Best Projects 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category click HERE
Explain your project in details:
The objective of our project is to eqip economically disadvantaged children and teenagers (through theoritical and practical lessons) who usually engage in child labour for sustainace to take advantage of the seemingly "useless" resources in their immediate environment as a means of livelihood while still being in school (we introduce our project as an optional extracurricular activity to the schools community) key focus being on the sustainable development of themselves and their local communities. Our second objective is to instil innovation, encourage creativity and educate children and teenagers on sustainable development goals practically, so that they understand the essence of their formal education. Our activities include 1. partnership for development. We partner with public and private schools in low income communities, and introduce our waste-to-art project as a part of their extracurricular. Children who show interest are trained on the art of recycle art. Many children (over 300 in the last one year) attend because they all love this educational/recreational process. The school generally makes requests for students in need of financial aids or general school projects like library refurbishment, or need of teaching and learning aids such as notebooks, textbooks, etc. 2. After marketing the art works (art installations, African bracelets and neck beads, and Artistic paintings), we use the funds raised to invest back into the school and whatever is left is used to purchaser Art raw materials such as paint, and glue to be used for other projects. The non-degradable waste is the bulk of our raw materials, and with these, children learn reuse, reduce and recycle from an early stage educating for sustainable development.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
We measure success based on the following criteria: 1. The number of children we are able to educate on the sustainable development goals: This goes beyond creating awareness to empowerment - our more practical hands-on method of educating for sustainable development is by far more effective and engaging for early childhood development. 2. Empowerment: children, vulnerable, prior to now, will spend 3 days in school and 2 days out of school (labouring to raise funds for learning aids such as textbooks, notebooks, tuition fees, etc) Now, these children take advantage of their new extracurricular school program and voluntarily join us to build marketable recycle art projects. The ability of a child to be able to create art from waste is not only a show of education but of empowerment, such that the only missing piece of the equation becomes the market, else, the child can sustain the product chain independently. 3. Revenue: Funds generated from the sales of these recycle artworks are used for paying for these childrens school fees, acquiring learning aids and/or refurbishing library facilities. Kindly note that that the artworks do not have price tags and are as important as the buyers label it to be. So the funds raised from the sales of an art work can be used to support 70 children in accessing quality education. The children love this educational/recreational exercise. In our first 13 months, we have trained over 300 children and our project has successfully supported over 4,000 disadvantaged children in gaining access to funds for school fees, learning aids and library facilities. 4. Integrity: uneducated parents who see how much we support their children, and the improvement of their children's academic performance begin to have faith in the potentials of their children and prioritize their education over labour. The children also gain faith in themselves.
Sustainability and future plans
Market: our two main means of marketing is digital marketing and blue ocean strategy where we secure partnerships with existing art galleries, collectors and museums who have proven market and existing customers, while we provide them marginal offering in percentages as incentive for helping us market. More recently, we have started extending to jewelries and looking to seal a marketing deal with a multinational retail supermarket. Resources: The funds raised from the sales of artworks are ploughed back to purchase more raw materials such as glue, paint, etc. Non-degradable waste (the main raw material) can always be gotten in the community as Ibadan produces over 5,000 tons of waste daily. Human resource: at our early stage, we are working with volunteers (20) and 3 full time staff (the core team). Growth: We will scale our work across Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana in 2019 through partnerships with non-governmental organisations focused on early childhood development, by licensing them to run a fari Africa franchise. They will pay a percentage for the license and run the social enterprise for their profit/sustainability under strict rules which we will give to them. Impact: art is very lucrative as the most expensive piece of art in the world is well over $600 million USD. This means with the sales of just one art work to the right buyer, funds generated can support over 100,000 disadvantaged children in sub-Saharan Africa through their primary education, and these children in the process of learning how to create art from waste would also have gotten self-empowered to create their own artworks for personal sustenance.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
My name is Onothoja Ruona, a passionate youth with interest in social development. I am the team leader of fari Africa, an advocacy organization against child labour (our team includes Oyeyemi Marvellous-grace, Abiodun Korede, Abiola tanitojesu, and Olabisi Temitope). Founded on the 15th of July and has since received local and international accolades/recognitions, including World Bank social inclusion heroes nominee, USA (2018), 1st prize, 234 entrepreneurial campus tour, Nigeria (2018), Invitation to GES, USA, (2018), Barrack Obama's YALI RLC fellow, cohort 9, Ghana, (2018) Inspire Africa fellow, Nigeria (2017), amongst others. I am also the licensee of TEDxUI, an independent organisation of TED, a non governmental organization. While my key competencies include emotional intelligence, social intelligence, and resilience, I continually seeks opportunities to strengthen my innovative skills towards contributing to development of effective educational programs and systems that will enable disadvantaged children and youths to thrive and reach their fullest potential, regardless of who and where, as I continually strives to contribute significantly to local efforts and global discourses geared at ensuring the sustainable development of his nation. In my spare time, i enjoy watching animations, laughter and Nigerian jollof rice.