Overcoming the Digital Divide

Bekeme Masade-Olowola (Host): Hello, my people, I hope you are doing well. This is another new episode of The Good Citizen Radio Show. My name is Bekeme and I am bringing to you the goodness of our fantastic activities planned primarily for you in this new season, right? It is a new season for many people, now some people were born in this September isn’t it? Maybe just a few months anyway. But the truth is that I am excited because we have lots of information for you this week. I am going to have to tell you, sadly, that we are taking a short break just for this week on our display series. And we will come back to it next week because we need to talk about a fantastic breakfast dialogue for those of us who are in non-profit space. This breakfast dialogue is created by ACT Foundation, which sponsors The Good Citizen Radio Show. Sure you must have heard me talk about this breakfast dialogue around this time last year where we introduced to you the social and global impact of engaging for growth dialogue, which sought to address the issues bordering on the growth and development of communities across Africa, and how meaningful impacts can be achieved and sustained in spite of the prevailing challenges to these development issues.

There was fantastic feedback. And then before that, in 2017, there was ‘Connecting the Dots, Partnerships that Work’. And basically, this talked about opportunities for forming strategic partnerships cross sector partnerships, particularly. And then the second event, which was in 2018, with the theme ‘Fostering Ownership: Driving Sustainable Impact in Communities Across Africa’, which revolved around again, partnerships or multi sector partnerships, funding, empowerment, and some technology. Now we are having the 4th breakfast dialogue, and for 2020, we are looking at ‘Tech for Good, Fostering Social Innovation and Digital Investments for Transformative Change’. And basically, we see that this seeks to encourage the cross fertilization of ideas across different sectors and to spark collective action required to bridge Africa’s digital divide, to deliver urgent impacts to foster innovation and to frame long term strategies towards building more resilient and prosperous communities across Africa. Some big grammar here and discussing this with me, If this was a pidgin show, The Ogbonge Madam of ACT Foundation, Madam Osayi Alile, and she is basically going to be talking us through what to expect this year.

ACT Foundation has been running this and we’ve all been benefiting from it, all the CSOs within Nigeria, and outside Nigeria, and now with COVID-19, even more people from outside Nigeria. So, it is amazing that we are having this discussion to see how we can use tech for good. So, Osayi you were on the Show over a year ago now, and you are back here again. And now we are talking about the dialogue again. So, can you just let’s start off with our Foundation. Remind us, we keep on talking about ACT Foundation every week but in summary, so, just tell us about ACT Foundation and the impacts that you have been having across the region.

Osayi: Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation is a grant making non-profit organisation and we are established to support local, national, and of course, regional non-profit organisations. So, we hope to address challenges across the African continent in health, environment, leadership, and enterprise. So, that is what we have done in the last few years. And we have worked in quite a number of countries, we work practically in every state in Nigeria, working through non-profits that are working in the communities and that is really what our focus is.

Bekeme: So, basically, as I tell you guys on the Show that is why they fund The Good Citizen Initiative, because we are all about leadership, and we are promoting leadership in the communities. It is not every time Oh Baba this, the president did that, the state governor did that. We are all leaders. We have we to do our own. It is not up to a third party. So, for every year, for the past three years ACT Foundation has hosted this Breakfast dialogue. And tell us a bit more about the event in general and this particular one.

Osayi: Of course we know the world has changed, so, it is a bit different from what it has always been. But, what we do is really a convergence of various sectors. So, we have the Public and private sector as well. And what we all do is to come in to talk about competition and the global challenges they are facing, but also coming up with solutions that we can use to propel social transformation and of course create impact in the community that we are working. So, since it’s inception we have done a multi stakeholder platform to finally invite different types of people. And then this theme, the theme for this year, because new technology is important so, it is ‘Tech for Good: Fostering Social Innovation and Digital Investment for Change. And it is really necessary, especially in this year that we have seen ourselves in an atmosphere that you cannot do everything on ground. So, we are asking ourselves, what can we do differently? How can we manage and change what we have seen and transform the change and still be doing what we are doing but using technology to get to reach more people? And it is something that I have actually spoken about over the years, I mean from the very first day we came in, one of the issues that we have been talking about with all our people is what do we do different? How do we use technology to reach more people? And that is why this Show for me is really important because, you know, when you put people in a room, you can only talk to at least 100 people or at most 500 people. But when you are using technology and different aspects of thinking in a larger scale, then you need to start asking yourself questions, how do you transform and how do you invest digitally to help yourself in the long term? And that is why this is important to us.

Bekeme: Absolutely. I mean, you have technology companies growing rather than declining at a time like this.

Osayi: Exactly, exactly. And the truth is that doing work in the community is not going to change, you still have to get work done, education is still a major issue, human rights is still an issue, and health is still an issue. So, we have to still go on to the field, but what do you do to make sure that you are safe and able to achieve your goals while working on the field and its effect is much stronger.

