By Raquel Armendariz Sucunza, Global Schools Project Lead (Communications)
The Global Schools Program (GSP) is proud to recognize and celebrate Mentors each month. Mentors are featured and given the spotlight for their endless contributions to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and their help to GSP Advocates during the program. Particularly, Shola Shedrach Faloye has provided valuable ideas based on his experiences to inspire his mentees. Through the online meetings, he’s been able to introduce GSP's mission and ideas for improving the world.
Interview with Shola Shedrach Faloye
Shola Shedrach Faloye (Uncle Sho) is a volunteer with over 19 years experience in the community development sector, reaching homes, orphans, and internally displaced persons. He has volunteered in many areas to tutor, entertain, feed, mobilize succor, mentor, and give platforms to the ones without a voice. Most recently, as a volunteering Television Host with Plateau Radio Television Corporation (ON Air Person at Tincity104.3), which provides families and children content, Shola took advantage of his platform to execute the calling and passion of promoting child well-being. He has disciplined and mentored over 50,000 children and 10,000 families.
Uncle Sho is a Global Schools Advocate and Mentor and participates with organizations such as African Civic Engagement Academy (ACEA) and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). He is an Aspiring Entrepreneur Alumni, Child Advocate, Technology enthusiast, and HundrED Ambassador. He is also the founder of Sho Impartainment (Edu, Ed-Tech, Art and Impartainment Consult), a social enterprise organization focused on advocacy, community mobilization, engagements using projects and initiatives, broadcasting, coaching, and education to fulfill the mandate.
Shola holds a bachelor's in Economics Education and a master's in Educational Technology, and he works on the Registration of an NGO that focuses on the holistic development of children.
Tell us more about your Mentoring role and what it means to you.
One potent way to promote sustainable development is raising and forming children with adequate and relevant knowledge and training as taught by Global Schools. Being to guide great minds, Advocates, who are saddled with this responsibility, is a great honor that is dear to my heart.
To connect with my Advocates, First and foremost, I reached out through email. With their permission, I later created a WhatsApp group for bonding and communication. And spelled out engagement rules and regulations and encouraged them to chat me up anytime they needed my attention. I helped them by referring them to the toolkits and explaining how to use them appropriately. With this, they addressed the letter to School Leadership and forwarded it to the appropriate head, letting them know the value and gains of being an Advocate and the positive impact on learners and the school's image. Also, I encouraged them to network with fellow Teachers whom they could help with their Advocacy and integrate ESD by carrying out project-based learning.
We scheduled weekly meetings on Google Meet to prepare for every week's Advocacy.
When I hear their positive feedback on my mentoring means everything to me:
"He provided me valuable ideas based on his own personal experience which has helped a great deal in driving my role as an advocate"
What has been the best part of working with your Mentees?
When I heard something like, "you made this advocacy responsibility easy with your experience and admonitions," or “It's been an awesome experience connecting with my mentor,” that was the best part.
What achievements are you most proud of?
One achievement I'm proud of was hearing one of the Advocates say, "I don't need you again after popping open my mind to see how to localize global school initiatives in my context." This advocate resides in northeastern Nigeria, where we have many out-of-school Children plagued with insecurities. My advice was simple, use "Picture Lessons". With them, you don't need to move around. Let the pictures move around for you. I'm very proud of this technique, which is to: Print and laminate the SDGs, each topic or area of concern you hope to address, structure it properly with few words laced with beautiful pictures that explain your concept from the topic, problems, consequences, dangers, how to remedy the dangers, what every child, parents and other stakeholders can do and the benefits obtained, etc. This is passed from one home to another with his contact. It worked magic!
What led you to decide to become an Advocate in the first place?
In 2002, towards my final year in high school, I submitted myself to help educate adults and children who could not read or write during evening classes. Three times a week, I teach to help these poor locals who love to know how to read and write. The progress recorded gladdens in their hearts. I never knew it was called volunteerism. I only followed my heart. Realizing I was ignorant of what advocacy is and willing to help make sure the future is secure through educating children with relevant, adequate knowledge and training motivated me to join the advocacy world. As a believer in saving the future through raising properly formed children. It's an experience I'm enjoying.
How and where do you find inspiration for your SDGs-related activities/work as a GS advocate and Mentor?
The institutions designated with the right formation and development of children are largely failing here in Nigeria. Especially the family dysfunctionalities in our present society are becoming alarming. This is scary in statistics, resulting in a ratio of 4:1 in child stability: meaning 4 out of 5 children suffer several harmful traditional cultural/social and economic disenfranchisements. Even myself, I have also suffered from several developmental challenges-primarily lacking educational faculties, I have been—a victim in every sense of it.
My inspiration comes from the Calling within. Having been a victim of traditional, cultural, and economic disenfranchisement laced with the desire to see a well-developed crop of children who will take over from failed African leaders.
What is one thing you wish to tell current and future Global Schools advocates?
Making the world safe and secure for all is the responsibility of all. Use your specialty to prepare young learners to save the future today. The SDGs and ESD are the tools to prepare young learners as they integrate ESD into their lessons and use more project-based learning.