Accra, Ghana//-Chidi Koldsweat is on a bold mission to provide clarity, direction and solutions to development challenges that plague Africa and its people over the years.
She strongly believes that the fastest way to get Africa out of poverty is by investing in its people and its institution and this is what drives her.
“I believe in integrity, dedication, an unwavering commitment to change and a consistent desire for growth”. Mrs Koldsweat who is the Founder, Lead Strategist, Donors for Africa Foundation, a leading grant management organization which works actively with governments, funding institutions, the private sector, NGOs, among others to break cycles of poverty.
This according to her could be achieved by strengthening the capacity of African social innovators, nonprofits, impact led businesses and social enterprises to access funds, achieve their vision towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build sustainable organizations.
Mrs Koldsweat expressed these sentiments when African Eye Report contacted her after noticing her efforts at mobilising resources for African governments and NGOs to kick-out poverty in Africa.
Inspiration of setting up Donors for Africa Foundation
With over 13 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, she has witnessed the rise, fail and fall of so many nonprofits. “One minute you have organizations scaling with a great idea and the next minute they are no longer in existence”, she told this pan-African news website in an interview.
Mrs Koldsweat attributed the poor showing of most of the organisations to a lack of a strategic plan and of lack diversified funding portfolios.
She also added that most of them paid greater attention to profit making, while very minimal attention was paid to the needs of nonprofit leaders. So, she has decided to bridge these gaps by setting up the Donors for Africa Foundation.
Another inspiration behind Donors for Africa Foundation, according to her, is the reality that philanthropy organizations struggle to find trust worthy nonprofit leaders and this is what they (Donors for Africa Foundation) provide.
Trusted institutions across Africa are committed to the growth and impact of its people, hence our desire to support them to deliver, she assured.
“We also aim to serve as a gateway for philanthropy agencies across the world to deliver their solutions across Africa using us as a gateway”.
Mrs Koldsweat further explained: “At Donors For Africa Foundation, our vision is to continue to provide strategic planning solutions on the SDGs, institutional strengthening, leadership accelerator programs, impact investing, research, and advocacy targeted at governments, donors/philanthropy organizations, private sector companies, and indigenous NGOs/social impact organizations”.
For her nonprofit organizations need funding in order to carry out their objectives and this is majorly achieved through fundraising, which also ensures that their team doesn’t deplete their revenues by merely depending on available resources.
For a Nonprofit organization to be eligible for any form of financial aid, grants, or sponsorships, it has to provide evidence of a track record of impeccable execution of its vision. This kind of responsibility requires the organization to closely monitor its implementation and weed out vulnerabilities within the procedures.
Nonprofit fundraising reinforces community outreach. In order to request the participation of potent parties with the power to boost its mission, the nonprofit has to provide evidence of the fact that it is always attempting to reach the maximum number of people possible.
These are just a few reasons why fundraising is important. It is ultimately to help them scale up their impacts and reach more communities, the pretty and affable founder said.
Thriving in the competitive grants management and organisation space
When asked why her foundation is thriving in the competitive grants management and organisation space, Mrs Koldsweat simply answered: “We care. We genuinely have an unwavering passion to see change happen in our communities and countries”.
She continued: “We do not generalize solutions as we know that what may work for one organization may not work for the other. We focus on providing personalized solutions that are vital to the growth of any organization and this is how we thrive.
We also focus on collaborations, helping others achieve their goals as much as we desire to achieve ours. The challenges in this sector are so much that we cannot afford to work in silos and this is one thing we do differently”.
Our expertise and understanding of the sector has also helped us achieve more than a 70% success rate with our grants application. We also teach nonprofits that depending”.
Journey to success
The three keywords that drove her to success are: Clarity, discipline and consistency.
Explaining further, she said: “You must first know what you don’t want so it can help you clarify what you need and want. When, you have clarity but lack discipline and the grit to keep going.
On this journey to success, you also need people. People who are willing to point you in the right directions. Many will come as bosses or women who are interested in you and are willing to be pillars as you evolve into every phase”.
You need to also develop grit and staying power. In a generation where everything is described as ‘fast-paced, quick, overnight etc” you need to understand that some things will take time so we must keep at it.
You must be able to trust your own voice and the vision in your heart. You will get a lot of rejections and a lot of people undermining your assignment or task but you must believe in what you do with a doggedness that forces people to listen and open up opportunities to you”.
“You must also be willing to invest in yourself. Upgrade, improve your current version, pay for knowledge, and pay for access when required- know that if you do not invest in yourself, why should anyone invest in you?
You are your greatest investment. Any result I achieve is equal to the amount of time, effort and resources I have invested. I also leverage the many opportunities I come across online; using social media has been a great benefit and advantage to my work. Above all, I have learned to stay true to myself and be open-minded to unlearn and learn new knowledge, and skills”.
As the founder, Mrs Koldsweat wants to leave a legacy of Results, Impact and Integrity in every single organization she and her foundation work with.
To know that because of their intervention, they gained new opportunities, new funding, had the resources to reach more communities and of course made more impact.
She also wants Donors for Africa to be known as the organization that governments can trust and can work with because they know they get the work done. That in the midst of corruption, there remains an organization committed to growth and development for their communities.
Mrs Koldsweat used the opportunity to advise young Africans to find their passion to enable them to excel in their endeavours.
“Gain expertise and carve a niche for yourself. Stay positive. All may not seem rosy, but believe me, with consistency, determination, and hard work, it will pay off eventually”, she added.
Mrs Koldsweat also urged the youth to leverage on the use of social media to seek opportunities, and advised them to read books to develop themselves, and be flexible, be ready to unlearn, and learn new knowledge and skills every day.
Her favorite quotes that inspired her journey are: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” “All progress takes place outside the comfort zone.” —Michael John Bobak. ”Everything good will come”
Education and Qualifications
Mrs Koldsweat is currently pursuing a leadership certificate in International Organizational Management from the University of Geneva, Switzerland.
She holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration and International Affairs from the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
In this role, she has trained over 1000+ nonprofits, raised $30M in direct and indirect funding, and reaches over 31,000 unique accounts weekly via their social media platforms where she provides knowledge to her nonprofit community.
Donors for Africa also launched the premiere digital Social Innovators Bootcamp and has recorded tremendous impact over a short time.
She was drafted into the African Youth Front on COVID-19 launched by the African Union (AU) Office of the Youth Envoy with the support of Africa Center for Disease Control & Prevention (Africa CDC) where she represents the MILEAD Network, Africa.
Mrs Koldsweat has received several awards in Nigeria and across the globe. She was recently featured on NBC, CBS & FOX News.
Also she was recently recognized among the 100 Women Impacting Africa. In 2020, Mrs Koldsweat received the Social Media for Social Good Awards. Flew the Nigerian flag at the launch of the Arab-African Youth Platform in 2019, and pitched her organizations work at the World Bank Youth Summit.
In 2014, CEO Global gave her an award as a Finalist, Africa’s most influential women in management, business & public service (civil society category).
In the same year, she was nominated by the Chinese Embassy to participate in the three-week cultural exchange program under The Chinese Association for International Understanding.
In 2013, she became a Vital Voices Lead Fellow and was also nominated amongst the 100 unseen women changing her world.
In 2011, she was selected amongst Africa’s 25 most outstanding emerging women leaders under the Moremi Initiative for Leadership (MILEAD).
Mrs Koldsweat loves reading, travelling and watching Korean movies.
In sum, she is one of the young Africans to watch out for.
By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report