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What It Takes to Hold a #YALILearns Session: Advice from a YALI Network Member
April 3, 2019

What It Takes to Hold a #YALILearns Session: Advice from a YALI Network Member
Courtesy of Obaji Akpet

Meet YALI Network Member Obaji Akpet. In October 2018, he hosted a #YALILearns session in his community in Nigeria to educate more than 30 others about fundraising using the YALI Network online course Fundamentals of Grant Writing.

Success Is in the Planning

Obaji first received advice from a family member with experience in hosting community events who recommended that he coordinate with the local church group to promote and host his session. Working with the Catholic Youth Organization of Nigeria (CYON) of St. Michael Parish, Ketu, of Lagos, Nigeria, Obaji hosted his session in the St. Michael Church. He received lots of support and guidance from the president of CYON and fellow YALI Network member Emmanuel Ebhohimen. Together, they recruited all the volunteers to help with registration, photography and session logistics. Obaji credits the generosity of his family and friends, who gave small donations to help purchase the #YALILearns t-shirts and provide refreshments.

Taking Action

During the session, Obaji explained the concept of grants and the processes of accessing a grant. With knowledge gained from the YALI Network online course Fundamentals of Grant Writing, he described essential skills needed to write a grant proposal. Obaji specifically used the A–Z of grant writing form the online course: planning to write a grant, researching the grant, writing the grant and important aspects of following up on the grant proposal. Following his presentation, Obaji asked for questions from the audience and facilitated a discussion.

Lessons Learned

Obaji writes that one of the most valuable lessons he learned by hosting his session was effective communication. Funding was one of the biggest challenges for Obaji, but he recalls that effectively communicating the importance of the topic earned him the support and donations from friends and family. In his early planning stages, someone asked why he was qualified enough to speak on this topic. He recalls considering this and whether he was good enough to host the session, but he came to the conclusion that it was a necessary step to take for the education of everyone in his community, including himself. Obaji says, “…with the help of YALI course, guidelines, and publicity materials for holding YALILearns events…” planning and executing the session was much easier.

If you are considering hosting a session like Obaji, make sure to keep in mind his key lessons:

  1. Reach out to family and friends and tell them about your idea. Work together and ask them to help you by volunteering.
  2. Strategically advertise your session using YALI Network resources to ensure the authenticity and credibility of your event.
  3. Remember that hosting a session does not have to cost a lot of money. Many local community groups may be willing to donate their time or event space.

A single session is a great first step toward community action and change. Make sure you engage with the most active individuals in attendance and continue to work with them long after the event is over. Work together to find a common cause or challenge to solve together.

Interested in learning more about #YALILearns? Learn how you can facilitate your own session on our #YALILearns page.

What It Takes to Hold a #YALILearns Session: Advice from a YALI Network Member
Courtesy of Obaji Akpet