Emokiniovo Otarigho

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Active Citizens Bootcamp for Young LeadersNigeria

Emokiniovo (Ovo) Otarigho is the executive director and co-founder of the Impact Driven Young Leaders Initiative (IDYL), an organization committed to youth development in Nigeria.

Ovo has over 13 years of professional experience in civic leadership, youth development, and peacebuilding. He promotes good governance through active civic engagement, focusing on volunteering and community organizing. Ovo won the United Nations Volunteers Award in 2023 under the innovation category for his contribution to improving volunteerism in Nigeria. In addition to his work and awards, Ovo is an author, having written the book, Volunteering: A Guidebook for Volunteers in the Business and Non-profit Sector.

IVLP Impact Award Project: Active Citizens Bootcamp for Young Leaders

Emokiniovo organized two “bootcamps,” one in Warri and one in Abuja with a total of 110 attendees. The Active Citizenship Bootcamp for Young Leaders was designed to strengthen the capacity of youth in Nigeria to productively lead social change. The goal of this project was to equip youth with skills and knowledge required for them to be active citizens, be employable in the development sector, and to effectively lead initiatives that are capable of solving local problems within their immediate communities in Nigeria by January 2024. Project participants were trained on topics including problem solving, grassroots campaigning, volunteering, impact analyses, social entrepreneurship, and advocacy.

In the first phase of his project, Emokiniovo led a learning and capacity building program that taught 50 project participants about leadership, nation building, data-driven engagement, and climate change. Participants met with professionals in these subjects and learned through simulations, videos, and quizzes.  After the sessions, participants reported that they benefitted them in their professional and personal lives. One participant was able to establish connections with the National Human Rights Commission in Nigeria to help address human rights issues within in the Albino community in Nigeria. Another participant used the knowledge she gained from the resource mobilization training to run a book drive to support a local school with 90 books.

Each of the 110 attendees developed an action plan for a community development project in their area. The participants from Warri are working toward developing the “Active Citizens Network in Nigeriaincorporating all 110 participants along with other dynamic young Nigerians. 

"It was indeed an intensive 5-day bootcamp that educated, empowered and motivated us towards participating, speaking up for a good cause and initiating projects that will impact our community and beyond" - Project Participant

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Ovo was a participant in the IVLP Project Youth and Civic Engagement, organized by the U.S. Department of State and Meridian International Center.

Ovo's exchange experience led to the development of his IVLP Impact Award Project: "The motivation to build young Nigerians to be active citizens was ignited during our visit to Alabama."

U.S. Communities Visited

Montgomery, AL; Washington, DC; Boston, MA; Baltimore, MD; Kalamazoo, MI

"The lessons [learned] from civil rights activists...suggest that when citizens know their rights and responsibilities, they can actively engage the government and influence policies for the good of the people. One notable spark for me was the fact that the action of someone like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others could lead to voting rights of African Americans through non-violent [protests]." - Emokiniovo Otarigho

Country: Nigeria

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