How to graduate your AmplifyChange grant

Written by Nwachukwu Kelechukwu Lucky, Youth Network for Community and Sustainable Development (YNCSD), Nigeria

Please describe your organisation and its capacity before you received your original Opportunity grant.

Prior to receiving our Opportunity grant, YNCSD was more of an organic structure made up of freelance youth volunteers, who had a similar vision to end all forms of violence against women and girls. The organisation was not formally registered, there was no specific office space, basic financial systems were not in place, and staff members lacked skills in implementing donor-funded projects.  

How did you use your Opportunity grant to work on any capacity or organisational issues that were stopping you from applying for a larger grant?

The grant enabled us to get the organisation formally registered and become a legal entity. This in turn made it possible for us to open bank accounts and put in place basic structures, such as financial management systems. As a result, we are now in a position to seek and apply for funding from a wide range of donors. Furthermore, with the support from AmplifyChange, we have been able to hire more permanent staff, creating a better working environment for our team.

What did you achieve and what changes did you make?

We invested in organisational development and capacity building for staff members. We also changed our financial-management systems using a simple online accounting tool called QuickBooks. We also developed our fundraising manual and business-development strategy, covering a 3-year strategic plan. As result, the team has a clear direction and is very committed to deliver on our set goals and strategic plan.  

How did these changes enable you to apply for a Strengthening grant?

The focus on organisational development and capacity building prepared us to apply for a Strengthening grant. With an improved understanding of proposal writing, how to capture anticipated objectives and budget management we were better positioned as an organisation to manage an increase in the amount of resources. Furthermore, as a result of the strengthening of team members’ capacity in SRHR issues as well as implementation of a wide range of projects we were able to demonstrate a capacity to take on and implement a Strengthening grant.

What did you learn from this graduation experience?

No matter how small a project is, it should aim to make an impact first, before seeking for scale up.

Nwachukwu Kelechukwu Lucky, Youth Network for Community and Sustainable Development (YNCSD), Nigeria

Nwachukwu Kelechukwu Lucky is a lawyer and a feminist. He works on all issues related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. He has coordinated a range of programmes targeted at ending female genital mutilation/cutting, breaking barriers to unsafe abortion, and promoting emotional wellbeing of LGBTI persons in sub-Saharan Africa. He is an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society as well as an Alumni of the Women Deliver Young Leaders Programme.

In the Youth Network for Community and Sustainable Development (YNCSD) in Nigeria, he mentors the team as well as helping to build staff members’ organisational capacity, such as M&E, Programme Management and communication skills. He has played a significant role in enabling the Youth Network for Community and Sustainable Development to graduate from an Opportunity grant to a Strengthening grant.