INTRODUCING FARRREACH SOFT SKILLS EXPO
“Farreach Soft Skills Exposition for Students (aka Farreach Soft Skills Expo)” is an innovative inclusive solution that adopts the Farreach Perspective of using participatory communication for effective stakeholder engagement to improve the knowledge, understanding, application of soft skills for students, and thereby equip them to navigate the challenges of life both in their academic lives in the school and their career lives after school, and become better future leaders. The transformation of our culture from an Industrial Age of the 19th and 20th centuries to an Information Age of the 21st century is why a new kind of literacy, coupled with a new way of learning, is critical in the 21st century. According to Alvin Toffler, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” David Berlo in his book titled Communication and Behavior (1975) stated that “Most of what we have called formal education has been intended to imprint on the human mind all of the information that we might need for a lifetime. Education is geared toward information storage. Today that is neither possible nor necessary. Rather, humankind needs to be taught how to process information that is stored through technology. Education needs to be geared toward the handling of data rather than the accumulation of data.” The explosion of information in the 21st century has presented a major challenge to the world of formal education. For centuries, schooling has been designed to make sure students learned facts about the world—which they proved they knew by correctly answering questions on tests. But such a system is no longer relevant when the most up-to-date facts are available at the touch of a button. What students need today is to learn how to find what they need to know when they need to know it, from the best sources available—and to have the higher order thinking skills to analyse and evaluate whether the information they find is useful for what they want to know.
Thus, “Farreach Soft Skills Expo” is the solution to this social-educational challenge. “Farreach Soft Skills Expo” is a product of the current research work of Chijioke Dikeocha which adopts Chijioke Dikeocha’s research postulation that strongly advocates the Farreach perspective of using participatory communication for effective stakeholder engagement in development intervention in Africa. This programme is initiated by Farreach International, a media and communication group that provides and implements innovative inclusive solutions that improve social and human communication for individuals and organisations that promote social and human development in Africa. Farreach International is made of Farreach International Ltd, Farreach Initiative for Development Communication in Africa Inc., and Farreach Media. These three organisations work in synergy to achieve the Farreach International’s vision and mission.
About “Farreach Soft Skills Expo”
“Farreach Soft Skills Expo” is a programme that is designed for students in the secondary education and undergraduate students in higher institutions in Nigeria. Its major objective is to expose the fundamentals of soft skills to students in order to improve the knowledge, understanding, and application of soft skills for students, and thereby equip them to navigate the challenges of life both in their academic lives in the school and their career lives after school, and become better future leaders. “Farreach Soft Skills Expo”, with inquiry as its core foundation, provides the engaging bridge over which students can pass to learn the critical process skills they’ll need to not just survive but to thrive as adults in the 21st century. In fact, Soft Skills are the inevitable part of the modern era which are essential to sustain 21st century adult in a complex, competitive, knowledge-based, information-age, technology-driven economy and society. In the recent years, emphasis on the importance of soft skills has grown all over the world. It is not only important to know technical aspects of a job but how this knowledge will transform into output has also become very important for the organisations. A person’s behaviour, attitude, communication skills etc. play an important role not only in employability but also the importance of such skills in career growth. In today’s context, no person is working in isolation. We are all connected to each other in a given job scenario. In this context if a person has excellent knowledge of her/his subject but doesn’t have good relationship with the team and also unable to lead the team to complete a project, the work will get affected leading to dissatisfaction among all concerned.
Therefore, “Farreach Soft Skills Expo” is the solution to this social-educational challenge. “Farreach Soft Skills Expo” creates opportunities for stakeholders in the public, private and development sectors to collaborate in shaping the mind-set and behaviour of future leaders that will play critical roles in advancing human society. It is a strategic communication intervention programme that adopts partnership strategy to improve social change in Nigeria. Farreach International considers the students as strategic stakeholders in shaping the future of Nigeria and thereby creates opportunities through “Farreach Soft Skills Expo” to expose them to the fundamentals of soft skills. To achieve this objective, Farreach International is seeking the collaboration of the public, private, and development organisations.
Problems “Farreach Soft Skills Expo” will solve
Through our research studies, we have identified some of the problems that have beclouded the mind-set of the youth and thereby preventing them from developing and maximizing their potentials. These problems are grouped into four broad categories:
- Mis-/Under-/Un-utilization of youthful energy and zeal
- Lack of interest in social enterprise
To solve these problems, Farreach International has carefully developed a set of skills that drives the “Farreach Soft Skills Expo” for the youth, which can re-programme their mind-sets, help them develop and maximize their potentials.
Skills set of “Farreach Soft Skills Expo”
- Critical & Creative thinking
- Media literacy
- Financial intelligence
- Emotional intelligence
- Business & Career etiquette
- Communication skills
- Life-time learning prowess
- Time management
- Cross-cultural awareness
- Leadership & Teamwork
Expected Result and Long-term Impact
- To raise complete African youth who are equipped with 21st century soft skills to navigate the complex, competitive, knowledge-based, information-age, technology-driven economy and society, and emerge better future leaders.
