You are responsible for your own growth: Building a career in the not-for-profit sector, with Akaoma Onyemelukwe

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In this episode, Sujani sits down with Akaoma Onyemelukwe to talk about the not for profit sector of public health. They discuss what tools are needed to succeed in public health, how to find your niche, and Akaoma’s own experiences working with various nonprofit organisations.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Akaoma found her way into public health from working with organisations such Unicef and Red Cross from a young age
  • Why Akaoma pursued an MPH on top of her practical experience in the field
  • How having and declaring a strong desire, building connections, and finding a niche are all important in succeeding in the nonprofit space
  • How Akaoma found her areas of interest and specialisation in public health
  • What areas in public health have seen rapid changes in the recent years and which areas have seen little progress
  • The biggest challenges Akaoma has faced and what skills/resources she needed to overcome them
  • The most important learnings Akaoma has gained from working in the not for profit sector
  • What Right Proposals is and how it stemmed from Akaoma’s interest in helping organisations access funding and sustainability 
  • What a day in Akaoma’s life looks like and what tools and strategies to keep everything organised 
  • How volunteering, continuing education, and mentorship are all important steps in achieving your dream public health career

Today’s Guest:

Non-profit, global development and management expert/consultant and coach with 20 years experience; She comes with expertise in suite of health systems strengthening; policy and advocacy, business development (grants & proposals), strategic planning, policy development, curriculum development, gender and social norms, research and evaluation; organisational development and management; supported institutional capacity strengthening for NGOs, CSO, FBO, Networks and Coalition in Nigeria and Africa. Prepared tools, guidance and learning materials for trainings and technical documentation to inform reforms across various institutions and sectors

A leader in large and complex programmes in Health, Humanitarian, Education, Governance and Media sectors; advised governments of low- and middle-income countries, private sector organisations, INGOs and NGOs on policy and reforms; design, implementation and evaluation of programmes. Akaoma has considerable experience in developing, drafting, researching, and analysing strategies, policies, legislation, and regulations, action plans and operational guidelines

Managed several programming and technical leadership roles leading to change, value and impact. Worked and consulted for international organisations such as UN agencies, UNICEF, FHI360, GAVI, Abts Associate, FHI Solution, Oxford Policy Management, World Health Organization; PACT West Africa, Save the children International, International Rescue Committee, DAI, ActionAid International Nigeria. She has extensive experience with donors as USAID, DFID/FCDO, GAC, EU, Global fund, ECHO, UN, and BMGF. 

Beyond her expertise in new business development proposal writing, Akaoma has led researches in programming opportunities analysis, policy review, health reforms including the basic health care provision fund, support to state health insurance scheme work, human resource for health interventions’; developed a digital COVID -19 manual; series of capacity building initiatives for government, health workers, humanitarian workers and private sector players including communities’. Akaoma has worked in Nigeria, Malawi, and Ethiopia

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About the Show

PH SPOTlight: Public health career stories, inspiration, and guidance from current-day public health heroes

On the show, Sujani sits down with public health heroes of our time to share career stories, inspiration, and guidance for building public health careers. From time to time, she also has conversations with friends of public health – individuals who are not public health professionals, but their advice and guidance are equally important.

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