The biggest lesson I have picked up since I began to work with -what is admittedly one of the biggest and resourceful intervention platforms in Nigeria- BeatingCorona.ng, is the infectious nature of kindness. I have come to realize that one act of kindness, no matter how small or minimally impactful it might be, has the power to inspire many other forms of kindness, in even bigger ways.
Kindness has become an indispensable social currency in our world, plagued by structural inequality. What was once private principle, has now transformed into a necessary means to move in our changing world. It is the lens through which we gauge our humanity and attempt to understand and respond to what is going on around us.
Another interesting realization I have come to, as someone who has helped build, monitor, and curate intervention activities, is the willingness of everyday Nigerians to help the people around them get through this time. Even with the recent economic strain, caused by the temporary shutdown of business activities due to the pandemic, making it impossible for Nigerians in disadvantaged communities to adequately provide for themselves, small scale self-funded intervention initiatives have risen up to provide necessities like food (daily meals and raw food to tide recipients through difficult patches), money, shelter, security, and other basic needs. These admirable acts of kindness are truly life-saving, it is fitting that they are celebrated. This is what Union Bank is doing.
Aside from the intervention initiatives they are involved in and the partnerships they engage in with other organizations coordinating interventions, the leading, customer-centric bank has also embarked on the Union Rise Challenge, an initiative designed to empower Nigerians who are making an impact during the pandemic. Spotlighting and supporting small scale initiatives, business owners who have managed to retain their employees, people who have successfully launched businesses during the pandemic, and those who are charitable, innovative, resourceful, and simply making an impact in their communities. Now in its second week, the Union Rise Challenge has rewarded up to 12 people involved in diverse projects that have created an impact, with each winner getting N250,000.
This move will positively power the small movements that continue to keep us all strong through this uncertain time. Union bank’s Rise Challenge is amplifying the transformative power of kindness Nigerians have shown at this time. As a people, this pandemic has helped remind us of the lengths we can go to overcome our differences and provide support systems for one another.
In the latest BeatingCorona report on the intervention activities in Nigeria, we noted that “intervention outlets account for 40% of the interventions received by Nigerians. With the Federal government strained thin, NGOs, individuals, and organizations have stepped in to share the burden and provide what has been a most impactful contribution to the fight against COVID-19.”
This reality practically supports the sentiment behind centering intervention initiatives in a way that can inspire others.
Looking back at its inclusive banking products and processes, Union Bank is proving yet again that it is committed to seeing its customers as people whose lives they are interested in enriching.
‘Dayo Taiwo-Sidiq is a Political Analyst, Writer and Social Change Advocate with major interests in Politics, Governance and Sports.