Tech firm HP, in partnership with Microsoft and T4 Education, has named Simi Nwogugu, CEO of JA Africa, as the winner of the Africa Education Medal 2023.
The Africa Education Medal was founded last year with the aim of honouring individuals who have demonstrated impact, leadership, and advocacy in education.
Nwogugu is based in Nigeria and heads up JA Africa, an NGO that is part of JA Worldwide – one of the world’s largest youth-serving NGOs that prepares young people for the future of work.
She became JA Africa CEO in 2020, and HP says Nwogugu led JA Nigeria to impact the lives of over one million Nigerians in 5 000 schools.
HP said Nwogugu was first introduced to JA while working at Goldman Sachs in New York City.
“Impressed by the organisation, she quit her lucrative job at age 24 to bring JA to Nigeria, where it now reaches more than 100 000 young people annually, before heading up JA’s operations across the continent,” the company says.
In a statement, HP stated: “For 25 years, Nwogugu has been leading JA’s efforts in various capacities as it embarked on a mission to help young people to generate and effectively manage wealth, create jobs for their communities, as well as apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace and skills that will secure their financial future.
“Her passion for strategy and innovation led to the development of many impactful programmes that ensure young Nigerians have the skillsets and mindset to succeed.”
Further, the tech company says: “By 2025, Africa will be home to 25% of the world’s youth population. Through the delivery of hands-on, blended learning in financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship, her organisation empowers young people to grow their entrepreneurial ideas, hone their work readiness skills, manage their earnings, and secure better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.”
Commenting on the award, Nwogugu says:“I am so honoured to receive this accolade, but it is not just about me. This award is for all the fantastic staff at JA Africa and all the inspirational young people they have worked with, helping pave the way to a brighter future for our continent’s young. I want to thank T4 Education, HP and Microsoft for giving these people hope that together we can make a difference.”
Mayank Dhingra, HP senior education business leader for Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa, congratulated Nwogugu.
He said: “Her work at JA Africa is empowering the continent’s next generation to face the future. She inspires all of us at HP, where our goal is to accelerate digital equity for 150 million people globally by 2030.
“Only by joining forces and aligning with NGOs, government, educators and businesses can we improve the education environment. The Africa Education Medal brings together all those who are changing the face of African education, whose vital work deserves to be celebrated.”
Vikas Pota, founder and CEO of T4 Education, commended Nwogugu for dedicating her life to upskilling Africa’s young people, equipping them with the tools to survive and thrive.