Abuja, Nigeria, is home. So much of who I am and why I care about investing in communities stems from my experience living through conflict at home. I watched as my community became a shadow of itself post-war and through that experience, I developed an unrelenting passion for social impact work.
This passion manifested first through my decision to study electrical engineering in college, where I set out to solve Nigeria’s energy problem. But, as most early and lofty ambitions teach you, some of the most pressing social issues are underpinned by bureaucratic structures that keep old systems in place. My program focused too much on optimizing processes, so much that I didn’t see a path forward that would allow me to help real people. So, I pivoted to the world of development, conflict, and peacebuilding. A world that allowed me to use my process-based thinking, diligently crafted through my engineering degree, to break down and solve community-based problems.
I’m still very interested in this work, and I came to grad school to reflect and meditate on even bigger dreams to help my community through avenues in impact investing. As a Richard Peace Fellow, a career acceleration program that spans both Duke and UNC, I’ve built a network of people with similar interests who have only expanded what I believe is possible through social impact, entrepreneurship, sustainability, and investing.
I’ve also discovered the value of peer learning and mentorship in pursuit of these goals, which inspired me to establish the Duke Sanford Africa Policy Group (DSAPG). DSAPG creates a space for the Sanford community, and Duke at large, to engage in challenging yet rewarding discourse about global policies impacting the continent. With this organization, I aspire to create a lasting framework that others can build on. I hope future Sanford colleagues can use this framework to create even wider discussion circles about African policy as I embark on my next challenge upon graduation in May. – Jibikeoluwa Faborode, MIDP, ‘23 #MIDP #humansofdukesanford