Q1. Tell us about yourself and the Makoko Dream and Vision. What is it about and what are you trying to achieve with it?
My name is Emmanuel Agunze, I am the Founder of The MAKOKO DREAM, set out to inspire greatness in urban slums through the advocacy for Education (Girl and boy) Skill acquisition and general health and wellbeing of people in slum areas. Makoko, sarcastically called, The Venice of Africa, has a whopping number of more than 30,000 children of which barely 2000-5000 have been to a formal education toolset. The Makoko Dream is set up to address this illiteracy and child labour problem there via her outreaches. We intend encouraging 1000-10,000 children being in school in the next five years and we have encouraged 200 children already.
Q2. What was your inspiration to take up this onerous task?
Still on the matter by John F Kennedy where he said that ‘Ask not what your country will do for you, but what you will do for your country’, I decided to embark on this journey so that a Makoko child, will dare to dream to be great. One tool that can easily realise that is Education and exposure. My Inspiration for taking up on this task was just to leave a mark in my lifetime in service to others.
Q3. We understand you studied architecture, could it have had an influence on you to pursue something related to the built environment like the Makoko Dream?
Yes it did. Having studied Architecture in Covenant University, It made me realise that Architecture has a way of shaping the lives of individuals for the better. I decided to focus on Urban Slums and her development, hence the nickname COMMUNITY ARCHITECT. My First stop is Makoko, because I feel they have been neglected easily.
Q4. How do you raise funds to run this vision which is more or less non-profit?
I use personal Funds and then leverage on my network to get partners to co-run campaigns. I am of the opinion that If you are generating results, partners and even sponsors will come begging for you. So I focus on that-GENERATING RESULTS. Right now, we are on the verge of getting our First International recognition which will further attract Investors and Sponsors.
Q5. How many people have you empowered so far in Makoko and what is your timeline and milestone projections, let’s say for the next 5-10 years?
So far, in Makoko, I have empowered not less than 300 Makoko residents. With 200 from the Makoko Dream School, I adopted and other 100 from the Makoko Youth group. So far we have done (1) The First School bus on Water, which is a customised canoe for taking the children of The Makoko Dream School to and from school free of charge daily.February 2017 (2) Embarked on Medical Outreach with a team from Union Bank, where more than 100 homes were given free mosquito nets and anti-fungal drugs. Likewise Sanitary pads to some girls as well. April 2017(3) Lite Up Makoko Project, in partnership with Liter of Light Nigeria team, Energy Institute and Lonadek in training 20 Makoko Youths on Solar Energy Installation and Assembling-August 2017 (4) Wear a Child Campaign, where we are working on providing 200 pairs of Uniforms for Makoko school children. Presently, we have done 80, 120 more to go before the end of November 2017. Future projections are to (1) Have the first Mobile Computer Laboratory on Water, which will be a Covered Canoe, fully solar powered. By September 2018, (2) Have a Block wall community centre (School, health centre and vocational lab) on water, March 2020. and many others
Q6. We understand you have been nominated for an Award, The Nelson Mandela #InnovationAwards as a Youth Activist 2017. How do you feel about that?
Yes, by God’ grace. It is in recognition of my work with #Makokodream I feel great. Recognition and being in the final is, to me. the main Award. Right now, I am putting efforts to ensuring the Award comes to Nigeria for the first time. It shows that hard work pays. Click Here to Vote
What is the end goal/vision for Makoko Dream, is it just for the Makoko community or there will be such initiatives for other less privileged communities?
The Makoko dream will spread to other less privileged communities. Makoko is the focus for now.
Q7. A word of advice for young people out there seeking a vision, an idea and purpose.
The best time to start is now. Follow it one at a time, God will be unveiling each phase to you. Never Overpromise, you will be tagged as a Liar in the end and such, lose credibility.
Q8. Mr Emmanuel thanks for speaking to us and we wish you the best of adventure fulfilling your purpose.
Thanks for the time. God Bless You
To support this vision that is clearly going to change lives in unprecedented measures, Click Here to enable Emmanuel Agunze to bring this award home and back to Nigeria.