Ajegunle.org: The Journey Continues

Thanks to the support of our partners, the Ajegunle.org project is still delivering value and changing lives! We have added twenty-five new graduates during the first half of the year while we have also had to improve on our selection procedure in order to ensure that we select the young people who need help most – and who will in turn be able to pass on the baton of positive change to their colleagues and community. The training curriculum was also reviewed to include additional training on the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools while the Entrepreneurship module has also been revisited with an increased focus on helping the graduates reduce the limitations on their path towards progress. Our program faculty has also expanded as Ugo Nwosu (the program manager) was able to add more volunteers the project: thanks Oluwakorede Asuni, Obinna Ajuruchi, Nnenna Paul and Victor Gotevbe!

Our focus on relay training is producing results. We recorded a success rate of 84.8% when our first set of graduates trained a total of 106 second-level trainees and by September 2008, we expect a similar – or greater – percentage from the recent graduates. With eight (8) new corporations signing up to support the internship scheme, we now have eight interns completing between 2- and 6-month internships at Afrinvest West Africa, DHL Nigeria, London Metropolitan University (Nigeria Office) and Lornamead Africa. We are also proud to announce that one of our interns (Famous) resumed work as a member of staff at the Visa Section of the British High Commission in Abuja after he recently completed his internship at Trade & Investment, UK Deputy High Commission, Lagos (UKTI). His story, which has earned its own title (“From Ajegunle to Abuja”), continues to tell the story we shared with partners from the beginning: that positive peer pressure will help transform underserved communities, one young person at a time. We appreciate the role played by our Foundation Partner, UKTI, in ensuring that Famous’ story becomes a model for others to emulate.

The monthly reports we receive from our graduates are enlightening, ranging from those who threaten to withdraw from work after the first week of their internships (but have since learnt that the world of work is demanding for those who must climb the ladder of success) to those who have shown consistent growth in the income earned from their small businesses. Funke runs a small business that started with only N2000 and has now grown into a little above N50,000. Meanwhile, Ajegunle.org continues to enjoy recognition in both local and international events, and media mention. We recently hosted Lourival Santana, a foreign correspondent for Estado de Paolo (one of Brazil’s major dailies) who visited for the purpose of documenting the project alongside global best practices helping to change rural communities across the world. We were also visted by a representative of Ashoka (the international organization that supports leading social entrepreneurs) following the nomination of our Executive Director as a potential Ashoka Fellow. Between July 19 and August 24, 2008, the Korean Agency for Digital Opportunity and Promotion (KADO) will again send four Korean Internet Volunteers (KIVs) to visit PIN’s projects in Nigeria. Last year, one of the KIVs wrote to say she scored an “A” for the school report in which she documented the story of her contribution to the Ajegunle.org project!

As a social enterprise, we believe that complete dependence on external support may limit innovation; hence our quest to reach out to sustainability partners while also building in-house programs that can support our growing work; hence we look forward to the possibility of earned income through partnerships and service offerings. As part of their support for the Ajegunle.org project, Lornamead Africa has asked us to manage their On-The-Go (OTG) project. The project involves the provision of a credit line of the Tura beauty range products to young people from underserved communities that have been identified by PIN. Proceeds from the sales will be used to pay the young participants and to also support our training activities in Ajegunle. Building on requests from other non-profits, we are also glad to have trained a number of organizations through what has now become the Non-Profit Employee Motivation Program (NEMP – www.pin.org.ng/nemp). We are aware of the need for proper record-keeping, especially as we expand our work, and have reached out to KPMG Professional Services towards their support for the publication of our Annual (Audited) Report. Their positive response comes at a time when we are bringing additional support to the organizational structure.

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