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  Come Friday 2nd and Saturday 3rd October 2020, LEAP Africa will host stakeholders and thousands of young people from various sectors within and outside Africa at the 8th virtual edition of the Social Innovators Programme and Awards (SIPA) 2020. This year, the theme for the Awards is “Mobilizing Collective Action for Systemic Change: Countdown to 2030”. The aim of this year’s virtual convening is to activate collective action and reinforce the urgent need to take sustainable actions towards the actualization of the SDGs. The Social Innovators Programme and Awards (SIPA) is LEAP Africa’s platform for showcasing and celebrating young social changemakers whose ideas and initiatives offer effective solutions to challenges in local communities across West Africa. Through SIPA, LEAP Africa is increasing awareness of the innovative solutions of young West Africans, equipping and empowering them with requisite skills and effective tools for building sustainable social enterprises. The conference which is scheduled to hold for 2 days, with an impressive line-up of 33 global speakers, will feature one plenary session and seven impactful breakout sessions with topics covering different sectors of the economy.  The keynote address will be delivered by Pamela Nathenson, Executive Director, World Connect while the fireside chat will feature Melanie Perkins, Co-founder, Canva. According to Femi Taiwo, Executive Director, LEAP Africa,
“As an organization, one of our two big focus is ‘raising talents for the SDGs’ and we believe SIP and SIPA are vital to achieving this objective. Over the years, we have enjoyed the partnership with Union bank in realizing the objectives of SIPA not just in funding the programme but also ensuring that young people have the necessary support required to realize their full potentials”.
This year, we are happy to bring in more partners like Canva and Sahara Foundation to support us on this journey, and further increase the impact of our work. The highlight of the conference would be announcing the winners and presentation of the Outstanding Fellow awards to three outgoing members of the 2019/2020 set and the unveiling/Induction of the new Pan African 2020/2021 set. These Pan African fellows are drawn from the pool of applicants from English speaking West African countries. Speaking on the Bank’s partnership with LEAP Africa for the Social Innovators Programme, the Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing at Union Bank, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem said,
“Union Bank is pleased to partner once again with LEAP Africa for the 2020/2021 Social Innovators Programme and Awards. As a Bank committed to enabling success for the average Nigerian, this initiative aligns perfectly with our efforts in this area. We will continue to partner with programmes such as this one, that allow us to support the efforts of budding social innovators and entrepreneurs”.
SIPA, which is sponsored by Union Bank and other partners is LEAP Africa’s way of bringing to the fore young social innovators blazing the trail for growth and development in Africa by solving some of Africa’s biggest problems. Since 2013, LEAP Africa, in collaboration with its partners, has supported over 130 talented young social innovators to build enterprises with their solutions covering diverse sectors and aspects of development such as Agriculture, Education, Science & Technology, Gender, Employment, Health, Energy, Human Rights, among others. To register, visit Featured Image Source: LEAP Africa

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This article was first published on 21st September 2020 and updated on September 24th, 2020 at 5:45 am

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