No doubt, wife of Ekiti State Governor and President, African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), Erelu Bisi Fayemi, is a force to be reckoned with as far as philanthropy and women empowerment are concerned globally.
Erelu Bisi Fayemi is one of the three pillars of the AWDF. The fund is an African-wide grant-making foundation, which has been in existence for over one decade.
The fund has assisted over 800 women organizations in over 42 African countries and the counting is ongoing.
As the President of AWDF, the governor’s wife thought it wise to initiate in Ekiti State a foundation similar to AWDF which is based in Accra, Ghana.
Based on her passion and love for women, youths and the entire citizenry of Ekiti State, she initiated the Ekiti Development Foundation (EDF), which is a platform for the economic empowerment of women and the youths of the state.
The foundation was officially launched on June 10, 2011 where dignitaries from all walks of life converged on Ado-Ekiti, the capital city.
According to the initiator, the thematic focus of the organization, are economic empowerment, political participation, enhanced healthcare, education and training, promoting the rights of women and enhancing leadership capacities.
In her speech at the launch of the Foundation, Erelu Bisi Fayemi was upbeat that the EDF would become a respected and sustainable philanthropic institution truly owned by Ekiti citizens and which would serve as an inspiration to others. She agreed that non-profit organizations could only thrive when values and principles such as dignity, accountability, transparency, inclusiveness and ownership were integrated, adding that all these would be the hallmark of EDF.
While professing her passion for the development of women and children of Ekiti State, the governor’s wife used the occasion to express her appreciation to the people of the state for their support for Governor Kayode Fayemi-led administration in his bid to bring all-round development to the state through the faithful implementation of his 8-point agenda.
She stressed that the needs of the communities should be addressed through an institution that could outlive successive administrations so as to raise the voice of the voiceless women in the society.
Erelu Fayemi advocated legislation and other legal framework to support philanthropy to assist women and the girl-child in their creativity and leadership drive. Dignitaries present at the official launch of EDF made various donations to support and identify with the foundation and its initiator. While announcing his donation, one of the Chief Launchers, Chief Michael Ade Ojo, who is the Chairman of Elizade Nigeria Limited, reiterated the need for individuals to give to the less-privileged in the society; adding that it was a Biblical injunction. Chief Ade Ojo commended the initiator for not bringing government into the funding of the EDF and for making it truly non-governmental. He donated a vehicle and cash.
The Chief Executive of Deux Project, Dr Tunde Olowolafe, who was the second Chief Launcher, charged the people to partner the EDF to enhance the development of the state. He donated a Technical Classroom with 40 Computers and cash to the foundation.
Among numerous other donors were a legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN,) who also donated cash; a former Ekiti State Governor, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, wife of Lagos State Governor, Dame Abimbola Fashola, members of the National Assembly, Barrister Dele Belgore and Senator Oluremi Tinubu.
Some corporate bodies that also announced donations at the event were the African Women Development Fund (AWDF), TY Danjuma Foundation and the insurance giant, IGI.
At the event, the Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka, unveiled the official logo of the EDF, with support from wives of the governors of South-West, Nigeria. The deputy governor extolled the virtues of the initiator as a woman of remarkable excellence and commended her for not naming the foundation after herself.
Another high point of the launch was the speech delivered by Governor Kayode Fayemi, who stressed the need for government to support laudable programmes, adding that he was passionately committed to women’s empowerment.
Governor Fayemi expressed the need for non-governmental organizations to collaborate with government in its development drive, stating that the state could not solely shoulder the responsibility of positive and sustainable change. In this regard, he added that government would re-establish relationship with key development partners like DFID, USAID, UNICEF, WHO, European Union and World Bank, among others.
The governor pledged his unflinching support for the vision of the foundation in achieving its noble objectives by collaborating in programmes and activities that would enhance leadership capacity of the populace.
Last modified: June 10, 2011