The Lagos State alumni chapter of the International Visitors Leadership Programme, an initiative of the U.S. Consulate, through its schools mentoring programme, on Thursday, graduated 228 secondary school students from public schools in Lagos.
Omowale Ogunrinde, the programme coordinator, said the graduates comprised of students who participated in the weeks-long project under the tutoring of the alumni members.
The beneficiaries include 51 students from Eric Moore High School, Surulere; 63 from Ajigbeda High School, Surulere; 50 from Agidingbi High School, Ikeja; and 64 from Central High School, Okota.
Ms Ogunrinde said the programme, which the alumni association began in 2018, was aimed at the transfer of knowledge and skills. She said members of the association, having undergone various leadership training in the US-sponsored IVLP, felt the best way to give back to the society was to train teenage leaders who would, in turn, mentor more students in leadership.
“In each school, we have a target of about 60 mentees and the aim is to train and mentor these 60 to be able to go back to their school and mentor their peers too,” Ms Ogunride said.
“One of the schools have started this already. This is how it works, for us to go to these schools, we have to go through the ministry of education and you know 60 of us can’t go into a school at once to mentor students. But with 60 mentees in a school of say 500, they will be able to form mentorship groups of 10 and effectively do peer mentorship.
“So it’s not just about the ones we train personally, it’s the multiplier effect it would have.”:
On supervision of the mentorship groups, Ms Ogunrinde said the graduates won’t be cut off from mentorship even after graduation from the programme.
“The students are not fully in charge of these groups,” she said.
“We are also working with teachers and school counselors and mentors from the association are always available to them for guidance. We also donate educational materials to our mentees.”
She also said the maiden edition of the project graduated about 130 mentees, bringing the total number of mentees under the program to about 360.
On sponsorship of the programme, Ms Ogunrinde said members of the association are the major sponsors with support from the U.S. Consulate.
Speaking at the event, Russell Brooks, the Public Affairs Officer of the U.S. Consulate, commended the alumni association for doing “a fantastic job” with the students.
“They have given back to their communities, which is exactly what we wanted them to do upon their return from the programme in the USA. They actually absorbed the lesson that they should share what they have learnt in order to improve Nigeria,” he said.
“These young people represent the future of Nigeria and by giving back to them and encouraging them to become young leaders and take education seriously, that would produce a better future for this country.
“My advice for the students is to take education seriously and prepare themselves for the world they will live in which is a globalized world. A world where they will have to compete with those from other countries in fields of business, science, education, and they need to be prepared to compete effectively in that world.”