The Chief Executive Officer of Junior Achievement (JA) Africa, Simi Nwogugu, has been named the winner of the Africa Education Medal launched by T4 Education and HP in collaboration with Microsoft.
Nwogugu’s non-governmental organisation, which prepares young people for the future of work, is one of the world’s largest youth-facing not-for-profit organisations.
Nwogugu was announced winner of the prestigious award on Thursday in Accra, Ghana.
Founder and CEO of T4 Education, Vikas Pota said Nwogugu’s success is a rallying cry for changemakers to unlock Africa’s potential.
He said, “Simi Nwogugu has dedicated her life’s work to skilling up Africa’s young people, equipping them with the tools to not only survive but thrive in the world they’re entering. Congratulations on winning the Africa Education Medal 2023. Your success will serve as a rallying cry for changemakers to come forward and help Africa unlock its potential.”
Also, Mayank Dhingra, the Senior Education Business Leader, Southern, Middle East and Africa at HP, said, “Congratulations to Simi Nwogugu on the fantastic achievment of winning the Africa Education Medal 2023. Her work at JA Africa is truly empowering the continent’s next generation to face the future with confidence.”
On her part, Nwogugu dedicated the medal to the JA Africa team and all phenomenal African youths.
“I am so honoured to receive this accolade, but it is not just about me,” she enthused. “This award is for all the fantastic staff at JA Africa, and for all the inspirational young people they have worked with, helping to pave the way to a brighter future for our continent’s young. I want to thank T4 Education, HP and Microsoft for giving these people hope that together we can make a difference.”
The Africa Education Medal was founded to recognise the tireless work of those
changemakers who are transforming African education. UNESCO data show that
sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of education exclusion in the world.
Nwogugu is CEO of JA Africa, part of the Nobel Peace Prize-nominated JA Worldwide, one of the world’s largest youth-serving NGOs that prepares young
people for the future of work.
She was first introduced to JA while working at Goldman Sachs in New York City. Impressed by the organization, she quit her lucrative job at age 24 to bring JA to Nigeria, where it now reaches more than 100,000 young people annually, before going on to head up JA’s operations across the continent.
She is a passionate advocate for girls’ education and one of her unique initiatives includes the Leadership, Empowerment Achievement & Development (LEAD) Camp for Girls, which has inspired and empowered over 1,200 young girls to become high-achieving women leaders in society.
Another initiative she has championed is the Venture in Management Programme (ViMP), which is designed to empower young people in the different facets of managing a business, making crucial business decisions and developing skills for General Management and social responsibility.
She also built digital and out-of-school youth programs that enabled her organisation to reach underserved populations in the North of Nigeria, even during the Boko Haram crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to becoming JA Africa CEO in 2020, she led JA Nigeria to impact the lives of
over 1 million Nigerians in 5,000 schools. Among the many JA alumni who have
gone on to become job creators and social entrepreneurs is Iyin Aboyeji, the
founder of two unicorns, Andela and Flutterwave.
Nwogugu also serves as President of the governing board of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Nigeria (HBSAN) and has been recognised by the school with numerous awards including the Bert King Award for Social Impact presented by the Harvard Business School African-American Alumni Association.