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How I Built NGO, Raised Money, Assembled Memberships for Nigerian Poor Communities by Using Internet from a distance in Japan

Our volunteer online made logo for our NGO

At the time when I started my NGO, I had absolutely nothing. All my possession was stolen in Nigeria and I came back to my mother's house with nothing whatsoever. Without a driver's license, I lived next two years only confined to the house. My mother, 80-year-old, who is nearly blind with cataract, was the only one who supported me with her small income. For two years, I kept building my NGO silently to support poor communities suffering from environmental pollution in Nigeria from a distant country in Japan. Obviously my good intention was not well understood by the surrounding rice-field communities, and even from the eyes of international community, I was not the most fitting to support the poor persons in Nigeria.

Fortunately, I was ignited by the training team at World Pulse where I was able to forge empowering bonds. They listened, gave me feedback and helped me to develop my journalistic skills. The program helped me to reach out to wider audience in Nigeria and the rest of the world than I ever imagined possible by disseminating the messages as I learned know-how every week online. How did I use the Internet to transform the world? Needless to say, a team of supporters who assist me from technical, emotional to intellectual levels has been very essential. If you find them, treat them like gem, they can really back you up where your weakness lies. Team has filled my short-comings, because I am imperfect with limited knowledge and resources. Here is how I did it.

First, I created newsletters to inform the world about the incidents in Nigeria. The articles were about my own experience, including the way my possession was stolen, prevalent severe poverty, cruel domestic violence and the worst type of petroleum pollution in Africa. I distributed the newsletter by email, facebook, twitter or handing them out to friends and visitors. I also used free website from Wix.com. Wix has amazingly beautiful templates, tools and functions. After creating a homepage, I sent the link to all by email and social media. Then, some people replied with questions, such as “Why aren’t the majority poor in Nigeria fed by the rich oil resources?” I did not know how to answer the question. So I searched for writers and advocates online who were equipped to answer the questions. It did not take long to find them on international journalistic web site—no doubt, the World Pulse played a big part in this. I asked them to post their articles on our newsletters, which they gladly did for free. Not only did they post articles, but also answered questions, that added credibility to the NGO.

Secondly, I sought the best support from the highest sources. Being at the bottom of socio-economic ladder, doing what others were doing would have left me with burning scars and bruises from competition. In short, I needed what no other NGOs were offering. So I offered something very rare. The fact was that I was the only Japanese, but having U.S. citizenship enabled me to live in the Niger Delta; therefore, soon I earned attention from the Japanese government. In November 2013, Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced their initiative to reduce 50% of global warming by 2050. I borrowed money to travel to Tokyo and met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 600 miles away from my home. I asked the Ministry to consider the clean-up project in the Niger Delta which is the major cause of the global warming in Africa. There were no other Japanese who offered the same as Japanese government urged its citizens for evacuation from the Niger Delta.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded quickly to my offer saying that they would send equipment to the Niger Delta. Thus, I gained the “highest source” support to my cause, and this has worked out as an “attention getting” for raising fund. Next, because the Japanese government provided nothing other than equipment, I opened the office in the United States, New York to solicit funds and human resource. How did I open the office in New York without getting out of my home and having no money? This was done by online search. Because New York is the business center of the world, mail box can be reasonably manageable from Japan. One spot cost $9 per month.
Now our NGO has NY office address and a support from the Japanese government along with newsletter and website.

These provide us with an extravagant outlook of the international non-governmental organization. Gradually, I have received membership applications from those who read the newsletters. Within a month and a half, I was paying back the debts for the Tokyo trip and mail box in New York. Then I started assembling volunteers to organize activities. This was then achieved by online radio shows. Online radio shows are free and can broad-cast interviews around the world. Some people joined the shows. To make it attractive for participants, I posted icons (or caricatures) and downloaded free music online—the theme song was recorded with the music in the background. Thus, the image of our NGO, SWACIN Inc.— not a heavy bloodshed or tragedy—emerged with friendly face with joyful climate. NGO offers activities for anyone with or without paying Membership fees to enjoy the progress.

After having enough volunteers online, it was time to raise money for clean-up project to employ the poor populations in the Niger Delta. Based on my experience, people who felt they owned the project usually donated fund for the project. Therefore, I informed members the details on what our NGO does by email, newsletters, and survey questions. I called them time to time just to discuss problems or success. I directly tell the members what should be done and how much money is required. Then someone would offer, if not all, part of the solutions or give me advice.

