The 2019 YIL Fellowship Report

SINCE 2018

The YIL Fellowship: A Platform for Raising Innovation Leaders

The YIL Fellowship is the flagship programme of Hutzpa Centre for Innovation and Development. Now in its 2nd year of operations, the YIL Fellowship is dedicated towards equipping young professionals with the soft skills they need to become innovation leaders and to rightly position themselves for the future of work.

YIL Fellowship has concluded its second edition in Nigeria and a first edition in Ghana. Altogether, 33 young professionals from 3 countries, including South Africa, have been trained and inducted into the fellowship. This report summarises the events and impacts of the 2019 edition.

YIL Fellowship Nigeria 2019

This is the second edition of the YIL Fellowship in Nigeria. 

Selection: We called for applications in March. We got about 300 applications. After a 4-stage screening process, we selected 45 participants plus 4 executive participants from UNFPA Nigeria. Of these 45 participants are 12 persons (3 teams) being sponsored by UNFPA Nigeria to solve challenges in 3 areas of concern which include: innovations to prevent maternal mortality, innovations to estimate the impact of interventions in maternal mortality, and innovations to prevent gender-based violence. Afterwards, innovations for family planning was added.

Inauguration Bootcamp (21-24th May): We had a 4-day bootcamp at Spicery Hotel Oniru under the facilitation of Mr Eyal Halamish whom we invited from Australia. During this meeting, he drilled them on  how to create solutions out of problems using creativity tools, design thinking, and innovation management concepts. Other speakers included: Mr Sam Ohuabunwa (President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria), Mr Ezekiel Osaze (Head of Big Data at Oracle, Nigeria) and Mr Michael Nwoseh (Head of Youth Banking, FCMB). In attendance at this event were the Country Representative of UNFPA Nigeria, represented by his deputy, Mr Adonri Osarentin, and the West African Brand Ambassador of UNFPA, Mrs Stephanie Linus. The keynote address was taken by Mr Adonri Osarentin, for his boss.

Challenge Phase: This phase lasted for 4 months, 2 weeks. Eleven teams started the journey; 2 were eventually merged into other teams and 1 was dismissed. The merged teams were working on similar products. The team dismissed couldn’t meet up with demands of this phase.

Induction Bootcamp (23-25th October): We had a 3-day bootcamp at Spicery Hotel Oniru. Eight teams and 20 YIL participants plus 2 UNFPA participants made it to the event. During this meeting, participants were taught on how to pitch their solutions and steps to scale up their concepts. The pitching event took place on the 25th of October. In attendance were entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystem experts from different industries. Eight solutions were pitched. They include:

1) Authagric is a product authentication system developed by the team that sought to apply information and communication technology to agriculture in Nigeria. 

2) Altar Fold is a toilet effectively designed to use about 80% less water than the commonly sold water closet systems. This solution was developed by the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene team.

3) GenderAid is a rich solution proffered by the team which worked on ending gender-based violence in Nigeria. GenderAid provides rich and engaging content as well as peer-to-peer learning, in order to foster early sex and gender equality education as a means of proactively addressing gender-based violence n Nigeria.

4) Learnbeta is a project-based learning platform developed by the STEM team, specifically designed to incline the interest of students towards STEM-related subjects, using a more pragmatic approach to learning.  

5) Pregnancy Manager is a solution developed by the team that seeks to end maternal mortality in Nigeria. This solution leverages existing community resources to increase the access that pregnant women in rural areas have to quality institutional health care.

6) Theragist is a platform developed by the mental health team, which affords individuals anonymity while expressing their mental health challenges, and helps provides timely and expert counselling to individuals, in order to improve their mental health.

7) TRIM (The Reproductive Health Inclusive Model) is a platform developed by the family planning team, which leverages anonymity and provides reliable counselling to youths, in order to increase the accessibility of Nigerian youths to contraceptives and prevent unwanted pregnancies and unsafe abortion. 

8) Weaniplus is an infant formula developed by the nutrition team, which leveraged the use of local agricultural inputs in effectively balanced nutrient proportions, to address child malnutrition in the country.

YIL Fellowship Ghana 2019

This is the first edition of the YIL Fellowship in Ghana.

