My 2018 Story

Long Post Alert! 

My 2018 Story

It has been a tradition that every 31st December, I share my journey with others to inspire them to pursue their dreams. I must confess I wrote my 2017 story in pain but with gratitude. 2017 made me so humble. I had numerous rejections. I think over 15 rejection mails. I could recall how I got three rejection in a week and I wept. I knelt down and pray. The truth is those rejections made me! Though I had some wins, smaller wins in 2017 and the smaller version of the bigger dreams. I made it to the Young Professionals Bootcamp, United Action for Change Leadership Programme and Nigerian Delegate to the maiden edition of the African Youth SDGs Summit. I also attended the Nigerian Youth SDGs Summit and celebrated the United Nations International Peace Day with United Nations Information Centre in Lagos. 

Going into 2018, I said, "I am a moving train, oozing into 2018 with bigger dreams. The plan for 2018 started December 2017, when I started taking steps to make my year better. I started by writing my goals for 2018 and I also applied to the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative. I also made plan to reach more Secondary School Students in underserved communities through my initiative KLCI and I am telling you between January and February I got two opportunities. Made it to the Carrington Youth Fellowship and was selected as a SDGs Youth Champion by African Monitor and got an all expense paid trip to Johannseburg, South Africa to learn about SDGs, Social Research, Advocacy and Leadership. I also reached out to over 500 students within both months. 

Returning from South Africa, I worked on the field to monitor the SDGs in Nigeria. This sharpened my knowledge on development issues especially in the area of Education. It was a great privilege to contribute to a policy document titled " Monitoring the Progress of SDGs: A report from 3 Lens in Nigeria." and present to the Senate President which the Special Adviser on NGO received on his behalf. I felt so good influencing policy as a young change maker. 

In 2018, through my NGO, we extended our outreach to Kwara and reached over 300 students and that was just super amazing. 

I also won my first mini grant from Peace First, an international NGO in the United States which was made possible through One African Child to organize Skill2Rural Bootcamp, a platform where secondary school students, teachers with the help of youth educators co create prototypes to many problems they face within their communities. They also get to develop 21st century skills through lectures, videos and working in groups such as Emotional Intelligence, Critical Thinking, Creativity etc needed for the workforce and future of works. 

I was also one of the six selected to participate in Peace First end of the year appeal. It was a great privilege. Peace First and OneAfricanChild are platforms I will forever be grateful to. 

Again, unkowingly, a very good friend on LinkedIn and a great connection nominated me to be recognized as a Global Goodwill Ambassador for the work that I do to ensure children have access to quality education and that is how I became one. I was also recognized by the Nigerian Youth SDGs Network as one of the 50 young leaders championing the Global Goals in their local communities. Not only that, I got a scholarship to attend Sozo Networks - Appalachian State University (USA) Grant Writing Course. This course changed my whole life. I also got my initiative registered as an incorporated trustees to give credibility to my work. It wasn't easy but I didn't do it alone. Some special people made it happened and I am grateful. 

I also had couple of rejections too. I didn't make the British Council Future Leaders Connect Programme, Mandela Washington Fellowships and African Development Bank Essay Competition, Peace Write Now competition and many others. I was about to speak at a particular event in Ogbomosho, Nigeria, when I got a message from Leap Africa that I didn't make the Social Innovation Programme (SIP) fellowship. I was down a bit but I went ahead to speak and was vulnerable enough to share the rejection. I was relieved. Many of this rejections didn't really bothered me, because I had learned that my validation doesn't come from the no of Programmes I have attended or No of competitions that I had won. It comes from my work. More importantly, I don't need all the platform in this world, I need just one platfrom that will change everything. I had also learned that not all platform is needed for professional growth and learned how to carefully select platforms that will help me in achieving my dreams and goals. 

This year, I also won the Keenista African Youth Essay Competition. I made top 2 - 7 out of 513 entries. More so, I became a mentor of the Princess Diana Legacy Award Programme in the U.K for young leaders between age 9 - 25 years. This happened through LinkedIn and that's the essence of a good connection and platform. I was also awarded by Ideation Hub Africa as Talent of the Future and many more. 