Thus, without stepping out the house, I raised money and built network all over Nigeria, U.S. and Japan. Now I can confidently say, “ANYTHING is possible!” Overall, it is possible to transform the world by using the Internet including raising fund, getting volunteers, and operating the NGO to support the needy. However, the following should be noted for solid ground work:
1. First, you need to really want to solve the problem.
2. Make the project that solves the problems.
3. Know what is required to actualize the project.
4. Think about all the obstacles that get in the way before actualizing the project.
5. Find answers to overcome all the obstacles.

One mistake many people make is to think that money is the only solutions. I agree that much overwhelming purchase needs to be made. Though, allow me to share with you, under very seriously restrictive conditions, it all boils down to the power of persuasion and the belief you have in it. There are many Nay-Sayers all around online or offline who tell you that the program will not work; it is tough to raise fund unless you strongly believe in it. You need to feel numb to these negatives. Unfortunately many people see the power of money more than the power of believing. As the result, they give up pursuing their project because others tell them to do so, but let me assure you, last not least but the foremost; you need to believe in your project. In my case though such strong belief could not be built into me without those who cared and supported my cause from the various parts of the world online.

Secondly, there are situations that no matter how much money poured in, the problems still exist because of inability to prepare for some unexpected incidents. In societies like in Nigeria, for example, there are political and tribal conflicts in the Niger Delta which makes it difficult to clean up the area. The regions are unsettled, governed by gangs and unreliable government. Therefore, I searched online, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners in the United States to give me recommendations on those qualified in Nigeria, to which they gladly forwarded the contact of the Nigerian chapter. The person who I was referred to gladly accepted the invitation to work with us, and answered all the questions we had.

Thus, online platform can give us enormous opportunities beyond one’s imagination. One important advice is “If you have question, do search online.” even if you are far and remote you can find answers to questions by networking around the world. Set-up my NGO using online resources and networking were eye-opening to the many benefits of technology. Yes, there are negative impacts and damages such as criminally motivated sites with crackers, spams and virus, but there are, again, numerous solutions and software available online. Finding the answers online is, after all, the key to the sky’s the limit solutions for problems in the world. Please visit our website (http://www.swacin.com) and let us know what you think!

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

Online community we enjoy weekly basis
Radio shows started in January 2014
A dream can grow in the rice-field community we live in

Comments

robo's picture

My Dear Hideko

I am thrilled at your courage . You are indeed a strong woman. A Woman of substance . Your efforts and hard work to achieve your goal in making this NGO and to help the people of Nigeria is an open message for all that Nothing is impossible indeed. Your faith and your story is very inspiring and motivational.
Your struggle is an open advice to millions that whenever you fall down , how to trust God and then how not lose hope and also that how to solve any problem in life and how to face it courageously .

I wish you the best of luck for your NGO.

May Almighty be with you always .
Stay blessed

Love from Pakistan
Robo

Hideko N.'s picture

Thank you Rabia

Hello Radia, I am reflection of those who support me. I do my work because they help me going. What you think so thrilling and courageous in me is actually you, that you find yourself in the mirror. So you will find such hope buildt and developed within you and become so full that you will know it is time to release it. There was time I was exited when I saw it in others but now I know that I was the one seeking to build it in myself. Trusting God is the same as trusting goodness, nobility, courage and strength. That is why it is possible to trust all the good things and not succumb to evil even if you are surrounded by all evil. There will be a day when you can defeat the fear effortlessly and all your energies come out of you naturally without no one defuse your power. It is very interesting, my dear. Please do not give up, you will find such fruitage in life.
Love,
Hideko

AFSU's picture

Small Thing can Make a Big Change.

Dear Hideko,
When we read your story with my friends here from AFSU( Advocacy Through Filming and Screening Uganda) office everybody is very much impressed with what your doing to the Women and Children of Africa not only Nigeria. AFSU we shall be by your side to give a hand to add on for your good cause.
We are sure your love to share and give the women and children so many other people they will join to support your cause.

With love from
AFSU-Kampala-Uganda Office

Yours truly,
Mugambe K.Hussein
AFSU(Advocacy Through Filming and Screening Uganda)
Plot.602 Rubaga Road
P.O.BOX 11519 Kampala-Uganda
Helpline:+256-772-365758
Res: +256-414-274114
Off: +256-414-274940/+256-312-296616/+256-414-598486
E-mai

Hideko N.'s picture

Thank you Mr. Hussein for

Thank you Mr. Hussein for your kind commend. My heart has been always with Nigeria when and wherever I was and am. I dream about being there daily. I now even appreciate all the trouble I faced there because now I have insights on who to work with and who to avoid unless you have experience of enormous pain, you just cannot see things. This is what I really like to share with youth. As a youth you hear many stories many opinions and difficult to decide which is the truth. Though you go through certain difficult stage, you get to see clearly what really matters--but belief plays important part. If you believe that still goodness exists in this during this horrible life circumstances, instead, you are given insights to see it.
Love,
Hideko N.

