A real estate development firm has taken up the challenge of leadership in the country by investing in the future through a child-focused initiative that seeks to produce future leaders. The firm, known as Design Protocol, is investing in the future of businesses by promoting mentorship using the Child-MD initiative otherwise called EmpowerMD, now in its second edition.

“This initiative is essentially about leadership. We need to train our children and catch them young, This is the only time you can mould them into responsible adults, Bayo Adalemo, Design Protocol’s managing director, explained in an interview with journalists on the sideline of EmpowerMD 2.0 event in Lagos.

The aim is to instil values in them, especially values in leadership, to ensure that they take over the mantle not just in governance but also in business, Adalemo added, stressing that the company simply wants the children to become better-rounded individuals who, at the end of the day, will make the whole country a much better place.

Design Protocol is the developer of the project called Admiralty 20 or Admiralty Pearl, located on Admiralty Road, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos. The project comprises 20 units of 4-bedroom semi-detached terrace houses.

The company develops real estate on a commercial basis and, as much as possible, fills the gap that exists in the housing sector which is estimated at 22 million units. “In our own little way, we are trying to see what we can do in that respect. We deliver quality houses that are sustainable,” Adalemo said.

He sees a relationship between their real estate business and the Child-MD initiative because, as he put it, “we have to invest in the future. If we don’t have well-trained and well-grounded individuals who will be taking over from us in future, then our businesses will be in trouble.

So, this is a way of ensuring that the people that we will be employing in future are the right people who are well-grounded in business and leadership. They have to be properly educated.”

The EmpowerMD or Child-MD initiative exposes the selected child to the art of leadership by giving the child the opportunity to become the Managing Director of Design Protocol for just one day—holding meetings and taking ad-hoc decisions on the running of the company, among other things.

The first edition of the initiative produced nine-year-old Chimamanda Isiakpona to act as Design Protocol’s MD in place of Adalemo for just one day.

Isiakpona was selected for that one-day role because she had shown some talent in drawing and painting and had done a lot of them. “She has a variety of skills which are practically unusual for someone at her age. We want to get her well-grounded in as many areas as possible so that she, on her own, will decide what she wants to do in future,” Adalemo explained.

The second edition of the initiative produced 11-year-old Chidinma Angel Ogba, a student of Command Day Secondary School in Ojo area of Lagos, who emerged from a rigorous selection process that involved 20 other children from various backgrounds in Lagos.

Apart from the opportunity to become a one-day MD, Ogba was also given a cash prize of N100,000, a goodie bag, and a gift box that contained items that would help develop her talent. She was also given a mandate to take back all she had learnt and gained from the initiative to other children.

Adalemo is optimistic about the future of the initiative saying, “I would like to see a situation where this initiative is replicated everywhere in Nigeria, not necessarily by me but other stakeholders. We need to see these children well educated and empowered for future challenges.”

“The initiative is about the children; it is about the future; the ultimate aim is to ensure that every child of school-going age has the opportunity to be exposed to education, leadership training, civics and other soft skills to ensure that they have a chance to succeed in life,” he emphasized.

Source: Business Day