Numerous NGOs Exist Due to Government's Laxity - Bolu Okunlola
NNI: Can we meet you?
Guest: I am Okunlola Boluwatife, a graduate of Law from Obafemi Awolowo University. I am passionate about social change and development. I am the founder and Lead Volunteer of The Keturah Movement; a social change organization and also a craftsman at BOJCrafts.
NNI: How has the entrepreneurship journey been for you so far?
Guest: For me, the entrepreneurship journey has been quite interesting because it is more like a hobby.
NNI: In managing multiple businesses and your NGO while as a student, how did you manage your time and balance academics and extra curricular activities?
Guest: There wasn't really a specific balance scheme that I strictly followed.
The major drive for the balance between my academics, entrepreneurship and running an NGO is the fact that I enjoy doing them all. I don't allow the time for any aspect to affect the others and that has somehow helped build a healthy balance between them all.
NNI:What is your worst business experience?
Guest: Oh, that would definitely be one time that I had to work with a very difficult customer. I made a wallet and there was a glitch in the finishing that a shoemaker did. She was displeased and said nasty things. I apologized and refunded her money, and it was quite painful because I had put in so much work.
NNI: BOJCrafts follows a unique business trend. What inspires your creative products?
Guest: Usually, what keeps my creative juices flowing is the fact that I enjoy the challenge of coming up with new designs and satisfying other people's fashion cravings. I am inspired by the combination of trends, colors, works and achievements of other creatives.
NNI: On Youth Development and growth in Nigeria, do you think we are making progress?
Guest: In order to seek the long term development and growth of a nation, we all know that youth development is a prerequisite. Personally, I believe we're making progress but we're not there yet. The trend these days is that as youths, we do not give quality time to growth anymore, most people now skip the growth process and jump into leadership.
To an extent, I would say that we're making a heads way in youth development and growth in Nigeria. The "lazy youth" mentality is almost now a thing of the past because an average youth now has one or two things we focus on such as businesses, skills and so on.
NNI: Peer influence and Social Media are two notable factors that have great influence on youths- positive and negative. To what extent can you measure these influence?
Guest: The effect of peer Influence on the average youth has been the crux of discuss for the past few years. Most youths do something that they wouldn't otherwise do, because of some form of validation and the hunger to be accepted and valued.
On the other hand, The use of social media has both negative and positive impacts on the youths today. Youths are predominantly the users of the Internet for social interaction. These are the people who cannot imagine life without the Internet, always seeking for ways to connect virtually with everyone in the world.
The effect of peer influence and social media on us today as youths is far reaching, both negatively and positively. And the best antidote for the negative effects is to create a balance in both aspects.
NNI: You run a Non- Governmental Organisation. How do you give back to the society?
We organize and volunteer for events relating to childcare, female and youth empowerment, community development and poverty alleviation among others.
NNI: What is your take on the existence of many NGOs? Do you think that societal impact is relative to the number of NGOs in existence?
Guest: NGOs play a very crucial role in the well being of mankind. There are many things that the governments would not be able to cater for and the NGOs cover that field.
The mentality behind the high rise of NGOs is basically a reflection of laxity on the part of the government. But we cannot overemphasize the great positive impact that this brings. More NGOs means more hands to help other people. I believe that the greatest empowerment we can give to societal change is directly empowering our local communities permanently. This is a problem that most NGOs are trying to tackle. However, I agree that societal impact is relative to the number of NGOs in existence.
NNI: What is the Tzedakah4Keturah Project about?
Guest: Tzedakah4Keturah is an initiative of The Keturah Movement. It is a social purpose business where we sell products and the entire profit goes into charity. We set up the enterprise to tackle two social issues: Healthcare and Child education. It was inspired by the idea that every child deserves quality education and human being deserves quality healthcare. The yearly project tagged "Tzedakah" visits public schools to donate learning materials, hospitals to donate healthcare aids and also rural areas for sensitization on physical and mental health.
NNI: What is your advice to fellow young individuals?
Guest: To my fellow young individuals, I'd love to say we should try to let go of worrying too much about the future. Concentrate on being in the here and know and life will be more fulfilling. We can only take care of the future when we learn how to take care of the present moment. What's the fun in it all if we already have it all figured out? I think it's best that we create a space for ourselves to grow at a convenient pace and take it one step at a time.
NNI: Thank you very much for your time
Guest: Thank you so much for your patience.