Life happens to everyone. And when these tantrums surface, they are at times, difficult to get over. Simply, this year has been a rollercoaster. Even when I try to hide my emotions like the superwoman I sometimes portray to be, I end up sulking beneath my duvet. The series of rejections make me feel inept. From gender and work, public policy, human resources, sociology, to international development, even as far as deciding if I should take a second masters and forgo my Ph.D. aspiration for a while, the first quarter of the year stretched me. Overall, one thing is evident, and it is my interest in social development.
What influenced my interest in social development?
If you have gone through my social media bios (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) you will find the phrase “social development enthusiast.”
The aim (of education) must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, can see in the service to the community their highest life achievement
One fateful day in 2014, I stumbled on a quote from Albert Einstein in a writing manual. It says, “the aim (of education) must be the training of independently acting and thinking individuals who, however, can see in the service to the community their highest life achievement.” This quote struck a chord within me. I held it up-close, and never wanted to lose it in my memory. Ever since I asked myself the question, “what can I do for my community?”
By 2016, I was a member of the first cohort of the Young Professional Bootcamp (YPB), organized by The Platform. I was a member of the social entrepreneurship team. During the Bootcamp, I learned about social entrepreneurs and their role in society. These sets of entrepreneurs’ desire to address issues of social inequity and development. And so, amongst my teammates were educators, program managers, and volunteers at non-profits. It was a new experience and learning curve for me, and it spurred my interest in the impact sector.
These two experiences transformed me. But guess what? I was still clueless about the problem I would like to address in my community.
Why I refer to myself as a social development enthusiast?
After I paid someone in May 2017 to coach me on how I can improve my writing, I was able to streamline my blog focus to social issues. I chose social issues because I knew I love to discuss real-life issues that cover governmenance, economy, and more. One of my earliest social issues discourse on the blog was “Why Are Nigerian Youths not Ready?” This decision instigated my venture and interest in social development.
Therefore, I refer to myself as a “social development enthusiast” because I am concerned about transforming my society through my actions. I would like to solve problems, and someday work with social impact organizations. According to CauseLabs, “social impact companies are organizations that prioritize doing work that consciously, systemically, and sustainably serves or attempts to solve a local or global community need.”
What is social development?
In simple terms, social development addresses issues of inequality. Social development experts are problem solvers. James G McGann, Anna Viden, and Jillian Rafferty mention that social development focu[s] on empowering and mobilizing the poor and closing the inequality gap.” According to these scholars, “it refers to the process that leads to ‘improvements in human well-being’ and progress toward desirable social goals.” It thus aims to empower people and transform societies and institutions. Therefore, social development conversations focus on race, ethnic, gender, education, human rights, decent work, poverty, and more.
I am still learning and finding my space in the social development sector. However, I engage in conversations on gender, poverty, education, and currently on finance and economy through blogs such as fisayowrites.com, goodsamjc.org, and capvine.co.uk.
My desire is to see the world transform through my actions and contributions. I am a social development enthusiast and I am “becoming.”
James G McGann, Anna Viden, and Jillian Rafferty, How Think Tanks Shape Social Development Policies
2014, pg. 1, 2, 5.
Social development is synonymous with social impact. Social development or social impact organizations are synonymous with social enterprise. These are industries focused on addressing issues of social inequality. Individuals who have businesses that address issues of social inequality are called social entrepreneurs.