More than 100 participants including 50 graduates of the SI4DEV Partners Training Program benefited from a series of workshops, panel sessions, networking and mentoring at the just concluded SI4DEV Community-Led Development Summit. The summit aimed at helping to address the most pressing challenges in community-led development and offered an important opportunity to strengthen the capacity of participants in a way that ensures an evidence-based approach to implementing community-driven development projects.

Nigeria recently overtook India as the country with the greatest amount of people living in extreme poverty. Close to half of the country’s population, an estimated 87 million individuals, and up to 60% of them under the age of 25 years, are possibly living daily on less than US$2 PPP (Purchasing Power Parity). Some economists project that by 2050, Nigeria will account for more than 20% of the world’s extremely poor people – caused in part by high rates of population growth outstripping economic growth.

This population growth is predominantly in the younger age groups, and a growing number of youth living in grassroots communities are confronted by endemic poverty and accompanying insecurity which further deters access to services and opportunities.

However, there remain those community members who are willing to volunteer their time and lead projects to develop and improve their community.

These community leaders are quite passionate and innovative in their efforts to lift their communities out of poverty; however, inadequate access to information and resources negatively affects and limits their impact in trying to create sustainable development and long-term social change.

The national summit aims to bridge this gap and empower participants with best practices in development. Under the theme, Achieving Community-Led Development through Community-Driven Development Projects, it brought together aspiring leaders in politics and business, students, government officials and policy makers, healthcare providers, educators, staff of public agencies or private corporations, as well as self-employed owners of social enterprises, civil society and faith based organizations from 16 states of Nigeria, the FCT and the United States.

The agenda included workshops, panel sessions, one-on-one clinics, mentoring tables and networking, all geared towards sharing the latest in community-led development, plus governance and accountability strategies for project implementation. Some of the hot topics were structured around sustainable Development Goals, Story-telling, grant writing and donor engagement, etc.

The SI4DEV Partners Training Program also graduated the 2018 class of partners, ambassadors and fellows at the event. The 6 months online fellowship program aims to create thriving and resilient communities, with focus on health, education, governance and enterprise. Using an ‘a la carte’ training model caters to the different capacity levels and learning styles of participants, it delivers experience and skills in core areas like team work, needs assessment, action planning, project management, evaluation, and sustainability.

SI4DEV Partners from various states also got to showcase best practices from their location group’s ‘learn-by-doing’ projects and micro-projects including advocacy campaigns, vocational training, voter education, handwashing promotions, up-skilling civil society groups and humanitarian outreach.

The event was the first of the kind in Nigeria and took place in Abuja from November 15th to 17th 2018.

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