Equips subsistence farmers with the skills and tools to develop a cash crop.
Provides unemployed youth with marketable skills and job placement.
Equips disabled individuals with business computing skills.
WHAT WE DO
Leadership Initiatives (LI) renews democracies on a grassroots level by cultivating self-reliant leadership. We help individuals and communities forge the connections necessary to solve local problems using existing community resources. In the process we train a new generation of innovative, resourceful leaders poised to catapult their neighborhoods, regions, and nations forward.
Our students delve to the root of local issues and create novel solutions firmly grounded in principles of social entrepreneurship. Each design results in new profit-generating businesses that expand capacity on a human level. Vital services are made more accessible to the community while individual standards of living improve. And each enterprise serves as a model for similar initiatives in surrounding regions. Our community participants learn, do, and then teach others, creating an ever-expanding cycle of economic and personal growth.
English is the language of business in Nigeria. Most jobs require English fluency and literacy. Poorer Nigerians-who often speak only one of more than 500 tribal languages in use throughout the nation-have limited or no access to either meaningful employment or basic financial services. And major cities such as Maiduguri suffer from recurring waves of cultural and religious unrest. When LI began working with the University of Maiduguri in 2004, our students leaders decided that the root of this strife lay in the economic inequities perpetuated by unnecessary language barriers.
Muhammad Lawan Khalifa, an LI student, grew up in Hausari ward, one of the most densely populated, least educated, and poorest neighborhoods in Maiduguri. His experiences as a youth inspired him to design the Real Change program for Hausari. His idea: integrate the social and economic sectors of the city by combining English language training with internships in targeted industries.
Twenty-four petty traders were selected from numerous applicants within the community. The Borno state education ministry made classroom space available during evening hours, and a local businessman donated rechargeable lights which allowed participants to study English at night after each day's work was done. A partnership was established with local government leaders who provided official certificates of literacy to each graduate as well as admission and reduced fees to any who wished to pursue further studies.
By combining evening language instruction with practical internship placements, the Real Change program provided participants with hands-on experience in business English while exposing business owners and individual apprentices to a broader range of Maiduguri's socio-economic spectrum. This cultural cross-pollination has led to greater understanding and stability in the region while significantly improving the economic prospects of individual participants and their families. Future iterations of the program will capitalize on the established track records of former graduates in order to develop a sustainable fee-for-placement system that can be expanded and replicated in other regions.
WHAT WE DO
We create honest, self-reliant leaders equipped to renew their communities from the ground up.
HOW WE DO IT
Our students learn vital leadership skills while designing & implementing locally sustainable development projects.
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT
We focus exclusively on outcomes that will continue growing and building with or without our continued presence and support.
WHO WE ARE
We are diverse, independent leaders dedicated to creating lasting change.
Our methods work: the stories, faces and numbers to prove it.