Access to Learning and School (ATLAS) Initiative which is an NGO passionate about contributing to learning in Nigeria unveiled the ELITE Project to stakeholders within Ikorodu LGA, ranging from traditional leaders to representatives of youth groups on August 3, 2020.
While introducing ATLAS Initiative, the co-founder, Mr. Chukwunonso Ibegwam stated that the nonprofit organization was founded in 2017 and since its inception, it has successfully sent 1800 out-of-school children back to school, supported several small and medium businesses with startups, organized capacity building training for teachers at primary and secondary levels amongst other achievements.
According to the Executive Director, Mr. Habeeb Balogun, the ELITE Project is funded by Christian Aid UK and Connected Development (CODE), and its aim is to empower youths in Ikorodu LGA, aged 18-30, with essential life skills, vocational skills, and inclusive and equitable quality education.
The ELITE project which is to hold for 4 weeks (a month) will explore the creativity of young people to create many artifacts like picture frames, earrings, necklaces, etc., from 3D epoxy and develop businesses and make money from this skill as well. Rather than the usual Epoxy training which is quite expensive. Also, participants will be taught life skills and social inclusion. ATLAS Initiative intends to adopt a civic leadership approach.
Mr. Habeeb thus called for the promotion of female participation in the project. He opined that empowering young women for self-sufficiency is paramount, as it has a long-term effect on national development. A working-class of women will contribute to Nigeria’s economy.
The Executive Director, VirginsPride Network, Mrs Nkechi, in her remarks praised ATLAS Initiative for deeming it fit to bring this project to the grassroots. To her, it is crucial for nonprofits to “carry along people from the grassroots” in their activities and projects. She then stated that this was an opportunity to be grabbed
Miss Temitope Fasuyi from Community Women’s Right Foundation, admonished the participants to make judicious use of the chance ATLAS Initiative created for them and pleaded with the organizers to extend this gesture to others young people who are unaware of the project.
The traditional leaders weren’t left out as they gave their appraisals and comments. Leading the pack was Chief Eleku of Ikorodu, who doubles as a member of Aga-in-Council. He appreciated and applauded the ATLAS Initiative. To him, it’s important to make young people stand on their own and remain self-sufficient. Instead of running away from the country, they must contribute to the development of Nigeria’s economy.
Another stakeholder, Mr. Soremekun Oladayo Semiu, the General Secretary, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Lagos State Chapter, described the ELITE Project as a “gigantic project.” He said the project had come at the right time to address the current challenges that young people face.
The official t-shirts were then presented to the stakeholders, and some registered participants and group photographs were also taken at the end of the programme.