Selection: We called for applications in August. We got about 200 applications. After a 4-stage screening process, we selected 21 participants.

Inauguration Bootcamp (3rd-6th September): We had a 4-day bootcamp at Crown Liberty Hotel, Accra. The keynote speeches were given on the first day by: Dr Mrs Angela Ackon (Deputy Director Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana); Dr Charles Ackon (CEO Mangel Klicks); and Rev. Stephen Kwaku Fokuoh (Director of Ghana Baptist Health Services). The Guest Speaker for the day was Mr Yaw Owusu-Brempong (CEO Capital Venture Fund Ghana). Also in attendance at this event were 2 representatives from UNFPA Ghana. The Chief Facilitator at the bootcamp was Dr Obichi Obiajunwa and in these 3 days he took them through how to create solutions out of problems using project management tools, design thinking, and innovation management concepts. Other resource persons included: Mr. Henry Baffoe (Managing Director BigData Ghana); Dr. David Ebo Agyepon ( Computer science lecturer, Ashesi University); Mr. Emmanuel Antoh (GIS Expert, USAID); Rev Philip Badger (Mechanical Engineer, GE); Mrs. Selorm Badger (Human Resource Manager, Zormelo and Associates); and Mrs. Tina Nartey. The rest of the team present were Dr. Anna Fokuoh-Boadu (Country Rep), Ms Abena Kwabea Atakora (Head of Strategy) and Mr. Steven Fokuoh-Boadu (Head of Operations). 

Challenge Phase: This phase lasted for 3 months, 3 weeks. Five teams started the journey;1  was eventually dismissed for not meeting up with demands of this phase.

Induction Bootcamp (18-20th December): We had a 3-day bootcamp at Baptist Guest House, Accra. Four teams and 11 YIL participants made it to the event. During this meeting, participants were taught on how to pitch their solutions and steps to scale up their concepts. The pitching event took place on the 20th of December at Baptist Convention Office Complex. In attendance were entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystem experts from different industries. Four solutions were pitched. They include:

  1. AgriTrade: Built an online bidding platform that allows farmers to find more buyers and identify the best possible deal; while buyers can easily access and identify the products for sale in their desired location
  2. HealthHost: Created a mobile application that connects health workers to work and training opportunities.
  3. EduImpact: Used child-centred learning space design modelling services together with development games to varying children learning needs to help improve early learning.
  4. Upcare: Designed a digital referral platform to prevent morbidities and mortalities in gynecological and obstetric cases in Ghana.



It was the first year of our mentorship programme for the 2018 YIL fellows. Nine mentors and 9 YIL Fellows participated in the mentorship programme. Altogether about 20 hours of direct mentoring took place. And the predominant channels of communication were instant messaging and emailing. General feedback from mentors was that more motivation is needed in the mentees. The fellows found the programme very useful. Major setback was technical issues from devices and poor connectivity on the part of the mentees.


YIL Internship Programme

The organisation structured a virtual internship programmes as part of the social impact channels for equipping African youth. This was launched on November 1, 2019. Calls for applications were made and interviews were conducted to identify suitable applicants. A total of 20 interns were recruited. Interns have been imbued with the basic knowledge of innovation management and are taking courses related to their functions within each unit. Through this, we have successfully introduced more African youths into the sphere of innovation and we do hope that the practical experience gained through the internship programme would stand them out in their fields.


YIL Scholar Award

In rewarding outstanding students, the YIL Fellowship collaborates with the University of Ibadan to confer the organisation’s award on students with a track record of excellence. The following criteria were used in selecting the awardees: Outstanding Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA); Possession of a hard skill; Passionate about innovation; Contribution to community development; and Availability for participation in the 2020 edition of the Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship.

During the induction ceremony of the 2019 Nigerian cohort, the Hutzpa Award was conferred on Godspower Oboli, best graduating student from the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Ibadan, after successfully developing a solution that improves access to mental health professionals for individuals battling with their mental health. 

