My Volunteer Journey: The Story of a Change Maker -By Stephen Oluwafemi Odoji

Filed under: Global Issues |

JAH Community service

 

  • PLEASE GIVE A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF YOUR PERSONAL LIFE, WORK AND PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND

Am Odoji oluwafemi Stephen, I am a an educationist, a serial volunteer social worker, a mentor and advocate for joy advancement and humanity with strong passion for promoting opportunity for people living in the grassroots especially those that are often left behind.

I am a graduate of physics education from the University of Ibadan, am presently studying financial engineering at worldquant university USA (Online Msc).

I have participated in leadership training including the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) to enhance my leadership and management skills and I am a current Student of the International Institute for Global Leadership, USA (online).

I am an associate member of the Institute of Customer Relationship Management (ICRM) and an a United Nations Development program (UNDP) Certified Social Media Associate and a Google certified Digital Marketer and mobile app developer, I hold professional certification in project management (PMP), quality assurance and quality control (QA&QC), Environmental Impact assessment (EIA), Health safety and Environment (HSE), and Petroleum Product Marketing (PPM) from the international institute of risk and safety management United Kingdom (2014).

I was selected among the very few to attend the World Bank Group (WBG) Youth Summit which was held at the World Bank Headquarters, NW, Washington in 2016 and 2017, I was honored by the Community Development Association (CDA) Itele Andu Maya, Ikorodu for his contribution towards improving the entrepreneurial ability and the standards of living of both the youth and the women in my community (CDA merit award 2018).

I have over 15years track record in leadership, health, entrepreneurship and career development work, and he has been working with women and youths from different communities and background to deliver to them the necessary tools they need to succeed in their chosen career.

My journey into the volunteer world started when I was just 13years old when I will always go to my church to help the clearer in cleaning the church auditorium, I was doing this most of the time even when I don’t really know what it means but I discovered that I really enjoy doing it and this continued for a while but growing up in, 2010 been moved by the desire to do something good in my community, I started teaching and empowering people in local communities cross Lagos when I saw how my mother suffered because she could not complete her  formal education, as a child, although she was one of the women leaders of the ruling political party in the state, she was stigmatized and always been pushed to the wall in the society, my father could not do much at the time  as he was a retired custom officer with many mouth to feed, so I watch my mother suffered for years, been the only child of my mother that was able to attain to university level and seeing that what is happening in my family is been replicated in other families in my community this was disturbing and it made me to form several groups in different communities, the groups include, Empower Africa group, Homepreneur group,  skill advancement and Entrepreneurship programs (SAEP), each group are to work to addressed the problems that are identified in different communities.

  • TELL US ABOUT YOUR VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A VOLUNTEER? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES YOU FACE AS A VOLUNTER AND HOW WHERE YOU ABLE TO OVERCOME THEM?

 

 

Like I said earlier my journey in the volunteering world begin when I was just 13 as a boy, my grandmother will always tell people that “see femi will never reject any work you send him, he is always ready to go to any length to help and work even for other people”.

 

After my university education in 2010 I remember my mother called me to her room and told me that the only way to be fulfillment in life is making the people around you fulfilled, she continued by saying that the a rich man living among 20 poor people is also a poor man, then I asking why and she said if the rich man through his wealth cannot make the 20 poor people around him rich then he is also poor technically. She added that imagine if the rich help the 20 poor people to be rich and the 20 each help other 20, before you know it that community will become rich and the people living in that community will be better for it. I’ve always remembered that advice and try to live it every day, seeing the need in my community at the time, I started the Empower African group that same year which is a free community women empowerment program, ever since I have been organizing free entrepreneurship training for parents of students in public secondary schools and religious organizations working in partnership with school heads, head of women department in religious organizations and the head of the community development association (CDA’s), and we have since extended the training to other smaller communities around us. But I got to discovered that so many people although trained in entrepreneurial skills, still find it very difficult to start up a profitable business, so I and my friends in February 2017 decided to start a business club that will promote women business start-ups in our communities. The business club which I named Homepreneur, because my target is to train women who will be able to take up businesses, freelance in small or medium scale, working from home and generating revenue that becomes their income or augment it. To put in a simple terms it is entrepreneurship from home and over one thousand five hundred women have been the beneficiary of this initiative. At the Homepreneur business club, women entrepreneur meet with expert to get comprehensive information about access to funds, counseling and guidance services. The issue of women empowerment is important to me because a woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her life by extending the benefit to the world around her, creating a better life for their families and building a stronger community. This however is an ongoing program.

