Updated: Apr 8, 2020

This is a free 6-week course offered by the University of Cape Town via Coursera. It is for those who want to make a difference in the world, hence will take you on a journey of exploring problems that surround us and how to start thinking about solutions. You will learn from the numerous examples of social innovations happening all over the world. You will be challenged to get out of your comfort zone and start engaging with the diverse spaces around you. By the end of the course, you will have formed your own approach to social innovation, and you will have begun to develop the concepts, mindset, skills, and relationships that will enable you to start and evolve as a changemaker. Innovative people see resources where others don’t, and they can bring those resources to bear. There’s transformative power in shifting from blaming the government, looking at needs, gaps, and what’s wrong, to appreciating utilizing available little resources.

Through developing a strength-based mindset one can discover hidden or underused resources. These resources might be people, knowledge, time, waste materials and spaces etc.

As soon as you start seeing resources all around you, not only can you move forward but you become energized, and creative things start to happen. You’ll find that you might be a lot richer than you think in terms of what you have to start building your own social innovation with. Part of our challenge on the journey to becoming changemakers is to learn how to become comfortable with discomfort and how you surround yourself with people that you normally do not engage with. Getting out of your comfort zone takes a little bit of courage because it makes you uncomfortable, but that’s how you build the competencies, the personal resilience, the drive for innovations and make differences in communities that are operate in a different way.

Human-centred design is incredibly important, and the Design Thinking process allows you to start early and wherever you are with whatever you’ve got. Design Thinking helps you to connect more with people and with communities so that you can actually design solutions that are human-centred. Powerful Design Thinking methodology can help you to come up with human-centred design solutions that manifest economic viability, technical feasibility and social desirability in your social innovation.

Register for this course here and let me know where you need more tips and I will help you out.

(a) Udegboka Tessie Nkechi ;; Whatsapp +2348033842029

#AdaAfrica #L2G #COVID-19 #SDGs

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I was part of a HR team that shortlisted few applicants for a job position. While waiting for the final decision, a volunteer opportunity came up for a tech program from Google. We called on the shortlisted applicants, knowing none is skilled in that tech aspect which is needed in the post they applied for, and asked if they would like volunteer for the Google project. The first question was, ‘how much are they going to pay?’ I felt bad! This is a skill you don’t have, you don’t know, and someone wants to train you for free yet you expect payment.

In my first job after school, I focused on gaining experience not big salary. While other staffs were agitating for an increment, I told them I’m here to gain experience (and leave thereafter) as someone coming fresh from school, they laughed at me that I would soon join them. Work closes by 3pm, but I stayed behind to document and do extracurricular work till 6pm. The one year experience at the health institution catapulted me to the global height. My then colleagues are still there, may be still agitating for salary increment. Today some of them look up to me as mentor.

At various NGOs including ours, we have a lot of skills and resources we want to give and train youth on for free when they volunteer to work with us. Most of these skills they don’t have, yet they expect you to pay them. The power in volunteering can change a lot of things about one’s life. I call for traditional volunteering in the fields of proposal writing, creative writing, content development, virtual arts, social media management, project management, digital marketing, tech/ entrepreneurship development and photography/videography for youth. Get in touch with organizations, including religious groups around you or virtually. More so, wherever you are, find your area of passion and volunteer in that sector till you master the art. Through that you get job connections and recommendations easily. Also volunteering helps one get selected for competitive global opportunities. Through volunteering, you cultivate an outlook that contributes to your profile and nurtures your career. I have dedicated my life to volunteering for social and economic change. If you volunteer and prepare yourself ahead with skills, when the opportunity comes, it clicks easily to your side. Will you start volunteering as a way of strategizing yourself to tap into the numerous opportunities about to spark up in your life and career? Recognize what God has called you to be, accept the gifts He has given you and start building on them by volunteering!

Opportunities for the Week: If you are unemployed, while waiting for the dream job, seek from relevant offices, companies, organizations, conferences and ask you volunteer to help out. While volunteering you build more skills and may get retained or recommendations for job opportunities.

#Volunteering #AdaAfrica #L2G

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Updated: Apr 6, 2020

Volunteering is an activity that requires time, talent or skills without any financial reward. Volunteers are renowned for skill development and easily get contacts or recommendations for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work.

By Volunteering traditionally I have gotten many exposures, gained economic and social impacts, strengthened my social and economic connections, enhanced my career, built my profile, developed self-esteem and so many other benefits. You too can have all these benefits and more when you don’t put money first and volunteer where your passion lies.

In some communities, calling youth to volunteer their time in order to gain some skill is hardly acceptable. If no money is attached, majority won’t respond to such calls.

Traditional volunteering helps position one better for global opportunities. I’m a firsthand experience - In 2009, I was invited for a paper presentation at AIDS Conference in Cape Town, SA. I applied to volunteer help with work during the conference which it was stated categorically, there is no stipend or any form of financial payment for volunteering. Surprisingly at the end of the conference, they appreciated all the volunteers with a token of $200 and a certificate. Most important to me, I got the skill and exposure I needed.

I met Paul Roland Bene as a volunteer with #Akandewa in Abidjan three years ago, today; Paul is a young guy who is turning the tech industry around. Ask him, he will tell u how volunteering took him to where he is today. He is a hot cake in his country. #EmdeeTiamiyu of the famous #YouHaveARightToBeMotivated daily inspirational series is a master today in the ICT world. Guess what, knowing he won’t be paid as an industrial training (IT) student, he still volunteered in a tech firm. While he learnt time management and other management systems from them, the firm discovered Emdee has some skills which the firm needed, so he trained the staff and got paid for that. Ask Emdee, he will tell you that Volunteering opens doors of opportunities and helps you leverage on opportunities you won’t be able to get if you don’t volunteer.

Last week I encountered two students of different personalities seeking to do a 4-month IT. Eunice is studying Food, Science and Technology and has refused all the eatery outlets recommended for her saying she needs a big and famous place where she could be paid well. Ify is studying Office Tech and Management, she walked into our center and pleaded if she could be allowed do her IT at our center. Asked why, she said she is inspired with the resources we have and would want to learn more on the usage of technology so that on return to school, she would have gained skills in tech that would help in her course and career. Imagine within you, the two! Both are learners and focus ought to be on avenues that would help expose or help them acquire needed skills rather than on how much to make. If money is paid, fine but shouldn’t be the condition for the IT. Money paid may finish before she returns to school but the skills acquired will remain and multiply in her for life just like in Emdee and Paul. (…to be continued).


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