Bekeme: Absolutely, absolutely. Just reminds us of you know, even you have talked about radio and, and the impact that radio can have beyond just people coming together in a room. And then even the radio stations have gone digital now. So, you can listen to anything at anywhere you are in the world at any time. You know, and to remind you listeners, we have our SoundCloud as well. So, if you miss this or past shows, you know you can go to bit.ly/gcradio to listen. Now, tell us about the speakers. How did you choose a couple of speakers for this particular meeting? And what do we expect to get out of them? Why do you think that they are the right people to be talking to us?

Osayi: I mean we have different kind of speakers across board, I mean, of course, we have people who are thinking of innovative ideas, technology based so that we are giving you very real examples of people that started very small and they are scaling so that, you know, for me Bekeme, I am just telling people that we need to be more innovative about how we do things. And I am hoping that even people who are not even in the sector can open their minds to see that there is so much availability out there, that people are doing things in different places. So, we can always either punch back on them or create our own. Because, I mean, nothing is really new in this world, so, what are they doing? How are they doing it?

Even in my small office that we have three people, you can always find a way around and make things with people and we have had to do so. Because of COVID-19, everybody is working from home, everybody is a bit more careful,  so now, things that we were never used to before, it is something that we all do now and every meeting you can either zoom it, and in just six months the whole world has changed. So, we had to start thinking about that. So, all the speakers we have including the people moderating and we have someone from life bank who is  one of our grantees, I mean if you know the kind of work that she has done, you will know that it is very fascinating, and she structured the  traditional approaches, social issues, she has got skills in the way it has been done and finding new ways of getting it done. So, this kind of people, we are looking for how to do with freelance in the sector through digital transformation. So, we are bringing someone from Lagos so that he can give us the ideas but also people helping in consulting. So, the CEO of City Hub, people like that have done it over the years. That can give us ideas so that when we are done with this in two days, I mean on the 28th and 29th, we will be thinking to ourselves, asking that what can I do differently? How can I transform from the way I did yesterday?

There is something in the Bible that says when there is a casting down for others, there will be a lifting up, so, I mean we have to just begin to think this is my time for lifting up and I must  find different ideas, I must come up with a difference. That is why every speaker we have chosen are people that when they are speaking to you, you will know what they are talking about because they have tried it and someone of them have even failed at it as well. So, they are telling you this is what you should do and that the world will continuously change, and we have to get ourselves completely ready for it.

Bekeme:  Absolutely. So, my next question was going to be about inspiring us with any stories of any of your grantees that are already working using technology for social good. And then you mentioned Life Bank. Okay. It is founded by Tamie Giwa Tubosun, and Life Bank is a business enterprise in Nigeria, which is working to improve access to blood transfusions in the country using technology.

Osayi: Tamie is using drones to drop bloods in villages that all of us cannot get to and she started in Kenya, she has gone out of Nigeria now. You know how it is in villages that you have to use bicycle and go all the way to medical centers like maybe four hours away. She is coming up with very innovative ideas and during this pandemic as well, there were so much that she was able to do as well. so, those are the kind of things we are thinking about that we said okay, If she can do it, why can’t someone else? And its been done in Lagos, why can’t we go somewhere else and do exactly the same? Because if we are pushing the SDGs and say ‘no to poverty’, ‘we want good health’, ‘we want wellbeing as SDG three’, then we have to find ways of striving to reduce poverty rate and how do we do that? We have to be innovative about how we are getting this things done.

Bekeme: Amazing. So, Osayi just in case there are people listening and are still thinking, hmm, do I really want to be a part of it? Or do I run the I mean, I do not necessarily run a non-profit or, you know, what are the opportunities for me? Do you think that you know, do you only fund non-profit strictly? And you know, do people have to wait for next cycle? I know that there was a social innovator, or social change makers, grants that you were giving. So, can you tell us a bit more about some of those your activities and you know, how people can tap into this?

Osayi: we had a PIT which is The Change Makers innovation that just went through but that has ended. The next one will be starting in November. We fund NGO’s but we also fund enterprises. So, if you have an enterprise that has a social impact, then let us get informed. But when we do an event like this, we invite people from every sector even private sector because we are talking innovation, we are talking technology, and for you, that was why I gave an example of even someone in a three man office and you are thinking of what can I do differently? There are so many things that someone would speak about and you will be like oh, my goodness, I did not think about it in that way. So, we are open to different people coming in and listening to it. Of course, there is an opportunity, we have over seven hundred people registered at the moment. We are expecting more people. So, there is opportunity for you to meet them. When you have over twenty speakers and they give different solutions to problems, even if you are not an NGO or non-profit person, you are opening your mind to think big, think differently and say to yourself ‘why not me? Why can’t I do this myself? And it is very possible.

