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YES Alumni Volunteer at Maiduguri’s First TEDx Event

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In an effort to bring people together to share a TEDx-like experience, a team in the Shehuri area of Maiduguri, Nigeria put together the first ever TEDx program at the El Kanemi Hall at the University of Maiduguri. TEDxShehuri chose the theme “The Transition” and the aim of the event was to provide locals with a platform where they could share ideas with the global community and help fight the negative imagine Maiduguri has had in recent years because of the multiples crises due to the Boko Haram insurgencies. For an event of this caliber, the TEDx organizers sought volunteers and YES Alumni who currently live in the regions were happy to step in and help. 

To ensure the success of the event, YES Alumni were stationed in various parts of the backstage team. Joy Alewa David (YES 2015-2016, hosted by AYUSA in Buckley, WA) and Maryam Samuel (YES 2016-2017, hosted by PAX in Ivins, UT) helped with registration and the enquiry team where they handled the registered participants’ information and processed participants before letting them in the event. Blessing Ori Ogbu (YES 2013-2014, hosted by YFU in Clifton Forge, VI) worked as a personal assistant for the speakers and was responsible for setting up speaker's rehearsal space, ensuring that all the necessary equipment was available and properly set up prior to each presentation and helped put microphones on before speakers walked on stage. The alumni also helped with the post event survey where they heard a lot of positive feedback afterwards.

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Some of the activities from the event included speakers, a photo exhibition, poetry performances and other discussion opportunities. In the spirit of TEDx events, “The Transition” spanned across areas such as social, cultural, development and humanitarian, innovation and technology, design and entertainment in order to further the conversation and goal of the event. A highlight from the event was the poetic playlet “The Life of Yagana” performed by the Borno Literary Society that depicted the practical way that the insurgency stole the livelihood of young children in the Borno State. Other speakers from different walks of life also took to the stage to talk about different ways to move forward for the youth and the future generation of Maiduguri. After the event, the younger attendees expressed that they are willing to step away from antagonizing and are ready to move towards acting to cause a change.

By volunteering at this event and seeing the positive impacts, the YES alumni walked away with ideas of putting on similar events with the YES Alumni Association of Nigeria (YAAN) in the future. YAAN would like to help promote the growth and create a positive change in rewriting the story for the future generation of Maiduguri and the Borno State at large. As a team, they are hoping to get a bigger TEDx license to enable them to reach out to more people in Nigeria and beyond to pass the message.

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In April, tell us what are you doing in this time of social distancing to keep your spirits up!

Check out this month's story prompt at bit.ly/YESstorywriting and submit your story!