African Youth SDGs Summit Impact Story Speech

Long Post Alert: 

I was honored by the African Youth SDGs Summit team to share my SDGs Summit Impact Speech. Find the speech below and be inspired this Monday. 


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My African Youth SDGs Summit Impact Story Speech

The African Youth SDGs Summit changed my whole life. The first time I heard about the Sustainable Development Goals was during my National Youth Service and the only thing I could learn was the chant of "SDGs! Action!"

However, when I saw the application for the Maiden edition of the African Youth SDGs Summit, it was an opportunity to learn more, meet people and connect it with the work that I do as a non profit leader. I have a non profit "Kayfactor Leadership and Career Academy (KLCA), a Youth Led NGO that helps young people in underserved communities develop life skills through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Mentorship and Advocacy. So attending the summit was a great opportunity. I applied and got a partial scholarship worth $100. 

To pay became difficult and as at then I was working in the factory to support my non-profit. I had some savings and it could only cover for the scholarship and my transportation to Ghana by road. So I traveled to Ghana. I had no pocket money, so every night that I spent in Ghana, I didn't eat. But, I was showing up at every events. Participated in the SDGs Debate, connected with amazing people. I heard voices of Global leaders speaking truth to power. So, one key thing is to learn as much as you can and make necessary network. Show up and add value! 

I was in the summit, when a young lady who work with the Nigerian Network of NGO's introduced herself to me, The conversation started with, What do you do? And that was the end, we exchanged contact. I got to Nigeria, and she sent a form to me to become one of the African Monitor Youth Champions who will work on the Citizens Reports to monitor the implementation of SDGs in Nigeria. I applied and I was selected. I got an all expense paid trip to learn about SDGs, Leadership, Social Research and Advocacy with African Monitor in South Africa. This gave me an opportunity to travel accross marginalized communities collecting data and teaching lay men about the SDGs in their local language. I also contributed to the policy brief which includes evidences gotten from the field and It was presented to the Senate President. I never thought of myself doing that last year when I attended the summit. 

Also, during this period, I also made it to the Carrington Youth Fellowship, a programme of the U.S consulate in Nigeria and I and other four young leaders which form the Education Team will receive $5000 to empower low income private school teachers with contemporary pedagogy and innovative teaching methodologies. 

I have also featured on several Media platforms discussing about the SDGs and facilitating sessions around it. I was recently recognized by the United Nations population Fund, The Nigerian Youth SDGs Network, German Embassy and Australian High Commission as one of the 50 young change makers championing the Global Goals in their local communities in Nigeria through the work that I do with my non profit, which has reached out to over 1500 students in underserved communities.  I also won a mini grant from Peace First (an international NGO in the U.S) and executed Skill2Rural Bootcamp. A platform where students and teachers in rural communities with the supports of youth educators co - create prototypes using design thinking to problems they face within their communities. Also started 10 Days Rural Education Campaign,  which uses the power of young people and social media to share powerful quotes and stories that allows Government, Civil Society Organizations and Private Individuals to Prioritize the Education of the Rural Children. Today, I will be one of the four Young people that will be featured in Peace First end of the year appeal and publications. The fact is whenever you are called to lead, you are auditioned. Your diligence and truthfulness will pave the way for you. 

I was also one of the winners of the Keenista African Youth Essay Competition, Global Goodwill Ambassador and many more. 

The fact is, just one sacrifice changed my life. You just have to take that step towards creating change and things will fall in place. I have had my down times. There were days I borrow money to attend programmes and I couldn't pay the money back as promised.  There were times, I stay up late in the Night to apply to programme and at the end of the day get rejected. There were times, I cry  and questioned my existence.  I was born and raised in the slum but here I am today telling my own story

The truth is your validation doesn't come from the no of fellowships or programmes you have attended. It comes from your work, how you make people feel? Those kids you touched their heart. Those children! Those people dying of poverty and you came through for them. My validation comes from seeing children in rural communities being able to transform their society and change the circumstances they inherit

Nelson Mandela said, "You have a limited time to stay on earth. You must try and use that period for the purpose of transforming your country into what you desire it to be. Therefore, you have to reject all negative vision in your own soul, in your blood system and focus your attention on the positive things." 

To end this speech, I will quote a friend of mine"Halima Layeni" with a little tweak "People always say I am too passionate and too ambitious but, If being too passionate and too ambitious will bring me good tidings, all I ever want to be is to be too passionate and too ambitious." 

My tweak, listen to my tweak, "People also say I am too passionate and too ambitious, yeah, that's true! But if being too passionate and too ambitious will bring me good tidings and will inspire my community to create the change I want to see and make it a better place. All I ever want to be is to be too passionate and too ambitious" 

You can never be too passionate and too ambitious for the SDGs. We need people who are too Passionate and ambitious to drive the goals, because the goals are ambitious and require craziness(Not in the craze sense), unreasonable, abnormal young people who will drive the goals. 

Thank you African Youth SDGs Summit for creating this platform for young people. Thank you everyone! Thanks to my friend who made this trip came through. Thank you Dolapo Olaniyan, Saka Afeez, Abiodun Ajayi. Thank you everyone, my family! Thank you African Monitor for giving young people the voice to hold their government accountable and fight for the cause they believe in. Thank you Nigerian Network of NGO's. Thanks to my amazing volunteers. I am here because we are. 

There is no better time to create change than now, there is no better place to create that change than here, Africa, our community! Start with your community! So many of us look elsewhere whereas the change we seek is within our various communities. There is no better person to create that change than you.

Don't be known for creating problems or just seeing it. Be known for creating solutions and measurable impact, because you are the solution that we seek. 

You are the Solution. Young People! 

Thank you! Thank you very much! 

Hammed Kayode Alabi ©2018
SDGs Youth Champion

Photo Credit: African Youth SDGs Summit Media Team 

#AYSDGs18 #AYSDGs #YouthPower #Youthinspiringyouth

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