TEDxKids Spark Conversation, Innovation in Lagos

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July 2016 marked another first for Nigeria, when 100 (seven to 14-year-olds) children gathered at Corona School in Gbagada, Lagos, for the maiden edition of TEDxKids@Gbagada, designed to birth transformation through inspiration, education and introduction to innovative arts.

Created to inspire the younger generation of Nigeria and Africa to become entrepreneurs, thinkers, innovators and reformers, the TEDxKids@Gbagada was themed ‘InterConnected’.

This year’s conference chose Nigerian teenage speakers, drawn from within and outside the country, to connect with and motivate their peers to lead positive change in their own communities. The speakers were Zuriel Oduwole, a 13-year-old filmmaker and girl education advocate who has interviewed 19 presidents around the world; Kofoworola Jolaoso, 13, president of VOLT club in Lagos and Tejiri Emore, 14, Nigeria’s youngest saxophonist.

Zuriel used her experience as an example to show how easily kids could make global impact. Kofoworola spoke on the difference between the current thinking pattern of kids and adults. She pointed out that thanks to new technology advancements available to young people, they could make more positive difference and therefore contribute to a brighter future for Africa. Tejiri highlighted the importance of attention devoted to the emerging generation and how all factors work to help the children achieve their aspirations.

Organiser of TEDxKids@Gbagada, Mrs. Mercy Yemi Akamo, revealed that conversations and creative activities at the event were designed to introduce the children to innovation. “It was such a surreal experience watching the children collaborate and think deeply as they created a Lego smart house, produced a 45-minute documentary and used paper art to design a wedding dress,” she said.

“The objective of TEDxKids@Gbagada is to get our children to see themselves as part of a global community and challenge the assumption that it is impossible to make an impact in one’s community at such a young age. We want young people to know how to open their minds to creativity that has global relevance. We want them to believe that if you can think it, then you can achieve it, regardless of background, age, race or geographical location,” Mercy Yemi Akamo said.

It is expected that next year’s TEDxKids@Gbagada will embrace more children from across the country to inspire more positive transformation.

Meanwhile, preparations have started for the second annual TEDxGbagada conference for youth leaders. It is slated to hold in late 2016.

TEDxGbagada is licenced by TED, which is a US-based not-for-profit enterprise devoted to the propagation of ideas worth spreading. It also celebrates and spreads locally driven ideas in technology, science, entertainment, design and business, through conferences in more than 100 languages across the world.