Kinnect, a nonprofit co-founded by Adebimpe Mbang Femi-Oyewo MIDP’18, received a $1,000 seed grant from The Pollination Project on Monday, Oct. 3.
Femi-Oyewo initially founded the online platform with two of her friends in 2011 to match volunteers in Nigeria with organizations that shared their interests. Having just returned home from attending university in the United States, she was disappointed at how hard it was to find volunteer opportunities in her home country.
“The databases were always out-of-date, phone numbers and addresses had changed,” she said. “We wanted to create a place where volunteers could find credible nonprofits and donate their time and resources.”
Kinnect, a combination of the words Kin and Connect, currently serves more than 400 volunteers. It has evolved into a platform where people and organizations can share information and resources to address a variety of social challenges in Nigeria, from human rights to poverty alleviation to disaster relief.
The nonprofit also provides information on conferences, webinars and internships, hosts social events for its volunteers, and provides funding and free promotion for especially promising projects.
For example, one woman joined the platform with the idea of creating a book-mobile for an elementary school in Abuja that did not have a library. Thanks to a grant from Kinnect, the book-mobile began operating last month, giving nearly 900 children access to books.
The Pollination Project makes daily seed grants to inspiring social changemakers like Kinnect that are committed to creating a world that works for all. It has awarded grants of $1,000 each to different projects every single day since Jan. 1, 2013. Femi-Oyewo hopes to use the funding to improve the Kinnect website’s functionality and increase outreach through email and social media.
“We want to maximize our ability to help people form partnerships,” she said. “We feel that partnerships help everyone achieve their mission faster.”
Femi-Oyewo first started volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Since then, she has volunteered with six nonprofits over the last five years.
“I was only there for a few weeks, but I saw the positive impact I was having in their lives,” she said. “After that, I haven’t gone back.”
She sees volunteering as a way to give nonprofits in developing countries like Nigeria access to time, talent and resources that they could not otherwise afford.
“We’re trying to make volunteering a way of life,” she said. “We want to build a vibrant community of Nigerians who want to change the world.”
Read the article in the Huffington Post.