You Can Connect


Organised by Innocent Chidi Anioke (2015 Scholar from Nigeria, MSc Pubic Health- Health Promotion, Leeds Beckett University)

Over 120 young people gathered to attend the event ‘You Can Connect’. The event provided an opportunity to meet and hear from young people living in Bunker Community on issues related to achieving sustainable development in their environment through education. Key discussion points included knowledge acquisition to ensure sustainable or lasting positive impact in society and the environment, skills acquisition, positive attitude, and values. Prior to the event, most attendees believed in the statement, ‘Knowledge is power’, but only during discussions did they begin to understand other key education elements needed to tackle current and future global and local challenges.

Returning to Nigeria – reshaping its future

Charles and Innocent stand to answer questions during the event

Charles and Innocent answer questions during the event

The first activity of the event was a session delivered by Commonwealth Alumnus, Okechukwu Steven Onwukwe (2014 Shared Scholar, MSc Medical Diagnostics, Cranfield University) titled, ‘We are connected by education for sustainable development- the impact of Commonwealth Scholarships in resource poor settings’. Okechukwu discussed his Commonwealth Scholarship experience and the importance of returning to Nigeria following completion of his studies. Following his session, one attendee asked ‘Can I choose to remain in the UK if I get the CSC Scholarship?’.

The question revealed that most young people have yet to acquire the positive attitude and right value system to share or re-shape their environment and society positively, although they may have acquired the right knowledge. Okechukwu responded that today’s event and what the young people gained today would not have been possible if he had not returned home along with fellow Commonwealth Alumni. He encouraged attendees to embed the right attitude if they desire to see lasting development in their community and focus more on working together. Attendees were encouraged to develop their academic excellence to enable them to pursue a Commonwealth Scholarship in future.

Health challenges – young people coming together

The second event activity was led by Charles Arinze Okafor, Lecturer, Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, on ‘Health challenges of open defecation- a key element of the Sustainable Development Goals’. As part of the wider event, an awareness campaign was undertaken around health and sanitation, particularly on the health challenge of open-defecation. Charles delivered an interactive discussion which created the opportunity for many young people from Bunker Community to share their ideas and have their voice heard on open-defecation in their locality. Video clips showing the adverse health outcome of open-defecation were used to generate interest among attendees and enable them to engage actively during the discussion. After watching the video clip, attendees were asked to write their responses to the key discussion points raised. These were collected and displayed on pin boards, discussed, and analysed by the group.

Connecting with the Commonwealth family

Attendees take notes during the sessions

Attendees take notes during the sessions

The final activity of the event was a call for the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition. Innocent provided information on the essay competition and encouraged attendees to take part as a way of connecting with the Commonwealth family through education while developing their writing skills.

Many young people attended the event and were happy for the information shared. Attendees left with a good understanding of the Commonwealth, and our shared responsibility as Commonwealth citizens to maintain a safe environment for health living for all through education for sustainable development.


Photos on flickr

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