Thursday, 30 June 2016


The yearly Kola Kids & Teens Award ceremony is coming up on July 3, 2016  at Sandralia Hotel Jabi by 4pm.

I cornered Kelechi Kemnele, Managing Director, KOLA Initiative to tell us about this wonderful initiative that has seen many outstanding children receive awards.

Q:    What is KOLA Awards? History, Purpose, Vision?
KOLA Awards is one of the programs carried by Kids & teens with Outstanding Leadership Abilities (KOLA) Initiative, a registered non-governmental organisation based in Nigeria. KOLA was derived from the popular African Kolanut which goes with the saying ‘He who brings Kola, brings life’. As such, at KOLA Initiative, understanding that children and teens are not only the future of any nation but also its lifeblood has decided to be all about the kids and teens and through its programs like KOLA Awards, decided to celebrate and encourage them especially talented ones  as this would help inspire others.

KOLA Awards which began in 2013, is working towards creating a scenario where kids and teens would be able to do well for themselves using their God-given talents and thus would help reduce the alarming rate of unemployed youth.

Q: How do you get funding?
Funding for KOLA Awards started with pooling of resources from family, friends and well-wishers who believe that the Nigerian child, if encouraged, would reach enviable heights. This was used to set up the foundation of the awards as well as that of other KOLA Initiative’s programs.  However, major support has been received from Miles Morland Foundation, a UK Based charitable organisation.

Q: What do you opine about Nigerians not supporting and
    developing talented individuals in the country
Nigerians are generally supportive of anything positive but they however are not putting in the much needed effort in finding, supporting and developing talented individuals. Doing this would go a long way in creating the sustainable development that the country needs.

Q: Who are the 2016 KOLA Awardees?
Since 2013, 10 kids and teens have received the KOLA Awards. These kids, all below 18 years of age are from different backgrounds, ethnicities, works of life and they are all excelling in different fields.  We have had kids who are professional application developers, published writers, fashion entrepreneurs, artists, instrumentalist and vocalists, footballers, auto-mechanics etc. KOLA Awards has also recognised individuals and organisations that are working towards the development of kids and teens in Nigeria.

Q: What is the future of KOLA Awards
KOLA Awards would not only stop at recognizing, encouraging and inspiring children. It would go the length of helping these kids and teens develop their talents by creating mentorship and apprenticeship platforms where they can hone their skills and be on their way to become employers of labour themselves.

    Q:   Role of family and religion
The family and religious places have a lot to play in this mission of creating a better society through our kids and teens as they are in a very good position to advise and encourage them especially when it comes to skills acquisition and the developing of inborn skills.

Q: What advice do you have for kids/teens
Always believe in yourselves knowing that you are the future. The best thing a person can do for him or herself is acquiring a skill and developing such skills. 

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