• Saturday, April 13, 2024
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BusinessDay

Doyin Olutona:

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 Bio-data

Doyin Oluntona is the navigator of The Excel Charity Foundation as well as co-founder of Uturn Concepts. Prior to that, she was the president/CEO of a Junior Achievement member nation, serving in the Nigeria and USA offices. She led the organisation to win several global awards, including Innovation, Best Performance, Media and Quality Awards. In 2005, she was recognised with the “Fuqua Global Excellence Award”. An attorney passionate about social responsibility issues across West Africa, she now works to stimulate effective dialogues between multinational corporations, the private sector and civil society organisations across the African region.

Doyin is a certified attorney and an alumna of the Stanford Business School, EPNL programme. She has an MBA from Texas A & M University, an Advanced Management degree (AMP), an LL.M in International Business from the American University, Washington College of Law, and an LL.B from the University of Jos, Nigeria. She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1989 and currently sits as a director on the boards of non-profit organisations in the USA and across Africa.

Uturn Africa

The vision of Uturn is to catalyse collaborations for effective social impact across the regions, focusing on the extractive, energy and infrastructural sectors. Uturn Africa Forums engage the region’s most influential leaders and those with interest in Africa in critical discussions designed to create partnerships, networks, knowledge and collaborative pathways to achieve effective social change and impact in the region; to work towards a cohesive operational framework for the continent and set an agenda on best practices and beyond compliance requirements for sustainability investments.

Relevance of Uturn

“Africa’s economic growth,” says Doyin, “has given rise to an unprecedented opportunity for a more strategic social impact agenda. The complexity and scale of Africa’s social issues demand we raise our game! We cannot achieve effective social impact without forging cross-sector partnerships and alliances. We invite key players to participate in high level discussions on new social impact trends in the region, network and interact with key players in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as counterparts from USA, Africa, China, Canada, Europe and other parts of the world.

“Since 2009, we have brought together the key players. Over the years, several key partners have been instrumental in our success: Shell (SPDC); Chevron Nigeria; MTN; Ecobank; First Bank; The Dangote Group; Total; British American Tobacco; Statoil; Sahara Energy; FCMB; TY Danjuma Foundation – just to name a few.”

Findings from forum organised by Uturn

Participants strongly believed that the sessions on collaboration, which featured benefits and current trends in the industry, were very useful, up-to-date and very practical. The networking segment of the forum was also highly popular. 89 percent of the forum participants said it provided meaningful collaborative experiences for both civil society participants and corporate participants. It also provided professional development to both groups. 90 percent of participants showed an overall increase in knowledge of the programme content through results from the pre- and post-programme surveys. 94 percent stated that they did use the opportunity to network and start collaborative initiatives. A notable example is the initiative started by Standard Chartered Bank and Ajegunle.org.

About 90 percent of participants claimed the sessions were highly relevant to them directly; 63 percent declared that the forum length needed to be adjusted, too much was crammed into one day; 72 percent said the forum length needed more networking time. Overall satisfaction with the forum, however, was 94 percent.

Stimulating effective dialogues between multinational corporations

“We run annual social impact forums in three countries – Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon – where we bring together key players in the social responsibility sectors to dialogue on key issues at hand,” according to Doyin. “Uturn Africa has piloted highly successful stakeholders’ forums annually since 2009 up to 2012, which has attracted several multinationals, indigenous corporations and civil society organisations.”

Commenting on the leadership of Uturn, Jay Pryor, vice president, Chevron Corporation, an advisory board member for Uturn Africa, said the leadership of the firm is “very knowledgeable and strategic in positioning organisations to achieve unprecedented milestones”.

Other advisory board members include Oby Ezekwesili, former vice president for Africa at the World Bank; Sola Oyinlola, chairman, Africa, Schlumberger; Carol Pinea, journalist and author, Africa Open for Business and Africa Horizons; and Sebastina Spio Garbrah, CEO, Damina Advisors.

The Excel Charity Foundation

Doyin, who serves as its navigator, says about the organisation, “The Excel Charity Foundation is all about reigniting hope, restoring dignity and reforming society. We are a catalyst for the positive transformation of lives through timely, effective social interventions and innovative social solutions in our communities. The driving force behind The Excel Charity Foundation is the experience, knowledge and commitment of our team. We are inspired by a shared vision to ensure social reform in Nigeria, Africa and around the world.

“The Excel Charity Foundation team has experience in a wide range of professional arenas – from private industry to the nonprofit and academic communities. Our goal is to blend the latest thinking about strategy and organisations with a deep knowledge of social reformation, and the patron is Enoch A. Adeboye.”

Coverage, achievements and impact of Excel Charity Foundation

 Narrating how it all began, Doyin says, “We started that journey a decade ago and several milestones have been achieved. Since 1991, we have provided a dynamic environment in our communities across the regions by embarking on several social impact projects. It is heartwarming to note that from interventions in health, education, drug rehabilitation and economic empowerment, inspiring stories have emerged, stories of restoration, hope and dignity, lives have been significantly changed and communities positively influenced.”

So far, according to her, over 15 million people have been fed (N500,000,000 spent), 30,000 drug addicts rehabilitated, more than 30 schools established, 92 students sponsored through the educational fund (N20 million spent), and there are health initiatives reaching over 50,000 people annually.

Challenges

“The challenges,” Doyin says, “are too numerous to list, but God’s grace and enablement have always been and remain my strength.”