Global recognition for youths from north-east Nigeria

Four youths from Maiduguri, Borno State get global recognition for their innovative work in bridging literacy and numeracy gaps among conflict-affected children in North East Nigeria

11 December 2020
UNICEF Nigeria/2020

A team of young people providing basic education classes for vulnerable children and youths in Maiduguri, Borno State has won the Education Category of the 2020 Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge 2.0.

Team MUDA, one of two finalists from Nigeria, was announced overall winner in the Education Category.  Haruna Ibrahim Ahmed, Jubilee Ayuba, Abdulkadir Ahmed and Shamang Deborah Chat won after emerging first in the national contest stage, which saw 60 creative young Nigerians aged 14-24 from conflict-affected communities in the north-east Nigeria and young people in Lagos (including Team ALPHA) sending in entries.

At the global stage of the competition, Team MUDA and Team ALPHA competed among 72 teams from 36 countries.

“Emerging as a finalist with another team of young people from Lagos was a ‘wow’ moment for us. We thought we would not stand a chance,’’ said Abdulkadir Ahmed, team lead. “Winning the Education Category in the global stage of the competition is a great surprise. When you see Borno on the map, it is usually about bloodshed. This is an opportunity to rewrite the narrative and tell the world that positive things can also come out of Borno, especially from youths,’’ he said.

The Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge is a global initiative that provides young people a platform to offer innovative and scalable solutions to the most pressing challenge affecting them. For the second edition, code-named Youth Challenge 2.0, calls for entries were made in the Education, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment and Employability categories. 

A total of 72 entries from 36 countries made it to the finals of the award, hosted by Generation Unlimited, with support from the United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Children’s Fund, Plan International and the World Organization of the Scout Movement. Globally, over 15 million youths participated in the competition.

At the Teachers’ Village Internally Displaced Persons Camp in Maiduguri, Borno State, Team MUDA supports conflict-affected children from Kukawa and Ngala local government areas with a hybrid of online and offline learning opportunities. A total of 138 out-of-school children and youths between the ages of 13 and 20 years benefit from physical and online classes hosted in safe places and on WhatsApp. The team has the support of eight volunteer teachers to facilitate multiple classes and new enrolments.

“We are overjoyed with this announcement, but have always been determined to make an impact, whether we win or not. Our goal is to reach 2,000 out-of-school children in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States with basic learning and numeracy skills. With this award, we will be able to explore more digital opportunities that will help deliver to more children in larger communities,’’ said Ahmed, 21.

The team and winners in other categories will be presented with $15,000 each. The cash prizes will enable the winners to incubate and expand their programmes for greater impact.

Media contacts

Geoffrey Njoku
Communication Specialist
UNICEF Nigeria
Tel: +234 803 525 0288
Alison Clement
Communication Specialist
UNDP Nigeria
Tel: +234 701 590 6558

About Generation Unlimited

Generation Unlimited (GenU) is a global multi-sector partnership to meet the urgent need for expanded education, training and employment opportunities for young people, aged 10 to 24, on an unprecedented scale.

Launched at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018, Generation Unlimited has generated interest from government and leaders from industry and other key sectors committed to cohere efforts around young people for large-scale impact.

Generation Unlimited creates public-private partnerships – globally and in countries – to co-create and support investment opportunities, programmes and innovations at a large scale, and to help young people become productive in life.