My name is Ricky Toh, and I am a volunteer that is part of Leadership Initiative's International Business Alliance Program, a program that helps high school students connect with Nigerian businesses to help solve business and technical solutions. Throughout my time with this program, Leadership Initiatives has really encouraged me to take a stand in fundraising and researching solutions for my business partners. In addition, Leadership Initiatives works hard to make sure our solutions and progress is consistent through online Skype calls with Leadership Initiatives and regular calls with our business partner in Nigeria. They are committed to their cause and working with others, especially since they had to set aside special times for my team, which is located in Indonesia, because of time differences. I really appreciate the work Leadership Initiatives is doing and know that it will change the lives of the Nigerian communities it partners with.
Leadership Initiatives (LI) is inspirational in its work empowering local leaders to start businesses in their communities to address a problem that they see. It has been a pleasure working for Leadership Initiatives and I am consistently impressed by the training that LI provides, but more importantly by its focus on "the local" to ensure that everything comes from within the community from ideas to leaders to funding. The more I learn about the leaders themselves and hear their stories, the more I am inspired by the work they are doing and the positive impact they are having on their communities.
Leadership Initiatives (LI) is an outstanding example of how we should guide and direct our foreign policy initiatives in regards to peace-building and international development. LI strives to create an atmosphere where the people of Nigeria have the largest say in how their needs are met, thus this does not create dependency and allows for more brighter days to come in Nigeria. After having had the opportunity to meet individuals who have been affected by LI's work, I am forever hopeful that LI will only grow to do greater things in the years to come. Leadership Initiatives has taken social entrepreneurship to a whole new level.
I have been involved with Leadership Initiatives for the past two years, and have been familiar with the organization for the past four years. I was first introduced to Leadership Initiatives when my older brother was involved with the organization, working to raise money for the “Water for Nigeria” project. His group raised enough money to build a water purification facility in Bauchi State, Northern Nigeria. After seeing how my brother was able to help a deprived community through Leadership Initiatives, I knew I wanted to somehow be involved. I was then fortunate enough to be asked by Marshall Bailly, the Executive Director, to be the group leader of the Fish for Freedom project. As the group leader, I am now able to be a part of some of the incredible projects that Leadership Initiatives is involved with.
While working with Leadership Initiatives, I have been privileged enough to work with those who need the help the most. Our group project is focused on providing affordable fish to the people of Birshi State in Nigeria, and we are currently in the midst of raising money to help expand the fish farming program into other areas of the state. In doing so, we are helping regions that have been severely depleted of crucial nutrients for years, specifically quality protein and Vitamin B.
My work with Leadership Initiatives has been occasionally interrupted by the actions of political and religious extremists throughout Nigeria. Leadership Initiatives’ ability to overcome the constant adversity faced each day by these extremists is truly remarkable. It is a well run organization and repeatedly completes projects that have a lasting impact on many less fortunate communities in Nigeria. I am proud to be a part of this respected organization, and I anticipate further growth of their humanitarian efforts.
Leadership Initiatives creates businesses, but there's more to it than that. In a time where relationships between countries have become very tense and unpredictable, LI takes everything back to the very basics, which is presenting oneself and seeing others as humans with emotions and desires and goals. By connecting leaders in the beneficiaries' communities with outstanding US high school students poised to become leaders for their own generation, we promote intercultural relationships with teamwork. This results in a continuing positive relationship. US students will take this positivity with them to college and beyond. Finding ways to improve cross-cultural relationships can be difficult, but often times the answer to the problem is the simplest solution.
I joined Leadership Initiatives this year, and am already impressed by the widespread effect this organization has on all aspects of the community. Leadership Initiatives promotes developing businesses, creating a safe environment for entrepreneurs in the Nigerian and Bauchi community. These developments are facilitated by the youth of the International Business Alliance Program which fosters the promotion of leadership skills among high school and college students, allowing the next generation to become active members in their community and the world. This organization not only strives for a wonderful cause but is also possesses the progressive and effective skills to make a difference.