Non-profit & Influence

I Got Tired of Complaining about The Issues; This is What I Did.

By Century Favour | November 6, 2018

Do you ever sit down and just think about the problems in the world, in Africa and more specifically, Nigeria? Do you occasionally bemoan the dismal development indices, the infrastructural gaps, the failing economy? How often do you go on this depressing trip with no end in sight? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? I’ll have you know you’re certainly not alone. I used to serve as a card-carrying member of this club.

From education to poverty to security to corruption, the current Nigerian realities mirror deeply entrenched problems that boggle the best of minds and that have transcended governments and regimes. And so, these problems will never go away just by highlighting them or talking about them. You think about it, every other day, on social media, traditional media, individuals are talking, countless conversations are going on, opinion pieces are written and published, issue awareness fora are organized but it’s not enough to just talk about these problems, we have to move the buck to the drawing board for action. Because, really, how many times has bemoaning our woes actually triggered a change? Think about it.

So, here’s what I decided to do; I decided to take action and as against just speaking about, I decided to speak to  Precious who runs an NGO called GEMS Initiative. Together we co-founded an organization called DO-Take Action in January this year.

DO was established to inspire, empower and amplify action for sustainable development. At DO, the overarching mission is to build an active community of young and old people who are taking action to drive sustainable development in their locality. The engine of DO is powered by partnership because we wholly believe in Howard Zinn’s position that says small acts when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.

 

Brief History & Evolution Of GEMS.

Let me backtrack a little to share the background story of GEMS. In 2016, GEMS Initiative was birthed, with a strong focus on bridging the gap of inequality in education and creating opportunities for children and women in Africa.
With partnerships and collaborations from different organizations, GEMS conducted a number of ICT trainings for women, personal development trainings, career counselling sessions for children, boot camps for children as well as carried out education intervention projects like the renovation of the Early Childhood Learning Center in the LEA Nomadic School, Tundu-Fulani, Bwari in Abuja.

By the time GEMS Initiative evolved into co-founding DO-Take Action with me in 2018, they had impacted the lives of over 2000 children and over 500 women in Nigeria.  

Problem Statement

Just like you identify the problem statement when you want to undertake a research study or write a thesis, we had to first consider critically, the dynamics of prevalent development challenges in the country before we could design the objective for DO. And here’s what we realized in the conversation about taking action for social change;

  1. First, how do we inspire people to act?
  2. Second, when individuals or communities are inspired to act, how do you empower them.
  3. When you empower them, how do we amplify what they do such that it creates a ripple effect that will inspire more people to act?

Our Methods

How did we solve the questions of the problem statement? We did this through a three-pronged method;

Inspire: Through our development centred initiatives, we deploy strategic outreaches and advocacy campaigns that inspire people, organizations and even governments to take action towards solving a specific issue.

Empower: Beyond exciting people to care about taking action, we need to empower them to take actually take this action. We empower people, organizations and governments interested in taking action with the required information, skills/expertise, technology, data, funding and access to networks that will enable them to birth sustainable development.

Amplify: This is what we call the DO loop of action; where one person’s action inspires more people to act. We work to ensure individual activities and efforts are systematically connected to achieving bigger developmental goals. This is the driving thrust of our action.

So far, we adopted these methods in our projects. A couple of the projects are;

  • Bakatari Project: Located in Oyo state, the micro-livestock skill capacity project was focused on reducing unemployment and providing sustainable income to improve livelihood in Bakatari Community, Omi Adio, Ibadan. 50 teens were empowered with practical agro-business skills in rabbit farming and this skill is expected to benefit over 150 teens and families directly and indirectly.
  • Adeke Project: The goal of the project is to improve the livelihoods of about 3,000 women in the Adeke community of Benue state by providing 10 grinding machines, cutting down on over 11,000 hours spent monthly using the local grinding stone. The project not only contributed to boosting the economy of the community, it also empowered selected beneficiaries with entrepreneurship skills and inspired collaboration between women, youths and stakeholders of the community in driving sustainable development.  

Our Partners & Area of Focus

DO is essentially, a civic startup hub that convenes people and organizations to raise funds, galvanize support, execute and deliver on development initiatives that contribute to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The global blueprint goals for development serve as our compass for the issues we take action on. Our work is focused on contributing to the following  SDGs: #SDG1- No poverty; #SDG2- Zero Hunger; #SDG3- Good Health & Well-being; #SDG4- Quality Education Gender Equality; #SDG8- Decent Work & Economic Growth.                              #SDG9- Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure; #SDG10- Reduced Inequalities. #SDG13- Climate Action; #SDG16- Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions. #SDG17- Partnership for The Goals

Our development-oriented projects are divided into four cardinal areas; community development, people development and relief efforts.

  • Advocacy: One of the challenges that come with solving problems is that people don’t have a comprehensive understanding of the problems. And so, we realized that advocacy had to be a major component for our work at DO-Take Action. The offline or online advocacy campaigns serve to foster comprehension and create awareness of the issues affecting the development of a locality, nation or a group of people. In addition, we also leverage the power of influencers to drive advocacy for social change.
  • Community development: Beyond advocacy for action, the goal is to have tangible, feasible and practical projects. We are not just interested in the change of mind, but the change in physical infrastructure as well. Our work with communities coordinates and enables community members to come together to take collective action and generate solutions to common problems. This solution may involve building the needed infrastructure, providing a certain service, training and capacity development or supporting their local economy and businesses in our bid to drive sustainable development.
  • People development: Human capital development is pivotal to sustainable development. This understanding drives us to undertake capacity building projects that provide the opportunity for individuals or groups of people to enhance their skills and acquire new knowledge that will position them to be of more value to themselves and their community. This, in turn, contributes to improving and securing livelihoods.
  • Relief efforts: World over, communities have and still continue to suffer the ravaging effects of conflict, post-conflict and/or natural disasters with far-reaching implications on mortality-injury and death, economic loss, deprivation of basic human needs and resources, and homelessness. Regardless of the root cause of these disasters, be it conflicts such as ethnic clashes, ethno-religious crisis, insurgency, war, secession or natural disasters, the disheartening results in victim counts and dire need of resources are the same.  Relief efforts serve to give victims a lifting hand out of devastation and inspire hope by improving their health, education, food security and sustainable livelihood outcomes through feeding, clothing, trading grants, scholarships etc. We work to build a strong, rapidly responsive network that can drive individuals and communities alike to take action with little acts of kindness. We inspire and organize opportunities for individuals and groups to give locally and accelerate community-led philanthropy and rehabilitation for victims of disasters, conflicts and disenfranchised members of society.

 

Our Tools

In delivering our key strategic objectives at DO, we employ a robust, efficiency-driven toolkit inclusive of; Media & Communication; Technology; Policy; Training & Capacity Development; People & Partnerships; Strategic Thinking; Funding; Processes & Frameworks; Data & Analytics.

 

A Hand of Fellowship

In primary/secondary school, at the end of a debate competition, speakers on either the proposing or opposing sides would always end with this common tagline; “I hope with these few points of mine, I’ve been able to convince and not confuse you that this and this is the best option.” 

I’m going to draw from that line and say the same to you; With these few numerous points of mine, I hope I’ve been able to convince and not confuse you to take action for social change and sustainable development. 😃

I got tired of complaining and partnered up with like minds to co-found an initiative for improved development outcomes. I took action in one small way and it’s triggered a chain of action. If you’ve been wondering how to go about taking action and you’d like to contribute to sustainable development in your own measure, the good news is, there’s room for you. You can join us to take action today!

Would you?

Hit me up @ dotakeaction.org/join-us. Let’s work together as fellows!