For digging out rough diamonds in the backwaters of society by taking the game of chess to underprivileged children and providing them a platform to develop into worthwhile individuals in society through education, mentorship and exposure, Tunde Onakoya is the LEADERSHIP Social Impact Person of the Year 2022
Tunde Onakoya is a Nigerian national chess master and coach. He is the convener of Chess in Slums Africa. A devoted chess player, he firmly believes that the game of chess can be wielded as an influential educational instrument to positively impact young lives and produce a new generation of intellectuals even from underprivileged communities.
He founded Chess in Slums Africa in 2017. This non-profit organisation utilises the game of chess as a tool for social intervention — a bridge between disadvantaged kids and their ambitions, a framework to give children in impoverished communities access to tuition-free education, learning resources and mentorship opportunities. Slowly and steadily, the project is rewriting a new narrative and building an inclusive future for every African child.
The Chess in Slums initiative has provided the world with success stories of slum children who became mega media sensations from just learning chess in their slum environments of Ikorodu, Makoko and the infamous Oshodi Under-Bridge in Lagos. These stories have been published by international reporting agencies, mainly BBC, Al-Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, AFP and MSN, and the list that is still growing. Through Tunde Onakoya, whose idea and passion for this drive spawned the emergence of a new strategy for social intervention programmes, Chess in Slums is a growing success, as the initiative has impacted the lives of over 500 children and has successfully gotten fully funded educational scholarships for over 100 of those children in local and international institutions.
When Tunde Onakoya is not in any slum looking for dreams to refine, he is at one stage or another speaking to bright minds on how it is possible to achieve greatness from the darkest and smallest of places. This has made him a three-time TedX speaker and netted him several awards: The Future Awards Africa Prize for Community Action in 2021; The Business Insider Award – Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2022; The JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of Nigeria Award for Contributions to Children, World Peace and/or Human Rights in 2022; The Trendupp Award for Force of Social Good in 2022; and the Royal African Award in 2022.