On DFA Interview Series- Meet Ezinne Okey-Uchendu, the Founder and Executive Director of Zinnok initiative

Tell us about yourself?


My name is Ezinne Okey-Uchendu, I am the founder and Executive Director of Zinnok initiative for women and Children- a Nonprofit Organization that provides leadership in the area of programme management. I have 18+ years of progressive experience in public health policy, health planning, program design, community & social mobilization, resource mobilization and health systems strengthening.

I am an Emotional Intelligence Certified Professional, social worker, counselor and trainer.  I also have a background in community development, an M.Sc. in Social work and health care from Ladoke-Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho, Oyo state Nigeria and a PHD in Medical Sociology in view. I have an extensive experience across private-for-profit, not-for-profit and public health sector.

I am an international speaker and has presented papers at many international conferences. In 2012, I founded Zinnok initiative for women and Children – an organization providing developmental services in the areas of health, education, empowerment and Community Development. Zinnok Initiative has a focus on addressing issues affecting poor community members with a special interest on Women and Children. I have also worked extensively with ministries of health and non-governmental organizations in the design and deployment of large-scale interventions for multi-sectorial HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, gender and human rights interventions.

I have routinely led initiatives for capacity-building, policy & guidelines development and quality improvement of services in Nigeria.  I am a Member of the Nigerian Institute for Training and Development (NITAD) and also a Member of the Institute of Social Workers of Nigeria (ISWON). I have a proven track record for improving the living conditions of Nigerians focusing on poor community members and building strong relationships between them and the donors.

I have attracted many donors funded projects to over 30 communities in Nigeria.


Tell us about your organization, impacts, and achievements since establishment?


Zinnok Initiative for Women and Children is a Non-profit Organization founded in 2012 with head office located in Umuahia Abia State and field office in FCT, Abuja.

The Organization is founded by Mrs. Ezinne Okey-Uchendu to help in addressing challenges affecting poor community women and girls in Abia state.  I discovered that women and girls were dying from preventable issues (HIV/AIDS, Child birth, malnutrition and gender /sexual violence). I started providing these services initially from personal funds but the number of women needing the services kept increasing and so, I started sourcing for support from friends and family.

In 2012 the organization was duly registered and was mainly funded by the board members then other well-meaning Nigerians supported. One year after, Zinnok was able to access a first grant from the US Embassy & have received many other grants since then. We are currently implementing developmental activities in the areas of Health including SRH/HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis and free medical care), OVCprogramming, Education, community developmental projects and empowerment programmes.

We are making positive impact in the lives of over 1.8million Nigerians in 30 communities with financial and material support from United States Ambassador’s self-help project, Switzerland Embassy in Nigeria, Swiss Foundation of the International Social Services, comprehensive HIV/AIDS sites in Abia state, West African Network for the protection of children, Federal Ministry of Health through the National malaria programme and other Implementing Partners. Zinnok Initiative have attracted many donors funded projects and also raised over 138,000 USD in grant for other organizations in Nigeria.


What advice can you give to young people who want to build a career in the development sector?

My advice to them is that they should be focused, have a plan and follow the plan. Many young people come into development work by accident and see it as their means of survival. Working in this terrain requires patience, tenacity, passion for the work. For them to go far, they need to do things right(documentation, transparency and accountability are required).

They need to be mentored to do these things, so I also advice they get a mentor or volunteer their time in other organizations to enable them learn.


How has been your participation in the inner circle program or other programs prepared you for opportunities ahead?

My participation in the inner Circle programme has been very rewarding. I am happy to be a beneficiary of the Inner circle tem. I have been working in the development sector for some time but the last few months of being in the inner circle has brought tremendous changes to Zinnok Initiative for women and Children’s’ programmes. Not only have my capacity being built on critical aspects of development practices, my staff have learnt a whole lot from me since I joined.

Every programme of DFA has become a capacity building event for us as notes from all DFA trainings are used for presentations during our staff activities. Being in the inner circle has also helped me earn from knowledge I gained from the programme.

