By Funmilayo Adeyemi
Jubilation was the order of the day at the U.S Consul General’s residence at Ikoyi, Lagos when parents, well wishers and families of the Fellows of Ambassador Walter Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative gathered to celebrate the successful fellows who had passed through the initiative in 2017.
The Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative, CYFI, is a dynamic youth-based initiative launched in 2011 by the U.S. Consulate General, Lagos. CYFI brings together Nigerian youths of exceptional vision, skills and experience to design and implement projects that have a positive impact on Nigerian society. Former US Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, had been a champion of civil liberties, democracy and closer ties between the U.S. and Nigeria.
In attendance were the Consul General, F. John Bray, members of the Carrington Alumna, Chief Kessington Adebutu, Comedian Bovi and many others.
In his speech, the Consul General, F. John Bray, thanked all those who made the graduation possible, and reiterated the US support for every form of Nigeria’s economic development plans.
“Our objective at the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos is to support efforts that address Nigerian issues, particularly economic development, access to healthcare, peace and security and transparency and good governance. To that end, the CYFI program is an incredibly valuable program, in that it allows some of the most promising young people in Nigeria who are passionate about these issues to affect real, positive change.
“The CYFI projects from 2017 are truly inspiring. You taught indigent youth to sustainably farm. You developed the next generation of young female coders. You improved the health of Nigerian women by promoting early detection of cervical cancer. You taught young men that they can speak out about their abuse at the hands of adults.
“You have laid strong foundations for future work. These are meaningful, impactful projects and I look forward to seeing where these initiatives go from here.
“I sincerely hope that you will remain involved in the program through the vibrant alumni network run by your peers, and that you will use this network to help guide and encourage future CYFI fellows.”
He reminded the fellows that they are a select few chosen from a pool of talented and driven young people in Nigeria. “The friendships and partnerships you’ve developed during your years with CYFI will become some of the most rewarding. Stay committed and passionate to societal innovation and change in your society, even in the face of obstacles.” He said.
The 2017 Carrington Fellows include: Abimbola Ajayi, Adeola Agbonyin, Afoma Mildred Chiegboka, Derin Adebayo, Festus Ibe, George Onyejekwe, Halima Layeni and Henry Ibitolu.
Jumoke Adeoye, Olalekan Ayodele Sipasi, Olaoluwa Abagun, Oluwafunmilola James, Oluwatosin Akintola make up part of the list. Others include, Omoefe Eromosele, Peter Okeugo, Rasheedat Ajayi, Tolu George, Yetunde Abatan and Yetunde Aderenle
Aside other activities and goodwill messages from Ambassador Walter Carrington and Dr. Arese Carrington, there was presentation of certificates and awards for deserving fellows of the initiative.
Pictures by Funmilayo Adeyemi