I had always thought I was going to have a career in sciences; I was groomed to be a scientist right from birth. My father, mother and older siblings studied sciences and I also excelled at it, so it seemed I was positioned to follow suit by studying Biochemistry at the University of Ibadan. Despite my obvious love for the practical aspect of the course, it took my NYSC service year as well as four months of post-graduation experience to realize that I was not finding fulfilment in this career.
During this period, I applied for a Project Assistant job with an NGO because I was aware it is a diverse sector where I will be exposed to an array of relevant corporate skills.
Getting the job started me on a journey of career fulfilment in the Development and Nonprofit sector. It was a whole new world where I was constantly being challenged to do better and be more skilled daily; I particularly loved the fact that development work is fast-paced, dynamic, versatile and can cut across several sectors and specialities. It seemed that the only ingredient fundamental to excelling in this career path is to have a genuine commitment towards facilitating development. I discovered this might be done in cross-cutting approaches across focused areas like health, education, public policy, gender equality, human rights, peace & conflict, agriculture, social equality, energy, sustainable environments & climate change and so on.
Over the past 10 years, I have enjoyed working on development projects (paid and volunteer) in education, public policy, health, social and economic development. My role typically involves program management, stakeholder engagement, advocacy, capacity building and monitoring of project service delivery. I get a thrill from coming across new challenges daily and contributing to building sustainable solutions to some of the core development issues in the world.
My thirst for seeing lives positively impacted by the work I do has become a catalyst to do even more. To me, being a Development Professional feels like being thrown into a huge pile of Legos; you will have mix & match Lego pieces in your pile and you get to pick what interests you and build something strong from it. In the same vein, our development issues are a lot and of different types. To address them as a development professional, you need to focus on your area(s) of interest, build sustainable solutions from there and sometimes, collaborate with other people who have critical features that directly or indirectly affect your focus area(s).
Though the development journey for most environments is an arduous one and the career of a development professional is not without its challenges, it has been an amazing experience working in this sector. I am looking forward to working with more organizations/institutions where more people/communities can be reached or impacted and doing all I can to continue my contribution towards a developed world in Nigeria, Africa, and the global community. I think it is our collective social responsibility to pitch in and lend our voices to support work done to develop the world.
We all deserve that world!