Jan 25 • 24M

What Advice Can You Share With This Startup Nonprofit Founder?

Samuel Akwo Adelowo, An Immigrant From Cameroon, Has Launched a U.S.-Based Nonprofit to Serve the Youth of West Africa

Devin Thorpe
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Some of the world's great changemakers join host Devin Thorpe to share leadership lessons you can use to increase your impact.
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Devin: What is your superpower?

Sam: I’m honored that you have interviewed Bill Gates, and you are interviewing somebody from Africa [whose] mother did not have anything, and he was able to travel around the world. I’ve even had jobs that I was not qualified for, but people believed that I could do them. And at the end of it, I accomplished the tasks. So my superpower is to express integrity, the spirit of integrity in anything you do, no matter what it is.


Samuel Akwo Adelowo was born and raised in Cameroon. Without resources, he was able to travel the world to gain both experiential and formal education. After working for the U.S. Peace Corps in his home country, he came to live in the United States. Having achieved a measure of success here, he has organized a 501(C)(3) nonprofit in Dallas to serve youth in West Africa.

The nonprofit People Concern International has identified five essential initiatives to undertake:

  1. Computer training

  2. Solar power and installation training

  3. Food for orphanages and vulnerable communities

  4. Medical care

  5. Teaching entrepreneurial skills

This list represents an ambitious plan for a young organization. Led by someone with the lived experience of those he serves, Samuel has an advantage over other well-intentioned startup nonprofits.

“I traveled to Nigeria and many other parts, and I saw the need that young people had the potentials, but they didn’t have the resources,” Samuel said, explaining the motivation for his work.

“I’m telling you it would be amazing because Africa has those potentials,” Samuel says. “Call it in the domain of agriculture or the domain of new technology or in trade or what you call selling of products or many other sectors. They are really doing well. They just need the boost.”

You, the readers, are experts in many aspects of social impact, from nonprofit management to solar power implementation. Some of you already have work or connections in Nigeria or elsewhere in West Africa. What advice or suggestions do you have for Samuel? If you want to connect, click here for his Linkedin profile. Share suggestions in the comments.

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“When you do bless people or provide something to people selflessly, unconditionally, it will come back to you,” says Samuel, explaining his core philosophy of life.

Samuel has accomplished a great deal and wants to do so much more. He leverages his superpower, integrity, to do so.

How to Develop Integrity As a Superpower

“One of the things I’ve always promoted in my work, as always, been the spirit of integrity,” Samuel says, noting that building trust with people has enabled his work.

For Samuel, integrity isn’t just about honesty and walking your talk. “It’s simple. My mother didn’t really go so much in school, but she used to say, ‘When you throw something out there, it will come to you.’ We live on one breathing planet. It is holistic. We are one family.”

As a result, integrity reflects that holistic thinking of everyone on earth as family. So, he says he tries to leave a public restroom cleaner than he found it as a courtesy to the next user.

Applying this holistic thinking to integrity could help you build trust and become more successful at your work to do good in the world. Integrity could become your superpower for good.

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