Nigeria has a lot to be hopeful about, given promising reports of achievements by youths in various sectors nationwide.
This was the submission of Governor Nasir El-Rufai whilst receiving Tonye Cole, the Executive Director of Sahara Group, officials and students of the Kaduna Polytechnic, who had just returned from South Africa where they represented Nigeria in a global competition for youths.
The enterprising Kaduna Polytechnic students got the ticket to represent Nigeria at the ENACTUS World Cup Competition after winning the 2015 edition of the “Sahara Light Up Nigeria Challenge”, a concept developed by Sahara to inspire students of higher institutions across the nation to explore opportunities for achieving alternative and sustainable sources of power supply using resources within their communities.
The Enactus Team from Kaduna Polytechnic developed an alternative/green power generation project, tagged: “Renewable Energy Advancement Project.”
Whilst it would have cost $22,000 to connect the beneficiary community to the National Electricity Grid, a commendable expense profile of $600 was spent in providing electricity to the community.
REAP involves a self-running hydro-power system that runs solely on the kinetic energy of water, which is stored in a 75-litre enclosed water tank that houses a pump and other materials required to spur generation of electricity.
The technology is made from locally modified and recycled parts to ensure that it is environmentally friendly.
Governor El-Rufai said: “This achievement underscores the need for increased private sector participation in driving positive change across all sectors of the economy. Our youths hold the bright future we all long to see and organisations like the Sahara Group deserve commendation for providing platforms and opportunities for our youths to realise their aspiration.”
Sahara Group’s Tonye Cole told the Kaduna State Governor that Sahara was delighted with the entries received from various schools that rose up to the Sahara Light Up Nigeria Challenge.
He said: “We received many entries that reinforced the immense abilities of Nigerian youths. This is one of the reasons why we have through the vehicle of Sahara Foundation, continued to invest in youth empowerment to enhance capacity building and entrepreneurship in Nigeria and at our other locations across the globe.”
According to Cole, the competition has seen Nigerian youths develop simple Power Models that can reduce production cost, encourage the broad utilization of the different available energy sources to power their communities, small businesses, healthcare centres and schools.
Cole said he would always recall the performance of the Kaduna Polytechnic team who got to the semi-finals of the competition with “Nigerian Pride”.
He added: “I am confident that even after the 2015 ENACTUS world cup event, every participating nation would always remember the team from Nigeria for their creativity, resourcefulness and spontaneous intelligence. Sahara believes that by supporting youths in various intervention projects, we would be extending and strengthening frontiers for sustainable socio-economic growth and development.”
Sahara Group is already partnering with the United Nations on the “Building Bridges” project, which seeks to position young people for effective participation in activities that will be designed to achieve Sustainable Development Goals for youths across the globe.
The Building Bridges project is expected to articulate a “youth agenda” into the unfolding Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.
In Nigeria, the Building Bridges platform held a conference themed: “Beyond 2015: Promoting Gender equality and Good governance,” where Sahara and other partners joined the conversation on the challenges and opportunities for youths as various SDGs are unveiled under the aegis of the UN.
The conference provided a “peek through the minds of youths” of expectations in 2030 as the world continues to seek a safer, more inclusive and prosperous world.