Nigeria Youth Futures Fund Launches with Seed Funding from the Ford and MacArthur Foundations
Lagos, Nigeria (September 13, 2021)—Today the Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation announced the launch of the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund (NYFF), a new $5 million fund that will support and strengthen the youth leadership ecosystem in Nigeria. In close partnership with LEAP Africa, who will be managing the fund, NYFF will build on momentum in the region inspired by the youth-led #EndSARS movement.
Young people under the age of 30 comprise more than 70 percent of Nigeria’s population, with projections that this figure will continue to grow over the next few decades. Given the significant number of youth, researchers have suggested that the future progress of Nigeria is based upon the extent to which young people are educated, skilled, healthy, and active in civic and political processes, including their involvement in the formation of long-term development strategies.
"We’re excited about this launch because over the last decade, several analyses have shown that there is likely to be a great return on investment in youth across the economic, social, political, and technological domains of Nigeria's development,” said Dabesaki Mac-Ikemenjima, Program Officer in the Office of West Africa, Ford Foundation. “I believe that the fund is a critical part of efforts to empower youth, enhance their leadership capabilities, expand opportunities for them to be engaged in national development, and facilitate a proactive and constructive relationship between the youth and governments across Nigeria."
NYFF is a five-year collaborative fund seeded by $3 million from the Ford Foundation and $2 million from the MacArthur Foundation to facilitate young people’s leadership and civic engagement in Nigeria, with the goal of raising $15 million from additional partners and other foundations.
"Today's youth embody the hope and promise of a thriving Nigeria that will lead the African continent for generations to come," said Kole Shettima, MacArthur Foundation On Nigeria program Co-Director and Director of the Nigeria office. "There is no better time to invest in the civic engagement and participation of our young people, and the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund will sustain their work locally and amplify their voices in the halls of power."
Building on the momentum gained from the youth-led #EndSARS protests against police brutality in 2020 and social movements over the last decade, NYFF will:
- Convene an Imaginative Futures Working Group of young people ages 35 and below at the national and state levels to explore and discuss visions, challenges, and opportunities for Nigeria in 2025, 2030, and 2050 as part of official government vision strategy efforts;
- Support hubs of innovation to advance the development of ideas including economic, civic, and social enterprises by and for young people;
- Create a fund that will provide small- to medium-sized action grants for young activists and anchor organizations at national and sub-national levels; and
- Enable young people to take advantage of social and economic opportunities provided by governments and international agencies through an online portal.
Leadership, Effectiveness, Accountability & Professionalism (LEAP) Africa, which will manage and operate the fund, is a youth-focused leadership development nonprofit with a mission to inspire, empower, and equip a new cadre of leaders with skills and tools for personal, organizational, and community transformation...