Nigerian youth especially young women are in dire need of credible and cerebral leadership. One of the ways to achieve this critical need is through mentorship to ensure a pool of opinion leaders who impact on the younger generation thereby producing the much needed critical mass of young women leaders.

The Fund with support from the Department for International Development’s (DFID) Voices for Change Program (V4C) selectes (through a competitive process), 20 aspiring young women from over 500 applications to participate in our mentorship program for a period of six (6) months. This is a component of the Creating Spaces Project which aims to improve women’s leadership capacity and ability to participate in decision making platforms.

This intellectual interaction between mentors and mentees, aims to groom 20 young women in leadership skills and prepare them as part of a successor generation of women leaders.


Amina Salihu Amina.J. Mohammed Japhet J. Omojuwa Ayisha Osori Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi Ema Clark Hauwa Shekarau Dr. Otive Igbuzor Olufunke Baruwa Binta Masi Garba

Amina Salihu

Amina Salihu is a political scientist and over the years she has carved a niche for herself in activism, as well as farming. She lectured at the Ahmadu Bello University between 1993 and 2000, and later worked for the West Africa-focused organisation, Centre for Democracy and Development. She was Senior Special Assistant, Social Sector, and, later, Information and Strategy to Nigeria’s former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai. As Strategy Advisor, Amina designed the Abuja Town Hall Meetings and the FCT Helpline for governmentcitizen communication and feedback.

In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, she talks about the things that spurred her, people she admires and gender as smart economics.




Amina.J. Mohammed

amina_mohammed_0Amina J. Mohammed is Minister of Environment of Nigeria, appointed on 11th November 2015. Previously, Amina Mohammed was a key player in the Post-2015 development process, serving as the Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Post-2015 development planning. In this role, she acted as the link between the Secretary-General, his High Level Panel of Eminent Persons (HLP), and the General Assembly’s Open Working Group (OWG), among other stakeholders.

Prior to this position, Mohammed served as Founder and CEO of the Center for Development Policy Solutions and as an Adjunct Professor for the Master’s in Development Practice program at Columbia University. Previously, she acted as the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals after serving three presidents over a period of six years. In 2005, she was charged with the coordination of Nigeria’s debt relief funds toward the achievement of the MDGs. From 2002-2005, Mohammed coordinated the Task Force on Gender and Education for the UN Millennium Project.

Earlier in her career, Amina Mohammed was Founder and Executive Director of Afri-Projects Consortium, a multidisciplinary firm of engineers and quantity surveyors. She also worked with the architectural engineering firm Archcon Nigeria in association with Norman and Dawbarn, UK. Amina J. Mohammed (born 1961) was the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning. She was appointed to this position on 7 June 2012.Mohammed was appointed Hon Minister of the Environment by President Buhari when he swore in his new Cabinet on 11 November 2015.

Mohammed has been working in the field of development for more than 30 years both in the public sector and the private sector. Prior to her current appointment, she was the CEO and founder of the think tank Center for Development Policy Solutions.

Previously, she worked as senior adviser to the President of Nigeria on Millennium Development Goals for six years. In this position, she was in charge of designing and developing government projects to reduce poverty around the country. Between 2002 and 2005, she worked in the United Nations Millennium Project as a coordinator of the Task Force on Gender and Education.

Mohammed was born in 1961. She has six children.

Mohammed received the National Honours Award of the Order of the Federal Republic in 2006 and was inducted in the Nigerian Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

Japhet J. Omojuwa

jj-omojuwaJapheth J. Omojuwa
Born: Japheth Joshua Omojuwa
3 October 1984
Lagos, Lagos State, Nigeria
Residence Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
Education: Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB)
Occupation: Blogger, social media expert, mentor

Japheth Omojuwa (born Japheth Joshua Omojuwa on 3 October 1984) is a Nigerian blogger, public speaker, socio-economic and political commentator and social media expert. A columnist with The Punch newspaper, Leadership newspaper and, Omojuwa's articles have appeared on CNN,ThisDay and other platforms across the continent and beyond. His works have been repeatedly translated into several languages including various platforms for German, French,Portuguese and Greek audiences.
In the course of his work, Omojuwa has spoken on economic platforms in Washington, London, Addis Ababa, Lagos, Accra, Cape Town, Abuja, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, New York, Cologne, Dakar, among other cities around the world and across Nigeria. He has spoken in universities such as New York University, United States, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Germany, Catholic University of East Africa, Nairobi, Technical University, Dortmund, and several in Nigeria.

