Author: wp_atlas

2 Oct

FIVE (5) WAYS VOLUNTEERING DEVELOPS YOUR LEADERSHIP SKILL

The act of being a volunteer has tremendous advantage especially on a leader as it helps in developing his/her mindset on providing services to humanity. Being a volunteer doesn’t always mean assisting financially, it could come in various forms like health volunteer, human service development, giving out one’s self to teach and enlighten people on different topics and subject matters.

One can also be a volunteer online, making use of different social media platforms for the sole aim of enlightening, educating and entertaining it’s viewers across the globe on the various content he/she has to offer to the society and community of people online.

The act of volunteering helps sharpen a leader’s ideology and some of the advantages of such free will services and non profit sacrifice are;

  1. HELPS YOU GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE: The moment one dedicates his/her time, energy, attention and financial strength into voluntarily work, they have also sacrificed leaving their comfort zone to wherever it is that their attention and service is needed. Hence as a leader, this makes you adapt to frequent changing of environment when the need arises. This is also one of the most important parts about being a volunteer as it gives one an edge over others who are afraid of leaving their comfort zone and taking risk.
  2. CHALLENGES ONESELF TO WORK: This is a very crucial point in every leader’s life as they are just not leaders, they’re called to serve too. To be a follower and in acquiring this, they have to work, both working for themselves, either working on themselves or working for others as they should always be ready to serve.
  3. IT MAKES ONE PASSIONATE ABOUT GIVING: Since voluntarily work is mostly about giving out to people. Either financially, intellectually, mentally, psychologically or otherwise, a leader will have this burning desire and zeal to always be ready to give out, even to their own detriment as they have already been acquainted with such lifestyle of giving. It could be online on social media platforms, talking to a large audience.
  4. BUILDING A NETWORK; As a leader, the act of bringing out a cent in one’s time to assist people can create a massive room of awareness on who you really is and in such help build your community of both online and offline friends whom in later years might turn out to be a perfect replica of your answered prayers to any issue in your life. Building a social network isn’t and shouldn’t only be limited to a specific set of people. It ought to be made despite the gender, race or whatever characteristics is given as one can’t tell where his/her deeds, good deeds preferably is leading to or who is secretly admiring them.
  5. USE THE CHANCE, WRITE DOWN YOUR EXPERIENCE; For those involved in voluntarily service, every day is a story and a new experience which ought to be written down in the memory of time. This is the last point that volunteering helps in developing one’s leadership skill. When you go into a new environment or takes up a new challenge, it is important to note down crucial observations from your personal point of view from every outing, people’s reaction inclusively as this helps build the momentum in which leaders exhibit their human management skills.

Finally, as a leader, some of these skills are essential as it helps build them and makes them easy to adapt to any changes that may take place in people’s life. The aforementioned ways are some of the way volunteering service can help a leader develop some of the essential skills.

Click here to volunteer with ATLAS Initiative today and challenge yourself to change the world around you.

18 Aug

Volunteer With ATLAS Initiative

Do you have the tenacity and grit to lead a virtual team of volunteers on rigorous development and enterprise projects?

ATLAS Citizen Volunteer Team Leader

https://forms.gle/xUYNvZEV1oEFXdAb8

Applications are open for the ATLAS Citizen Volunteer Team Leaders Program. The Team Leader role is designed for creative and exceptional ethical leaders in civic engagement and social entrepreneurship who are willing to volunteer as team leaders on a six-month volunteering program for young people.

As a team leader, you will work in pairs to support youth volunteers on the ATLAS Citizen Program. This demanding role requires young thought leaders to stretch themselves and build exceptional management skills from hands-on experience. This program intends to generate impact in these areas:

  1. Facilitate the volunteer’s own personal, professional, and social development by developing skills, knowledge, and understanding relevant to digital disruptions
  2. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities in targeted communities.
  3. Build volunteers’ abilities to understand ethical civic leadership, social entrepreneurship, and active citizenship
  4. Fundraise to support ATLAS Initiative’s interventions in poor and marginalized communities

Eligibility

  • Must reside in Lagos State and be willing to commute to Ikorodu for field activities once a week
  • Stable access to the internet and a computer
  • Excellent fundraising skills
  • Conversant with hosting meetings and stimulating conversations on social media platforms (WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram)
  • Tech-savvy and creative: be comfortable using social media and create information in exciting formats to engage young people. Be able to adapt the information to suit the purpose of the group. Be able to deliver information and produce content of interest such as photos, short posts, and videos. Content generated should be interesting, educational and inspire social action.
  • Natural storyteller: be able to share content that will be engaging for users
  • Personable: Have a social, agreeable, and friendly disposition and be willing to engage volunteers and share content in a nice way
  • Authentic: being ethical in every engagement and uphold the values of ATLAS Initiative in both internal and external interactions
26 Mar

Accelerating Economic Growth with Skills Development

For many, 2020 was an eventful year thanks to its biggest export – the COVID-19 pandemic. To contain the spread of the deadly virus, governments across the globe introduced national lockdowns. Social events were banned, shops and malls closed, human activities crippled, everyone was confined to their homes. The pandemic has since changed our world.

