Young people protesting against police brutality under the hashtag #EndSARS in Lagos, October 2020. The Nigeria Youth Futures Fund will build on the momentum of #EndSARS protests in 2020 to convene an imaginative futures working group of young people between age 35 and below at the national and state levels/Photo: Tobi Oshinnaike/Unsplash

Ford, MacArthur Foundations to spend $5m on Youth Development in Nigeria

The Ford and MacArthur Foundations have announced the launch of Nigeria Youth Futures Fund (NYFF), to the tune of US$5 million to support and strengthen youth leadership ecosystem in Nigeria.

The Foundations in close partnership with Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability & Professionalism (LEAP) Africa, in charge of fund management will build on momentum in the region, inspired by the youth-led #EndSARS movement.

They noted that the NYFF is a five-year collaborative fund seeded by $3 million from the Ford Foundation and $2 million from the MacArthur Foundation to facilitate young people’s leadership and civic engagement in Nigeria.

The goal of the fund is to raise up to $15 million from additional partners and other foundations.

Commenting, Programme Officer in the Office of West Africa, Ford Foundation, Dabesaki Mac-Ikemenjima said, “We are excited about this launch because over the last decade, several analyses have shown that there is likely to be a great return on investment in youth across the economic, social, political, and technological domains of Nigeria’s development. I believe that the fund is a critical part of efforts to empower youth, enhance their leadership capabilities, expand opportunities for them to be engaged in national development, and facilitate a proactive and constructive relationship between them and governments across Nigeria.”

On his part, MacArthur Foundation on Nigeria programme Co-Director and Director of the Nigeria office, Kole Shettima stated, “Today’s youth embody the hope and promise of a thriving Nigeria that will lead the African continent for generations to come. There is no better time to invest in the civic engagement and participation of our young people, and the NYFF will sustain their work locally and amplify their voices in the halls of power.”

According to the sponsors, NYFF will build on the momentum of #EndSARS protests in 2020 to convene an imaginative futures working group of young people between age 35 and below at the national and state levels.

They would work to explore and discuss visions, challenges, and opportunities for Nigeria in 2025, 2030, and 2050, support hubs of innovation to advance ideas development and create funds that will provide grant for activists.

Executive Director of LEAP Africa, Femi Taiwo said, “We are leveraging our 19 years of experience working with Nigerian youths and our multi-sectoral convening power, to build a stronger and more resilient youth ecosystem that will decisively contribute to the long-term development plans of Nigeria.”

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