It’s been 11 years of passion and impact at Spaces for Change | S4C. The Day of Gratitude held in commemoration of the organization’s 11th anniversary brought together longtime friends, media partners, funders, Board members, and former staff that supported the organization from the very beginning. 11 years ago, we were extremely fortunate to have benefitted immensely from pioneer staff whose diligence, hard work, and selfless service oiled our wheels of growth as well as the unalloyed backing of several partners, funders, and community allies who believed in us, and sowed seeds of faith in a young and relatively unknown organization. The Day of Gratitude was a moment of celebration and reflection on the 11- year old journey toward becoming and the roles played by different actors.
Starting off as an online discussion group among youth peers on Facebook social networking site, S4C has now metamorphosed into a leading advocacy group with two offices in Nigeria, one in Ghana, 15 full-time staff and over 20 interns that have learned under our tutelage. The pivotal shift from online to offline advocacy began when S4C hosted the first-ever online conference on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which piqued the interest of civil society, funders, the media and petroleum industry stakeholders. The wide reach and viral impact of the organization’s online campaigns prompted the establishment of a well-structured and registered organization with a physical address. Today, as they say, the rest is history.
The event became very emotional when the organization’s pioneer staff and partners shared experiences of the early days which shaped and sharpened their personal lives, businesses and attitudes toward work. They thanked S4C management for the opportunity to serve. According to one former staff, S4C’s growth rate is not a surprise. The growth is mainly as a result of its consistency, passion for social change, and the culture of excellence. Agreeing with the above , some of the organization’s community allies testified about the organization’s efforts toward simplifying community engagement in urban governance issues. The organization’s work has equally created and expanded spaces for constant and healthy engagement between informal communities and state authorities on issues affecting housing justice. By so doing, S4C increased their capacity for quality engagement and constructive dialogues with a broad spectrum of stakeholders. Due to their partnership with S4C, they have been able to gain recognition with the government, which was not the case 11 years ago.
One of the highlights of the event was the launch of the S4Cs’ 14-seater workspaces in the spirit of corporate social responsibility. It serves as a memorial of how S4C started without an office, but with the help of trusted friends who sheltered S4C before it was able to move into own space. To give back to the society, the workspace is open to startup organizations and businesses that are too young to handle the complexities associated with overhead and operational costs. Beyond the luxurious ambience of the office premises, the workspaces are accompanied with cosy packages such as a dedicated secretary, an executive meeting room, kitchennete, 24 hours electricity supply, security guards, car park, and mailing address box.
On a note of thanks, S4C’s Executive Director attributed S4C’s impact-filled journey to God’s abundant grace. In her words, “the organization is built on the foundations of hard work, commitment, and the loyalty of pioneering staff, partners, and board members. After 11 years, we shall not relent in chasing the dream with all the intention and vigor from a place deep inside.”