The networking and collaborations with other Inner circle members have been amazing, these are people that I have never met before even though we work in the same city.

I recommend DFA inner circle to all development workers despite your qualifications, you will be glad you attended.


Are there any ongoing projects your organization is working on at the moment? Please share it with us.

2020 has being a stimulating year due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Nothing prepared us for what has happened this year, most of our programmes couldn’t take off and others were halted .

Everyone was at home including the children we provide educational support for. Our recent programmes are focused on trainings on awareness/ Prevention strategies and other coping mechanisms for COVID 19.

We have also continued to provide food palliatives for women and children in resource limited settings we are working with.

To know more about Ezinne Okey-Uchendu and her amazing work in the development sector, you can follow her on:


This is to all the Change-makers and Non-Profit Organizations making positive impact in Africa, We will never give up!

Donors For Africa Foundation observed growing despair as unfortunate events tore through Africa over the past few months and, most recently, in Nigeria.


As an organization working closely with several indigenous nonprofits across Africa, we have observed with great sadness the growing impact of social injustice across the continent.
With the rise of rape in Namibia, to human rights violation in Zimbabwe; with sexual assaults and multiple injustices in Congo, violent repressions in Cameroun and most recently, the #ENDSARS protest in Nigeria – this for us shows the growing importance of our work in development.

We hope that this opens the private and public sector’s eyes to see the need for more multi-level partnerships, funding, and increased investment in the activities of civil rights groups and local organizations working to address all these issues across the board.
We pray that this opens our eyes to see. We must begin to dim the razzmatazz that follows CSR projects but work actively to deal with the grassroots issues.

The need to fight poverty at the lowest levels, increase access to education, and empower our youths with skills and self-dignity and hope, amongst several other issues, is NOW more critical than ever before.

Dear Nonprofits, we understand that these are trying times, and many may no longer feel encouraged by the current activities in their respective countries, but please don’t lose hope. Our work is NOW more crucial than ever before.  Let these events force you to think about newer ways to implement your programs and campaigns, let it fuel your desire to form strong coalitions, and make our voices heard this time as a more potent force. Let this remind us to change our approach to work and become more innovative.

The repressions or non-acknowledgment of some of these issues at the government level is just a stop-gap, and now we must press forward like never before.
From Gender-Based Violence to advocacy to education, youth empowerment, creating decent work, gender equality, and all other parts of the SDGs, our job is now more critical than ever.

We celebrate the life of all our heroes who fell during this time. We empathize with businesses that may have experienced attacks and destruction to properties. We will build again. We celebrate everyone who advocated on social media, marched out in the streets, prayed as a group, prayed privately, formed coalitions, and provided strength and succor to the issues at varying levels.

Irrespective, your role mattered and was of immense importance.
Now, we must find the strength to press forward. Be reenergized, and most importantly, MOVE FORWARD!

The journey to end all forms of injustices continue, and we encouraged more than ever before. We refuse to give up.
Till all our hopes and dreams for a better African continent come true,


I remain
Yours in Development


On DFA Interview Series- Meet Benise ANJANGHA, the Founder of Zoe Health Foundation.

Tell us about yourself? 


My name is Benise Anjangha, I am the Founder of Zoe Health Foundation.  A Non-Governmental Organization Health Organization that takes care of the health need of underprivileged people and Adolescent Girls and Young Women in the society, Fights against Gender Inequality and encourages quality Education for the underprivileged. I have over 10years experience working in the Health Domain.


I am a UN Peace Ambassador, a Global Goodwill ambassador and a Cameroon- Israel Hi-Tech Alumni for the year 2019.
I have reached out to over 3000 Internally Displaced Individuals, orphans and refugees in the campaigns I carry out in my community and other parts of the Country. This has given me the opportunities to address gatherings of girls with the most notable Phenomenal Women Conference attended by more than 10million women.

I am currently working on a mobile clinic project where I organize health campaigns in different IDPs and Refugee camps and handles the health needs of the people. This campaign has so far established three health centers in IDP and Refugee camps in Two Regions of the country.

