Olumide Fayumide is the Managing Director of newly established Nigeria Development Reorientation Programme, popularly known as Naija DARP Grants, which sponsors small scale Nigerian projects. In this interview, he explains that the promoters of the non governmental and non-profit agency simply wants to give back to the society. Excerpts:
By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor
Can you explain to us what the programme is all about?
The Nigerian Development and Orientation Programme is a brainchild of a couple of professionals who have bonded to reduce the high poverty in Nigeria through empowerment of those with sound business ideas so that they can depend less on the government and find ways of producing something for livelihood and development of the society.
So, we are basically trying to use Naija DARP to promote personal development by providing the necessary contents and tools that can aid them in developing themselves, understanding the business environment they are in, understanding the new technologies that are available to them with a view to making them stand on their own to succeed.
In other words, the grant we give people to start and run their business is not the main part of what we want to do but making people to change their mindset and be able to create wealth by themselves rather than wait for government or anyone else is the main focus of our dream.
How much can someone who has just joined the programme get and what type of business can they set up with the grant?
We have two categories of grants and the registration and participation is free. The only thing we encourage, which makes you eligible to get our grant is that you must participate; your most collaborate with the forum so that we can understand what your thoughts are.
Of the two categories; the first category is business and education grant of N250,000 that is given out monthly, that is towards any medium small business that you are involved in or you want to start a small business and you understand what that business entails because in submitting for the grant you need to understand what you want to do with the money and what your projections are within the first three months. The second grant is very special to us and it is specifically tailored for women since we know that women, small scale traders who may not even be literate or be able to read and write but can use the fund to trade and generate jobs for some others and themselves. So what we are trying to do is not just to give out grants but to empower people, give the capacity, the capacity to be able to employ people and let’s start from the bottom up and be able to build our society.
So, how do you get people to key into the programme because I am not sure everybody is on the internet or even have access to your website in order to join and contribute to what you are doing or offering?
What we have done is that for the general grant, you need to register and to register you have to go on the platform. We believe that for anyone that is involved in business or planning to get engaged in business now, they probably do utilize their mobile phones and they have data; so they can access the portal on their phones. In fact the site was built for mobile phone utilization.
For the women, which we know is special because the market women may not have access to this system or even be computer-literate. For that reason, we have built the site in such a way that you can nominate two women as a member and get the grants for them without necessary bringing them to us.
Are you targeting a particular line of business or do you have any particular line of business engagement in mind or anybody can do anything?
Anybody can do anything; in fact we have categories in our forms for submission that cover basically all fields that you can possibly think of, the only thing is that you need to be able to prove your case and let us understand how the small funds you are going to collect would impact your business.
What would somebody if you get N250,000 in the first instance and you have faithfully utilized it and you have come back; what do you get?
What happens is once you get N250,000 or N100,000 for women in three months we ask you to present to us what you have been able to with the first grant given to you either by way of text or video and the people you have been able to engage within the period, then we move from there to give you more money based on your level of performance.
Does this money attract any form of interest from the organisation?
No, it does not attract any form of interest because what we are giving to people is a grant and not a loan. We don’t expect any interest because what we are doing is purely humanitarian and is non-profit oriented. It is our own way of giving back to the society.
If it is a grant, what do the ten people who have put down their money for the scheme hope to get in return?
I would say for us there is really no tangible motivation. I think the reason I would say so is first of all, some of us have been involved in donor-funding environment for quite some time while some of us are application developers and other strong professionals who simply want to help others to grow and nothing more.
How many Nigerians are involved in this gesture to change the society?
There are ten of us that came together. So what we just decided is a way of giving back; it is a way of contributing to society and we are not asking anyone to pay anything. We believe that along the line if we have partnerships with other agencies it would just be to have a platform as a means of disseminating whatever is required for society.
As we go along if we come across partners who want to use our platform to help more people we will welcome them and simply serve as mere facilitators for such partners.
So that means that in every month somebody will get a grant?
Yes every month, there are two going out. If we find out that there is a lot of participation and there is a capacity to increase it, we would increase it.
That means that for every month the N100,000 woman will get and N250,000 person will get?
Yes. The only reason we are giving out N100,000 to a lady this month in Lagos is because we started on the 21st of November so there was no means of building capacity to start doing both.
What is your vision and mission?
We have a phrase we use “championing personal development a few at a time”. We want to be the champion that really builds a momentum within Nigeria especially the youth because most of the people that register on our platform are between 18 years and 45 years; so we want to be an engine of growth, an engine of re-orientating people’s mind.
So our vision is to have a society in the next couple of years where people are creating wealth at the lowest sector of our economy. You have the market woman having a source of income that she can look after her family; you have the university students who have just graduated knowing what they need to do to be successful.
Our vision is to ensure that our mindset towards success is different, that we can all be successful; we can drive the country to where we want to drive it.