International Women’s day , March 8 is a day set aside to celebrate social, political, cultural,and economical achievement for women around the world. The theme for this year is women in the changing world of work, Planet 50:50 by 2030 while the goal is to ensure actors step up gender equality towards a planet where world of work works for all women. This requires that policies should be set in place to promote and protect women in their workplace and the economy at large, bridging gender gap and promoting gender parity.

To commemorate this year’s IWD, African Youth Initiative on Population, Health, and Development (AfrYPoD) organised an event co-sponsored by eight (8) other organisations including Connected Development (CODE). This event brought together people from different youth led and women centered organisations. The 3- hour long event was interesting, event filled and informative. It covered experience sharing from all the organisations present, organisations were asked to share experiences on how they have taken bold steps in helping women cater for the welfare as well as promoting women’s right.

Connected Development was not left out as we highlighted how we use our ‘Follow the Money project’ to track funds meant for rural communities, projects like-  the World bank funds for the Girl child education project in five northeastern states in Nigeria and the clean cook stove project, these projects were highlighted as they are gender specific.

The highlight of the event apart from the experience sharing was when Connected Development officially launched her report on “An examination of girls’ education in Nigeria and Follow the money 2016 report and Project Pink Blue’s Nigerian language translation of Breast cancer materials for women. Resolutions from participants include increased sensitization and drive advocacy for the domestication of Violence against person’s prohibition Act in states while promoting women empowerment.

I was particularly excited to have attended the event, seeing young, vibrant, and intelligent  women ready to take up challenging roles and working towards the actualization of planet 50:50. Moreso,  the men present pledged their support towards helping us achieve gender equality.

It was a rich, informative and engaging event  and I was particularly inspired to #BeBoldforChange and proud to be a woman.


The challenging and exciting part of NGO accounting at Grassroots

The challenging and exciting part of NGO accounting at Grassroots

So many persons believe that practicing accounting in a not-for profit is challenging, boring and annoying, however, I beg to differ with the last two adjectives. Working as the Finance Officer at Connected Development [CODE]  has been both challenging and exciting at the same time.

Okay we know Accounting is the art of identifying, recording, classifying and summarizing in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events, which are in part at least, of a financial character and interpreting the results thereof to make informed decisions. while Financial reporting has to do with reporting transactions and providing receipts so as to justify every transaction made while adhering to the seven principles of financial management for Non Governmental Organizations which encompass stewardship, accountability, viability, transparency, integrity, accounting standards and consistence.

For credibility purpose when reporting, you will always be expected  to provide receipt to justify every item included in the financial report. Getting receipts which shows proof of payment can be somewhat difficult especially when dealing with people in rural communities or trying to suggest the use of cheapest means of expenditure to them, but I thought, why not create a system that would work for me and by extension the organization. CODE’s mission is to empower marginalized communities which results to the focus of most of our projects in rural communities. Working with people in rural communities can be challenging but the quicker you can get a system that will work for you, the better, instead of preventable oscillations.

In order to create a working system, I devised a mechanism of developing a form receipting. This receipt does not necessarily carry the “typed organisation’s letter headed” document but a form where it can be handwritten and signed by parties involved.I also developed what I termed the “unreceipted” transport claim document where community reporters would have to list out all local transportation expenses incurred during the course of the the respective projects such as canoe fares, bike fares, buses etc. This is in an effort to ease reporting for me and to justify every single penny leaving the organisation’s purse.

After all, in accounting, reconciliation is the process of ensuring that the balances of two account are in agreement through making sure that money budgeted would later reconcile with  the actual money spent, whether it was over-budgeted or under-budgeted. One of the ways in which reconciliation can take place is  examining/matching existing records and receipts for effective documentation.

So you see NGO accounting is not so difficult especially when the personnel involved can deploy strategies and creativity for quality accounting. Next time you think NGO accounting is boring, challenging and annoying, think again – In fact I can emphatically say it is interesting, yeah it can be challenging but exciting.

It’s not about the deadlines but living healthy

It’s not about the deadlines but living healthy

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”– Sydney J. Harris

An average Nigerian work 9 hours/day, 47 hours /week and we barely have time to rest, we are always in a hurry to get things done, in a hurry even on the highway. The question that comes to mind is: Why the hurry? Where are we really rushing to?

But how many times do we take out time to check our health or even rest, slow down to think and not overwork ourselves. The Nigerian watch revealed that  75% of Nigerians fall sick due to work stress. We visit hospitals most times when the ailment is at a critical stage and often times most ailment are work stress related because we do not take out time to relax. We rather just get drugs from a roadside pharmacy when we have the slightest symptoms, thereby worsen the case that ought to have a proper diagnosis.

Every job has stress and at some point we feel the work pressure and this stress can occur in different forms like trying to fulfill a challenging obligation or trying to meet a deadline. But when work stress persist then this can be harmful to our health. Work stress can contribute to health issues such as headache, sleep disorder, difficulty in concentrating, short temper, it can also weaken the immune system amongst other noticeable symptoms.

Record shows that some persons deal with stress using different unhealthy mechanisms ranging from abusing drugs and smoking or even taking alcohols, overeating or unhealthy eating and other unhealthy coping mechanisms.

From my personal observation, I discovered that more Doctors visit and serious illness are linked to work stress, most times instead of visiting the Hospital for a proper check up, most people just prefer to buy drugs from a roadside drug seller or we buy drugs from the chemist in our neighborhood not minding the fact that they are not trained.

My advice, according to psychologists, that we adopt some coping mechanisms like make the most of our break, even if it’s 10 minutes of our busy schedule and this have proven to help refresh our mental outlook, try to take a brief walk or just interact with colleagues and always walk away when you are angry (mental regroup) or my favorite, sit quietly with your eyes closed and take a deep breath.

We should also set reasonable standards, learn to work together with colleagues to achieve needed change in the organisation, also the overall productivity of the organisation will increase and this will improve our health as well.

Next time you are feeling stressed, take time to listen to your body, just rest and save yourself extra stress of hospital runs, a Philosopher said “To go slow is to go fast. I think that applies to everything in Life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but if we do each thing calmly and carefully we will get it done quicker and with less stress.”