The leadership of the African Union invited Omojuwa in 2014 to be part of the Africa Re-imagination Creative Hub (ARCH) to fashion an agenda for Africa 2063 project. He participated as a panelist at a side event during the 2013 United Nations General Assembly in New York where he spoke on the need to use data and facts as tools in activism and policy making.

His pieces have appeared on several online and print mediums including Metropole Magazine, Sahara Reporters, BBC, The Financial Times, ThisDay and Naij.
On 28 March 2015 ex-president Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria was voted out and a new president MuhammaduBuhari was sworn in on 29 May 2015. Omojuwa was for a long time a thorn in the flesh of the Jonathan government and actively campaigned to have him voted out and Buhari voted in.[5][6] Many believe that one of the reasons Goodluck Jonathan lost the elections was because of the activities of the likes of Omojuwa, especially online
Omojuwa was involved in a protracted battlewithArik Air after losing an iPad while onboard one of its domestic flights. This culminated in a breakdown of agreement between the two parties, with him claiming Arik was high-handed and careless while Arik maintained that the matter be settled as quietly as possible. Soon, himself and 26 others were banned from flying on Arik Air aircraftin September of that year, a decision that was later rescinded when, about twenty-four hours after the list was released, the airline's website was hacked, with rumours flying around that pro-Omojuwa techies were the perpetrators or that he was personally involved, an allegation he denied] In addition, a new iPad was purchased for Omojuwa.

In 2012, YNaija named him one of the most influential young Nigerians under 35 in Business, Fashion, Media, Entertainment, Technology and Politics, with writer IfrekeInyang describing him in particular as "king of the clickOmojuwa was named by Credit Suisse Bulletin as one of the 50 Movers and Shakers of Africa in 2015.[ In June 2016, Omojuwa was named the Best Twitter Personality Of The Year [16] in the annual African Bloggers Awards. The 2016 African Bloggers Awards were sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

International Visitors Leadership Programme
In August 2016, Omojuwa successfully completed the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP) in the United States. The International Visitors Leadership Programme, which started in 1940,[ is a professional exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and boasts of 35 current and 300 former Chiefs of State or Heads of Government as alumni.
In August 2016, global Cognac brand Rémy Martin unveiled Omojuwa as a brand influencer for its One Life/Live Them campaign in Nigeria in recognition of his status as a public speaker, political expert, ideologist and mastermind

Ayisha Osori


Occupation         Lawyer Journalist

Nationality          Nigerian

Alma mater        Harvard University

AyishaOsori is a Nigerian lawyer and journalist. She is the former CEO of the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund. OlufunkeBaruwa succeeded her.

She attended Harvard Kennedy School of Government.She is currently on the board of Open Society Initiative for West Africa. She was called to the bar in Nigeria in 1998 and to the bar in New York in 2010.

In 2013 she was an Eisenhower Fellow. She was invited to America and sent seven weeks meeting important organisations and the chair of the Eisenhower Fellowship, Collin Powell.[

In 2014, she left the Peoples Democratic Party, for the All Progressives Congress.

In 2015 she was chosen to be one of 21 women who met for a conference at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government funded by Hunt Alternatives. The group included FauziaNasreen from Pakistan, Judy Thongori from Kenya and OlufunkeBaruwa, Esther Ibanga and HafsatAbiola also from Nigeria. Her work appears in Sahara Reporters,andNewsDiaryOnline.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi

bisi-fayemiBisi Adeleye-Fayemi (born 11 June 1963) is a Nigerian activist, writer and fundraiser in feminist and human rights movements.She became the First Lady of Ekiti State in western Nigeria in 2011.

Adeleye-Fayemi received her bachelor's (BA) and Master's (MA) in History from the University of Ife, now the ObafemiAwolowo University, Nigeria. She also holds a Master's degree in Gender Studies from the University of Middlesex, UK. According to Adeleye-Fayemi, she became interested in women's contributions to socio-economic development in south-western Nigeria while doing her Masters in History. This prompted her to continue on to a Master's in Gender and Society at Middlesex.