 

In 2018, as graduate unemployment is on the increase, am working to help address the issue by building the capacities of the Nigerian youth and women through the skill advancement and Entrepreneurship programs (SAEP), a program dedicated to helping women and the Nigerian final year students to build their digital marketing and entrepreneurial capacity by harnessing the power of the social media platforms thus enabling them to be self-employed and multiply their revenue. Thus far the program has directly trained over 300 women and youths and impacted over 620 others.

 

Although am try to make impact in the life of people living around me I discovered that there is much that needs to be done and the only way I can bridge the gap is to work collaboratively with others in order to be able to achieve the much desired change, so I started taking up non-paid volunteer position with different organizations and NGOs. I served as a volunteer for the knowledge exchange centre (KEC), Career Workshop 1.0 termed “winning in the 21st century job market” and as a volunteer he help to promote the Campaign and share the application link with youths in various States to attend the career workshop. He engage young people within my network in conversations around issues on career development, create a platform on a range of topics for youths to share their thoughts and speak on ‘some of the challenges of career selection’. Stephen also Prepare and execute a mobilization plan for young people within my state to attend the workshop, and as a certified social media associate, He design and develop best, efficient and effective social media platforms and engagement thereby driving traffic to the KEC website.
I utilize every available opportunity to speak about the career workshop and summit, including links to various educational opportunities for young people in Nigeria.

 

 Am serving as a volunteer with Slum2School Africa.

I am working in the department of external relations, Fundraising and partnership. I assist to harness resources towards bridging the enrollment gap into schools between Orphans/Vulnerable out-of-school children and children in school, through the provision of educational scholarships and other psycho-social support programs. I personally pledge to work to sponsor five students for their secondary education.

 Youth Development Centre, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.

 

I served as a State Ambassador for the Youth Development Centre of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (YDC-OOPL) during the campaign against irregular youth migration in 2018, I played very important roles from advocacy, reaching out to young people in my State and different communities therein, publicity and mobilizing youths and logistics for the 2018 youth irregular migration summit, which had over 953 participants. I also work as a volunteer in putting the program together and making sure that everything works smoothly, I also organize actions, such as visits to worship centers, schools, youth groups and gatherings educating them on how we can collectively ‘Curb Youth Irregular Migration’.                                  

 

Am a fellow of the YALI Regional leadership Center and a fellow of the Rebook Africa Creative writers

 I just concluded an internship with Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation (ACT Foundation), Lagos. Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation is a grant making nonprofit organization established to support local, national and regional non – profit organizations working to address challenges and associated vulnerabilities across the African Continent.

Through this internship, my skills, ability and drive has been rebranded and reshaped. Now, am ready to lunch out and start affecting lives positively on a larger scale across local communities in Nigeria and beyond.  

 

  • What advice would you give to anyone considering becoming a volunteer?

 

I would advise potential volunteers to always keep an open mind; Whilst volunteering, anything can happen even with regards to your individual volunteering, but all that should matter to you is the change you want to make and that life that you want to touch.

 

Some of my work can be found using the following links:

https://www.facebook.com/Homepreneur101/

 

https://stephenodoji.wixsite.com/website

 

https://www.facebook.com/umbutu2013

 

https://www.instagram.com/odojistephenfemi/

 

Comments

comments

2 Responses to My Volunteer Journey: The Story of a Change Maker -By Stephen Oluwafemi Odoji

  1. I like this blog very much, Its a very nice office to read and get information.

    in áo thun
    July 29, 2018 at 3:27 am
    Reply

    • Keep turned for me informative stories

      stephen Odoji
      August 2, 2018 at 12:52 pm
      Reply

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