Think global, act local; Cultivate strategic and sustainable partnerships were some of the tips the Head of Oando Foundation, Adekanla Adegoke gave to mentees during her Masterclass session at the 2019 Women in Development Summit, a network of women working in the social sector, which held in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The 2019 edition which was themed “Women-led Business as a Tool for Social change and Nation building” had a faculty of women speaking on various topics such as “Are Women Entrepreneurs Ready to Drive Social Change in Nigeria? What would it Take”?; “New Media: Platforms for Entrepreneurial Opportunity”. Hosted by Ideation Hub Africa, the summit is a high-octane networking conference for women working across Africa on development and social-change in NGOs, social enterprise, public sector as well as corporate organizations; providing a rallying point for change-makers working actively for social good.
Speaking during her Masterclass session on the topic “Strategic Alliances: Activating Partnerships Between Nonprofits and Businesses, Adegoke encouraged mentees present at the Summit to have a global outlook to their social work without losing focus of local programming implementation approaches and their operating environment. She spoke on the power of association through volunteering activities and the need to be passionate about the cause they choose to support.
Speaking further on the Foundation’s investment in Basic Education, she said when Oando Foundation - an independent charity established by Oando Plc began operations in 2011, it learnt from international development agencies already working in the Nigerian education space that public schools needed at least eight years of holistic intervention to see significant results. This formed the premise upon which the Foundation’s school adoption model was designed.
"Research has shown that it takes eight years to move a school from zero to 80 per cent. You cannot achieve 100 per cent if the teachers themselves do not have the requisite skills competencies to promote quality teaching and learning experiences. So we get into a school, improve the infrastructure, train the teachers, empower the school based management committee, and keep improving the school and the Education Management Support System at the State and Local levels," she said
Apart from the funding that the Foundation provides for its adopted schools, Mrs Adegoke said the Foundation leverages strategic partnerships with various local/international organizations to bring in more resources to the schools. For instance, she mentioned that the Foundation's partnership with Sumitomo Chemical, one of Japan’s leading chemical companies, has resulted in the provision of ICT centres in three of its adopted schools annually since 2017, impacting over 7,000 beneficiaries to date.
Adegoke said the Foundation is also utilizing its proof of concept to advocate for project replication with various state governments. “To run effective non- profits, structure, networking and providing evidence are all important”. She encouraged the participants who were mostly young women in the development sector to operate a well-structured, non-profit organization in order to attract productive and sustainable partnership in the interest of their core beneficiaries.
The keynote speaker at the Summit, Mrs Hansatu Adegbite, said effective communication was key to NGOs getting the kind of funding they needed to run. In her address, Mrs Adegbite reiterated that there was an abundance of financial resources in the private sector that could be spent on developmental issues if the right message got to them. She noted it was important to think of adopting a sustainable funding model that would work for them. "To get that (financial) resource, you must solve a problem. There are two models you can adopt - develop a for profit business to finance social problems or identify funding models that work for non-profit. "Why women are relevant is because women are empathetic and emotional; they are not thinking of money but impact. That is why it is important for women to know how to get their own funding," she said.
Founder of Ideation Hub, Mrs Debola Deji-Kurunmi said the programme was organized to expose entrepreneurs and those in the development sector to build their capacity to deliver impact. "We want to grow the capacity of development practitioners, young corporate leaders, social entrepreneurs to deliver impact; to succeed in their work. But we also want to see entrepreneurs partner with NGOs so that they can provide support and funding solving a problem they are also passionate about," she said.