In 2001, Adeleye-Fayemi with Hilda M. Tardia and Joana Foster, founded the African Women's Development Fund (AWDF), the first Africa-wide grantmaking organisation supporting the women's movement in Africa.[8][9] She was appointed its first Executive Director. Between 1991 and 2001, Adeleye-Fayemi was Director of Akina Mama waAfrika (AMwA), an international development organisation for African women, based in the United Kingdom and with offices in Uganda and Nigeria. During her time at AMwA, she set up the African Women's Leadership Institute (AWLI) which has helped train over 3,000 women leaders in Africa

Adeleye-Fayemi has been associated with a number of international women's rights and philanthropy organisations, including as Co-Chair of the International Network of Women's Funds, President of the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID), and Chair of the International Women's Health Coalition (IWHC). She has also been on the Board of Trustees for Comic Relief (UK).

LeymahGbowee of Liberia, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner, delivered Adeleye-Fayemi's 50th birthday lecture in 2013. Titled "Leading the Change: The Journey of an African Woman", the lecture detailed how Adeleye-Fayemi's support was foundational to Gbowee's work in Liberia, eventually leading to her Nobel Prize. Gbowee talked about how Adeleye-Fayemi, as head of AWDF, had supported the women's peace movement in Liberia in its infancy, saying: “We crave change, but wait for someone to come and save us. Most times, our reluctance to creating change and acting accordingly means that we don’t change perception about us. But, Bisi, you have helped us to achieve change. You have used your position to sew dreams and show that change is possible and helped to set our minds to it. That I won the Nobel prize is because of people like you. That day, you didn’t see me. You saw a sister. Today we say, ‘Thank you. You have helped to set our minds to it.

Adeleye-Fayemi was given the "Changing the Face of Philanthropy" award by the Women's Funding Network in 2007, and was named one of the 20 most influential African women in 2009 by New African magazine. In 2011, Women Deliver listed her as one of the top 100 people in the world

Ema Clark

ema-clarkEma CLARK is a graduate of the Faculty of Law, ObafemiAwolowo University, from where with a 4.25 GPA, she not only ranked among the best graduating students in her year, but also from where she received awards as the best graduating student in commercial law.

She was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1993. Ema spent a fulfilling ten-year career in the banking industry and it was during this period, that she acquired and developed expertise in banking law and commercial law as well as, extensive skills in business development and relationship management

She has worked in some of the leading banks in Nigeria including FSB International Bank Plc, (now Fidelity Bank Plc), Zenith International Bank Plc, Intercontinental Bank Plc and in the erstwhile Bond Bank Ltd (now Skye Bank Plc), where she rose to management level before her exit from the industry in 2003 . In 2003, Ema left the banking industry to set up Theios Consulting, a leading business development and capacity development consulting company where she is currently the chief executive officer. She is also the Chief Executive Officer of Image Matters an image and personal branding company.

Hauwa Shekarau

HAUWA Shekarau                                                hauwa-shekarau

president of FIDA

The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA),

Dr. Otive Igbuzor


Dr.OtiveIgbuzor is a Pharmacist, Human Rights Activist, Policy Analyst, Development Expert, and a world renowned author who is a reader’s delight. His authored works are always enchanting, interesting and yet very impactful. His books have been instrumental to building a new breed of leaders capable of advancing Africa out of the woods of socio-economic and political decadence. He remains a role model, a beacon of hope, a scion of Truth, an emblem of integrity and an incontrovertible guiding light to African Leaders. Burning with a passion to see Africa attain her full potential, he has built a strategy to take Africa to her pride of place in the comity of nations. The African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development was birthed as a result of his unwavering passion for the development of the African continent. A fervid advocate of knowledge and human capacity building, Dr.Igbuzor has authored several notable books among which are: Challenges of Development in Nigeria, Overcoming the Challenges of Transformation in Nigeria, Alternative Development Strategy for Nigeria, Political Succession in Nigeria, National Security and Policing in Nigeria among others

Olufunke Baruwa

Olufunke Baruwa is a Nigerian gender and development practitioner who currently serves as the C.E.O of the Nigerian Women's Trust Fund

She was educated at the University of Abuja (BSc) and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (MBA), and completed further courses at the University of East Anglia and the University of York.

Olufunke is renowned for her advocacy on the inclusion of females in strategic political, social and economic positions in Nigeria. Prior to becoming a board member of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, Olufunke served as a Technical Assistant on Research, Policy & Planning in the Ministry of Communication Technology. On June 16, 2015, she was appointed as the C.E.O of the Nigerian Women's Trust Fund, succeeding AyishaOsori

Expertise: Civil Society, Democracy, Political Participation, and Governance, Human Rights, Women's Rights

OlufunkeBaruwa is a gender and development practitioner with more than a decade of experience formulating national policies and programs for women and vulnerable groups. She was a founding board member of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund—a government and civil society collaboration which works to close the gender gaps at all levels of governance—and currently sets the strategic vision and mobilizes resources as the Chief Executive Officer. Previously, she focused on human rights, reproductive health, and development—generating strategy for national implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals under the direction of the Nigerian president’s office.

