Nigeria's Simi Nwogugu Wins Africa Education Medal For 2023

The Africa Education Medal was established to honour those change agents whose tireless efforts are transforming African education.

Nigeria's Simi Nwogugu Wins Africa Education Medal For 2023

The winner of this year’s Africa Education Medal, the continent’s most prestigious education honor established in 2022 by T4 Education, HP, and Microsoft in partnership, was Simi Nwogugu of Nigeria, CEO of Junior Achievement (JA) Africa.

The Africa Education Medal was established to honour those change agents whose tireless efforts are transforming African education.

According to UNESCO data, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest global rate of educational exclusion. Between the ages of six and eleven, more than one-fifth of kids are not in school, with girls experiencing particular disadvantage.

The Africa Education Medal celebrates the achievements of African educators in boosting enrollment before the pandemic, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps and bring lasting change in education.

Simi Nwogugu, the CEO of JA Africa, is a member of JA Worldwide, a group that trains young people for the workforce of the future and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. While employed by Goldman Sachs in New York City, Nwogugu met JA. At the age of 24, she left her job to introduce JA to Nigeria, where it now reaches more than 100,000 young people yearly.

The fact that 37% of the workforce and 60% of people in sub-Saharan Africa’s population are under 25 emphasises the organization’s critical importance. 25% of the world’s youth will reside in Africa by 2025.

Young people are empowered by Nwogugu’s organization through practical, blended learning in financial literacy, job readiness, and entrepreneurship. This enables them to develop business ideas, improve job readiness skills, handle money, and ensure better lives for themselves, their families, and communities.

Nwogugu has been the head of JA for 25 years, focusing on assisting young people in managing their finances, creating jobs, and using the principles of entrepreneurship. Her enthusiasm for innovation and strategy has resulted in the creation of effective programmes that guarantee young Africans have the knowledge and attitude necessary to succeed.

She is a fierce supporter of girls’ education, and among her innovative projects is the Leadership, Empowerment Achievement and Development (LEAD) Camp for Girls, which has inspired and equipped more than 1,200 young girls to become high-achieving women leaders in society.

The Venture in Management Programme (ViMP) empowers young people in managing businesses, making crucial decisions, and developing skills for General Management and social responsibility. Graduates have founded Nigeria’s leading businesses and impactful non-profit organizations, showcasing their leadership abilities.

For JA Nigeria, Nwogugu created digital and after-school youth programmes that helped underserved communities in Northern Nigeria during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Boko Haram crisis.

She led JA Nigeria to have an impact on over 1 million Nigerians in 5,000 schools before taking over as CEO of JA Africa in 2020. Alumni of JA, like Iyin Aboyeji, have created jobs and started nonprofits in appreciation for JA’s Company Programme in secondary school.

A recipient of numerous honours from the university, including the Bert King Award for Social Impact given by the Harvard Business School African-American Alumni Association, Nwogugu also holds the position of President of the Governing Board of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Nigeria (HBAN).

She is pursuing her passion to empower and equip 10 million African girls to build thriving communities by 2050 as a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Africa Leadership Initiative for West Africa (ALIWA).

“Congratulations to Simi Nwogugu on the fantastic achievement of winning the Africa Education Medal 2023,” said Mayank Dhingra, Senior Education Business Leader for Southern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at HP. Her work at JA Africa is really giving the continent’s young people the confidence they need to face the future.

We at HP have a bold goal to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people worldwide by 2030, and she serves as an inspiration for all of us. We can only significantly improve the educational environment by cooperating and aligning with NGOs, the government, educators, and businesses.

The Africa Education Medal brings together all those whose vital work deserves to be recognised and who are reshaping the face of African education.

The Africa Education Medal 2023 was awarded to Simi Nwogugu, CEO of JA Africa, for her outstanding efforts in empowering staff and students. She thanked T4 Education, HP, and Microsoft for helping to open the door for the youth of Africa to have a better future.

The CEO of JA Worldwide, Asheesh Advani, praised Nwogugu for her role as a changemaker and cited her love of Africa’s youth as well as her leadership in JA Nigeria and Africa.

JA Africa’s Board Chair, Olumuyiwa Moyela, issued the following statement: “Congratulations to Simi Nwogugu on winning the Africa Education Medal 2023.

This well-deserved honour highlights Simi’s enthusiasm and unwavering dedication to educating African youth and empowering them. Simi is in charge of JA Africa, which is stepping up its support for the continent’s education and youth development agenda by igniting fresh collaborations and cutting-edge initiatives and influencing the futures of numerous young people there.

Simi Nwogugu received congratulations from Simi Nwogugu, CEO of T4 Education, on receiving the Africa Education Medal 2023.

The award honours individuals who advance early childhood, K–12, postsecondary, and tertiary education, including teachers, school administrators, leaders of civil society, employees of the state, elected officials, and innovators or technologists.

Nwogugu’s commitment to educating Africa’s youth will serve as a call to action for changemakers to realise the continent’s potential. A jury made up of well-known people selected the winner using strict criteria.