Raquel Daniel, is an impact strategist educator, who is so passionate with her work.
She was named a clarity coach of non-profits,by a participant after she had a clarity session with them.
Her priority is aimed at improving education in Nigeria. She works directly with children in marginalized communities, in the nation,she focuses on all round education, sexual and health for adolescent girls through her platform,”Beyond the Classroom Foundation” which she started in 2011.
She is a graduate of Education from the University of Lagos, also she has a certificate in social sector management and Coca-Cola scholarship,through the enterprise development centre of Pan Atlantic University, Lagos.
In the last eight years, Beyond the Classroom Foundation, has been able to provide free sanitary pads, as well as trained over 10,000 girls on sexual and reproductive health.
Also,through her initiative, the Back to school project, BTC has provided free school supplies to over 7,000 children in public primary schools in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo States,where they trained 2,000 children on basic digital literacy skills.
Recently, her nonprofit enrolled 107 orphans and internally displaced children to school in Abuja, renovated a Primary School in Lagos and raised over $15,000 for the COVID-19 Relief Drive that donated free groceries to over 600 families across Lagos, Abuja, Ogun and Oyo State in Nigeria.
Raquel has received numerous awards including the 2016 Honour Nigeria Community Development Award by Trinity House, the 2015 Young Women of Change Award, 2014 Le Roche Exemplary Leadership Award by the past Governor of Lagos, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, and was a nominee of the Global Foundation Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2013.
She was the volunteer lead at the first World Economic Forum on Africa held in Nigeria in 2014,
Raquel is a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum, a Royal Commonwealth Associate Fellow, a Climate Reality Leader, a two time Mentor of the Queens Young Leaders Program and alumni Fellow of the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative of the US Embassy Lagos, TechCamp Leadership programme South Africa and the LEAP Africa Social Innovators Programme (SIP).
Prior to starting the Clarity School for Nonprofits, she doubled as the Admin/HR lead at the Secretariat of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council and the Executive Assistant to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment (in the office of the Vice President).
Raquel is a gifted communicator, and a recognized philanthropist, she brings enormous expertise, insight, and energy to all her projects.
You are called the “Clarity Coach for nonprofits”, tell us how you coined this name?
The name “clarity coach” was given to me by a participant at the end of a class. I smiled and replied I am not a coach for the world, I am a clarity coach for nonprofit.
The class was part of the Clarity School for Nonprofits, which I started last year to train and equip emerging nonprofit leaders. Ever since, the name stuck. I developed interest and I have come to love the name because the first thing I do with my client is have the “clarity session” where we deep dive into why they want to venture into nonprofit .
You are a development worker, educator, impact strategist, wife, and mom. How do you manage it all?
For me, I prioritize the two most important things to me; my faith and my family. If it isn’t convenient for my family, I don’t give it a second thought. Having stated this, I have been able to manage my responsibilities well so far by doing a few things. One is; not taking on a project God isn’t leading me to take on. Not every good idea is God’s idea for me. Another thing, I do is, share responsibilities with my husband. I don’t try to be a super mum or wife, I have a nanny for my daughter and when she is around, she supports me and this enables me focus on work. I also have an assistant for work who manages some of my work for the nonprofit and Clarity School.
Tell us more about the book “FLOW: a girl’s guide to menstruation” that you would launch very soon?
“Flow” is a book I wrote to help girls understand and learn about the changes in their bodies. And how to manage their period with fun,and an easily relatable way.
The book includes details girls need to know about puberty, preparing for your first period, managing period cramps and types of sanitary products to use. In the book, I spoke about how my late father taught me about menstruation, shared my personal experiences, practical advice and information on managing menstruation.
This book is important and will impact girls positively because beyond sharing about menstruation and hygiene, I shared personal experiences and spoke about my late father, the man who taught me everything I needed to know about menstruation and puberty from age nine. “Flow” is designed to address the major concerns every young girl goes through during puberty. A lot of girls grow up without any knowledge of puberty and understanding their menstrual circle. It is my desire that the book guides and helps any girl who reads it to navigate through the world of puberty with ease.
What advice would you give to young girls who has a listening ear, but are too scared to open up and discuss issues that affects them?
Let’s face it, speaking up can be hard for anyone. I know this because I have been there and know adults who are still having a hard time speaking up about issues affecting them. So, you’re not alone. If you’re a young girl reading this, know that the safest place to confide in anyone is at home. It might look like your parents or siblings don’t understand you, but they love you. Talking to the people you trust about issues bothering you in a safe and loving environment is a great, low risk place to start. If that didn’t help, try writing how you feel in a journal. I have found out that writing journaling can be really helpful,for pouring out my heart and ideas.
I will advice, don’t be scared to ask for help. If there’s something happening at home or at school that needs to be said, find an adult you trust and open up to them.
What value added especially during this pandemic?
At the announcement of the lock-down, there was an immediate spread of panic buying of food items to stock up homes which frankly was a luxury that only a certain group of people could afford. We jumped in and started fundraising for food relief items to distribute to families who couldn’t afford to stock up for the lock-down.
In response to this dilemma, Beyond the Classroom embarked on a project tagged; The COVID- 19 Food Relief Drive to provide food palliatives for families in these low income communities, who have been gravely affected to ensure that the children, in these places, were not subjected to imminent starvation. With the help of the general public and partnerships with organizations such as Her Hub Africa, Naija start-ups community, Tim Godfrey Foundation, CrowdyVest Donate, Laju Iren Inc, Women with Stories International, Mother of May Foundation, we successful raised over $14,000 which has fed 690 families with six weeks’ worth of food per home through this initiative.
We also have noticed that, post-disaster relief and recovery operations seldom focus on women’s priorities regarding menstrual hygiene. Governments and nonprofit respond to disaster majorly with food relief items and rarely remember to put in a sanitary pad for the women and girls.
We quickly jumped on social media, raised $1,500 and distributed free disposable sanitary pads enough to last three months to 300 girls in Ijora Olopa, Lagos and the Karonmajigi IDP camp in Abuja. In partnership with SanitaryAid Initiative and Abuja Global Shapers, the women and girls at the IDP camp received 300 free reusable sanitary pads, 800 underpants and 500 face masks. Through another partnership with Socially Africa, participants of the SwitchOn Bootcamp designed the “Fund the Flow” project, raised over $4,000 for sanitary pads and we distributed three months’ supply of disposal sanitary pads to 1,000 women and girls in Langbasa, Okeira-nla, Bariga, Makoko and Ikeja Cantonment Lagos State.
Because we work with children, we partnered with Busy Mind Schools and distributed a set of 4 Workbooks to 200 children in the IDP camp. We designed an awareness book for children ages six to ten in English, translated to Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and French Language, with Pidgin in the works.
What would you tell a young woman who wants to go into the nonprofit sector?
The first and only advice I will give here is “Know Your WHY”. This is so important because your ‘WHY’ is your source of intrinsic motivation and your best inspiration. If you know your ‘WHY’, you can articulate the reason you are going into this sector and because the journey could get really tough sometimes, especially with fund raising you might want to quit but knowing your WHY will keep you focused.
It will also help to narrow your direction to avoid mission creep. When you are tempted to start a project because there is available funding in the area, your WHY will always remind you; this is not the reason you started this nonprofit.