To say the pandemic – which we currently battle – affected human existence is to state the obvious. Owing to this attendant effects on the global economy, many (mostly young people) have been left jobless or without a means of income thereby rendering them vulnerable to every available means to eke a living. An idle mind, they say, is the devil’s workshop. More than ever, as the globe recovers from the blows of COVID-19, the need for positive youth engagement is important. Young people, without doubt, have a huge role to play in national development and growth of our world, at large.

As an intervention, Access To Learning And School Initiative (ATLAS Initiative) in partnership with Pivot Consult, introduces ACCELERATE Vocational Skills Training Program, a paid opportunity, available for youths and adults who are 15 years and older. With courses in Fashion Design, Catering and Confectionery, ICT, Photography & Business Development, this training intends to equip the youth with skills that would enable them to gain confidence in their ability to eradicate poverty by building prosperity.

This program is indeed imperative and timely considering the struggling economic situations of the country as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as, the fact that it addresses the Sustainable Development Goals 1 (No Poverty), 4 (Quality Education & Lifelong learning), 8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth), 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and 17 (Partnership for the goals). Not only that, it seeks to bring young and old people together to make a difference in their own lives and places where change is most needed through sharing of knowledge and experience with one another.

Follow this link to enroll for the ACCELERATE Program

At ATLAS Initiative, we work with volunteers to promote access to life-long learning opportunities in developing countries. To this end, engaging young people in social action to ensure quality education and advance lifelong learning opportunities for everyone, is an essential part of this project.

3 Feb
2 Jun

ATLAS donates wheelchair

When Kehinde Fatai woke up yesterday, it must have seemed like another regular day. The wonderful and vibrant 11 year old twin lives with her parents and siblings in Sangotedo, a community in Ajah, Lagos State. Kehinde has lived with a physical disability since birth. This hindered her access to formal education. While her peers and siblings rushed to school every morning before the outbreak of COVID-19, the young Kehinde stayed at home in this natural confinement since her struggling parents can’t afford to send her to a school for children with special needs.

Sometime ago, one of our volunteers, Stella Akingboye, who is located at Ajah identified Kehinde, noticed her physical disability realizing how it had deprived her of benefits that life has to offer. Stella shared this compelling story with the team and we reached out to Kehinde, and promised to get her a wheelchair and the education she deserves.

We fulfilled part of that promise yesterday, with a surprise visit to Kehinde’s family. You can imagine her excitement! Of course, given how much we love learning, we gifted some books from our library for the kids to read and improve their literacy. We, also gave some foodstuffs and hand hygiene supplies to her family.

Kehinde’s story is just one, out of many. This is our little way of bringing a smile to a child’s face to celebrate this year’s children’s day. Many thanks to all our donors for making this possible.

Please support a child like Kehinde today through ATLAS Initiative. Visit www.atlas.org.ng to find out how.

26 Nov

Play as a tool for Learning

We all acknowledge the importance of education in the life of an individual. While some see education as inculcating morals and values in a child, others see the need to enroll children in schools. Yet, a few assure that it is in the need of a child learning a trade. Understanding and acknowledging the importance of all three aspects of education from different perspective, we need to emphasize the importance of sending children children to school. Schools afford the child access to learn from not only teachers, but students alike. A child learns about arithmetics, spoken and written words,  economics, science, and philosophy of how the world works. All these, though, should not limit the child to a Teacher_Student environment. An important question we need to ask ourselves is this. How important is play to the education of a child?

 

Needless to say, kids love to play. The freedom to make merry and laugh heartily is nothing compared to the solemn quiet of a classroom. Play to children is a means of self expression and self actualization. Majority of doctors, lawyers, and teachers dreamt up their professions from role playing while they were children. Should it not then be that play be a medium of learning?

