NIGERIA – The Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation have announced the launch of the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund (NYFF), a new US$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 US$3 million from the Ford Foundation and US$2 million from the MacArthur Foundation to facilitate young people’s leadership and civic engagement in Nigeria, with the goal of raising US$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.”
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.
Its youth interventions bridge gaps in effective leadership, education, employability, and entrepreneurship, and awaken civic participation in citizens to demand good governance and creatively address social issues across the continent.
To kick off the engagement of youth, NYFF will launch an online competition to encourage young people to design the logo for the new Nigeria Youth Futures Fund.