Saturday, August 14, 2010

An Enabling Environment

I was opportune to revise with my daughter for her end of year’s exams sometime last month. One of the subjects for her class, General Knowledge covered a bit on Agriculture basics – types of soil. We studied the 3 major types (Clayey, Loamy and Sandy) and their uses. Just like most of us were taught way-back then, Loamy is the preferred for planting. It’s not that the others can’t allow for some form of growth, but definitely not anything good compared with what the loamy would do.

In the same month, there was an e-mail forward I came across, about a Nigerian family in Britain who had kids that were performing outstandingly beyond what their ages could ordinarily accomplish in academics. My colleagues and I discussed this seemingly chance happening but the consensus was that their being in Britain, in such schools and with such tutors, brought out the best in them.

These facts buttressed a learning - We thrive best in an enabling environment. Our potentials, our dreams, our plans are actualized best when we are located in an enabling environment; like a plant in the appropriate soil. A common saying I used to know goes like this – Apple trees don’t grow in Lagos. That means, there is place for everyone to come out in full bloom. My take on this is this - make sure you are located in your soil (your enabling environment).

However, beyond the physical environment, there is the mind-environment and association-environment. These as well must be supportive. To a great extent we even have better influence on them than even the physical. We can choose what goes on in our mind by what we feed it with and what people influence us by the choice of our confidants and friends.

A challenge then, could be in knowing when we are not in an environment that would be supportive to our potentials/dreams/aspirations. Also, when we are not and cannot move for some reasons, what we need to do.

In more advanced agriculture, each type of soil still has further classifications. Good farmers know which of these would give the best harvest for each crop. But first, they must know which crop they intend to cultivate. Same with us, the crop could be our dream, our plan or our potential. A previous article (Be Better, Know your SWOT - ) encourages us to know our strengths, for therein lies our potentials. When we know our crop, it would be easy to tell if the soil would aid growth and productivity. If I dream to be an Olympics medalist in swimming, and there is no pool within my reach, that dream is likely to remain a dream. It’s either I travel regularly to where one is or I re-locate close to one. My challenge on this is for you to note your plans, begin to dream, discover your potential, then you can tell if where you are would help actualize them. If your environment won’t be enabling, then move.

There may be instances when we feel the timing or some other reasons won’t allow us move to our preferred physical environment. What do we do while we wait? We must keep our mind and association environment in top gear. In other words, these two must be “fertilizing” to our plans, dreams or potentials. Just like some fertilizers can be used to enhance the ability of the soil when not good enough.

The state of your mind must become conditioned to bring you to thrive. You need to feed it with information that would motivate and inspire. You can learn to shut out negatives by focusing more on what is positive and what you desire to be. For associations, we need to minimize interactions with those who put us down, who laugh at our dreams and spend more time with those of like minds, those who make us think beyond where we are to what we can become.

We need to get the environment right (mind and association included) to keep energies up, passions alive, focus strong, till we come to full bloom and achieve.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] U N I T E D N A T I O N S THE SECRETARY-GENERA...

This year's commemoration of International Youth Day also marks the
launch of the International Year of Youth, under the theme "Dialogue and
Mutual Understanding".

Today's challenging social and economic environment warrant a
special focus on youth. Eighty-seven per cent of people aged 15 to 24
live in developing countries. The global economic crisis has had a
disproportionate impact on young people; they have lost jobs, struggled
to find even low-wage employment and seen access to education curtailed.
As economies slowly begin to stabilize, the needs of young people
should be paramount.

This is a moral imperative and a developmental necessity. But it is
also an opportunity: the energy of youth can ignite faltering economies

. I am regularly inspired by the good will, talent and idealism of
the young people I meet across the world. They are making important
contributions to our work to eradicate poverty, contain the spread
disease, combat climate change and achieve the Millennium Development
Goals. I call on Member States to increase their investments in young
people so they can do even more.

During the International Year, the United Nations and its youth
organization partners will focus on the need to encourage dialogue and
understanding across generations, cultures and religions. In a world in
which different peoples and traditions are coming into closer, more
frequent contact than ever before, it is crucial that young people learn
how to listen intently, empathize with others, acknowledge divergent
opinions, and be able to resolve conflicts. Few endeavors are more
important than nurturing these skills, and educating young people about
human rights, for in them we not only see the next generation of
leaders, but also crucial stakeholders of today. Let us also recognize
that older generations themselves stand to learn a great deal from the
experiences and examples of young people as they come of age in a world
of accelerating interconnectedness.

As we launch this International Year, let us acknowledge and
celebrate what youth can do to build a safer, more just world. Let us
strengthen our efforts to include young people in policies, programmes
and decision-making processes that benefit their futures and ours.

Posted By rotimi to youth development in Nigeria at 8/11/2010 03:08:00 AM

Friday, August 06, 2010

Thus spake Jonathan

From the FB page of Goodluck E. Jonathan, president of Nigeria:

What do you make?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

[youth development in Nigeria] Obama and Young African Leaders: A sneak preview

This year, 17 sub-Saharan African countries celebrate 50 years of independence, and the Obama Administration is ready to look forward towards greater partnerships with African nations. Acknowledging the value of engaging young leaders in the discussion of the future of Africa, President Obama has invited 115 young leaders from 47 nations of sub-Saharan Africa to the President's Forum with Young African Leaders. The Forum is an opportunity for the participants to engage with each other, their American counterparts, and U.S. government officials on key themes of youth empowerment, good governance, and economic opportunity.
I have worked closely with my African counterparts, civil society leaders, and colleagues at the State Department on each of these themes and am looking forward to interacting with the future leaders of Africa through this unique opportunity. On numerous occasions, I have been inspired by the passion and ingenuity of Africa's young leaders. At Kenya Polytechnic University, I learned from innovative students the value of mobile and other technology and scientific advancement for youth empowerment and social change. In Uganda, I met with young human rights advocates fighting for tolerance and inclusion. I was moved by their courage and inspired by their passion. Young women entrepreneurs in Ethiopia reminded me that glass ceilings were meant to be cracked.
Through the Forum, these young leaders will have a great opportunity to learn from one another, and we have a unique opportunity to learn from them. People to people connections like this have the power to change lives and the future of nations and are where lasting partnerships begin. As policymakers, we in the U.S. government hope to learn how best to support African youth's vision for the future of Africa. Personally, I have seen how enhanced mutual understanding of ideas and cultures can create the foundation for long term peace, security, and prosperity.
Technology is going to connect this Forum to an even wider audience, enabling every person that has access to the internet to virtually participate in the Forum through live online streams of select segments of the conference. Stay tuned to and DipNote for updates.
Take a look at what the next few days have in store:
DAY 1: The President's Forum with Young African Leaders opens in Washington, DC at the State Department where participants will attend a number of small discussion sessions to explore topics including transparency and accountability, job creation and entrepreneurship, rights advocacy, and the use of technology to empower individuals and communities. President Obama will then welcome the delegates and host a town-hall at the White House.
DAY 2: Participants meet with leaders of Congress on Capitol Hill, participate in leadership and empowerment discussions with Peace Corps, and share in service experiences across Washington, DC.
DAY 3: Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale and I co-host "The Way Forward Plenary" at the Newseum where delegates will share their ideas from the forum. Participants will also have an opportunity to network with American civil society leaders and resource organizations at an "unconference" following the plenary. The Forum will close with a featured speaker.
Each night, participants will have the opportunity for peer to peer exchange at partner events hosted by the Aspen Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, McKinsey, and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.

Posted By rotimi to youth development in Nigeria at 8/03/2010 12:58:00 PM

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