I am a senior nurse with a Bachelor’s Of Technology in Nursing Sciences and a higher professional Diploma in Medico- Sanitary Pharmaceuticals with an accumulated 10years experience.
I love music and research.


Tell us about your organization, impacts, and achievements since establishment?


Zoe Health Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organization with the vision of taking primary health care to underprivileged individuals in Cameroon. We do that by observing three Sustainable Development Goals namely Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education and Gender Equality.


Provide health care assistance through; clean up campaigns, community sensitization and screening programs and provision of preventive treatment of diseases that are common in sub-Saharan Africa like malaria and typhoid.

As concerns Quality Education, we provide it through our back to school and adult education programs which involve material donations like school furniture and financial contribution like complete or partial payment of school fees. In the past three (3) academic years, we have been able to support more than three hundred (300) orphaned, refugee and internally displaced children back to school.


What advice can you give to young people who want to build a career in the development sector?


  • Find your purpose: Identifying purpose is one of the difficult tasks that young people face in the journey of life but it goes without saying that God never created anything without a purpose talk less of a human being. it takes discipline and courage to identify and start working toward fulfilling your purpose but every sacrifice made is worth it at the end.
  • Be solution oriented and innovative: Today in our communities, many people are just trying to survive and ‘fit’ into the systems that have been in place previously but as someone who is interested in the development sector, you must reason, see and act differently. Identifying a problem and solving it is the easiest way to do so.
  • Serve: service is the easiest way to walk your way through the development sector and have significant results. In fact, that is the action part of the profession so you cannot escape it. Learn to love, empathize and lift people up, especially the most needy. When you start giving towards the people that you have absolutely no idea how they will ever be able to reward you, that is when you start living a life of service.


How has been your participation in the inner circle program or other programs prepared you for opportunities ahead?


The Inner Circle Program for me is an answered prayer. Prior to this program, I was wondering how organizations run smoothly throughout the year without major challenges, perfect management of human and financial resources, selections for fellowships and receiving of grants and a lot more. To me it was mystery until I got into the inner cycle program and then I understood that indeed organizations and people perish for lack of knowledge.

I have been taught, fortified and equipped for greater exploits and even more results. Now I have a perfect understanding of strategy, funding, branding and the list is long all thanks to the Inner Cycle Program. Thank you is not enough, I am indeed grateful, Zoe Health Foundation will never be the same again.


Are there any ongoing projects your organization is working on at the moment? Please share it with us.

Yes, In commemoration of the celebration of World AIDS day this year which is on the 1st of December, we plan to carry out a free sensitization and screening campaign along site sharing of Christmas hampers to 1000 underprivileged people at Yassa and Bonaberi, Douala-Cameroon.

To know about Benise and her foundation, kindly follow her on-


Empowering NGOs is Koldsweat’s forte

Social entrepreneur Chidi Koldsweat has adopted an innovative approach to poverty reduction and rural empowerment.

Through Donors for Africa Foundation, a grant management organization, which she started, she has taken capacity building for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to a new level, training them on how to raise funds to carry out developmental activities.


Click on the link below to read the full interview with The Nations:

Empowering NGOs is Koldsweat’s forte





Tell us About Donors for Africa Foundation


Donors for Africa Foundation is a grant management organization working actively with governments, NGOs, social impact leaders, the private/ public sector, philanthropy organizations, and investors to break poverty cycles. Our vision is to provide long-lasting systematic solutions to the global development challenges facing Africa.

Since our launch, social impact organizations have accessed over $349,500 in funding, used to train over 5000 women from marginalized communities, build libraries in garbage centered communities, launched digital platforms that connect Person’s Living with Disabilities to career opportunities, and more.

Every week, we reach over 22,000 unique global development accounts, providing them with learning,  trending industry news, grant opportunities, and useful information to improve their competence to scale up their impact glocally. We have trained over 500 nonprofits, published third sector reports, and continue to provide personalized technical expertise to foundations and social sector groups across Africa.

