LEAP Africa, in partnership with Union Bank, has announced the call for applications for the 2020/ 2021 cohort of its annual Social Innovators Programme (SIP), a one-year fellowship for young social changemakers between the ages of 18 and 35 years.
This year, the fellowship is bigger, having been expanded to receive applications from Anglophone West African countries (Nigeria, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Ghana).
The annual Social Innovators Programme and Awards (SIPA) fellowship seeks to attract young Africans with innovative ideas capable of transforming local communities on different scales, with high socio-economic impact and in diverse focus areas such as Youth empowerment, Law, Human Rights, Health, Environment, Education, Agriculture, Science and Technology, among others.
The SIP is a platform to equip, support and showcase social innovators and entrepreneurs, enabling them to build and sustain their solutions and enterprises towards national and system-level change. During the fellowship year, they will be exposed to immense benefits including access to mentorship, funding, global networks and partnerships and other valuable resources.
Speaking on the eligibility criteria, Segun Alimi, Programmes Manager, LEAP Africa said, applications are open to young women and men between 18 and 35 years, whose ideas and initiatives offer effective solutions to challenges in local communities across Nigeria, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Ghana.
According to him, “Applicants must be initiators or co-founders of a socially focused venture or enterprise located in any of the aforementioned anglophone West African countries. They must have been involved in operating their ventures/ enterprise beyond 12 months prior to the time of the application and must be available to participate fully in the fellowship, and willing to implement appropriate systems to sustain their innovation over the course of the fellowship year. We are encouraging interested applicants to visit www.leapafrica.org/sip-apply/ to apply, as it promises to be a life-changing experience for them and their organisations.”
In the words of Femi Taiwo, Executive Director, LEAP Africa, “In line with our mission to raise leaders that will transform Africa, we believe there is no better time to expand the frontiers of the Social Innovators Programme to other African countries than now.
Africans are at the forefront of amazing innovations and the SIP presents a great opportunity for young Africans to be empowered for the social development of their communities, countries and the continent.
Over the years, we have enjoyed tremendous partnership from Union Bank not only in terms of funding but also investing time as mentors and facilitators to ensure that young people have the necessary support needed to solve some of Africa’s biggest challenges.”
Speaking on the Bank’s partnership with LEAP Africa for the Social Innovators Programme, the Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing at Union Bank, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem said: “Union Bank is pleased to partner once again with LEAP Africa for the 2020/2021 Social Innovators Programme and Awards. As a Bank committed to enabling success for the average Nigerian, this initiative aligns perfectly with our efforts in this area. We will continue to partner with programmes such as this one, that allow us support the efforts of budding social innovators and entrepreneurs.”
After a careful shortlisting process, 30 candidates will be selected into the programme. These shortlisted candidates will be inducted into the fellowship at the virtual 2020 Social Innovators Programme and Awards (SIPA), scheduled to take place in October.
LEAP Africa is a youth-focused leadership development non-profit organization with a mission to inspire, empower and equip a new cadre of leaders with skills and tools for personal, organization and community transformation.