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SDG Champion, MTEI Student, and Solutions Connector Olusegun Osunrinde

Charlene Boyce

Olusegun Osunrinde has a favourite Sustainable Development Goal. It’s number 17, the capstone: Working Together to Achieve the Goals. This makes sense, since Segun has been leading and connecting people to achieve community development, sustainability and environmental goals for years.

When he was 16, Olusegun Osunrinde recognized that some of the displaced people arriving in Abuja were being judged and ostracized. The injustice of this bothered him, and he decided to find a way to integrate the less privileged teens he saw with those who were better off.

What brings Nigerian teens together? Soccer.

“Football is a universal language,” says Olusegun. “Everyone can come together to play.”

The Sobey Master of Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MTEI) student, then in his first year of university, put together the Goal Initiative, which facilitates the Goal Charity Football Fiesta in Abuja, Nigeria. Segun led 200 volunteers in executing this event, still held annually. It attracts about 2500 participants.

For his first degree, Segun pursued Computer Science Technology, but his heart was in community building. He searched for ways to apply his tech knowledge to his community work, and that is when he found the Sobey MTEI program. He applied, and was delighted to be accepted.

In August 2018, before coming to Saint Mary’s, Segun was chosen as a delegate to the UN’s Youth Assembly. This would be the first of four times Segun would attend events at the United Nations. On Facebook, Segun wrote, “Honored to join other NGOs and civil society reps from around the world at #UNNGO2018 to find global solutions to global problems. I am so proud of "We the Future" - A Youth Declaration that came out of the #UNNGO2018 Conference.”

In September, 2018, Segun was invited to attend the Vision Speech of the UN Secretary General on the 2019 Climate Summit. In April, he travelled to the UN again, this time as part of the ECOSOC Youth Forum 2019. Finally, this September he participated in the Climate Action Summit and 74th United Nations General Assembly, showcasing a project fighting textile waste and fast fashion as part of the Summer of Solutions Climate Action Challenge.

During his UN visits he has had the opportunity to meet some big names, including Brigadier-General Martin Girard, military advisor to the permanent mission of Canada to the UN; and RCMP Chief Superintendent Marlene Snowman, a Nova Scotia native, who was the first woman in RCMP history to lead the Codiac District, New Brunswick, and who is currently in charge of police deployment at the United Nations.

Meanwhile, Segun is finishing his MTEI internship term as he finishes his degree. He is working with Bluewater Sourcing, an Ottawa-based company setting up a Halifax office to provide supply chain management services in Nova Scotia. As part of his internship goals, he has developed a tourism product that will be piloted in the province. He also does part-time communications work with WeavEast, connecting inspiring social innovation community projects in Atlantic Canada. And he continues to develop his textile waste-fighting project, a subscription-based company addressing parents’ needs for durable clothing and society’s needs for waste reduction.

Click here to view Segun's video, My UNGA Experience

As an MTEI student, Segun was awarded a Durland entrance scholarship, which he says supported his community service work, and “it pushed me and gave me so much opportunity, I am grateful and happy.”

Segun’s sunny personality and positive attitude are infectious. With our future in such hands, it seems the world will be just fine after all.