Profile Photo Source: Temitayo Ade-Peters’ LinkedIn Profile
“When I think about myself, I think about impact,” says Temitayo Ade-Peters, the CEO of WeForGood International, a Nigerian NGO supporting local organizations to make impact. “That’s the one thing I really focus on.”
Growing up in Nigeria, Ade-Peters knew as a child that she cared about others. She would get emotional and concerned about what others were going through, and she felt the urge to “alleviate people’s problems.” After pursuing her Bachelor of Art Degree in French at Lagos State University and working at a French-speaking organization, she quickly realized that she wanted to find her unique way in the midst of everything. “I wanted to use my language skills as an opportunity to impact business,” she says.
Starting her career in the business sector that operates in Nigeria and neighboring French-speaking countries, Ade-Peters found her way through communications, blending cultures and working in volunteering, CSR and sustainability. “I realized that these align very well with me as an individual who is always looking for how to help people,” she said. Her experience, expertise and personal expectations formed a tool for her to make impact.
Finding her direction and tool was only Ade-Peters’ first step towards doing more. Constantly seeking opportunities, she eventually decided to continue her career in the non-profit sector by establishing and becoming the CEO of WeForGood International, a platform that helps organizations plan and develop strategically while connecting individuals and organizations with people who can offer them support in program development and implementation. Through this formation of partnership, this “fun, active and impact-driven” platform aims to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) so that overall well-being can be improved at community-level. In just two years after its establishment, the NGO has already helped local entrepreneurs influence more than 700,000 people and was named as one of the “Top 50 Brands Making a Difference in Nigeria” in 2019. One of the projects, “Teach the SDGs in Nigeria,” has reached more than 15,000 children in rural communities to educate them about SDGs.
“We play a huge role when it comes to economic growth,” says Ade-Peters. She identifies a key driver for Africa’s economic development to be empowering the youth, as demographics shows that almost 20% of the African population ages between 15-24, making it the youngest continent in the world. Aiming to promote overall well-being and development, she thinks it is vital that young people in Africa are provided with decent work. “We have a huge demography that needs to be engaged positively and sustainably,” she says. Therefore, the organization’s primary goal is set as helping organizations create decent work for young people and promote economic growth in the fields they are interested in, whether it’s education, public health or other key development issues. This goal is partially achieved by providing organizations with advice on sustainably developing their programs so that they can get the funding they need to scale up their impacts, especially on youth empowerment.
But providing suggestions to help organizations create opportunities for youth to boost economic growth is not all. For Ade-Peters, WeForGood International “is about everyone playing their parts in the world” and empowering people who want to do something. Therefore, in addition to providing organizations with advice on funding, training and reaching communities, her NGO aims to forge cross-sector connection and cooperation, as Ade-Peters finds this sense of partnership crucial. For example, WeForGood International helped connect an organization aiming to teach people in rural areas how to use computers with a company that could provide technical assistance to the program. This cooperation was beneficial to both parties, as the organization successfully implemented their program while the company promoted their products and services. Ade-Peters believes that partnerships and networks should exist between international actors, local organizations, communities and community members “as long as we can find value for both partners,” she says.
To ensure that the partnerships can be as impactful as possible, Ade-Peters believes that all projects should take community-driven approaches. And by communities, she means “clusters of people with shared aspirations, shared fears and who are willing to help one another.” To truly implement strategies that address the needs of the communities, project developers need to understand the context and think about how projects will impact the community.
Although Ade-Peters cares about pushing through projects at a fast pace, she considers the COVID-19 pandemic as a great opportunity for entrepreneurs “to look back and look at what [they] are doing and ask [themselves], is this the best way this can be done.” This reflection is an essential step to guaranteeing precision, ensuring efficiency and building resilience in the communities projects aim to serve, especially under the COVID-19 situation. “Because there is no room for guessing right now,” says Ade-Peters. “We need to know what the users want.”
Ade-Peters’ passion for her innovative partnership-oriented model contributes to her vision for WeForGood International: becoming the most innovative African development firm. Currently, she is expanding the organization on the project-level by making it more open and inclusive. “You have to be open-minded,” she says.
While running the organization, she finds that people are constantly asking her about how to write a proposal or how to make an impact. Her answer seems to be both simple and complex. “You really need to just love the people for who they are and help them,” she says. “Love will really help you think deep.”
About the authorYuxuan Liu is a journalist/columnist in SRP’s Writing and Interviewing Program. She is a sophomore in college studying Global Health who loves mint and chocolate chips ice cream.