Josefina's picture

Wow Hideko, what a strength

Wow, congratulations for all you've achieved and for working so hard and with that passion towards what you believe. You clearley transmit the message that anything's possible if you try.
Thank you so much for sharing your stroy with us Hideko!

A big hug from Argentina,
Josefina.

Hideko N.'s picture

Oh my dear Josefina, I must

Oh my dear Josefina, I must admit that all seems sounding too good to be true. In fact, it is, but I would not do these things unless I was pushed to the edge. There were no way out, not that I did better than others. If your daughter is there you will try the best possible finding the way to reach her. It is good to develop mentality that hard time you learn the most.

Nabiye Tal's picture

Weldone

Dear Hideko,

On behalf of the good people of Nigeria i apologize for your initial misfortune. I want to commend you for the work you are doing. I read your post over and over again! I must confess that u actually sound like a Nigerian. :) i look forward to meeting you Soon. We should partner together, that wil be great.

Nabiye Tal,
Founder/CEO- IEVAWC.
@nabiye, @ievawc

Hideko N.'s picture

Am Nigerian by caling O!

Am Nigerian by callng o, sister. I don't care what others think, but I am who I am. You will know my deep psycho behind the scene by reading this piece. http://worldpulse.com/node/87798
I have been looking for women who can represent our organization in Nigeria--still I cannot find one. We only have men as board of directors--they are experts in journalism, certified fraud examiner, pollution, oil, skill acquisition and film making. If you are the woman, board of director to be able to represent us, please send me your resume and what field you are well to do. You can send it through this link. http://www.123contactform.com/form-945552/Copy-Of-Application-Form
Best regards,
Hideko N

Nabiye Tal's picture

Many Thanks

Dear Hideko,

I really appreciate your offer to join your Organization, but i am not sure i can fit in as Board, i have alot up my sleeves already. Though i would like to partner with your Organization here in Nigeria. Please send me contact details of your representative here in Nigeria and we can connect. You can also like our fb page via this link http://www.facebook.com/pages/Initiative-for-the-Elimination-of-Violence.... I look forward to meeting you soon. Cheers

Nabiye Tal,
Founder/CEO- IEVAWC.
@nabiye, @ievawc

amymorros's picture

Never Give Up

I echo the others with nothing but praise for your hard work! Your commitment and determination to SWACIN is so strong. I think many people in similar situations might give up.

You do offer unique talents and are able to use your Japanese background to gain support. I know you will have a lot of admiration here on World Pulse for your efforts.

Thank you for providing us with a great example of what to do (and what not to do) in starting an NGO.

Amy
@amyinstl

Hideko N.'s picture

I am deeply grateful to your

I am deeply grateful to your comment. Yes, our organization is very unique in a sense that we have many men supporters. All of them are highly educated like journalist, CFE, fund-raiser and University researchers. My persistence comes from the pain deeply felt while I was in Nigeria. We have been searching for women who are strong, compassionate, patient, and who know the pain and want to solve problems but do not flirt with men. Our NGO provides awareness and vocational training to the local people aiming for economic development in the region. If you are interested, please feel free to let me know. My pursuit is to raise women's status, not of men.
Cordially,
Hideko N.
http://www.swacin.com

annamarie's picture

Believe!

Dear Hideko

I am so impressed with the grit and the courage you displayed in pursuing your purpose in life! Thank you for sharing the path of creating and sustaining an NGO. Many people want to contribute to communities or to a good cause but do not know where and how to start. Your use of the internet and it's resources speaks of a smart, young, innovative and resourceful woman who serves as an example to many and who is making a difference in the world.
May your organisation grow from strength to strength.

Regards

Annamarie

Hideko N.'s picture

It takes many years to shape

It takes many years to shape oneself into the right mentality. It was for me. I was not born into positive environment. Rather I endured hostility in my own family, so I know very well what is like to be very lonely. You want to resolve issues within yourself to start with, if you are to solve others problems. Believing oneself is an end result of working on yourself. There will be time when you can look back and say, "Hey, the tough time was a blessing that really gave power to face the odds!" Dear Annamarie, I am already 52 years old if you consider me young, but thank you for feeding me back with many positive comments.

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