SEN. UDO UDOMA HEADLINES 2020 VIRTUAL BRIDGE AWARD CEREMONY

The Bridge Leadership Foundation (TBLF) held its 2020 Award Event on Friday, December 4, 2020. The event hosted by the Foundation and held annually to support and celebrate young programme beneficiaries from the Foundation’s Leadership and Community Development (LCD) Programme and Transformational Mentoring Programme (TMP) is the sixth (6th) edition in the series and the 1st virtual edition too as occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 event with theme Education for All: Access, Quality and Technology Adoption proffered strategies and initiatives as solutions to the many issues affecting the education system especially in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic which further revealed the diverse frailties in the Nigeria’s education sector.

Delivering the opening remarks at the event, Sen. Udoma Udo Udoma, Member, Board of Trustees, TBLF, highlighted the impact that The Foundation continues to have on the economy through the opportunities created and offered to many young people in the country and went ahead to congratulate the 2020 bridge awardees while encouraging them to continue to improve themselves in all spheres. The Founder Sen. Liyel Imoke who welcomed everyone to the event remarked that he has seen young people take advantage of opportunities presented by the Foundation to improve their lives personally and impact the societies they live in positively. While encouraging everyone to remain focused as there’s hope for a better tomorrow, he called on every individual, organizations and government to continue to work together to create a better future where young people which he referred to as “generation z” can actualize their dreams, aspirations and lead a better a world.

Founder, H.E Liyel Imoke

Headlining the speaker’s line-up at this year’s event was Dr. Modupe Adefeso-Olateju of The Education Partnership (TEP) centre who delivered a keynote address on “Achieving Inclusive Education for All: Practical solutions towards 2030”. She pointed out that “up to 24 million primary and tertiary students may not have access to education in 2021 due to the economic effect of COVID-19”. Stating that without education a nation cannot make progress, she proceeded to share key policy imperatives among other things that are instrumental to moving forward. They included partnerships between ongoing public and non-state actor stakeholder conversations; planning that is focused on the central needs of the learner as a living and iterative activity; rethinking infrastructure in a manner that democratizes access to teaching, learning and data; and our readiness to leapfrog as issues of access, quality and technology relevance must be tackled at once.

Other speakers at the event included young change leaders making impact across the world within the education and technology space who shared insights and strategies via a panel discussion on the topic Educating Future Generations: Relevant Solutions for our increasing Complexities.

They included James Okina – Founder, Street Priests; Imrana Alhaji Buba – Founder, Youth Coalition Against Terrorism (YOCAT); Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph – Founder, Africave; and Victoria Ibiwoye – Director, One Africa Child. The event was moderated by Uke Ogah- OAP, Hit 95.9 FM Calabar.

Since 2015, through the Bridge Award alone, 181 students have been supported with academic scholarships received while in public secondary schools across different communities in Cross River State. Of this number, beneficiaries who successfully secured admission into tertiary institutions are currently being supported towards achieving their career goals.

The event revealed the 2020 award beneficiaries totaling twenty (20) secondary school and tertiary institution students equally selected from the TMP and LCD programme. However, it is important to note that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participation at these programmes were highly restricted and adjusted to accommodate just a few students as a result of close down of schools which further resulted to restriction in movements and alternative method of administering learning through relevant technology (online learning) or traditional mediums (radio, television, home schooling, etc.)

A cross section of speakers

The TMP beneficiaries were selected on the basis of their wholesome participation rating in the COVID-19 adapted mentoring programme and metrics such as programme assessments,
performance in essay competitions, improved personal outcomes resulting from knowledge
application, and expressed leadership capacities. On the other hand, the LCD beneficiaries were largely past beneficiaries from 2016 to 2019 selected on the basis of essays submitted to the Foundation, and their participation and performance in keeping with the promise of the programme i.e., leading themselves and inspiring change in their school and communities.

The 2020 Bridge Awards was supported by Union Bank through the 2019 Enabling Success for NGOs initiative (https://www.unionbankng.com/blog/enabling-success-for-ngos-winners/)

The event ended with a closing remark by the Founder, Sen. Liyel Imoke who remarked that Young people are a generation that if given the opportunity, will make a big difference in the future.

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