Bekeme: Absolutely. You know, I for one, I always say, oh, I hate going to events, you know, it is a lot of time, you know, I am always complaining about that. But I have come to learn with COVID-19 and the fact that I do not actually have to dress up and go out, I’m learning more the benefit of those events, like, I tune into one on basically, you know, bulbs going off in my head and I am thinking Yes, I can do this, oh, why did I not think of this and all of that. So, it is very interesting and for those who are listening, and thinking that it is yet another event, I would urge our listeners to really think about tuning into this event and I just wanted to ask at this point is the event free?

Osayi: Yes, it is free because that is one of the things that we are called to do, to make sure that we get more support for people listening, to get more people become innovative. It is free to everyone and of course, you can reach our website: acttrustfoundation.org even if you put ACT Foundation on Google it will come up and then you register. You have to register. You cannot just come in that morning and try to login to zoom, you have to register. So, once they register, it is a two-day event – 28th and 29th and of course we have masterclass students as well. So, if you are thinking of solution for just optimizing impact 101 Basic. How to tell stories, social impact reporting which can help anybody even the private institutions because you have to sell your market. And if you do not mind, market is market, be it social enterprise o, banking scheme o, we are all selling market. And of course, how to source for grants, how to find money, everybody is looking for money and because it is getting more difficult. So, those are masterclasses that people will break-up into and you will have them talking to you one-on-one, telling you how to do these things and I think everything is important but the masterclass is very helpful as well. Registration is compulsory, and I said we can go to acttrustfoundation.org or just go to Google and put act foundation and it will come up.

Bekeme: That’s amazing! Can you just shed a bit more light on the masterclasses? Do you know what the topics are?

Osayi: So, we have one on Non-profit Technology, which is 101, Solution for Optimizing Impact and we just thought that there are some people that have a big phobia for tech and everything is done manually, they want to do things manually, they do not want to get involved. It helps to understand what you want to do next. We want to just help you realise that you can move to the next level, then, of course, we have the other one for storytelling, that is impact reporting because, as I said before, we have to sell our market, everybody have to sell and selling is so important, everybody sell in different ways. So they are going to give us different options to selling and that is why I said you do not have to be a non-profit, you can come up with different ideas on what you should do. Nobody is going to anybody’s office, so you have to think of how does technology play a major role in selling your market as well. Sourcing for grants, sourcing for funding, funding is so restrictive now, it is not easy at all and we know it. So, we are looking for different options out there. What is available there, and we have someone that is going to come in and speak about just that, breaking it down for us to understand that as much as we think that there is no funding, because there is a lifting up, some people are still getting money.

Bekeme: So fantastic. So, we are looking at non-profit technology, which you say is 101, and then we are looking at storytelling for impact reporting, I think that you know, it is very, very important that everyone learns this. I always say to people that no matter who you are, you an engineer, or an artist, whoever you think you are, you still have to tell your story. And you have to tell it in a compelling way. And in a way that would help you build your brand. And then you know, sourcing for funding, we agree that it is very, very, very hard this period, which is why we are thankful that organisations like ACT and Ford Foundations are noticing us and you know, putting forward something because I know that it is terrible. The same way businesses are collapsing, this is the same way that non-profits are suffering. And ah, and you know, non-profits typically do not have funding beyond six months of, you know, a particular funding cycle. So, it is really tough. And I think that this would be beneficial to us. You’ve talked to us about how we can register for the event so we are clear. So, is there anything, any last words that you think that we can go away with and chew on, as we prepare for the 28th and 29th.

Osayi: I know that sometimes everybody is a bit overwhelmed, not even with the recent happenings, everything that is happening in the world can be a bit disheartening, everything can be frustrating but I will just tell people that just take one day at a time, and do not get overwhelmed, just thinking of too many things at the same time. And sometimes even if you come into this classroom, because you are not the one doing the teaching, you are not the one talking, so, you can actually sit down, listen to other people, learn from them and that is what will be my next level, my next chapter, my next page, it might even be my next sentence and once you have decided, you can use some of the things that you learnt, add them together. It is almost like cooking; you add a few things together then the food is sweet. But do not sit down thinking that you can solve every problem by yourself. And that is the fact that we all must come together to address issues.

Bekeme: Okay, so you heard it. Thank you so much Osayi, thank you for your passion, your commitment, your fabulousness, and commitment to all of this. It has been interesting having you and we look forward to the 28th and 29th. And everyone listening, you have to go on and register at actrust foundation.org, right, acttrustfoundation.org, or just type act foundation in your Google browser and you will find more about the event. Thank you so much Osayi.

Osayi: Thank you, bye everyone, see you on the 28th online.

Bekeme: Absolutely, bye bye.

