My name is Godswill Uchenna Agbagwa. I am the Founder of CSAAE. I was born in Umueze Amaimo, a small village in Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria, West Africa.
As a child, I had a comfortable life, thanks to my hardworking parents. Things took a bad turn in 1990 when my father, Mr. CharlymanPeters Chikamnele Agbagwa passed away, leaving my mother, Late Mrs. EvelynPeters Chinyere Agbagwa to fend for their seven children. Poverty quickly set in and for many years we barely managed to feed, obtain medical care and pay tuition.
Began dreaming of a better Africa
It was then that I started dreaming of a better Africa where all can find support and encouragement to work hard, live with dignity and feel proud to belong. My dream was deceptively kept alive by a corrupt military junta that kept assuring us of an imminent coming of a better Nigeria where there would be free education, sufficient food, reliable electric power supply and clean drinking water.
Every night, I dreamt of this kind of Nigeria. Morning came followed by night but we remained poor, hungry and helpless. I still had to trek several miles to fetch drinking water, burn nightly candles to study for my exams, and prayed that I did not fall sick because there was no good health care facility.
My dreams became a passion
By the time, I was ordained a priest for the Catholic Archdiocese of Owerri, Nigeria, in December 2003, my dreams of a better Nigeria had faded away. But in 2008, while on study leave in the United States, the dream came back. As I toured Europe and North America during vacations, I wondered why basic amenities such as clean drinking water, uninterrupted electricity supply, paved roads, and good healthcare are considered luxuries in my native land. I wondered why I was treated with contempt at the airports and wept at Toronto international airport in 2008 when an immigration officer inquired how much I gave in bribes for my Nigerian passport. It was then that my dream of a better Africa turned into passion.
For several years, I struggled, day and night, to unravel the root causes of poverty and underdevelopment in Africa. I read books and articles on poverty and underdevelopment in Africa. I attended conferences and seminars and engaged anybody that cared to listen. I then took a trip back home to re-assess the situation of things. Nigeria was still a sorry state.
After prayerful reflections, I became convinced that poverty and underdevelopment in Africa are caused by a combination of failure of leadership, loss of social and moral sense, as well as loss of entrepreneurial spirit. I then came to the conclusion that Africa can indeed become a better place for all if we can start nurturing a new generation of African Leaders and work-force imbued with the morals, entrepreneurial spirit and excellent leadership skills to facilitate development and end poverty, I therefore decided to establish CSAAE for the purpose of working towards this dream.
Chasing my dream through CSAAE
Although CSAAE was registered as a non-profit organization in Nigeria in 2010 and as a 501(c) entity in the United States in August 2013, activities at the Centre commenced in December 2013 with the launching of the Emerging African Leaders Program (ELP).
ELP was established in response to Africa’s failure of public leadership. It prepares youth for positions in public service by channeling them into activities that develop leaders of character; cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship; promote good governance, transparency and accountability in government; and encourage mentorship among Nigerian youth Learn more about ELP
In 2014, we launched the Career Building and Entrepreneurship Program (CBEP) in response to Africa’s loss of entrepreneurial spirit. CBEP engages youth in discussions about career direction while helping them navigate three paths from college to career: entering the workforce, pursuing a graduate degree, or starting a business. These youths in turn commit to using their careers to enhance the greater good for Africa. Learn more about CBEP
The Youth Ethics and Anticorruption Program (YEAP)was launched in 2016 as an answer to Africa’s loss of moral and social sense. YEAP seeks to raise the consciousness of youth to the importance of transparency, human rights and accountability in the work world while teaching them how to identify, resist and fight corruption hindering development in Africa. Learn more about YEAP
Graduates of ELP form a Network of Effective Moral Leaders (NEAL) with one goal of taking over the leadership of Africa for good. Under the guidance of the Centre, these effective leaders run for offices, serve in government, shape public policies and launch enterprises that enhance the greater good for Africa. They bear on each other on good governance, mentor emerging leaders at CSAAE and champion social impact projects in Africa.
Although distinct in their areas of focus, each program shares the common goal of creating positive social, economic and political change one youth at a time. CSAAE focuses on youths because of my burning desire to nurture a new generation of African leaders and workforce that will effect positive socioeconomic change in Africa. We relentlessly invest our funds, time and talents in these young men and women because we believe in their potentials to facilitate development and end poverty in Africa.
Appreciation: The history of CSAAE will not be complete without mentioning some people who first believed in my dream even when it was not vivid and played prominent roles towards the realization of the dream.
I first shared my dream with my mother, Late Mrs. EvelynPeters Chinyere Agbagwa. She was very supportive and strongly encouraged me to establish the Centre but did not live to see it as she died in 2012. After her death, I became depressed and decided not to pursue the dream any longer, but she told me in a dream not to give up on my dream. I woke up immediately, picked up the phone and started work on the Centre.
I also shared my dream with my siblings who were all supportive. I also shared my dream with my close friend and first CSAAE VP, Fr. Vincent Arisukwu who helped to execute my initial plans in Nigeria. Mr. Austin Nwankwo built our first website and designed our logo. Our initial Nigeria and U.S. Board of Trustees and volunteers (especially Chief Mrs. Olusola Abuachi and Bridget Kenah) as well as successive Board of Trustees, ELP Mentors, CBEP Coaches, Staff, Volunteers and Donors as well as our initial and successive Emerging Leaders played helpful roles.
A better Africa where all (not just Africans) can find support and encouragement to work hard, live with dignity and feel proud to belong is my dream, my vision. Raising a new generation of African leaders and work-force imbued with the morals, entrepreneurial spirit and effective leadership skills to facilitate development and end poverty in Africa is our mission and sure path to the realization of this dream.
- CSAAE is registered in Nigeria as a non-profit with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
- CSAAE is also registered in the United States as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
- CSAAE is in the process of being registered in other African countries.
- CSAAE is registered as campus-based organization in 25 tertiary institutions in Africa.
- CSAAE’s programs are implemented from the Centre’s office in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria with planning support from its international office in the United States.