Expected Mid-term Outcome
- To raise more than 2000 African youth in three years who are equipped with basic 21st century soft skills to navigate the complex, competitive, knowledge-based, information-age, technology-driven economy and society, and emerge better future leaders.
- To raise more than 2000 African youth in three years who are unbeatable social change agents that will facilitate the positive transformation of their communities.
- To improve the quality of secondary school graduates to be properly equipped with 21st century soft skills to navigate the complex, competitive, knowledge-based, information-age, technology-driven economy and society, and emerge better future leaders.
Expected Short-term Outcome
- To increase the knowledge of Farreach Soft Skills among secondary school students (Farreach Club Members) by more than 30% in a year.
- To increase the understanding of Farreach Soft Skills among secondary school students (Farreach Club Members) by more than 30% in a year.
- To increase the application of Farreach Soft Skills among secondary school students (Farreach Club Members) by more than 30% in a year.
How our approach is unique from others
Through our current research work, we identified that one of the major causes of failure in most development interventions in Africa is ineffective communication, and the inactive participation of the core beneficiaries of development intervention in the communication process. Thus, passive participation of the core beneficiaries of development intervention will give birth to ineffective communication which is capable of influencing development efforts negatively. Often, great ideas are initiated and approved for implementation to solve some of the challenges facing the youth especially those that are in the formal learning environment (education institutions) both in their academic lives and their career lives after school. However, some of these solutions or development interventions do not achieve the desired results after the funding period because of the communication approach adopted in the intervention. The students are often seen as a hit target with programme messages and campaigns, and thereby keeping them at the receiving end of the communication process. This approach promotes the consumer culture and it fails to recognize that social change is achieved on the environment of mutual trust, dialogue and active participation that are anchored on genuine two-way communication approach. “Farreach Soft Skills Expo” is adopting a communication approach that promotes participatory culture and learning.
Our Theory of Change
Our theory of change is anchored on the Farreach perspective of using participatory communication for effective stakeholder engagement in development intervention and social change programmes in Africa. The strategy of this theory is explained in our current research paper: Using participatory communication for effective stakeholder engagement: Farreach Perspective. Being the biggest Black Country in Africa, Nigeria is a good ground to test the implementation of this theory of change. Nigeria is challenged with a lot of problems that cut cross every sector of the society. Most of these problems have gone very deep in the system of our country. And it will be difficult to solve any of these problems in isolation because the negative influence and pressure from other sectors will erode such efforts within a short period of time.
However, we understand that the life cycle of any human begin is structured for transition at different stages of one’s lifetime.
For instance, from Conception
,, Child (1-9yrs)
,, Adolescent (10-19yrs) critical stages
,, Young adult (20-30yrs)
,, Adult (31yrs and above)
Therefore, we identify the adolescent and young adult stages as very critical in the formation of mind-set and behaviour of most human beings. At these stages, critical decisions are made that will shape the life of the individual at the adult stage. We recognise that before getting to the adolescent stage, an individual must have consumed a lot of information that are shaping his/her mind-set and behaviour. It may be difficult to erase the negative information that is shaping the mind-set and behaviour at these stages with only one-way communication approach. The individual may resist any contrary view whether right or wrong to the negative information he/she must have consumed before this stage. Through “Farreach Soft Skills Expo”, Farreach International seeks to move beyond one-way communication approach to test the implementation of partnership strategy that is driven by genuine two-way communication approach in communicating social change in Nigeria. We believe that by adopting this approach, the students’ accumulated views will be carefully listened to and discussed by our volunteer resource persons and the desired mind-set and behaviour that will make them outstanding unbeatable social change agents will finally be implanted in them through “Farreach Soft Skills Expo”.
- Funders, supporters, Partners
- Volunteer Resource persons
- Students and Schools
- General public
Target Funders, Supporters, and Partners
- International & National development organisations & CSOs
- Government agencies
- Corporate organisations
- Individual philanthropists
Target Volunteer Resource Persons
- Passionate individuals
- Passionate staff members from: —
- Corporate organisations
- Government agencies
- Civil society organisations
- Academic & Research community
Selected Schools and Students
The following secondary schools were selected for the pilot project in Imo State:
- Baptist High School, Owerri, Imo State (Mission School—Co-education (Boys & Girls))
- Owerri City School, Owerri, Imo State (Public School —- Co-education (Boys & Girls))
- Ikenegbu Girls’ Secondary School, Owerri, Imo State (Public School —- Mono-education (Only Girls))
- Government College, Owerri, Imo State (Public School —- Mono-education (Only Boys))
- Goldsmith International School, Owerri, Imo State (Private School— Co-education (Boys & Girls))
- School Authority & Management
- Government & Policy markers
- Interested individuals