This is the Nigerian Corper, Osato Elosemwingie, that embarked on 8 Remarkable Personal Community Development Projects in One Year!
” I was scared when I was registering for NYSC, I wanted to avoid going to camp but someone said to me;” Osato you a lion and lions don’t back out!” Osato.
Osato, a young Nigerian graduate, was driven by the desire to make a mark during her service year. In this interview with CFS, Osato shares her outstanding change story where she carried out 8 different personal community projects in a community.
Getting posting letter and orientation camp experience
“I got the news from my Alma Mata to start registration on the NYSC portal, I became sad. I wasn’t ready for youth service, I didn’t know what to expect; meeting and living with over 1000 new youths. Then, I was propelled to read a book titled; “Eagles in Khaki”, I wanted more from NYSC. Afterwards, I felt highly motivated and I made up my mind to think of what to do for my community instead of what the community can do for me.
Getting to camp, we were mandated to wake everyday as early as 5 am for prayers and observe compulsory lights out which was by 10 pm. Maami market (food market) was my favorite spot (lol).. Making new friends, networking with great minds became one thing I looked forward to everyday in camp.
I was a major member of the Nigeria Red Cross Unit, I served and gave first aid treatment to corps members, where I also became a Certified First Aid Practitioner after passing the final examination, I was also a major member of the United Nations SDGs (sustainable development goals local chapter) unit in Camp where I took part in sensitization and also made presentations for my sub-group.”
THE COMMUNITY AND INSPIRATION BEHIND THE PROJECT
“I was posted to a land with very bizarre cultural practices. A community where the percentage of people struggling is so predominant. You could feel and see human beings struggle to live even below $1(one dollar) per day. The predominant Occupation there were; farming, teaching and trading. It’s a community were children stop schooling at their primary school, only a few progress to secondary school and you can count the number that go to higher Institution.
The leading of the Holy Spirit backed up with intense passion. My root; where I began from in life was also a motivating force and finally wanting to find real fulfillment was another inspiration. I believe we must all live with the consciousness that you aren’t just living for yourselves; we are living representatives of a kingdom and as such we should impact as many as we come across.”
KEY PROJECTS OSATO CARRIED OUT
“I had brief interview sessions with different families and students; some cases I ended up in tears others just sad. I then decided not to wait for the government or any Non-governmental body but to search for what would benefit the people of the community and make provision for their most pressing needs. Through Gods help, I was able to carry out 8 projects in total;
- Distribution of free and RE-usable Sanitary Pads to female students in Odogbolu Community
- Renovation of the health care center (Hospital) in Odogbolu Community, provision of health care facilities to serve over 20,000 persons.
- Full Scholarship to 4 Poor indigenes students in the Community
- Providing and Supporting Widows (2) in the community with Toiletries; Foodstuffs; and Pocket money
- Teaching over 300 Secondary School Students on Sexuality, Abstinence, Wet dreams and Menstruation.
- I believe education is key to unlocking and so I provided Customized NYSC Exercise books, Pencil, Eraser to public school in the community for over 100 students
- Distribution of free Sanitary Pads to women in Odogbolu Community
- Sensitization on Menstrual Hygiene
Also, as the CDS (SDG) VICE PRESIDENT, with the support from SDGs CDS corps members, we initiated and executed the following group CDS projects
- Educating the community, youths, prestigious people in the community on the SDGs goals
- Educating young girls/girls on Teenage pregnancy and part of their body
With the groups collective effort we were recommended and we won a Certificate of Honor from United Nations SDG Local Chapter (this was a great feat for the group because, since the start of NYSC in that community, no one has ever done such project nor earned a certificate of honor).”
WHAT THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE TAUGHT OSATO
“You achieve nothing when you are confined in the space of your comfort zone. Also, you never discover yourself when you haven’t made some intentional decisions, you only know how much a rubber can extend by stretching it; you only know your capabilities when you have accepted responsibilities. I apparently left my comfort zone oo, it was tough with so much fear I still had. But, It was really the beginning of another growth phase of my life. I did not just survive as a corps member; I succeeded in helping the community.
I did not just make a living as a corps member, I made a difference. I did not just work as a corps member, I made my passion and visions push me to doing a lot.
