Driving impact and courageous problem solving – a Foresighter’s story

Driving impact and courageous problem solving – a Foresighter’s story

In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristin, a Foresighter who has worked with AFG for 3.5 years, has embarked on an interesting project with an NGO she runs. Kristin’s work with her NGO spotlights the diverse group of people we have in our talent pool and gives life to two of AFG’s core values: Impact First and Courageous Problem Solving.

Introducing Kristin’s initiative

Kristin is the founder of Isọdọkan. Isọdọkan is a social enterprise focused on empowering at-risk youth and the communities they live in. Isọdọkan was founded in 2015, in response to the dire need for employment and enablement in poor communities across the West African region. The organization runs a school focused on early childhood, a vocational centre focused on technical and technological skills that can be quickly monetized as well as several ad hoc programmes focused on literacy, entrepreneurship, and financial independence.

The Bridge Summer programme, for instance, focuses on building literary and financial literacy for at-risk youth and has expanded to also include public speaking and self-presentation skills. Kajọse provides at-risk youth with access to training and resources that empower them to create and maintain small, successful businesses. This allows them to be self-sufficient, avoid criminal lifestyles, and possibly become leaders in their communities.

Explaining the effort of Isọdọkan during the COVID 19 pandemic

“Honestly, it doesn’t make sense to me to not do something and this is basically what made me realized I could mobilize quickly”

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit Nigeria, the organization quickly mobilized at the beginning of March to address its target communities sustainably by creating new employment opportunities. Isọdọkan is engaged in providing urgently required and hygienically produced personal protective equipment (PPE) such as reusable face masks, isolation gowns, and overalls. The organization distributes the reusable face masks to NGOs and organizations running food relief efforts so that they can include this in their relief packages.

In communities that were insufficiently touched with food relief efforts (or at the request of our donors), Isọdọkan also created its own relief care packages with reusable masks and food to feed a family of five for nearly two weeks. Thanks to donors and sponsors, the organization has so far supplied and distributed over 25,000 masks along with over 2-million-naira worth of relief packages to shelters, mosques, churches, neighborhoods, households, and NGOs across Nigeria. The organization’s goal is to successfully distribute 50,000 reusable masks.

How Kristin’s effort embodies the AFG value “Impact first”

driving impact, isodokan

“I think for many people the fear and uncertainty was (and perhaps remains) the most palpable aspect of this pandemic. For me, disruption of livelihoods and welfare was actually most palpable because of the ways in which my networks and experiences are set up in Lagos. And so I did what everyone does…you solve the biggest most urgent problem in front of you.”

Isọdọkan moved first and quickly got reusable masks and information out to a lot of people. Kristin Wilson says “I’ve been surprised by some of the places we’ve seen our masks and I’ve been extremely motivated by how much other organizations (many who have bigger platforms and more resources) have then been moved to do same. So I think the biggest impact has definitely been pushing other people and organizations to do this work at a larger scale.”

Isọdọkan has distributed over 1,000 care packages of different sizes, all with reusable masks (of which we have distributed approximately 25,000. This has been done almost entirely through partnerships with nearly 30 ad hoc groups and formal organizations including the Lagos Domestic Sexual Violence Response Team, the Lagos Food Bank Initiative, the Global Shaper Community.

How Kristin’s effort embodies the AFG value courageous problem solving

Isodokan, covid-19 in nigeria

Given Isọdọkan’s work with indigent communities and at-risk youth, the organization has witnessed, at first-hand, the economic and social consequences of the outbreak of COVID-19. The PPE Drive Initiative is a special project of the Isọdọkan Foundation targeted at reducing the transmission of COVID-19 in Nigeria. The reusable PPEs are 100% made in Nigeria in hygienic factory conditions at a fair wage for all workers in the manufacturing network.

Additionally, purchases of masks and other PPE from the foundation allows the organization to donate masks and care packages to the most vulnerable in the communities Isọdọkan is active in. The production is supported by experienced textile and clothing manufacturing partners who have re-purposed their factories to support the production. These partners include manufacturers that produce luxury lingerie, ready-to-wear and couture and are therefore adequately structured to consistently produce hygienically and at high quality.

As a firm, our vision is to elevate African people and businesses to become global champions. This vision cannot come to fruition without the people who work behind the scenes. The African continent needs builders – people who can put in the effort for many others to benefit. Kristin and her NGO are working together to reach out to the less privileged in the society in a very meaningful way. This is a quintessential definition of elevating people. No effort is either too big or too small.

As AFG grows, with our vision firmly in mind to reach as many African businesses and people, we will continue to encourage everyone in our community to share in the vision of the firm of elevating African people and businesses. Lots more impact can be achieved this way. It is for this reason that we are proud of the work done by Kristin and Isodokan.

In the mother tongue of the Akans in Ghana, we say Ayekoo (well-done) to Kristin and her team.

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