For the 2020 Young Innovation Leader Scholar Award (Formerly Hutzpa Award), a total of 23 names were provided by the university out of which 12 were invited for interviews. Four of these stood out and were awarded. They include: Oluwasegun Afolaranmi (Faculty of Medicine and Surgery); Boluwatife Ikwunne (Faculty of Medicine and Surgery); Olubukola Ojagbemi (Faculty of Dentistry); and Lawal Ogunfowora (Faculty  of Science).

These awardees possess priority admission into the 2020 Nigerian edition of the Young Leaders Fellowship upon receipt of their applications. They would also be granted the YIL Scholar Award certificates upon successful completion of the Fellowship.

Update on Our 2018 Fellows

We follow up on our fellows to ensure they are leading innovation in their spheres of influence

Four out of Nine are pursuing their MSc degrees; two at the University of Ibadan, one at National College of Ireland, and another at University of Alberta. One runs a nonprofit focused on solving public health nutrition challenges, a project which has reached scores of beneficiaries in rural areas. One is using AI and Game mechanics into incentive-based literacy development programme to get quality education to marginalized children and youth. One is practicing Veterinary Medicine. And two others are training in advanced software development and robotics respectively. None is unemployed.


New Board Member

A new member was added to the board of trustees of Hutzpa Centre for Innovation, the only female of the team, Neta Hanien. Neta is an award-winning social entrepreneur and a former public prosecutor at the Israeli Ministry of Justice.


Additional Advisers

In 2019, we were glad to engage the expertise of the following professionals as mentors and advisors of the YIL Fellowship.

    1. Iyinoluwa Aboyeji: CEO of Street Capital, founder of Flutterwave, and co-founder of Andela
    2. Terry Mashanda: A strategy consultant and founder of TenTessa Coaching
    3. Dr Gbenga Adebayo: A public health physician and founder/ CEO of Livinghealth International
    4. Mr Destiny Agbanimu: An IT consultant and innovation specialist at Mothergold Consulting, Abuja
    5. Augustina Nartey: Public health specialist and CEO of Normal Life Ltd Ghana


We rebranded to “Young Innovation Leaders Fellowship” from “Hutzpa Excellence Leaders Fellowship” to better capture the mission and essence of the programme.


To further drive the vision of the platform which is Africa-focused, we decided to expand the programme to Ghana as YIL Fellowship Ghana under our nonprofit incorporated as Hutzpa Centre for Innovation, Accra. We also successfully hosted a maiden edition of the fellowship there, inducting 11 fellows in December.


We inducted 33 fellows into the YIL platform in 2019. These include young professionals from 3 countries of Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. Nonjabulo Gumede applied and came to Nigeria to participate in the fellowship in 2019.


We had a total of 30,000 USD of revenue in 2019. While most of that was in grants and donations, we were able to partner with UNFPA Nigeria to sponsor the participation and training of their staffs, as well as to sponsor the training for the teams who would develop solutions to the challenges which they (UNFPA Nigeria) had submitted to us.


We partnered with UNFPA Nigeria, UNFPA Ghana, FCMB, United Nation Volunteers, Agrited Ltd, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.


During the YIL Fellowship, participants were able to create 12 technology solutions and concepts which have the potential of causing immense social impact under expert supervision. Some of these solutions are being being further developed and scaled up by our fellows.

YIL Objectives

Our objectives outlined

  1. To train young professionals in innovation leadership
  2. To inspire young professionals to be at the forefront of innovation for development.
  3. To mentor young professionals to lead profound changes as high performance employees, and emerge outstanding entrepreneurs
  4. To empower young people to attain their ultimate career dreams

YIL in 2020

Some of the changes for 2020

  1. The fellowship will recruit participants who are willing to dedicate themselves to scale up the innovation they came up with during the fellowship
  2. It is going to be a full-time programme for 3 months with participants paid for the period of time
  3. We will be recruiting between 12-15 fellows 
  4. We plan to create training workshops and online courses to generate alternative sources of revenue for the fellowship other than through grants


What we require in 2020

  1. Partnerships with organisations for funding and training resources
  2. An innovation lab for YIL fellows and participants
  3. More advisors for the YIL Fellowship
  4. More mentors for our fellows and participants
  5. Funding for innovations being scaled up
  6. A business development expert and a grant writer

Have any enquiries?

Contact us at +234-8123831687 or and we will 
surely answer your questions.