Ian Oliver Napoleon, Troop 96, Silver Spring, Maryland

posted Jul 19, 2014, 3:05 AM by Abdul Rashid Abdullah   [ updated Jul 19, 2014, 3:29 AM ]
NCAC applauds Boy Scout Ian Napoleon for his remarkable service project, aiding women and children in Nigeria while helping stop the spread of malaria. Ian, a student at Landon School in Bethesda, Md., now joins the ranks of less than five percent of Boy Scouts nationwide who have attained the rank of Eagle Scout. Hear his story in his own words.

Eagle Scout Service Project: A World View


By: Ian Oliver Napoleon

Troop 96, Silver Spring, Maryland

When I first began to consider my Eagle Scout service project, I knew that I wanted to do something different, something outside the norm. I bounced a few ideas off my parents, and my father challenged me to “think outside the box” while also keeping in mind the Scout Slogan, “Do a Good Turn Daily.” He encouraged me, as a citizen of the world, to take a more global view and consider a service project abroad. 

In doing research to develop the project, I had a conversation with a member of my church who is a health specialist with fhi360, a non-profit human development organization. As a result of that conversation, where I explained to him that I was looking to do something on an international level, I learned about the problem of malaria in Nigeria. I began to focus my research on malaria and learned that malaria is a serious health epidemic in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries. I completed a detailed research paper on the subject, and with the help of my church member, I presented my research to the fhi360 organization and they agreed to sponsor me. 

I learned that malaria is a disease that is spread by bites from the anopheles mosquito and affects mostly pregnant women and children under the age of 5.  I focused my project on malaria prevention. A critical way to prevent the spread of malaria is through the use of insecticide-treated bed nets, known as ITNs.  The women and children sleep under these nets to prevent mosquito bites while they are sleeping. 

I traveled to Nigeria in March 2014, and working with fhi360 and local Nigerian agencies, distributed ITNs at prenatal clinics and orphanages near the capital city of Abuja. My project helped me to truly understand my personal role as a member of the global community. It helped me to understand that even a seemingly small gesture can have a meaningful and lasting impact while also changing the world.  

During my time in Africa I had an opportunity to explore a different culture. As I was working on my project in Nigeria, I developed relationships and helped others   in need and those less fortunate than me.  Participating in this project helped me to not only develop my leadership skills as I organized and coordinated the project, but also enhance my experience as a citizen of the global community.  Indeed, through my project I lived the spirit of the Citizenship in the World merit badge -- understanding and appreciating the values, traditions, and concerns of people in other countries.

I hope that my project has created a blueprint for other scouts to consider more international projects as they pursue the rank of Eagle Scout.  I would encourage all scouts to continue to not only be active in service locally, but also consider being active in and serving globally. The skills that we learn and develop as part of scouting can really make an impact across the world.

Credit: This story was originally posted to the National Capital Area Council Website.