided free grooming lessons to hundreds of youths, and hosted a blood donation drive, in partnership with the National Blood Donation Services. She advocated for a clean learning environment at the University of Zimbabwe by donating waste bins to the University. She also hosted a tree planting program to raise awareness for her cause.
Avante is a member of THE POSITIVE LIFE KENYA, a partnering organization of three embassies – French, Dutch and Kenya – with a vision to aid victims of societal ills in the forgotten slums in Kenya. As a volunteer in this organization, she worked with them to build a school in one of these slums, organized food distribution drives, and hosted mentorship programs and skills acquisition programs, with over 50,000 beneficiaries.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, she produced a booklet, which contains lessons in mathematics, science, and English, to help less privileged children have uninterrupted access to classes. Thousands of students in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Gambia, South Africa and Nigeria benefited from this study booklet.
In partnership with PAD UP organization, she distributed free reusable cotton pads to girls in the rural parts of Southern Africa. In celebration of the International Youth Day, she hosted a symposium where the minister of Education in Zimbabwe attended and addressed the challenge of education in Africa. As the youngest board member of THE MESH, she contributed significantly to helping young entrepreneurs in Africa. As the editor of OMUHLE Magazine, she has impacted many in 31 countries across the globe. Avante has also received awards and certifications from international organizations. Truly, she is worth celebrating.
The youngest of the pack is the 18-year-old Mayamiko Banda is a very inspiring leader from Malawi with an earnest desire to improve the livelihood of young people around her. At age 16, she spearheaded a youth initiative named ‘GET2GIVE’, which trains and empowers youth to become agents of change. GET2GIVE paid tuition fees for underprivileged secondary school students and Mayamiko mentors these beneficiaries, several of whom have started their own outreaches, impacting their communities and influencing hundreds of other young and elderly people.
Mayamiko mobilized a team of young volunteers who maintain rural roads that are crucial to their communities and give commuters easy access to the cities in Malawi. She partnered with the Malawian Red Cross in raising funds for over 10,000 primary school children’s uniforms and stationery. Her commitment to promoting good health and education in rural schools also led her to reach out to 600 students and 30 teachers with sanitary products, stationery and Christian materials. She sponsored food items and Christian materials, to encourage those whose livelihood had been affected during the COVID-19 lockdown, and was active in providing English lessons at Stephanos Children’s Home for 38 students during the lockdown.
Also, she instituted a business scheme on an Entrepreneurial Campaign that provides livestock and domesticated animals to young girls in Chikhwawa District, an area affected by natural disasters. With many participants starting small scale poultry farms, this initiative has provided income for more than 30 young girls and their families.
Mayamiko reached out to orphaned and disabled children of Chikondi Disability and Orphaned Centre, where she provided foodstuffs to families, as well as books and other educational materials to 300 children, and presented groceries to 10 grandmothers during Mother’s Day celebration. In celebration of the festivities at Christmas, she reached out to orphaned children in Ndirande with groceries; reaching out to 60 destitute children and impacting over 250 families.
Through organized conferences and football tournaments, Mayamiko reached hundreds of youths, training them to use their minds and bodies for the betterment of society. She played a vital role in organizing various youth programs such as “Fire for Your Future Conference” and “Success Motivation”, impacting over 475 young people.
Being a strong advocate for disabled children, she set up a bursary fund for disabled youth who were unable to pay for their tertiary education. With a target goal of helping 1,000 by the end of 2021, she has paid tertiary tuition for 15 disabled students. Mayamiko Banda is truly a visionary leader completely sold out to the vision of our great ministry, blessing lives and focused on impacting Africa remarkably.
The last but definitely not the least of these champions is Aicha Elhaj Mahamat, an amazing and passionate 20-year-old leader from Chad who is ardently committed to volunteerism and improving the plight of less privileged children. This caused her to collaborate with Un Enfant, Un Sourire Organization (One Child, One Smile), and they’ve visited orphanages and streets, where they distributed meals, toys, clothing and shoes, successfully caring for more than 5,000 kids. She also leads cleanup initiatives and environmental sanitation outreaches to these orphanages and streets.
She conducted a free month-long pastry training course for 50 young orphans and also provided building materials for the facility upgrade for the Dieu Bénie Orphanage. Aicha also took it upon herself to provide scholarships for 50 out-of-school children from low-income earning families in her community.
In addition to helping the street children, Aicha is currently working with 43 mothers, in conjunction with a microfinance bank & an entrepreneurial institute, to facilitate training on trades and business management with minimal capital.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, Aicha conducted various relief campaigns, reaching out to 500 families in 3 communities where 70% of the residents were unable to afford daily meals. Aicha also organized a Christmas party for more than 1,000 kids from 5 Orphanages across several communities in Chad.
The FALF was described by former President Goodluck Jonathan as a great platform for raising young leaders and inducting young Africans to positions of responsibilities towards the transformation of the continent. Commending Pastor Chris Oyakhilome for such laudable project, President Jonathan said that Africa should endeavour to turn its youth bulge into a demographic dividend, adding that though the future belongs to Africa, the time to take charge is now. Organisers of the event highlighted that from records; almost all former winners of the Awards have been doing excellently in their various fields of human impacts, a pointer that the mandate of the Foundation is being impactful on the continent.