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Inside the 11 Years of the Toyin Wiggins Centre for Leadership and Mentoring Initiative

Johnstone Kpilaakaa 4 weeks ago 0 36

In the face of a mentorship gap in her youth, Toyin Wiggins rose to the challenge. In 2012, she founded The Changemakers Initiative, which has since evolved into the Toyin Wiggins Centre for Leadership and Mentoring Initiative (TWCLMI).

This organisation empowers young people to become leaders and changemakers, equipping them with the skills to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals they care about.

“If you don’t get help, you can create help,” she said. Their journey began with a leadership and mentoring conference for senior high school students in Jos, Plateau State’s capital, drawing over 200 students from across the city.

  

In the last eleven years, TWCLMI has hosted similar conferences in other local governments within Plateau State, including Langtang, Bokkos, Quan Pang and Jos East. As well as five additional Nigerian states—including Benue, Kwara and Kogi—and even the United States, empowering over 48,000 young people. 

One such example is Nansel Wordsmith. Attending a conference in his rural Plateau community of Langtang, the event sparked a fire within him. Though just an attendee then, the lessons resonated deeply. A few years later, his path led him to Jos, home to TWCLMI’s headquarters, where he pursued his undergraduate studies. While there, he embraced the opportunity to volunteer and receive mentorship.

Reflecting on his experience, Wordsmith said, “The most important thing we can do with our lives is to understand our purpose and unleash our potential to plant positive seeds – seeds of hope, love, encouragement, and faith – in the lives of others.”

Wordsmith belongs to a community of over 30 young people who are working to pursue the mission and vision of TWCLMI to curb poverty, provide quality education, build strong institutions and also enable reduced inequalities. 

TWCLMI’s dedication extends beyond conferences. In 2020, they tackled the challenges of the pandemic by launching a free two-month skills empowerment program. This program focused on vocational skills like upcycling, empowering mostly orphans. The year culminates in a heartwarming tradition: a “Christmas Party” for orphans across Plateau State. Additionally, TWCLMI supports widows through their “Food Bank” initiative, providing them with gifts.

Where you are is your mission field,

Toyin Wiggins

Funded with Mrs Wiggins’ funds, and support from volunteers, family and friends, the Centre goes further to serve communities by conducting medical outreaches primarily focused on rural Nigerian areas. As well as a scholarship fund.

Despite its founder’s Christian background, TWCLMI embraces interfaith collaboration. They extend services to Muslim communities, inviting schools to participate in conferences. As Mrs. Wiggins emphasizes, “Humanity first. Our vision is not limited to religion.”

Photo session with Toyin Wiggins and members of the Change Makers

In 2023, TWCLMI broadened its impact. They launched the “100 Changemakers in Plateau State Award” to celebrate young leaders, alongside established icons, schools, and organisations via “The Change Makers Impact Award”. Additionally, they unveiled “Aduke The Beloved Magazine,” a publication focusing on excellence, culture and the SDGs.

Looking ahead, Mrs Wiggins envisions a future with a dedicated TWCLMI Academy for Leadership and Mentoring, and a staff that goes beyond volunteers. “Be a poured-out wine to your generation,” she encouraged.

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