I received with great joy news of our first Ebola victim.

I have dreamed, waited, planned,  and plotted for this day. No no, I do not mean Patrick Sawyer, that ridiculous guy who scampered here from Liberia, and like a man who has played the field and runs to die in the arms of his lover, diseased, I hear he was trying to get to America. How faithless. I also hear his wife had a thing or two to say about his attempt to come home, lugging his disease. Can I blame her? I would have said, ‘Baby, you should have come home,’ but that’s me, romantic to the end.  Literally.

Now, you wonder why I was happy about our first legitimate Ebola case. Let me run you through a quick summary. It is really as simple as –

Look at Liberia! Is it not Liberia that just yesterday, their former president was racing here for asylum, bringing along his (as I hear) virile young sons who set Calabar girls all aflutter. Ahem. But that’s not the point. The point is, Liberia is not our mate. So when I heard that Liberia had Ebola, approaching epidemic levels, I was disgruntled. Ebola should be ours. We are the giant of Africa.

You think I am weird. That’s because you don’t see things clearly the way I do, meaning you don’t know the potential inherent in every calamity that befalls Nigeria, and every African country really. One word. Grants. Did you see what happened with Malaria? Strike malaria. Have you seen how many of my NGO colleagues have struck gold and are riding around in big cars because we had the advantage of having such wonderfully high AIDS figures? Going by what I hear and read, nearly everybody In Nigeria is dying of AIDS or at least have HIV, there are no drugs and we are racing towards full-brown AIDS faster than David Oyedepo’s private jet to save souls.

I missed out on that GOLDEN opportunity. Actually I have missed quite a few. I missed the opportunity to start an NGO about Gay Rights. I missed an opportunity to do an NGO about the bring back our girls campaign. I must be cursed from my village. But enough! Ebola shall not pass me by.

I am a very generous person, even though I say so myself. So, I will share with you some of the tips about this hustle and although I would beg you not to copy my style, there is no need to ask you not to copy the idea because there are many fish in the western seas – World Bank, Money funds for Africa, Donor organizations, China – waiting to bite right? So no shaking. Just tweak your own small. My dear friends, it is not too late. You too can start your NGO hustle today and if the Ebola thing does not take –  that is reach pandemic proportions, another wahala will come.


  1. DO NOT be specific. Unless you are ready to do a different NGO for every crisis that arises, I advise you right now, set up a multipurpose NGO that is able and capable of fronting every intervention. If your NGO was all about HIV, you will be struggling to rebrand now, abi? Ehen. So don’t limit yourself. It might be tricky and might confuse donors – actually, it might confuse you yourself and your staff. But those are mere details. The idea is that the wider you cast your net, the better your chances. So craft your name, vision and mission statement along these lines. your vision can read something like, ‘A society where everybody is healthy, happy and law abiding, know their rights and there is equality and Justice and peace for all.’ You are good to go. Look it over critically, it has to be all-encompassing. This is just an example but I know you are smarter than me.
  2. DO  list all your interventions so far in the areas of HIV (you went to a brothel and spoke to some ashewos and gave them Gold Circle condoms), women and youth empowerment (you sent some girls to learn hairdressing and organized football competition for some boys where one got a scholarship for one term), domestic violence (not too sure what you did here),  the right of the girl child (okay, you printed some pamphlets), grassroot civic education etc. NOTE: You must have colourful pictures to support these.
  3. IF YOU would be a little specific, you can still be non-specific within this specificity. Don’t look at me. You can choose a central theme, say health. Malaria, HIV, public health, Ebola are all health issues and there is always a new one to replace the old, don’t worry. If the country is having a dry spell where everybody is miraculously healthy, you can explore other related issues like sanitation, clean drinking water etc. There is always something.
  4. YOU MIGHT be the Executive Director, but you must have a board of directors. It looks good. So invite your fellow NGO hustlers to sit on your board. You must all help each other and you too are a board member on your friend’s NGO are you not? Remember, in a weird form of reverse gender inequality, the board members and your staff must be predominantly female. Woman must wack!
  1. Design a NICE proposal. In order to do this, you have to have a long-ass list of donor organizations and what causes they are willing to support. Sometimes, just as the NGO is non-specific, some donor organizations are also non-specific. If you make your case well, they will sponsor any and everything that ails us. So hurry, get a team together. There are lots of young school leavers, jobless, hungry and very intelligent. You may or may not have office space. You do, however, need to supply them with a good computer and good internet access. Give them some instructions and set them free. Encourage them to sign up with groups like Funds for NGO and they will get alert for every new funding opportunity that enters the pipeline. Not just that. You must be very friendly with other NGOs and pass on info from time to time about funding opportunities that might suit their specific interventions (but do this only when your proposal has been rejected), Help them out. It will come back to you.

Oops, I’m outta word count…  I don’t know why I imagined I could give you directions on how to change the course of your life in just this short article. If it were so easy, you would have stopped going to church by now, na? But while your pastor wants you in church every week, this  will only take up two or three weeks of your time. And your life will never be the same again.

Before I am done, you will have a sample of what a good and clever proposal should look like. Until then, stay #Ebola free.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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