 

ATLAS Initiative in conjunction with NIBCARD, on Wednesday, the 7th of November organised the African Board Games Fair for students in secondary school. Children from different schools like Prudence Secondary School, Adroit Secondary School, Oregon Junior High School, and Agidingbi Grammar School, were in attendance. The event introduced the students to Nigerian-Made games and exciting competitions. There were games like the 17-step game, Nwanyi-aga, Homia, and the most popular of them all, Luku-Luku.  These games trained the minds of the students. The Luku-Luku game in particular was to train the eye and hand coordination in the children. The game was an avenue for them to learn arithmetic and geography.

Children with special needs were not left out of the fun. They participated in the games with the aid of an interpreter.

Educating a child should not always be restricted to the four walls of a class room.  Room can always be made on the playground.

28 May

My Tech-Week Experience (Volunteer)

                   “THE MIND ONCE ENLIGHTENED CANNOT AGAIN BECOME DARK” – Thomas Paine

ICT is a said to be an integral part of modern life. Information and communication technology (ICT) in education is important because it has quickly become one of the basic building blocks of modern society.

“Teach me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” (An ancient Chinese proverb).  This quote came as a reminder of what ICT training does; real-time learning. It goes a long way beyond the theoretical lessons been taught in class we were able to assign two kids to a computer so they could work together and understand better.  These kids were trained on Web Development with the use of JAVASCRIPT, CSS, and HTML through which they were able to design a greeting card with styles and colors of their choice.

 

There were several moments were you could catch a glimpse of the excitement on the faces of the kids who were ready and eager to learn despite the inconveniences. It was one of a kind because Tech-Week was planned to serve these kids who won’t have had such an opportunity if not out of volunteering.

I was put in charge of the coordinating unit which was not my first experience in the case of dealing with school kids. However, this seemed totally different from what I am used to, which was dealing with kids in a religious setting (in a church). Some kids were not really producing outcome as expected after learning during practice. This was a tough moment where I saw myself organizing and motivating the kids and letting them understand that designing is like a language for expressing themselves. At the point, I came to realize that volunteering could bring experiences that call for extra effort than you had prepared for.

Finally, this project has shown me the importance of practical learning – how fast one can learn in a short while, unlike theoretical learning. Also that ICT is the future of human interactivity, and that future is NOW!

Looking forward to TECH-WEEK 2.0

25 May

Glory’s Journey With ATLAS

I returned to Nigeria in August 2017 from Cyprus, originally just for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program which was to last for the next one year. I had studied international relation in Cyprus for a period of three and half years which was an interesting and challenging period.
I first had my volunteering experience during the early period of my return from Cyprus. I volunteered for Deeper Life Bible church, Apo, Abuja, as a team lead of the sanitation unit. During my time as the team lead, I successfully got all the children involved and excited in the sanitation exercise. This was an awesome experience because I had never had the opportunity to work with a large number of children before.
By November 2017, I was posted to Lagos state for my National Youth Service program. Therein, I was assigned to my place of primary assignment at ATLAS initiative, where my full-time volunteering experience began. ATLAS is an acronym for Access to Learning and School, which is a social enterprise that seeks to address issues of inequalities in access to education and learning particularly in marginalized communities. Working at ATLAS wasn’t a coincidence for me, because I knew it was a learning organization and I was interested in my personal development and grooming my passion to serve humanity. I am enjoying my role as a public relations personnel, which means work feels like play for me.
My very recent experience on one of ATLAS’s program, was on the visit to Epe local government area, for the Access2School project. Epe is a small town close to Lekki lagoon on the out sketch of Lagos, which has about 200,000 inhabitants. Although a suburban, Epe is opening up for infrastructural development.

The Access2School project is focused on bridging the learning gaps between vulnerable marginalized children from rural communities by facilitating their return to formal education. On our first trip, we conducted a community mapping exercise, where we identified stakeholders (visiting the local government officers, traditional rulers (OBA’S), community members and NYSC local government Inspector) within the local government. This process had a lot of exciting moments for me, I was opportune to meet with Oba’s of Poka and Dr. S.O Adewale Oluepe of Epe. This I was experiencing for the first time.
This experience has helped improved my level of exposure, and built my confidence as a public relations personnel. I have learnt so much about the Yoruba culture, most especially a lot about Epe as a rural community. I feel a lot of fulfillment knowing I was part of the success story of children being enrolled back into school through the Access2School project. And so this marks the beginning of a new chapter of my life as a volunteer under the platform of ATLAS Initiative.

