LEAP believes that young people can and should serve as positive change agents in the society. As a result, it works with youth who serve as community reformers, artists, rights activists, environmentalists, health practitioners, peace builders, women entrepreneurs, volunteers for civic initiatives, as well as youth who have demonstrated a strong interest in developing leadership skills and commitment to community service. These youth, who are between the ages of 18 and 30 are identified with the support of companies, community based organizations, nonprofits and educational institutions.
A unique component of the Youth Leadership Programme(YLP) when it was launched in 2004 was its focus on community development. During the course of the programme, LEAP challenges participants to identify and commence positive change projects geared towards improving the lives of people in their immediate communities. LEAP also provides cash and in-kind support to the participants to initiate these change projects. In an effort to ensure wide spread impact and sustainability of projects, participants are encouraged to partner with one another or with existing initiatives in their communities.
LEAP has almost 1, 000 YLP alumni who have implemented over five hundred change projects (most of which have become social enterprises) in areas including Environment, Education, Health, Business and Economic Development, Law and Human Rights, Science and Technology, as well as Media, Arts and Culture benefiting thousands of individuals. LEAP has many stories about the transformation which has occurred in the lives of its beneficiaries, read Damilare’s testimony on the impact of this programme;
Prior to attending LEAP Africa’s Youth Leadership Programme (YLP), I was just another young Nigerian university graduate who did not necessarily have a clear direction of the future. I had lots of enthusiasm without a defined purpose and great aspirations without opportunities for guidance and mentorship. I had potential but needed a platform to awaken such and propel me to a path of excellence. LEAP’s YLP was just what I needed to shape my aspirations and jumpstart my future.
From learning how to write a personal mission statement to classes in goal setting and time management, the YLP provided me with the required tools to envision a future and work towards it. We had a required commitment to do a change project, which for me was a practical actualisation of the learned modules. I did not only learn to dream but realized it was not enough to dream without corresponding action.
Fast forward to date, since 2006 when I attended LEAP’s Youth Leadership Program, I have a long list of achievements with awards and recognitions, and still ongoing. I completed a Masters in Cross-cultural and International Education (with a specialization in Global Communication) from Bowling Green Sate University, Bowling Green, OH, U.S.A.
Based on my meritorious efforts at the university and community, I was awarded Outstanding International Graduate Student (2011) and was named in the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges (2012). Currently, I am on an Erasmus Mundus Scholarship through a consortium of four universities in Norway. France, Hungary, and U.K. studying an International Masters in Dance Knowledge, Practice, and Heritage.
With a dream to eventually work for UNESCO and continue to make a sustainable impact in the world through my personal and professional endeavors, I carry with me the tools and values acquired from LEAP’s Youth Leadership Program. - Oluwadamilare Adeyeri
Learn more about LEAP's Youth Programmes
Youth Development Training Programme
Leadership Ethics and Civics
Social Innovators Programme & Awards