Growing up in Lagos, Samirah always loved the outdoors, playing with friends for hours on end.
“I loved being outside and going on adventures,” Samirah says. “I was strong-willed.”
Samirah, a 2019 Mandela Washington Fellow, now works as a business analyst at Thrive Agric, helping farmers across Nigeria gain access to markets, grants, and other forms of funding.
“I can’t sit back and watch people suffer,” Samirah says, reflecting on her work with farmers living in poverty. “I knew I had to do something, no matter how small.”
Today Samirah is turning her attention to the COVID-19 pandemic and to the role that youth can, and should, play in protecting themselves and others.
As many young adults shelter in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Samirah recommends the following to improve their personal and professional well being under lockdown.
1. Connect with Loved Ones
While you’re at home practicing social distancing, “now is the time to spend with the family you live with, to play games, to have tough conversations,” Samirah says.
In addition to the many video conferencing applications available to young adults, Samirah also touts the importance of simply phoning loved ones to check on them and to remind them that they aren’t alone.
2. Learn Something New
For Samirah, making the most of her time during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant building new skills and improving on her existing ones.
“Read, take an online course, or listen to podcasts,” Samirah recommends.
Of the online coursework available to young adults, the YALI Network offers a slew of free resources on topics ranging from grant writing to women’s rights.
3. Stay Active
Samirah also encourages young adults to take this opportunity to stay physically and mentally fit.
“I’d recommend watching one of the many exercise videos on YouTube,” Samirah says. “And don’t forget to meditate, practice mindfulness, and stay active.”
To those despairing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Samirah calls for a different posture, one of hope and perseverance.
“You have to think beyond yourself, to help others succeed, and to understand that every action you take has an effect on those around you.”
This blog post is part of a series developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about slowing the spread of the coronavirus here and visit our YALICares page to find out more about promoting a healthier Africa.
The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author or interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government.