Taiwo and Kehinde Ogunde are a dynamic and vibrant set of twins using their flair for media and journalism to positively impact and empower youth as well to influence youth culture, through their non-profit Campus Torch magazine and Campus tours around universities in Nigeria.
Tell us about yourselves.
Hello Nigerian NGO, our names are Taiwo and Kehinde Ogunde, founders of Campus Torch; we are 24 years young from Ogun State but we’ve literally lived all our lives in Lagos. We are alumni’ of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, we studied Mass Communication and Computer Science respectively. Taiwo is a Digital Content Creator at Poise Nigeria while Kehinde is a fellow at Andela, also a Software Developer at Homie, US.
Tell us about Campus Torch and the inspiration behind it.
Campus Torch is an organization that gives platform to exceptional youth and students to explore their skills and brilliance and consequently inspiring those who are ‘not-so-exceptional’ to be outstanding in their respective fields.
Although the magazine was born out of the zeal to practice what we were taught in school; Taiwo wanted to practice the art of journalism and Kehinde wanted to get creative with graphics design; the one page publication eventually grew to become an avenue to celebrate outstanding youth and students and also inspire others not to remain idle.
When did you start this project?
Right from being a fresh year student at the institution; we had been running it for fun amongst our friends in the department as a one page publication, even at that, the reception was massive, it spread all over the campus; hence the desire to reach more institutions, so we went professional, got Campus Torch registered, converted to a magazine and kicked off the Campus Tour in 2015. Professionally, we’ll say 2 years.
What impact has it had so far?
One of the key impacts is that Campus Torch has been able to alter the mindset of so many students, growing and inspiring a new generation of creative youths with so much confidence; the testimonies we received on a daily/weekly basis has been terrific, it’s more reason we kept the vision alive. If we go ahead to share every detail, we will definitely have a long note. However, we’ll always be proud of Olusanya Olukoya’s story, a fresh engineering graduate from the University of Lagos, UNILAG, who designed and built an electric car, he was on the front cover the magazine, just two months after publishing his story; he got an offer from Volkswagen, US. I’m not sure he’s in the country right now; there are many more like him…
Just yesterday, we still had someone approached us saying she can’t wait to get featured on Campus Torch Magazine, because it has been her dream and she’s studying really hard.
Can non-students benefit from Campus Torch as well?
When you say non-student, do you mean people who are yet to gain admission or no longer in the tertiary institution i.e secondary school students, ‘jambites’ and graduates? If yes, then definitely! In a short time, we’ll be reaching senior secondary schools and accredited tutorial centres through our magazine, video documentaries and mobile app and we’ll also be inviting them to our programmes at campuses close to them, this way, they’ll have an in-depth knowledge of the “do’s and don’ts” of tertiary institution and the many opportunities available to help them develop their skills and brilliance.
Meanwhile, we are currently creating a platform on our website where students and graduates can connect with a number of our partners who will train and help them kick start a career depending on their areas of interest.
What challenges have you faced in the course of running Campus Torch?
We believe to every challenge there is a solution, but one that’s a bit stubborn is definitely in the area of print; we are currently reaching 28 tertiary institutions nationwide but we are having more demands than what we publish. We also desire to reach more institutions around Africa – importantly – in so many grass-roots campuses. With the right support, it’s incredible to think the many lives we’ll inspire to be productive.
What are the plans you have for this project in a long run?
To create Nigeria’s first ever Campus TV station on National Television, Mobile App and other decoders. The contents we are receiving on a daily basis are increasing on the go, even the ones we create. Truth is, the more we increase the pages of the magazine, the bigger and less interesting it gets, but with the TV, we are sure to reach even a larger audience with day-to-day youthful and students contents. This is one of our future plans.
Campus Torch has also started creating clubs on tertiary institutions nationwide; we believe these students can encourage and challenge one another to keep breaking new grounds and keep going on the right path.
How many states does Campus Torch currently run in?
We are currently running in 5 states, namely: Lagos, Ogun, Kwara, Abuja and Oyo… more reason we tell people that Campus Torch’s potential is yet to be fulfilled; we believe we can do more and even better.
Are there any plans to expand or move to other states with this project?
Definitely, we’ve received so many invites already; students, especially from the eastern part of the country are yearning for Campus Torch but the budget to reach them is beyond what we can raise right now. We are sure to find a way round it really soon. Empowering the students is the most important thing to us. We see a new Nigeria where its youth and students will reshape the future with their creative skills and brilliance.
How has the project been funded till date?
Through Ads on the magazine and sponsors during our tour, last year we had Balkeem Nigeria Ltd, Foundation FAE (Foundation for Adequate Education) and OAM Foundation (Onome & Akinlolu Majaro Foundation) joined us, these organizations has been our major sponsors. And yes! We’ve had other companies and individuals contributed their services at a lesser charge to support the project. God has been faithful.
How can other people connect with this project or support what you are doing?
Surely, it is sad to see a world where many youth and students lack skills; while others who are brilliant and creative are utilizing it for the wrong reasons and many are idle because they lack the right networks; or what’s the essence of being exceptional if there are no opportunities to explore ones’ ideas? There are many students and graduates who are yet to find a platform to explore their skills; we are set to find a solution to that. Any individuals, companies and organizations can connect with this project and support Campus Torch, to grow and develop a new generation of youth and students who are confident enough to be productive the right way.
Connect with us through
Or via Social Media: @CampusTorch