We are raising transformational development leaders who can access funds, build sustainable organizations, and achieve groundbreaking results. We desire to see a strong integrated African continent whose progress is people-driven. We make this possible by directly impacting the next generation of change-makers working to achieve the SDG goals and fulfill the  Agenda 2063.


Tell us about the premiere Digital Social Innovators Bootcamp in Africa, why you launched it, and its importance in development?


The digital Social Innovators is the first of its kind. In other programs, distance has been a barrier, age, and sometimes several years in operation. We saw these limitations and decided to change the narrative with a digital program. We utilized the power of the internet and several innovative platforms to connect participants from different parts of Nigeria to share, learn, and link, forging new partnerships and collaborations.

The Donors for Africa digital Social Innovators Bootcamp is an annual leadership accelerator program targeted at equipping and developing third sector leaders’ technical expertise in Africa.   Our focus is on this overlooked group that is solving some of the world’s biggest challenges in Africa with minimal resources and capacity.

The boot camp is designed uniquely for innovators and change-makers who want to deep dive and understand the rubrics of building a lasting sustainable social impact organization. It is committed to empowering practitioners through a 3-month immersive learning experience to make a long-term impact. Since our launch, the SIBC has fostered more collaborations, co-creation, and solutions, even as our participants learned from sector experts, peers, and leading development pioneers.

The SIBC is extremely important because if we hope to accelerate the global goals, there must be an increased direct investment in the human capital of development professionals in Africa. We are doing so by focusing on Goal 17- partnerships for the goals, strengthening the means of implementation, and revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development.

Also, over 90% of social impact organizations die between the first two years not because of insufficient funds but due to a lack of clarity and knowledge on how critical drivers of change and implementing bodies are achieving results. With over $209,730,354,948 pumped into the system annually, there is still a huge skills gap that hinders development practitioners and, ultimately, the key players working on the SDGs from reaching its target.


The Impact


The impact of this program has been unrivaled. During the 3-month intensive and immersive learning, selected participants received training and support from local and international sector experts, peers, and leading development pioneers. Thirty finalists emerged who pitched their projects for the grand prize, and we recorded outstanding results.


The winner of the pitch competition – Aisha Dirisu, founder Peniel Foundation designed the first digital career platform for person’s living with disabilities, where she connects them to jobs and internship opportunities across Africa.


Bukola Bamiduro, founder, Karis & Eleos Foundation who received over $300,000 from the CocaCola Foundation during the program – ”I came in as a  novice and won a grant before the 12 weeks was over”.


”One tangible milestone is the upgrade in proposal and grant writing. As a result of this program, I have written winning proposals,” Israel Oladejo, Founder, The Visola Foundation.


”Before the program, we were non-tax compliant, now we are a detailed practitioner. We keep all our records. This program has changed the way our organization handles everything”. Temitope Okunnu, Founder, FABE International Foundation. Temitope became an ACT Grantee in the same year.


Many others gained clarity, accessed international opportunities, gained access to a broad and diversified network. They gained more in-depth insights into innovative approaches needed to run an impactful organization.


What Next? What is the future of the Social Innovators Bootcamp 2021

In (2020-2021), we are scaling up to other parts of Africa, and we are incredibly excited. Our vision is to expand to all countries in Africa, finding and reaching more visionary African leaders who are transforming their communities with passion.  Distance is not a barrier, and we will get as many people as possible.

We will coach, guide, and support these leaders, enabling them to accelerate their impact and collaborate with development advocates in other parts of Africa. We increase their visibility through our platforms so that together, we can secure the future we all want for Africa.

We have tested the viability of this program and identified an overwhelming need in the sector. Now working with all the different stakeholders, we are eager to meet this need.

We are grateful to our sponsors such as Businessday, Sterling Bank, MARITEAM, The Nest Hub, and several stakeholders, partners and this year; we hope to partner with more indigenous organizations to scale up our impact.

We say thank you to our sponsors, facilitators, partners, and everyone who contributed to making our first cohort an immense success.