I also made it to the interview stage of the recruitment of the Global Shapers, Lagos Hub. I did ao well in the interview but I was asked a question around financial commitment which deep inside my heart, I can't make. I answered truthfully and after a week, I got the rejection mail. I didn't bother but put on my positivity shirt and travelled to Ghana for the Second African Youth SDGs Summit. 

Gracefully, I was honored by the African Youth SDGs Network team to speak to over 1000 delegates from over 43 countries. This got me a lot of international connections. I have facilitated more sessions this year and I am glad for not staying the same. Rafael Nadal said, "Doing the same thing means going backward" I know I am not where I wanted to be but I wasn't where I was. I had grown and I had learned. I had also learned to become more humble and respect the ideas of others. I had learned the most important person in a place or room might even be the gateman. 
The truth is I didn't achieve all these all alone.  My team members, volunteers, friends, family and everyone of you contributed to all these milestones. 

I said in 2017 that consistency was the key but for 2018, Platform was the key. With consistency, you will get the platform to thrive. Still, I am a moving train oozing into 2019 with bigger dreams. Thank you for being part of my journey. I am because you are. 

2019 looks so promising. I can see it! I believe you can too! I am not motivating you but if you can see it, believe it, you can achieve it. But you have to take action and be disciplined. And, don't allow achievements get into your head that you forget where you are coming from and your dreams. Do not forget your morals! I had learned that from my Mentor Dr Mrs Dominic. I had also learned to pass the baton down! You also need to stay diligent and committed. Do not take little opportunities for granted because they lead to bigger ones. Remember you have no second chance to make the first impression. You have gotten only one lifeline, give it your all. Be the best you can. You should also understand that what you have and what you know is what you need. You should also understand that your journey is different from others. So, don't mirror your life with other people's achievements. You should understand that there is a difference between the moon and the sun. They shine at different times and you should learn to treat yourself well. Nurture yourself. Attend programmes, read books and teach. When you teach, your learn twice. You should also set goals and smash it. Set big goals and fight for your dreams. Don't forget to help yourself because you have to help yourself first before others will join you in the Journey of becoming. 

You also have to value relationship. I joined the UNESCO Media, Information and Literacy Hackaton because of the relationship that I had built in the past. We also made it to the finals. Many other opportunities I have gotten through people's recommendation. You need people to sustain your vision. I have also made new friends and I am grateful to know this people. I had also share platform with people I had never thought to share platform with and I am also grateful. 

I am grateful for everything! The ups and downs. The hills and valleys. My perfections, almost perfections and imperfections. Oprah Winfrey said, "Be thankful for what you have, you will end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." 

So I am grateful for the journey! Very grateful! Absolutely grateful! 

I am challenging you to help yourself in 2019, be confident, be bold, be courageous, understand that you are enough, understand that what you are currently going through is preparing you for the greater good. Understand that you are qualified and experienced enough. Go ahead and live your dreams. It will be hard but hard times don't last. You will cry but you wouldn't cry forever. You will be called crazy because you alone understand your journey. People will not believe in you but you have to keep aiming high. You need to put the the little extra too. 

My very good friend and one of the few people that inspire me Victoria Ibiwoye said, "The blessings of life are in the little extra efforts. There is no magic." Its so true! The little extras changed my whole life. 

Honestly I cry too! I cried hard, because life can be difficult for me! I motivate others but I need motivation too. I help others and I need help too. But my ability to recognize that I need help has made me to keep taking action and be vulnerable to ask for one. 

Friends, Go on! Add the little extra! 

Do your Job so well! 

Rejection isn't the end of life. They proved you wrong but you have to prove yourself right! 

Be grateful for what you have! 

Don't be scared to tell your own story, tell it as it was. It relives you of carrying the burden.

The challenges of life are preparing you for the greater good.

Love yourself so well, self love is equal to self discipline. 

Make good friends too. 

Always put on a charming smile in both hard and good times. 

Aim high and when you hit, look back and bring someone else's up! 

I look forward to reading your success story. 

This is my 2018 story and I hope it inspire someone, somehow and somewhere! 

Hammed Kayode Alabi 
Kayfactor Inspires 


  1. Congratulations! Cheers to a more beautiful 2019.

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