Being a Shaper

By Dr Hafiz Abubakar
December 29th, 2019

April 2nd was a sad day for the Kano hub, waking up to see two members turning in their resignation from the hub with reasons surrounding been unable to stay active in the hub activities owing to stressful day jobs and change in location of residence. I am still trying to wrap my head and asking questions around their reasons for leaving, I probably would get answers when I have a sit out with them.

I joined the hub in July 2017 with a great enthusiasm to drive change in my immediate community, I was halfway through my National Youth Service Corps, had a lot of time on my hand, worked for ten hours in a week on average. As a result, it was easier to participate in the hub activities and I remember writing a project proposal on Shaping Maternal Mortality within ten days, which for some reason is yet to get funding from donors. I can say my head was on fire, LOL.

Five months after I joined, I was done with my Youth Service and I got a part-time job at a private hospital in Kano. I was required to work from 3 pm to 9 pm on weekdays, the working environment and hours were flexible as I could get another to work in my absence. Participating in the hub activities came with a little or no challenge as most events held on weekends. During this period, I was pleased to work with Dr. Ruqayya Nasir and the outgoing curator on the annual blood donation drive which was to take place in July 2018, shortly after I assessed one of the possible venues for the event, I got an email from one of USAID’s implementing partners for a job in the North-Eastern part of the country. I was required to report a week after getting the email, which was barely 2 weeks before the blood drive, and sadly I didn’t get to take part in the event.

My current job requires me to provide technical support to health facilities in some deep field locations, which are devoid of the GSM network. The only means of communication in these areas is the internet, which to a large extent isn’t reliable. I was compelled to miss out on most of the hubs physical activities due to the circumstances surrounding my work. I was worried about coping with being a shaper amidst all the challenges, then I put the internet to good use. I realized I didn’t have to be physically available to make the best out of my shaper experience. Nine months and counting, I have still been able to participate in most of the hubs virtual meetings, through Toplink I was able to connect with other shapers across the globe which resulted in working on two global projects that only required my virtual presence, namely Future of Work and Global Digital March projects. Last month, I was opportune to represent Kano hub in the World Economic Forum workshop in Lagos and currently working on attending a Shape Event in May.

Finding a balance between being a Shaper, your personal life, personal development, and keeping a job is not in any way close to a walk in the park. Irrespective of how stressful and tasking our day jobs are, I believe there are ways we can still make the best of our Shapers’ experience. Being physically present is not always a prerequisite for driving impacts in communities. We are now in an era where you can be in different parts of the world at the same, thanks to the internet.

It doesn’t matter how small your inputs are to the activities of the hub, Little things can make big differences says Malcolm Gladwell in his book titled The Tipping Point. We shouldn’t be quick to turn in our resignation due to challenges arising from our day jobs, instead, we should sit back, reflect and think deeply on how we can key into the activities of the hub, no matter how little, it’s the effort that counts.

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