OANDO Foundation Boss Canvasses Strategic Partnerships for Women

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L-r; Executive Director, Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), Hansatu Adegbite; Head, Oando Foundation, Adekanla Adegoke and Executive Director, Ideation Hub Africa, Debola Deji-Kurunmi at the event

Funmi Ogundare

The Head of Oando Foundation, Adekanla Adegoke has called on mentees to think global, act local; and cultivate strategic and sustainable partnerships in the interest of their core beneficiaries.

She made the call during her masterclass session at the 2019 Women in Development Summit, a network of women working in the social sector, held recently. 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 organisations; 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 emphasised 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 on 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, Adegoke said the foundation also leverages strategic partnerships with various local/international organisations to bring in more resources to the schools.

“For instance, 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,” she added.

Adegoke said the foundation is also utilising 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 organisation 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. She 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 said it was important to think of adopting a sustainable funding model that would work for them.

Founder of Ideation Hub, Mrs. Debola Deji-Kurunmi said the programme was organised to expose entrepreneurs and those in the development sector to build their capacity to deliver impact.