27 Mar

Children in school are not learning

It is no news that majority of students in school are not learning. Here, we would delve into the reason why this is, and express our suggestions of possible solutions to this issue.

To be clear, these are just our opinions and we would like to know yours 

  • Learning is the process of acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences.
  • A school is an institution designed to provide learning spaces and learning environments for the teaching of students (or “pupils”) under the direction of teachers.

If you want to find a child who lacks quality education today, one of the best places to find them is in school. It’s quite ironic that the citadel of learning has now become the breeding ground for “half-baked” graduates. The initial good news is that the children are in school getting some form of education in the least. But the bad news is that their presence in school does not translate to acquisition of knowledge. Hundreds of millions of children are starting school, going day after day, year after year, but not really learning.

Schooling without learning is just time served.

Unfortunately, Nigeria is not excluded from this list of having to school without adequate quality education.

Some primary reasons why kids in school don’t learn include:

.

  1. Inadequate learning facilities & environment (Such as good chairs, desks, classrooms, e.t.c): Lack of comfort leads to short attention span and lack of proper assimilation and retention of information.
  1. Emotional problems from home and family: Emotionally stressful events that are experienced by some children in their homes causes for them, the inability to focus or pay attention in class. In such conditions, learning cannot take place.
  1. Archaic and Uninteresting method of teaching: Students, especially the younger ones can only absorb and retain large amounts of information when they don’t appear as ordinary words on the board. Audio and Visual tools, as well the use of physical objects in the representation of information.
  1. Lack of interest: The culmination of the aforementioned would lead to disinterest in learning. Then the school stops being about acquisition of information, but rather, a routine.
  1. Medical challenges: such as dyslexia, cerebral palsy, brain tumor, ADHD

 

The Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education), Target 4.1 was set up to address this issue. It states “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes”.

 

Here are listicles of suggested solutions:

  • Provision of Conducive Learning Environment and Adequate Learning Facilities

Comfort is very essential when it comes to learning. There must be adequate learning facilities provided in a conducive environment to ensure that quality learning takes place. It is important that students are provided with adequate facilities for play, in order to relieve them of stress they might experience at home. Competent counselors that would be available to help the students with issues and develop proper coping strategies are also important.

  • Modern & Participatory Teaching Methods

It is not only essential that the children are able to hear the words of their teachers, but are also able to see examples of what they are being taught. For instance, it would be much easier to remember parts of the skeletal system when one sees an actual skeleton and can reference one’s body parts

 

That is how we can turn good news on schooling into good news on education and ensure all children are in school – and learning.

16 Mar

Situation of Out of School Children in Nigeria

The target of the sustainable development goal 4 is to achieve the overall improvement in the access to inclusive and quality education for all by 2030. However, there has been no sign of any rapid reduction to meet this target. On the contrary, there has been a slow down since the year 2000 compared to the earlier years on the global scale ,  the most affected people are the youth of secondary school age. With regards to gender, the female are the highest out of school on the global scale. Poverty and other structural problems are the reasons behind the challenges. One of the structural problems includes menial jobs that youth find after lower secondary which diverts their attention from education to trying to contribute to the family income at that stage. This increases the number of out of school children. Also, the level of income is one other significant pointer that reflects the tendency of a high number of children being out of school in a given country.

Considering the regional level, sub-Sahara Africa where Nigeria is included has the highest level of out of school children in all categories e.g. sex, age. Nigeria’s plight   in the sub-Sahara out of school children as at 2016 is between 20% and 40% at the primary school level. Another problem that persists at the regional level is the gender disparity which have been considerably reduced in other parts of the world while sub-Sahara Africa remains unchanged.

Therefore, it is evident that poverty should be tackled alongside access to education.

There is about only a decade left to achieve the SDG4- which is quality education. Hence, it is a matter of urgency. The innovation of new strategies and policies as well as a pool of resources to achieve this goal will bring about the rapid decline in the number of out of school children, such strategies include support for helping the parent to invest in a business that could provide funds to send their children to school. Also such business will allow the child to focus on education rather than joining the contributing to the family income through a menial job.

The ultimate strategy, however, is to engage the school and government who are also direct stakeholders to re-examine their policies in view of 2030. While the school can consider their cost, the government can ensure that allocated funds get to the targets in the right amount and time. Social enterprise should be supported as the serve as an intermediary that bridge the distance between government and school while they also accelerate the fulfilment of the access to education which is measured by a number of out of school children.

The SDGs -4 only remain achievable goal if all these stakeholders would create a synergy for the next decade.