In March 2014, Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) alumni from Nigeria, Ibrahim Ezekiel (’06-’07) and Roseline Teghtegh (’09-10), attended the YES Alumni Association Leaders Training in Amman, Jordan. They were challenged to form an organization to oversee YES alumni in Nigeria. Nine months later, in Marafa, Kaduna State, more than twenty alumni from across Nigeria celebrated the launch of the YES Alumni Association Nigeria (YAAN) at the 1st National YAAN Board Conference and Inauguration Ceremony.
From December 11th through the 14th, YES alumni led training workshops, planned leadership events, elected YAAN board members, and served the community through the first YAAN service project. Together, participants lived out YAAN’s mission to exist as “a network of young people striving to make a positive difference through community service and empowerment programs.”
Participants were treated to a range of applicable workshop topics led by alumni. Workshop leaders included Lukolm Nendi Solomon (’05 – ’06), Dr. Saidu Yakubu (IRIS Country Director), Nafisa Bala (’08-’09), and Roseline Teghtegh who covered topics like alumni involvement and engagement, proposal writing, conflict resolution, and YAAN’s vision and constitution. Mr. Ibrahim Dan-halilu, U.S. Embassy representative, also attended the event.
On the second day, YAAN’s announced the association’s elected board members: Ibrahim Ezekiel (President), Nafisa Bala (Vice President Outreach), Yusuf Bindi (Vice President Programs), Aisha Waziri (Secretary General), Aishatu Garba (Treasurer), Ishaku Abner (Public Relations Officer), and Deborah John (Freshers Coordinator).
YAAN, like the YES program, is committed to promoting change in communities, growing leadership skills, and encouraging community involvement. The conference concluded with the First National YAAN Project. YES Alumni, Aisha Waziri, Faith Aruwan and Samira Salman, led the community service project that renovated a day care center and nursery in Kaduna State.
Ishaku Abner, 2009-10 YES alum and newly elected YAAN PR Officer, was impressed by the conference. “Nigeria could actually move forward, we could look past our hardships and chains that were firmly planted in poverty and other social vice,” he said.