“Believe in yourself, your team, and your idea”

Welcome to the blog again! We hope you are in good health, achieving your goals, and preparing for the future effectively. As we shared the last time, we want you to experience what our contests are like. In today’s post, we would be introducing you to one of our top seven finalists – TEAM DREAM!

Team Dream has been quite a curious name for everyone, and just as intriguing as the team name, are the team members.

Aderemi Temilola is our team lead. She is a 2nd-year medical student at the University of Ibadan. Professionally, she is working towards becoming a world-class surgeon, an excellent writer, and a researcher. She is also a tech enthusiast with a keen interest in health technology in Nigeria. Olayiwola Olaitan Hafiz is a 2nd-year medical student at the University of Ibadan with a research interest in health innovations. He is also a UI/UX designer passionate about designing user-centered, and aesthetically pleasing interfaces. Emmanuel Utibe is a medical student at the University of Ibadan and a student journalist with the University of Ibadan, Union of Campus Journalists, Indy Press and the University of Ibadan Medical Students’ Association pre-clinical Press. He is a budding writer and continuous learner. Ademola Obakayode is a 2nd-year medical student at the University of Ibadan and a graphic and brand identity designer. He loves volunteering with health care initiatives and is also a tech-enthusiast who is into app development using Flutter.

Team Dream

It was the deadline date for the 4youthbyyouth (4YBY) open call: “How to design products and services to promote Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis among Youths in Nigeria”, and there was nothing to submit, yet. Each one of us, at one time or the other, had seen the flier but did not think it was something we were capable of. Individually, we did not think we were up to the task, and that self-perception affected each person’s ability to contribute to a team. This, however, changed when three of us submitted an entry as a team. That decision taken at the spur of the moment turned out to be the door to an amazing experience with the 4YBY organisation, starting from the Designathon, then further into the Bootcamp after emerging as one of the top 7 teams.

Receiving the email that our team had been chosen for the Designathon was a huge win for us because we did not give much thought to being selected, considering the late submission. When it was time for the Designathon, one of us could not attend, and we were only two at the event. At first, we thought all we had to do there was eat and just explain our ideas, but it turned out to be much more tasking. No one had prepared us for what we had to face. After a series of discussions with mentors, we were disoriented, almost hopeless. But with just 12 hours to the pitch event, we ended up preparing designs, a pitch deck and other requirements for the event. Due to the late preparation and our cluelessness as first-timers in the field, we were not able to pitch as well as we should have. After the pitch, we were so despondent and were looking forward to going home, grateful for the experience at least. “In no particular order, the teams that will be proceeding to the Bootcamp are; TEAM DREAM…”. Hearing this announcement gave us hope and realization that the journey was not over.

The Bootcamp experience was a great improvement over the Designathon. We were familiarized with the deliverables and other activities early enough so we were not caught unaware. This made us proactive and contributed to our ability to submit and present to the best of our abilities. If asked to describe the experience in one word, it would be AWESOME. Everything from the venue, the food, the hall, the accommodation and classes, were top-notch. The environment was homely and we felt at ease interacting with other teams and organising fun activities. The opportunity to network helped us overcome the tension of competition and molded us all into one big family, such that we could celebrate the top 3 winners when they were eventually announced on the final day. We appreciate the fact that 4YBY invited professionals in various fields to speak to us and mentor us. It was a rare opportunity that could not have been obtained cheaply.

Team Dream could be the most inexperienced in terms of innovative competitions, research work and pitching. However, one thing that made us outstanding was our willingness to learn from other teams who understood better and apply the lessons to modify our ideas. 4YBY gave us the opportunity to prove to ourselves that we were capable by equipping us with the right knowledge. 

Indeed, the journey of the rest of our lives has begun with the contest organized by 4YBY. For each member of Team Dream, this is our first act, our debut. Wherever we go and whatever we end up doing in the field of health innovation and research, will always be traced back to this opportunity. We have learnt to believe in ourselves and in our ideas. As for the journey ahead, we expect setbacks, challenges, wins, and errors as we go out to test our idea in the real world. It is time to know if the castle we built in our heads can really stand, if this is the right step for this time, if our assumptions are applicable or not. In short, it is another voyage where the sea of reality is always right and will show us who and what we are as in a mirror. This is another world, and we look forward to engaging stakeholders, sharing our ideas, having discussions with the target populations, obtaining feedback, and achieving the goals of the intended research study. We also look forward to learning from more experienced individuals in the field who will be working with us. We would like to share our implementation experience with you on our social media handles. Do follow us – Twitter: @_PrEP_Pal and Instagram: @_prep_pal

4YBY is a beacon of light. The members of the organising team are accomplished individuals who are so humble to listen to the ideas and opinions of youths. We appreciate the fact that they treat us so respectfully and not as novices lacking direction on execution. Knowing that we are from different backgrounds, with varying levels of knowledge, they provided us with adequate training to address the inequalities that could have put many teams at a disadvantage. It was a great thing to behold!

Ms. Chisom (the project coordinator) was incredible and approachable, constantly wearing a smile and willing to answer all questions. Mr. Lateef, our facilitator, was also dubbed the “most youth-friendly” facilitator due to the way he guided us and related with other teams. Ms. Khadija (a member of the 4YBY international research team) was always available for our data problems, just as Mr. Oba was ready to attend to our needs regarding food and accommodation. The whole team had designated tasks to every member which they performed incredibly well. The coordination also served as a great example to our team as we worked on our idea during the bootcamp.

To future contestants, we advise that you respond to the prompt soon enough and give it your best. After that, it will be good to know what will be required of your team before the event. Also, make sure you form a strong and united team that will withstand the test of stress, pressure, and differing opinions. The idea is only as good as the unity of the team to make it work and listen to each other.

Finally, believe in yourself, your team, and your idea.

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