In a crowd, she is hard to miss. Whether it is giving out her time in selfless service, or engaging an audience, her energy is contagious. She is Gusi Tobby, a 21 year old law graduate from the University of Benin, and the founder of one of the biggest volunteering communities in Nigeria, Girl Hub Africa.
When asked how she came about the idea of starting a volunteer, she says, “I noticed a gap in he society where the number of unemployed youths was at an increasing rate, and the ratio of unemployed female youths in this statistics was 70%-30%.
This got me so upset every time I went on Google to check the statistics, so I decided to do a survey, at 20, I had older friends who had graduated, so I would call/chat them up to ask certain questions, and 70% of the ladies I reached out to gave negative feedback on being gainfully employed and I realized most of them were just applying for jobs online and sitting at home. When I suggested they should learn a skill, they would usually say they didn’t have the money to enroll for it”.
According to her, this was when she took it upon herself to change the narrative. “I knew I didn’t have all the money in the world to sponsor their skill acquisition neither could I employ them all, but by the virtue of being a volunteer for various social clubs back in school, I had grown my network and was exposed to loads and loads of opportunities that could lead to getting gainful employment”.
So that led to her decision to create this platform for women to come together and give their time, resources, skills & talent and in return, they gain experiences they can add to their CV’s and also grow their skills/network.
On how receptive women have been towards volunteering, she says, “Oh well, those that have come to me have been receptive, but more work is in convincing other women, it just baffles me that you can see that this is your best bet to keep yourself engaged but they choose to stay idle. That’s why our strategy is “TESTIMONIALS””.
She goes on to say that the testimonies from the volunteers under the Girl Hub Africa platform has convinced a lot of young African women today without we doing so much of the work.
It would interest you to know that GHA has birthed its Tanzania and Ghana Chapters. Ordinarily, managing GHA in different countries must be a herculean task but she says, “The world is a global village. You can be in your room and control/supervise all your businesses around the world, and yes, we do have chapter leads who head out various chapters. I will not fail to say God has indeed been faithful.
Communication and chapter running have been so effective and stress free.”
One begins to wonder how GHA chooses organizations to volunteer for, she says, “Various organizations contact us, however, we only work with those organizations that have programmes in line with the U.N. SDGs and offer our volunteers meaningful experiences, a platform to give back and also an ability for them to grow their network. Once the programme is in line with any of these, we are ever ready to serve selflessly.”
Gusi Tobby has a global vision for Girl Hub Africa which is that “In 5 years, GIRL HUB AFRICA VOLUNTEERS NETWORK should be established in all African countries starting with West Africa, having a minimum of 1000 professional female volunteers.