Sprouting Great Ideas - R.E.E.L. Initiative
Equinox Fellow Olatunde Ajoke Omoware sees Agbado, Nigeria as a community ready to be energized and uplifted by education. A majority of Agbado’s population falls in the low-income bracket and is served by only one public secondary school. The lack of formal education available in Agbado has led to Ajoke regularly witnessing the lack of English language skills and other shortcomings of Agbado youth as compared to their peers in more affluent areas. Ajoke can see a future where the children of Agbado are equipped with the skills to compete with their peers throughout Nigeria and around the world and she is driven to make that vision a reality.
Ajoke is the founder of Reading to Enhance Education & Learning. (R.E.E.L.), a co-curricular reading program that provides access to digitized books and internet service for children living in rural Communities in Nigeria. Their flagship program is the Agbado e-learning center which provides a fun, inexpensive hub where children can hone their literacy skills, broaden their knowledge and connect to the world via internet.
During the summer of 2014, sixty students participated in the Agbado e-learning center's pilot program. These children received 50 hours of free tutoring over the course of six weeks and are now all registered members of the center. Through the pilot program the children were given access to English language and digital literacy support tutors, digitized books and e-readers, ICT and Internet, as well as physical books to read and borrow.
What's next for R.E.E.L.?
Currently, daily operations at the Agbado e-learning center are managed by one intrepid volunteer, Tofa Amoloja. Once a more permanent site is found for the Agbado e-Learning center, R.E.E.L. plans to hire a permanent team member.
An open house being held this month aims to increase awareness and engage community support. Ajoke is part of an education reform team based in Lagos, Nigeria that is working to develop a standard curriculum for the center in addition to staying abreast of research and trends in education.
About the Equinox Fellowship
As a follow-up to the Forum of Future Leaders and Equinox Summit: Learning 2030, Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) offers Equinox Fellowships to 30 youth participants between the ages of 18 and 30. This program is presented in partnership with TakingITGlobal, one of the world's leading networks of young people learning about, engaging with, and working towards tackling global challenges.
The Fellowship includes TakingITGlobal's Sprout e-course, an enhanced project-based learning experience. The course is offered free to Equinox Fellows through WGSI sponsorship. After graduation from the course, Equinox Fellows became eligible for a mentorship and grant funding opportunity that was subject to selection by a Steering Committee composed of representatives from WGSI, TakingITGlobal and MaRS Discovery District.
The Sprout e-Course is a 9-week online learning experience provided by TakingITGlobal, where participants are guided through four learning modules – Design, Plan, Connect, and Assess – and work toward developing assets to include as part of a Project Portfolio that will support transforming ideas into concrete actions. This course provides training in essential skills such as team building, project management, critical thinking, communications, and problem solving, to help plan and develop innovative projects.