Ten outstanding youth leaders from across Africa, who have made significant contributions in their communities, have been declared winners of the 2021 FALA Awards and rewarded by the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International with a total sum of $125,000.
The young Africans who are between the ages of 16-23 from Zambia, Morocco, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Sudan, Malawi, Benin Republic, Uganda and Ghana were introduced to the world at the 10th Future Africa Leaders Award Ceremony; celebrated and awarded for their achievements in agriculture, health, technology, community education, advocacy and much more.
Every year since inception, the Future Africa Leaders Foundation, a sub-organisation of the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation International (COFI) awards 10 youths after a series of selection processes, $10,000 each, and an eventual star winner amongst them with an additional $25,000 to support their work in developing Africa from their locality.
Princess Mayamiko Zulu (Zambia), Hidaya Benouda Tlemçani (Morocco), Lebsey Petmia Lebaga (Cameroon), Gracious Mazivanhanga (Zimbabwe), Victor Eyo (Nigeria), Elizabeth Aguil (South Sudan), Azaria Tendayi Chidzungu (Malawi), Grace Lekwuwa (Benin Republic), Bakaki Yusuf (Uganda) and Portia Manyaya (Ghana) all emerged as winners winning 10,000 usd, with Lebsey Lebaga emerging as the eventual winner of the star prize 25,000 usd.
Since it was founded 10 years ago, the Future Africa Leaders Foundation has contributed to identifying, celebrating, supporting and mentoring young Africans who have answered the call to leadership in their local communities, and have excellently pioneered diverse inventive grassroot projects, poised to provide home grown solutions to combat Africa’s challenges in today’s world.
In his opening address, Chris Oyakhilome, the founder and host of the Future Award Leaders Award, explained the emphasis on Africa by the foundation;
“Our work is global, but we are aware of the peculiar situation in African countries where leadership is much needed, and this initiative is our contribution to building leaders from their youths; it’s the reason for this Award.”
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“In the past few years, we have witnessed very inspiring feats achieved by our young people; we keep looking out for more across African countries and quite frankly, there’s so much to see. When you get to review their work, you’d be amazed that most of it is unheard. Africa is not in the bad and terrible situation that’s painted, no; it’s a hopeful place, full of hope, strength and courage.
The occasion was chaired by Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and had in attendance, a special guest of honour, Leymah Roberta Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate,
In his keynote address titled ‘The Imperishable of life, here and there,’ Obasanjo explained the importance of walking in wisdom in the short time we have on earth.
He took his opening text from Ps.90.12 KJV- “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom”, and explained that wisdom is the quality of having experience, knowledge understanding and good and sound judgement and that we were made to serve humanity and God.
Gbowee in her address, share a riveting story of her humble backstory which saw her from the brink of suicide; a refugee with no self-esteem, no money but had the courage to stand up for something, and contributed significantly to bringing peace to her country and was instrumental to installing a first female President in Africa and eventually wining a Nobel Laureate.
“I Stand here to tell you that the promise is in Africa. Sometimes we look outside for what we think we can get, but if you look around you and under your feet, you will see the promise. I encourage the young people, strive for what you want,” she added.