Another Unfoorgettable experience was when I met with the Governor’s Wife of Ogun State; Her Excellency Mrs Abiodun; such an humble mum to the call, we chatted also took few pictures and a warm hug , I also met the speaker of House of Representatives; speaker Olakunle Oluomo who gave me so much advise and told me his story(the road isn’t always smooth as you know), took pictures and congratulated me for the feat, I was also privileged to meet Honorable Atinuke Bello the Chief whip of Odogbolu with Honorable Adams where I had my first Mini Dinner with someone in an high position, I was highly humbled with the show of love it was a great time! And indeed one of my best moments.”
HOW FUNDS WERE RAISED FOR THE PROJECT AND CHALLENGES ENCOUNTERED DURING PROJECT EXECUTION
“I carried out awareness from which I got contributions from my great and amazing friends for the free pad campaign. I also pledged a percentage of my business profit monthly to help achieve this project
We encounter challenges at every step to greatness, but what keeps you going is inspiration behind the vision, at every point I made sure the vision was still intact.
I cannot count the numbers of “No” or disappointments I received, in fact some men would want to help in exchange but I held on to Matt 6:33 that says Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other thing shall be added unto you. I made myself available for God through my service year, and God showed up at every block. My projects kicked off March 2019 and I was granted approval September 2019 but I knew God divinely brought me to that community for a purpose and that was why I forged on with or without the approval.”
Osato thinks the NYSC Scheme and Corps Members are vital tools for Effecting the kind of change Nigerians want. And this is why…
“I was scared when I was registering for NYSC, I wanted to avoid going to camp but someone said to me;” Osato you a lion and lions don’t back out!” That word kept me, so I would tell any new corps member, “You are an eagle, one born to stand out, soar, and soar 10,000fts high above your current position”. See NYSC as an opportunity to learn more about different culture, their ideas, and how such can work in your state.
Learn to look before you leap and look before you land, never be afraid to try new opportunities, leave your comfort zone, stretch yourself beyond limit, be your authentic self, be bold and fearless, make quality friendships with corps members going the same direction you are, join different social groups for networking and most importantly never forget your source (God), intentional seek him daily.
The aim of the NYSC Scheme is to inculcate discipline in Nigerian youths by instilling in them a tradition of industry at work and loyal service to Nigeria. And I believe yes! The scheme is a vital tool for advancing the change we want to see in Nigeria, BUT certainly, it still remains a marginalized category.
I would say Nigerian youth’s make-up corps member also, youths ranging from age 18-30 years of age; which is the accepted age range before you can be approved to serve your father land. Categorically, we have 2 categories of youths in Nigeria; 1. The educated, empowered and privileged. 2. The Poor, deprived, and angry young people. You and I know, the number 2 category are the most preponderance who form the majority in Nigeria; they live in the villages, small communities. These number 2 category of young people have, become tools in the hands of the same government who in turn provide their basic community/personal needs in exchange for their votes.
Youths are a very powerful force of any country and it is very glaring, knowing this, in turn they keep our generation grounded by not rendering support, sponsoring youths in research, sponsoring secondary school students that come out with straight A’s in WAEC/GCE, not Encouraging outstanding youths, also not helping create a balance between the 2 categories of youths in other to advance inclusiveness of both categories.
Despite these truths and the roles that Nigerian youths play, both in shaping the country’s social historical past and also renegotiating modern Nigeria youths involvement, Nigeria’s National development still remains a marginalized category.”
If given an opportunity to lead in Nigeria, Osato would love to lead as a Minister of youths and women affairs, and this is what she aims to do
” I am of the thought that in Nigeria, the need to renegotiate the youth’s position and take into cognizance their socioeconomic and political contributions to the development nationally of the country, is a forward step towards peace, security and inclusive growth on a national level.
I would work towards Proper developments with the youths, to build a Nigeria where the rich and the poor can attend the same schools and get jobs without having any connection, go for international opportunities with the second category of youths as stated in response 8, also standing out.
I would also capitalize on the growing youth bulge, and basically harnessing the positive capabilities of youth, to avoid any form of imminent catastrophe because, it is actually impossible to discuss development in isolation of youth’ and more women on the decision table.”