With a network of around 775+ Fellows from 96 countries specializing in a diverse array of professional fields, many Atlas Corps Alumni and current Fellows are making inspiring impacts against COVID-19. It is time to celebrate these achievements of our amazing network and share their advice on how we can all do our part to protect and support each other.
Today we want to talk with our Alum Oyindamola (Class 22, Nigeria) who is supporting African Development University (A.D.U.) in transitioning to an online format and also the student body as they deal with unprecedented challenges. Thank you Oyindamola for providing a solid, educational environment for these future leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic. We wish you all the best with this impactful work!
Name: Oyindamola Johnson
Home Country: Nigeria
Current organization: African Development University (A.D.U.)
Role at current organization: Chief Operating Officer
Social Issues that you have worked with: Quality Education, Decent Work and Economic Growth
Tell us about your current projects?
COVID-19 has disrupted our way of living in virtually every sector that we interact with regularly, and education has been particularly affected to a large extent by the pandemic. As a measure to curtail the spread of the virus, institutions of learning were shut down and this has caused a major barrier to access to learning and other opportunities for young people.
African Development University (A.D.U.) is a university of excellence based in Niamey, Niger with a mission of providing exceptional high-level training to prepare Niger’s – and the Sahel’s – most promising young people for ethical leadership in the public and private sectors. A.D.U. draws inspiration from the world’s leading institutions of higher education such as Ashesi University and Harvard University, and offers training in liberal arts that aims to develop students’ critical thinking, problem-solving skills and ability to serve their communities. Our work also strongly aligns with SDG 4 – Quality Education and SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Please share with us how you are working to fight against COVID-19 at your Current Organization and beyond?
Before the spread of COVID-19, we were already developing an online learning management system to complement academics at our institution, however, when COVID-19 hit and we received instructions from the government of Niger to shut our campus, we transitioned our entire student body to the online learning management system within 1-week, thereby causing little to no disruptions to their studies. Also, we were the first institution to implement such a system and we have had the opportunity to advise other institutions, stakeholders in the education system, as well as government agencies on how to implement e-learning solutions for young people, most especially as we confront this pandemic.
While the pandemic has created barriers to access to learning and other opportunities for continuous personal and professional development for young people, at A.D.U., we are connecting our students to internships, as well as empowering them with training, tools, and resources to prepare for what is now termed the “new normal” with the help of our Career Services department.
Beyond this, our students have also implemented several projects aimed at limiting the spread of the virus, as well as sensitizing communities where our university is located on health and safety measures on how to imbibe hygienic practices. Additionally, we have donated items such as sanitizers, face-masks, soaps, buckets, and other materials that they can use in keeping themselves safe at all times.
Do you have anything you would like to say to everybody about how we can all do our part in this pandemic?
In these unprecedented times, we need to find unique solutions to our very unique problems. More than ever, COVID-19 has shown how fragile our economic systems are, and how connected we are, therefore, it is important to note that friendship, solidarity, and unity are what we need now and beyond to overcome this problem that we all face collectively. The resilience and courage that people have shown in fighting this pandemic give us hope that we can beat our present problems– together. Therefore, it is important to note that our collective small actions can and will lead to a greater collective good.
So, continue to play your role (even if it’s just in your local community), and have that confidence in the fact that you’re a hero, a champion, a changemaker. When the story is written of how mankind came together to beat this virus, your name will be boldly written in the hearts of men, because those small changes we each made grew into a global force for good.
Atlas Corps Fellows continue to serve in the U.S. and remote, and we reaffirm our commitment to building a network of global leaders, even- and especially- in these times. We need your help to overcome the operational challenges that Atlas Corps faces so we can continue our critical work of training the social change leaders that this world urgently needs. As a special initiative, donations of $100+ will be matched! Will you support our Fellows?