The dream of a peaceful, progressive and united Nigerian society can be a reality if every citizen of the country take a stand to become a change agent and start working for common good.
This was the submission of speakers at a media conference and dialogue on “Everyone a Changemaker”,an initiative aimed at creating a better world where everyone is carried along and things work well for the people.
The initiative is being championed by Ashoka, an ” international nonprofit organization which builds and cultivates communities of change leaders who see that the world now requires everyone to be a changemaker”.
The speakers underlined that by acquiring some change-making skills, everyone can become a star with the mindset to proffer solutions to societal problems.
In a presentation, the Director Ashoka Anglophone West Africa, Josephine Nzerem stated that the goal is to build a strong partnership with all Nigerians, whereby everyone is thinking about solutions to national problems, not apportioning blames.
According to her changemaking is a new and emerging identity that enables the creation of a better world and that the Ashoka team is leveraging the strength of partnership to reach all Nigerians within the next two years.
Nzerem identified the skills needed to become a changemaker to include empathy, teamwork and collaborative leadership.
In her words, “EVERYONE A CHANGEMAKING means everyone bringing their power to the table to make sure the world is a better place for everyone.
“We believe in Ashoka that everyone, we all can contribute something. Leadership is not for a particular group of people. Even the problem that we see, we all are going through them. Imagine a situation whereby all of us are thinking solution, not who do I blame for the problem.
“You heard the story of Debora Benjamin, she said, start where you are. So that’s what we are saying, for everyone to start where they are to begin to look at their environment, what are happening there and then design a solution to make it a better place for everyone.
“Ashoka is a global organisation. We are currently in 92 countries. We started this many years ago. We are just coming here. What we started in Nigeria in 1990 is exactly to identify system change leaders called Ashoka Fellows. We are building on that. Our mission is Everyone a Changemaker.
“We are identifying leadership entrepreneurs and we need to work with everyone- government parastals, media organisations, institutions, etc to create that change. This has been done in Brazil, Indonesia, India and US. When I look at Nigeria, I see a situation where everyone owns the change and everyone is driving the change”, said Nzerem.
Nzerem further explained that the New world which Ashoka is pushing for is a totally different world filled with power and New Leadership with everyone being a leader or change agent.
Contributing, a team lead at Ashoka, Okey Uzoechina said that everyone has the ability to do great things in changing the world for the better once activated and the person has a changed mindset.
Uzoechina reiterated that the team has the mission to empower and activate the estimated 200 million people in Nigeria and 1.3 billion people across Africa to become change agents.
He pointed out that, “Everyone a Changemaker means shifting mindset. The most fundamental level of change is your mindset. You cannot change your reality unless you change your mindset. Once you change your mindset, once you activate that spark within you, you can do things and you can show that by your own life. Essentially, change making starts in little ways.
“We should all be made to realise that we are super-heros, enhance our skills and start contributing to societal good. The essence is to create and build a platform that brings together people who are leaders in their chosen fields, bring them to change the mindset of all Nigerians”.
Ashoka in a release distributed to journalists says “Ashoka is building strong partnerships with young people and youth leaders, teachers’ unions , schools , the media (TRACE, Voice of Nigeria, Radio Nigeria), publishers, the government, changemaker companies, civil society organisations, and citizens to champion the Everyone a Changemaker” movement.
“We are building strong, growing fast, and stretching in a sustainable way to reach 20 million children and young people with the skills , tools and resources for changemaking by 2024. Our network of change-leading Ashoka Fellows, Young Changemakers and next generation leaders in partner organisations are organising around six metropolitan areas-Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kaduna and Yola to co-create products and solutions that will shift mindsets and spread the message far and wide.
“Ashoka cannot do it alone. Strategic national and Pan-African partnerships are critical to building and sustaining the momentum. Working together, everyone owning their power as Changemakers , we all have a better chance of empowering over 200 million Nigerias and 1.3 billion Africans to take part in creating a just, harmonious and prosperous world”.
On why every African should be a changemaker, is explains that, “Africa has the potential to generate solutions that will outrun her problems. Happily, Changemakers are already leading the way and showing that the Africa we want is possible. In fact, changemaking makes the most sense in Africa.
” We now live in a new reality, a new world radically different from the world of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. The old reality was defined by routine, predictability and efficiency in repetition. In some ways , Africa is playing catch-up in that old outdated reality and could get stuck in it for decades unless we see our situation today as a historic moment and a unique opportunity to shift the continent into the new game of changemaking. For the same reason, Africa’a growth trajectory carries far greater potential for change than that of other regions of the world.
“After 41 years of supporting over 3,600 social entrepreneurs in 93 countries, Ashoka has crystallized the elements of the new EVERYONE A CHANGEMAKER framework: empathy,co-creative teamwork, new Leadership, team of teams , and combining all the above to practice changemaking”, it added.
The forum agreed that for the success of the movement in Nigeria, all team members must try to live above board and make a difference in their small circles. Also, there should be a culture whereby everyone regardless of position, class, ethnicity or religious affiliation should be treated with dignity including giving him or her the opportunity to speak out.