Bekeme: So, as I said, you have been listening to Osayi, she is the Chief Executive of Act Foundation, Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation, which is a grant making organisation that has been funding the Good Citizen Radio Show for the past two years. And you must realise that tech for good is definitely a way to go. Nigeria, the world, everybody has come to realise that if their business is not tech enabled in some way, then they may not be going places that they need to go, whether it is your food business, whether it is your non-profit, whether it is your hair, business, whatever it is, technology is the way to go. Technology not only helps you reach more people, but it also helps you to, you know, to project yourself to give a first impression that that may be powerful. So, it is definitely something that you want to listen to. To listen, you have to go to the website, actrustfoundation.org. So, it is one ‘T’ not two ‘Ts’ to register for the tech for good conference. It is Tech for Good: Fostering Social Innovation and Digital Investments for a Transformative Change. Which brings me to some of the events that we think that you should participate in. Our CAHR awards, that is Community and Human Rights Awards 2020 is on. What are you waiting for? Nominations have started for the CAHR Awards, which is open till the 30th of September 2020. The recipients for the 2020 CAHR Awards will emerge from the following categories; The Ken Saro Wiwa Environmental Management Awards, The MKO Abiola Community Engagement Award, the Hajia, Gambo Sawaba Community Impacts Award, The Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Human Rights Award – we have two in that category for individual and for a business. And we have The Mallam Amino Kano Award for Leadership, Josephine Nkembili Equal Rights Award. And then we have The Apostle Hayford Alile Humanitarian Award. You can nominate yourself or anybody for any of these awards. It is open and transparent. You know how we do, we are inclusive as you can hear from the award categories, and we do not discriminate in any way. To apply for these awards, go to bit.ly//cahr and nominate to vote somebody who will win this beautiful statuette and the cash awards available for the individual categories as well. And trust me, it is not always about money. What about the recognition, the prestige that comes with that, you know, just going somewhere and saying, you know what, I was recognized as this person who is a leader in my community? Is that amazing? That is amazing, isn’t it? So, this CAHR Award is in partnership with Global Rights. Global Rights is a non-profit, which works in the extractive industries and it basically pursues human rights. And you know, we are looking forward to appreciating those who have taken time out to be positively contributing members of society.

Also, in November, we are having an annual Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) Conference. I am excited because we will have more people from all over the world participate in this year’s conference, as we look at women empowerment. We are looking at the empowerment of women in oil and gas and mining communities because there is this shadow pandemic. I keep on talking about it. Sometimes it just feels like I am a broken record, but I am not because it is happening. And we know that the more women are disenfranchised, the more our society suffers, because, you know, children who grew up in homes that do not have empowered mothers actually suffer it.

Imagine that something happened to the Father in some way and what then happens to the mum, what does she do? And you know, what esteem does it give the children? What did the male children learn from all of these things? We have to be able to look at them critically and address them. I hope I have not confused you. But I have convinced you as to the benefits of being a leader in our society. We are rewarding and appreciating you by providing you with all of these free tools and resources. And if I were you, I would take advantage of it. There is opportunity to grow and grow and grow. If you just think outside of yourself, especially if you are that person who has been giving opportunities in life, you know, to whom much is given much is expected and much does not always have to be about money. Thank you all so much for listening to The Good Citizen Radio Show. My name is Bekeme, forever yours, I am completely committed to providing you quality service, around leadership, around value system orientation, around unity, around being better people for our society, I know that we are not perfect, but we can work towards being the best, best versions of ourselves.

keep on following us @goodcitizenng for more information about the programmes and for more ways in which you can engage us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you did not get enough information about some of the things that I have announced, you can go to our social media handles or to our website and find out more information about how you can be part of this. We are also happy to receive you as volunteers. I just cannot say thank you enough to ACT Foundation for the continued belief in us. I thank particularly Osayi Alile, who was on the show today talking about the tech for good conference, which is happening on the 28th and 29th of this month, September and for which you must register at ACT Foundation has continued to believe in this vision to reach out to you so you should be thanking ACT Foundation as well because without ACT Foundation, we would not have this groundbreaking conversations. Sadly, we had to take a short break from our series on displays and we will continue next week with more stories about people who are facing displacement across Nigeria. This is a must listen to series and to listen to these past episodes, you can go to bit.ly//GC radio in caps and you will be able to listen to all of these heart wrenching stories. We really must do something as a community together to make Nigeria work for us. Thank you all so much. Thank you the wonderful team at CSR-in-Action. I wish you all a fantastic Friday. Do not do anything that I would not do. Coronavirus virus cases are increasing across the world. The UK is looking at shutting down again. And I hear that within a week of us opening up our society we have had at least a million extra infection so be careful. Wear your mask, social distance and continue to be a good citizen today, tomorrow and always Bye for

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