Chidi Koldsweat is an International Development professional with over thirteen years of experience helping donors, governments, the private sector, non-profits, and impact-driven organizations reach more communities with their funding and solutions in Africa. In this interview, she opens up about her work, women breaking out of society-dictated labels and building something for themselves.
About Donors for Africa
Donors for Africa Foundation is a nonprofit organization working to break the cycles of poverty in Africa. We believe that for Africa to experience sustainable growth, we must increase investments in its people and its institutions. We work with key stakeholders to contribute to the sustainable development objectives by governments. Objectives that are needed to guide and inform the planning, preparation, negotiation, monitoring, and implementation of a policy.
In addition, we also provide technical expertise and support to philanthropy organizations, donor agencies, the public/ private sector, nonprofits, and impact-driven businesses. This is extremely important to guide the implementation of their solutions in a way that guarantees impact and sustainability.
I am not driven by the way I feel. My motivation has evolved beyond that. It is similar to what trainers do at gyms. They train under every circumstance, whether it is rainy or the sun is shining. I am driven to get things done, whether I feel like doing it or not. From my experience, I have discovered that when I hit a funk, the moment I get up and sit in front of my computer, I get motivated. Each time I follow that rule, the lazy feeling leaves me, and I have full concentration on the work.
If you wait to be motivated all the time, you may never find the right motivation to get to work. Motivation often fades away. I push myself to work. I have a mental picture that if I want to be better than yesterday, I must be consistent with my actions. We cannot ration consistency at different volumes. Consistency is doing what needs to be done regardless of your feelings.
I like to go over and beyond. I realize that I have always gone over and beyond in every role that I have occupied. I am the kind of person who wouldn’t get satisfied with one level or phase of the work, I must go over and beyond to get it done. I was blessed to be surrounded by women who would tell me that no matter what level you attain, there is more, and that’s the beauty and strength of the human mind to push for more. It is just like going from being skinny to developing abs and muscles, this only happens because you were consistent with your training. This is what my spark is. The need to consistently show up so that a family miles away can get the next solution that they needed to have a better shot at life.
If I had a superpower, poverty would be the first thing I would eradicate. Diverse levels of social injustice, revolve around poverty. I believe that when people know better, they do better. When people are in better conditions, decision-making is easier. Many women would not stay in abusive relationships/marriages if they had resources to cater for themselves and their kids. Poverty is such a horrible decay, and if I have the power to change anything, I’ll change that.
A woman is first an individual before anything else. We have seen a lot of labels attached to women over the years, and I am not sure I understand the progression of these labels. When a woman is not a wife, girlfriend, best friend, or one of the labels, people feel there is an emptiness or an irrelevance to who she is. A perfect illustration for this is the construct that some women do not think of wealth creation, they think of wealth only when provided by their partners.
I came across a social media post about a man, who, ten to fifteen years after his mother’s death, still receives monthly payment as part of his inheritance from his late mum’s investments. His mum had bought properties when she was still alive and when she passed on, her children benefited greatly from their investments.
Women must believe that they were created and crafted for a purpose and not only the labels.
How then can we throw all the labels away?
It is simple, work on finding fulfillment in what you do. I want women to be conscious of their individuality. There are too many issues associated with our reality as women, yet we must not lose our individuality.
Chidi Koldsweat is an International Development Professional and founder, Donors for Africa Foundation, where she works to break cycles of poverty by providing technical expertise to African social innovators, impact led businesses and governments. She has trained over 195 nonprofits and raised thousands of dollars in funding. She continues to design impact led solutions that help nonprofits access funds, achieves sustainable development goals and build sustainable organizations in Africa.