Tell us about the SIBC Pitch Competition Winner  for cohort 1

Following a rigorous selection process, Aisha Dirisu, founder of Peniel Foundation, emerged the winner of the SIBC Cohort 1. Peniel Foundation is a nonprofit that empowers and advocates for youths living with disabilities to attain their full potential and contribute to nation-building. The foundation’s focus is to train young people with disabilities to become job-ready by equipping them with all the tools required to succeed and then connect them to internship opportunities and paid employment.

She received a grant prize of N200,000, coaching consultations, features in several media houses including BellaNaija, Leading Ladies, YNaija, and several others.







Girls Should Thrive Initiative (GiST)

Girls Should Thrive Initiative (GiST) is a Nonprofit Organization Founded and Pioneered by Mrs. Jennifer Agunloye Okoliko, is dedicated to raising female leaders and change makers in underserved communities. They achieve this through Education, Entrepreneurship and Technology, resident in Kano state, Nigeria. One of their women led initiatives is their Health for Her Project which is aimed at Sensitizing girls on their effects of poor health and wellbeing and educating them on ways to mitigate and care sustainably for themselves.


To mark the International Day of the Girl Child 2020 on October 11, they will be hosting Key Stakeholders, Policy Makers, CSOs and NGOs as well as Beneficiaries in Kano state to discuss sustainable solutions and foster policy discussions to issues bothering Rape, Teenage Pregnancy and Menstrual Hygiene. The theme for this year is “My Voice: Our Equal Future”. The Project is dedicated to Shamshiyya, one of the Organization’s Beneficiaries who was pregnant and died at the age of 19


The Conference in Partnership with Channels TV as Media Partners will be having Keynote Speakers, Panels Sessions, Drama etc. to usher in and discuss the way forward for these issues.


Some of the Special Guest include: The Daughter of the State Governor and Field Epidemiologiest, Dr. Amina Ganduje, HajiyaMairo Bello, Founder of Adolescent Health and Information Projects as well as Alhaji Ibrahim Waiya (President of Kano state Civil Society) will be delivering the Keynote sessions. Channels TV, Bella Naija, 7Up Nigeria will be partnering with them on this Project.


For Partnerships, Enquiries and Sponsorships, reach them via:


Tel: +234-9042727195





DFA Intern- Kopo Neo Keaikitse, shares her experience working with us.

Meet Our Intern- Kopo Neo Keaikitse, a Student of International Relations Politics and History at Jacobs University Bremen, Germany!!!


Kopo shares her wonderful experience about her internship with Donors For Africa Foundation:


As a Communications, Marketing and Social Media Intern for Donors For Africa, my task mostly consisted of setting up posting schedules for the various Social Media platforms that the organization has and editing reports. My work was not limited to this and I was able to contribute to other departments which allowed me to gain further knowledge.

At large, I was able to experience working in a professional setting where it was not a team of people of the same age as me, but various age groups. This allowed me to further learn how to interact with those older than me in a professional setting. Monday mornings for me consisted of team updates where we would meet over zoom and discuss the tasks we had completed the week before as well as plan what needs to be done over the following week.

Being my first internship, I was introduced to my first professional working setting outside the activities that I partook in during school. I was able to learn work etiquette, in terms of communicating with work mates, the style of presenting work, and many more. Having the opportunity to work remotely allowed me to grasp remote work skills that I believe going forward will be more and more beneficial.

I gained essential remote working skills, which I had never thought I would need until the events that took place. If there is one thing this year taught me is to always make the most out of situations. Regardless of the Pandemic, I was able to work with an organization from my home. I also learned more about what goes on into Marketing, the importance of selling a story that sticks. My time management greatly improved also, as I had to learn to balance my day to day life during the pandemic with working on the internship


I would recommend this Internship Opportunity as it is a chance to work with an organization that actively works towards effective impact being made in Africa. Furthermore, for me, it was motivational to work with a team of women who motivates young people in the industry and work hard to provide opportunities for people.


I would like to thank Donors For Africa Foundation for allowing me to take part in this opportunity. I would also like to thank the AL for Governance Team for making it all possible.