The 5 major non-profits in Nigeria and why they matter

As more communities continue to experience more diseases, economic depression, unemployment, and other crises, governments, and organised civil societies have successfully developed a symbiotic relationship, which became more evident with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through numerous non-profits working with the government, millions of destitute people accessed emergency food parcels and shelters, with non-profits also pushing for policies to encourage government interventions.

More than that, more non-profits are also investing in arts and culture, youth development, community education, scholarships, and technology. Here are five non-profits that have been remarkable in the past year:

  • Ford Foundation

In September 2021, Ford Foundation announced the launch of the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund, including $5 million in seed funding from the Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation. The new fund hopes to raise $15 million and increase leadership capacity, enhance educational opportunities, and build relationships between youth leaders and regional governments in the country. In close partnership with LEAP Africa, who will be managing the fund, it will also build on the momentum “inspired by the youth-led #EndSARS movement”.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, non-profit grant-making organisation with assets currently valued at $16 billion. Across eight decades, the organisation has consistently emphasised its mission to reduce poverty and strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation and advance human achievement globally. From the grant in 1958 to train Nigerian government workers and the support for the establishment of the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA), its focus on providing practical solutions with a global perspective has ensured the actualisation of its mission locally.

With works spread across Arts, Culture and Media, Civil & Human Rights, Education & Scholarship, including many others, the foundation has given out up to $8 million as grants to about 15 organisations this year alone.

  • British Council

Founded in 1934 and with its first overseas offices opened in 1938, the British Council is one of the oldest cultural relations organisations globally. Currently, the organisation has offices in over 100 countries, with a mission to build connections, understanding and trust between people in the United Kingdom and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English Language. In 2019 – 2020, the British Council claimed to have connected with 80 million people directly and with 791 million overall, including online and through broadcast and publications.

The focus of the British Council in Nigeria is on capacity building and sustainability in designing, developing and delivering programmes aimed at delivering change. But what has made the non-profit organisation so effective is the strategic partnership with local institutions and personalities, including globally-recognised programs duly celebrated by experts and policymakers. Between 2018/2019, 117,352 internationally recognised exams were taken by Nigerians connecting them to global learning opportunities. Through the International School’s Award, more than 3,900 students across 26 schools have gained access to an international dimension in their education.

In addition, 4,832 artists were given empowerment opportunities through training and networking platforms. This includes the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) funded Nigeria Creative Enterprise (NICE), which supported Nigerian creative entrepreneurs, and sector support organisations in fashion and film to develop their skills, capacity and partnerships with the UK. Over 1,921 traditional rulers, 1,801 scribes and 300 mentors from 12 Emirate Councils in North-East Nigeria have been trained. The training developed the traditional rulers’ skills for mediation of disputes and conflict resolution.

In a message celebrating 75 years in Nigeria, Country Director, Lucy Pearson, outlined that the Council’s approach is rooted in partnering with the right UK and Nigerian organisations to give the widest possible impact. “We have a reputation for listening and enabling that has brought us a range of partner organisations that invested in our programmes – from Federal and State Governments to NGO’s to the private sector”.

  • Ingressive For Good (I4G)

Ingressive For Good is the newest among those mentioned – the initiative is just a little over a year old. But its remarkable achievement since its launch in 2020, coupled with highly-effective global partnerships and community-focused support and services, earns the organisation a mention on the list.

Ingressive For Good (I4G) is an Edtech non-profit organisation dedicated to creating and increasing the earning power of African youth through tech training and resources. Ingressive For Good (I4G) tackles unemployment in Africa by equipping young people with tech skills and resources to help them find opportunities, grow their earning power, and contribute to the continent’s socio-economic development.

It was founded by Sean Burrowes, Blessing Abeng and Maya Horgan Famodu, who is thought to be the youngest person to have launched a tech fund in sub-Saharan Africa. So far, the foundation has recorded top participation in countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Botswana and Benin.

The foundation aims to achieve its mission through three pillars: Micro-scholarships, Technical training and Talent placements. In the last one year, Ingressive For Good has grown a community of over 80,000 people; trained up to 70,000 Pan-African youths in technical skills; deployed 5,000 unlimited Coursera accounts; completed 3k member tech training cohort with 80% employment at graduation; awarded over $46,500 in scholarships; sponsored 1,000 women to learn product management and design and provided computer science scholarships, laptops and data across Nigeria.

It has also received international students from 79 countries outside the continent, including Africans in the US and the UK.

  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

A few weeks ago, President Buhari praised UNDP for what he referred to as “its diverse assistance to Nigeria, particularly in helping to stabilise the crisis-ridden North East”. Diverse, that is true.

 As one of the world’s biggest non-profit organisations, UNDP is central to the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG), a network that unites the 40 United Nations funds, programmes, specialised agencies and other bodies working to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development across 170 countries. Its mandate is to end poverty, build democratic governance, the rule of law, and inclusive institutions.

Formed in 1965 to help countries, it administers projects to attract investment, technical training and technological development, to provide experts to help build legal and political institutions and expand the private sector. The approach is based on a six signature solution powered by digitalisation, innovation and development financing for more significant impact.

In addition, its activities have increasingly focused on fulfilling the sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as combating HIV/AIDS and ensuring environmentally sustainable development. It also supports the government in implementing development interventions aimed at meeting the Medium-To-Long Term goals enshrined in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020; National Vision 2020, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.

  • Devatop Center for Africa Development

DCAD is a non-profit organisation that focuses on combating human trafficking, gender-based violence, providing educational supports to vulnerable children and empowering women and young people to be agents of national development. Over the years, the organisation has impacted over 200,000 people through training, sensitisation assistance, donations and media.

In 2015, DCAD started a pilot project on the Academy for Prevention of Human Trafficking and other related matters. In March 2021, 65 participants were trained, with 35 advocates from 15 states to carry out step-down community awareness in 30 communities and online education of over 2,400 community members. Its mission to provide educational support to vulnerable children and empower women and young people makes the initiative an integral partner in the country’s development.

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