A 2-Year Opportunity to Combat Educational Inequity in Nigeria: The Teach for Nigeria Fellowship

Sep 25, 2019
Ibrahim Abdullahi, a current Teach for Nigeria Fellow

The Teach for Nigeria Fellowship Program is a 2 year full-time paid commitment in which the most outstanding graduates and professionals are placed in underserved schools in low-income communities in Nigeria. The fellowship emphasizes leadership and welcomes fellows under the age of 35 with varying levels of experience, including recent graduates, working youth, experienced professionals, and entrepreneurs. The program includes mentorship, leadership development sessions, and personal and professional development projects.

We talked to Ibrahim Abdullahi, a current Teach for Nigeria Fellow, to learn more about the program and get some application tips.  

1. What inspired you to apply for the Teach for Nigeria Fellowship?

The Teach For Nigeria Fellowship is a leadership development platform that aims to gear up young people to solve the problem of education inequity. The Fellowship provides a grounding of accomplished professionals who assist fellows by giving them the opportunity to learn and grow while making a positive impact on the lives of the next generation in underserved classrooms of low-income communities. Fellows help to provide inclusive and equitable quality education and ensure lifelong learning opportunities for all. Professionals assist fellows with their initiatives in the second year of the fellowship, which is directed at solving a particular problem or set of problems. The high level of professionalism of the Regional Heads, Coaches, Heads of Training and Fellows themselves as they carry out their duties, as well as their collaboration, teamwork and drive make this fellowship a program of both growth and inspiration. 

The fellowship is built upon six core values:

  • Sense of possibility
  • Respect and humility
  • Excellence
  • Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Innovation

Because I wanted to be deliberate about solving educational problems that have yet to be solved, I was eager to become a Teach for Nigeria Fellow. I believe that education is the foundation of development globally, and this fellowship would help me become a leader in the field, preparing me to make a positive impact on Nigeria and beyond.

2. What is a typical week like for a Teach for Nigeria Fellow?

My role as a Teach For Nigeria Fellow includes being an educator in a low-income school. In this role, I am creating an inclusive learning environment, fostering a relationship between the community and school, and solving a particular problem (or set of problems) I have personally identified, especially in the second year of the fellowship. As I teach in a low-income community, I ensure that the kids attain an excellent education. To that end, I try to engage digital literacy, creativity, and problem-solving into their daily activities. I have had the opportunity to meet with several young talented innovators, policymakers, and community leaders, as well as seasoned educators on this fellowship journey.

Before my embarking on this program, I used to assist as a lecturer in the Polytechnic. I had studied geography and education extensively in university and applied much of what I learned while tutoring students and assisting with research work. At that time, I failed to understand the nature of individualism, integration, vision, purpose and available resources to enhance resourcefulness and lacked clarity about how to bring about positive change. From my interview in Kaduna, the training institute, and our induction in Lekki Island, Lagos, up till this moment, I have been learning how to define my goals and combine them with our resources to solve societal problems.

The Teach For Nigeria community is helping me make my goals and aspirations realities, strengthening me personally and professionally, and helping me integrate my already diversified background. Because of the fellowship, I am building and sustaining this cherished dream of equitable and quality education.

Teach for Nigeria
Ibrahim, center, with some of his students

3. What tips would you give others applying to the Teach for Nigeria Fellowship?

Receiving the fellowship requires you to be unconventional. Applications are open around April every year. There is an interview process after an online selection process. It is very important to look up the work of existing fellows to understand the requirements. Connect with them, ask questions, and have conversations about what to expect from the fellowship journey. Fellows sharing similar aspirations with yourself will provide better insights necessary to ensure you get on board and might even secure you a letter of recommendation. Most importantly, apply!

For me, I think I received the fellowship because in my application, I talked about the projects I had coordinated, which ranged from community development projects to computing research works, the core values of empathy and integrity and my experience in the education sector. All these demonstrated that I would be a good match for the Teach for Nigeria program and continue to be a positive changemaker, not only during the fellowship, but in the distant future as well.

As the Founder and CEO of No Box Initiative, Ibrahim Abdullahi works as a Team Lead and Strategist, engaging in planning, developing and implementing action plans. He was a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member at the Public Relations Office, where he engaged in planning, developing and implementing Public Relation strategies, communicating with colleagues and key spokespeople, working with the media, individuals and other organizations, as well as development planning with local communities. Ibrahim has driven young people to make use of disruptive technologies such as Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

Interested in applying? Bookmark the Teach for Nigeria Fellowship Program to your ProFellow account.

© Victoria Johnson 2019, all rights reserved.