United States Mission to the African Union has recognized the effort of a Nigerian man, Oluwayomi Zeblon, for helping his peers during coronavirus pandemic.
When the #COVID19 pandemic upended Oluwayomi Zeblon’s life in Lagos, Nigeria, he noticed a trend: young leaders from across the country were turning more and more to social development and looking for ways that they could improve their communities. A student at Lagos State University, Oluwayomi provided virtual sessions for his peers to equip them with the motivation to make a change in their communities. For Oluwayomi, an inspiring leader is interested in building others up, in highlighting their strengths and in helping them to overcome their weaknesses.
When the COVID-19 pandemic upended Oluwayomi Zeblon’s life in Lagos, Nigeria, he noticed a trend: young leaders from across the country were turning more and more to social development and looking for ways that they could improve their communities.“The youth are enthusiastic about development,” says Oluwayomi, a student at Lagos State University. “They just don’t all know how to go about it, how to get started.”To address this, Oluwayomi decided in March to organize a YALILearns session on the YALI Network Online Course Creating and Maintaining Social Enterprises.Oluwayomi says the course, which covers strategic planning, partnerships and advocacy, was instrumental in giving participants a sense of the broader development community and of the role of young leaders in the space.“I noticed a lot of youth called to action during the pandemic were lacking the skills needed to implement their projects,” Oluwayomi says.Key to holding a successful session, Oluwayomi explains, is focusing on a topic of interest to attendees.“Especially in virtual sessions, the audience needs to be passionate about the topic; they need to be driven.”For Oluwayomi, his passions lie in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, both in sharing them with others and in working toward them himself.“I don’t just want to educate my peers about these goals, but I also want to help them create the innovations to achieve them,” Oluwayomi says.To others interested in development, Oluwayomi recommends “trusting the right people and never forgetting your objective.”“In a perfect world, people are confident in their skills and in their environment,” Oluwayomi says. “They aren’t afraid to share their ideas.”With his virtual session, Oluwayomi believes that he equipped his peers, if not with the tools, then with the motivation to make a change in their communities.“I hope my YALILearns session motivated participants to be innovative, to broaden their thinking and to better understand the problems in their society.”For Oluwayomi, an inspiring leader is interested in building others up, in highlighting their strengths and in helping them to overcome their weaknesses.