I got involved in the International Award for Young People, Nigeria, in 2015 when my Award center was Ikeja Senior High School, Ikeja, Lagos. I was in SS2 when a representative from the office introduced the program to my school. Before then, I was already practicing karate and had always loved sporting activities and anything adventurous. The Adventurous Journey (AJ) aspect captured my attention, and I immediately joined the program without hesitation.

For my Bronze level, I did karate as my Physical Recreation, catering for my Skills Section, and assisted my teachers in the classroom for my Voluntary service. The AJ was a comprehensive experience, with our mode of transportation being through a bus and hiking for both the practice and qualifying journeys. For my practice journey, I participated at the NYSC camp at Iyana Ipaja, Lagos, while for the qualifying journey, we went to Badagry at Akarakunmo village, formerly called Aklasunakunmo. There, I learned about their nature and culture, and we also saw the river where slaves in Nigeria were transported after being captured. We saw sculptures depicting how blacks were chained while being moved.

It was through the Award program that I learned the importance of teamwork (Together Everyone Achieves More), how to set SMART goals, and confidently achieve them by believing in myself. With the assistance of my parents, Award leader, and friends, I was fortunate to be among the qualified Bronze participants, and it was an honor to receive the Award badge and certificate from the former General Secretary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Mr. John May.

After completing my Bronze Award, I did not relent even after graduating from secondary school. I signed up for the Gold Award and decided to add cycling to my Physical Recreation. For my Voluntary service, I assisted elderly people in my environment and engaged in Voluntary cleaning services. For my Gold practice AJ, we returned to Akarakunmo village in Badagry, where we explored more by learning about the gods that were worshipped before the intervention of Christianity and Islam, including the Ajowutin tree. The Ajowutin tree is considered a god, and its pictures are not allowed to be taken, which is why you cannot find it online. We also visited the Oba’s palace and saw the Ilo Sato drum, the biggest in Africa and the second biggest in the world. We taught some kids how to communicate in English, and in return, they taught us French. We also taught some young people about the importance of first aid.

For my qualifying AJ, I did a cycling expedition under the supervision of an Award staff member. My Residential Project with Hopewell Initiatives involved teaching young people, both male and female, self-defense techniques using karate, which was well appreciated and welcomed. After completing all Sections, I challenged myself by participating in a tour ride from Lagos, Nigeria, to Accra, Ghana, in 2019, which took a total of six days. During the ride, I felt like giving up, but I remembered what I learned during my AJ—to always strive to finish what you start and be world-ready. Participating in the tour ride paved the way for my cycling career.

In late 2019, I found a passion for becoming a bicycle mechanic, which led me to attend a professional bicycle mechanic course organized by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), where I completed a Level 1 course. In 2020, on the 6th of February, I received my Gold Award from Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, and Mr. Sunday Dare, the former Minister of Youth and Sports. In 2022, I took another UCI Level 1 course and was the only female to pass the final exam, making me the first professional female bicycle mechanic with UCI Level 1 certification currently in Nigeria. Seeking further growth, I attended another bicycle mechanic course in Ghana in 2023, initially thinking it was for Level 2, but I was informed that Levels 2 and 3 can only be achieved at the center in Switzerland.

I decided to resign from the bicycle shop where I was working and focus on my final exams. Before resigning, I successfully trained two adults on the basics of bicycle mechanics. A few months after my final exam, I entered a partnership to create Just Cycling Affairs, which started operating in August 2023 after full registration. Currently, I am pursuing UCI Levels 2 and 3 in Switzerland, which, by God’s grace, will make me globally recognized as the first female bicycle mechanic in Nigeria.

Miss. Oyewole Kate

A Bronze and Gold Award holder, an Award Trainer, an Adventurous Journey Assessor, a Project Officer, a B.Sc. holder in Entrepreneurship, a Professional Cyclist, a Co-Founder of Just Cycling Affairs, and the official Bicycle Mechanic for JCA.

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