On Wednesday, June 24, the U.S. Consulate General and the Ford Foundation brought together civil society, development practitioners, and the newest group of youth fellows to kick-off the fourth year of the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI). The event was held at the Ford Foundation’s West Africa Office in Lagos.
This year’s CYFI fellows are in the beginning stages of executing community-based development and social enterprise projects in the areas of health, education, civil liberties, economic empowerment, and the environment. During the event, fellows received targeted, constructive feedback from experts and practitioners already working in these fields. Fellows and the organizations represented also began to forge plans for partnerships and mutual support across a range of efforts.
CYFI, a program named after former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, is a dynamic youth-based initiative launched in 2011 by the U.S. Consulate General, Lagos. CYFI brings together Nigerian youth of exceptional vision, skills and experience to design and implement projects that have a positive impact on Nigerian society. Former Ambassador to Nigeria, Walter Carrington, was a champion of civil liberties, democracy and closer ties between the U.S. and Nigeria.
During the event, Innocent Chukwuma, the Ford Foundation’s representative for West Africa, noted that CYFI has become an important pipeline for up-and-coming leaders and organizations engaged in positive social change in Nigeria.
“CYFI would not be possible without the Ford Foundation and other Nigeria-based civil society actors. With their support, this year’s fellows are playing an active role in transforming Nigeria, and the world, for the better. We are very proud to support them and we believe they truly embody the ideals and values of former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria Walter Carrington,” remarked CYFI Board Member and Foreign Service Officer Patrick Neeley.