My Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI) Journey

Today, I will like to make few confessions, whether it may inspire someone, somehow, somewhere! 

I think I thrive more, when I fail at first attempt.



Lately 2016, I saw the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative Application and I applied. I proposed a First Aid solution in my proposal and I didn't get selected. I tried checking and reviewing my application and I knew surely that I should not be selected. I didn't focus on my area of strength which was Education. I had a strong background in the field, having studied it in my undergraduate. I picked the lessons and kept doing my own thing, continued with my work. built more capacity, attended more programs and continue to make myself relevant. 

August 16, 2017, I attended the Nigerian Youth SDGs Summit and one of the speakers Mr. Seun Onigbinde, the founder of BudgIT, gave statistics about the state of Education and the no of school dropouts in Africa and Nigeria. As I listened to his talk, I got this insight of an alternative form of education to reduce the rate of drop out. I connected what I learned in Sociology of Education in my 200 level. Where a renowned sociologist Karl Mannheim said, "Education should not be abstract, people should know what they are being educated for." Right there, I wrote something on pragmatic education. If people can actually connect the classroom with the real world, why do they have to drop out. 

I went ahead to do some research. Downloaded articles on the World Bank website and read about the policy entry to retaining students in school. At that point, I was asking myself numerous questions. Right on that spot, I developed a project proposal using the knowledge I got from my undergraduate project as well as executing my NYSC project. I don't know where I will submit it to. I just did it. I defined the problem, the target beneficiaries, objectives, impact, sustainability models and evaluation plan. The only thing I missed out was the budget. I kept the proposal somewhere. So October 2017, MCW application was released and I applied using that proposal and I didn't make it to the next stage. Then early December, I saw the Carrington Youth Fellowship Application and I was a bit scared. I don't want to apply. I was still thinking about the rejection and the small person inside me said, "You are amazing and you can make it this time. The worse you will only get is rejection." Then, I applied. I prepared my application within just 5 days. I kept every process simple. I didn't say a lot of stories. I went straight to the point. These were the mistakes I made in the last application. I proposed the same project that didn't go through the next stage in MCW but in a more refined way. I submitted and I didn't think about it. 

January 27th, 2018, I was in Oyo facilitating a session and that happened to be my birthday. Just about some minutes to go on stage, I got a message and the next thing was Congratulations, you have moved to the next stage of the application. Ding ding my heart cut off. I was so delighted. The best birthday gift ever. Right on that spot, I started practicing for the interview. I got home and I started preparation. I contacted Caleb Adebayo, a previous fellow who shared his experience with me and some likely questions. While my friend Julius Ilori connected me to Henry Ibitolu, another fellow who also shared his experience with me. Through my interactions with them, I developed my own mock questions and asked a friend Adepeju Qaozara to help with a mock phone interview which I did before going for the real face to interview...To be continued! 

N.B: The Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative, CYFI, is a dynamic youth-based initiative launched in 2011 by the U.S. Consulate General, Lagos. CYFI brings together Nigerian youth of exceptional vision, skills and experience to design and implement projects that have a positive impact on Nigerian society. Former Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, was a champion of civil liberties, democracy and closer ties between the U.S. and Nigeria.



Photo Credit: CYFI

1 comment:

  1. Hammed, I could feel your enthusiasm as I read your article. I have too felt the small person inside, no I'm not good enough, we applied twice and the second letter was rather admonishing and rude. In running my idea with my friend Bryan, he said DO IT, but time is coming to a close for application this month, and I know I am not ready. Not only do I have another concussion, the subject which I wish to speak on is so difficult. We dance all around suicide and ask the same question over and over again, Why. I'm not ready to share and tell people WHY and how to recognize the glaring and not Hidden critical behaviors. I wrote on LI my article and carefully titled it When Kindness is Necessary https://wp.me/p2RQIw-1Hb after 35K hits, it was taken down by LI. So I reposted When Kindness is Necessary https://wp.me/p2RQIw-1Hb streaming from my site. It showed over 67K views and then LI took it down. Well here is it again....................When Kindness is Necessary!! Thank you Hammed, but not ready to speak about it on stage.

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