Olatope Olawumi, Faith Enang and Faith
Nine years after its establishment, the Millennium Fellowship has continued to provide undergraduates with the opportunity to effect changes in their immediate environment, fully backed by the United Nations academic impact, in collaboration with the Millennium Campus Network(MCN). ://www.millenniumfellows.org/apply
The fellowship, which runs as a 10 session semester-long programme, saw the emergence of UnilagSun Editor, Olusola Favour, Gamaliel Adebayo and Ogunkoya Oluwamuyiwa as the Unilag Cohort leader, Deputy Leader and Medilag Cohort leader for the class of 2021 respectively.
Previous Volunteering Stunts
A lot of students at the University of Lagos engage in one form of volunteering or the other. So, it was not completely out of place to find out this trio had previously been involved in one way or the other.
In a comment with UnilagSun, Favour, a two-time student leader and pioneer member of the Lagos State SDGs, revealed how he had in 2019 joined in creating Reset : an awareness against sexual harassment tagged ‘Stunt’. The awareness was staged by the Youth Alive Foundation. He was also a volunteer for the Pad awareness poverty walk which happened in 2021.
“I was involved in reset that was on creating awareness on sexual harassment in the university of Lagos; I was also part of the pad poverty awareness walk we had sometime in 2021. I am also a pioneer member of the Lagos Youths Alliance SDGs.
“The will and passion to be a part of the young advocates who campaign for sustainable development is basically what spurred my interest in applying for the millennium fellowship,” he said.
Ogunkoya had also been in the volunteering spectrum since his 100 level days. He began with the Red Cross Society, became the academic secretary of his department in his second year and pioneered peer-to-peer mentoring sessions in his department.
Sharing his experiences, Ogunkoya further said, “I’ve also volunteered at concerts as a committee member, as campus coordinator for MS career, an outreach to secondary school pupils, under some other organisations, foundations and different volunteering platforms mainly.”
Emerging cohort leaders for class of 2021
Martin Luther King must have been referring to these ones when he said “Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve’’ as all three were driven by noble reasons to apply for the millennium fellowship.
Olusola’s passion to be a part of the young advocates campaigning for sustainable development made him join the fellowship.
Adebayo had a project in mind and when he realized that the fellowship would be of great help to carrying out his project, he signed up.
For Ogunkoya, the millenium fellowship was a ready avenue to widen his capacity to serve and also, learn more about social impact.
The trio displayed servant-leadership traits as they shared their joy at emerging leaders of their cohorts of at least 20 members.
Adebayo, while returning all glory to God, said it was a privilege and also gave the feeling of responsibility as he saw the position as service.
“Because I don’t view the position as ‘leadership’, I view it as ‘service’. And I was prepared to serve in this position, with a true sense of value, for all fellows on my campus,” he said.
Ogunkoya who has had lots of leadership experience said “I thought this is something I could do because I want to serve and gain more exposure about leadership”.
“I felt it was like a step forward, a step ahead to redefine and give my leadership story more meaning,” Olusola said.
Benefits that Accrue to Millennium Fellowship Members
Not only does the Millennium fellowship require service from its members, it also comes with gains which most youths would upon first hearing, receive with skepticism. The benefits are however true and impactful.
Leadership training, networking and scholarship opportunities, platforms to execute personal projects and recognition from the UN are a few of the many advantages of the fellowship.
For Adebayo, the first and most important is the chance to carry out projects with social impacts.
“The chance to positively impact the life of people around you. The sense of fulfilment that comes from that is something that cannot be bought,” he said.
Ogunkoya added that “The millennium fellowship has affiliations with the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI). So your work gets to be recognized under the millennium fellowship but with affiliations with UNAI.
“The other thing is that you get to learn. When we have our session, it is usually very interactive. You see the thought processes of people, how they think, their approach to life, you can not just help but marvel. With that, you also get to meet new and intelligent people.”
On his part, Olusola said fellows can get certified as social impact advocates, certifications and more recognitions. He however adds that beyond these, fellows also get training opportunities in fields of their own interest.
“Being a fellow of the millennium campus network holds a lot of opportunities for students you get to be certified by the United Nations Academic Impact as a social impact of sustainable development goal advocate.
“I think beyond the certification and the recognition there is a load of opportunities on training and first-grade exposure for people who may desire to engage. There are scholarship opportunities relating to the development and I can imagine all you stand to gain with the exposure.”
Applications to join the Millennium Fellowship class of 2022 is ongoing and open to undergraduates across all schools.