Ms.Baruwa has represented her country at various UN fora, including the General Assembly, the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, and the Child Rights Implementation Committee in Geneva. She also works with donors and partners in the private sector, civil society, and government to leverage resources and technical expertise for sustainable development.

In 2006, she led development of the National Gender Policy, which resulted in an increased percentage of female elected officials. Ms.Baruwa notes that such hard-won gains are not automatically renewed, however, and she continues working to strengthen women’s political participation. Her strategy is three-fold: “First, women need to survive and be healthy; they need training and economic opportunities; and they need targeted support to run for office successfully.” Thus, her work has addressed a variety of needs. Maternal mortality has been cut in half since 2009; one of Ms.Baruwa’s contributions was overseeing the purchase of 112 ambulances and the training of 3,000 additional midwives. She also promoted sound policies, such as gender-equitable distribution of farm loans, so that subsistence farmers—who are disproportionately female—are not disadvantaged.

In her previous role at the Ministry of Communication Technology, she provided technical expertise on policy, planning, and research, primarily to promote inclusion of women and girls. For example, Ms.Baruwa notes that the percentage of women using their cell phones for business purposes—and deriving economic value from the technology—is considerably lower than that of men. Drawing on her prior experience, she designed policies to reduce such circumstances that hold women back.

Binta Masi Garba


bintamasigarbaThe People's Democratic Party (PDP) under the Chairmanship of BamangaTukur had serious leadership crisis and a new faction emerged in 2013. The new faction of the PDP was under the Chairmanship of AbubakarKawuBaraje. The new faction was called new PDP (nPDP). BintaMasiGarba was appointed the Woman leader of the PDP. She later joined All Progressives Congress (APC) alongside Governor MurtalaNyako and other Governors. She contested and emerged as the Chairman of the Adamawa State Chapter of APC. The victory at the poll made her the first female State Chairman of a registered major political party in Nigeria. The controversies surrounding the election of the Adamawa State Chapter of APC Executives election almost wrecked the party. BintaMasiGarba fought hard to unite the party which made many to see her as an adhesive that unites APC in the Adamawa State. To many in Adamawa State Chapter of APC, she is the symbol of Unity and rallying point. She oversaw one of the most successful party primaries in Adamawa State as a seating Chairman of the Adamawa State Chapter of APC. She was given waiver to contest for the Senate seat in the party primaries and she eventually emerged victorious against her male contender. On 28 May 2015, she won the Senate seat of Adamawa North Senatorial District by winning in 3 local government areas of the 5 LGAs in the zone.

There were over 100 senators elected in the 8th National Assembly, but only six of these were women. The others were MonsuratSunmonu from Oyo state, Stella Oduah and UcheEkwunife who both represent Anambra, FatimatRajiRasaki, OluremiTinubu and Rose OkojiOko.

BintaMasiGarba has won several awards, they include

Jaycees International Young Person Role Model Award 2002;

PRS - The Women of Merit Gold Award;

Prime International - Women in Leadership Merit Award May, 2002;

Association of Market Women and Men, Abuja Role Model Award Sept., 2002;

Dame Publication - Nigerian Women Award (Role Model) - 2002;

National Women Mobilization Committee Award - our Jewel (NAWOMCO);

Leadership Distinction Award (Most Distinguished Representatives);

Valuable Contribution to Development of Parliamentary Democracy in Nigeria Award.


Project Tasani (Let her Know) is a project initiated by the 2016 set of Mentees of our Young Women Mentorship Programme (phase 1) as their contribution to bridging the leadership gap within a selected local community.

The Project aims to inspire young women’s interest in democracy, governance and leadership processes so they may in turn join the advocacy movement and empower other women, especially in rural communities. The mentees acknowledge that there are many women who are unaware of the spaces available for them to lead and those who are aware do not feel empowered enough to take bold steps.

Against this backdrop, the “SHISHIDA” village near Tungan Maje in the Gwagwalagda district of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja was selected as the pilot for their sensitization programme. Tasani is aimed primarily to educate rural women on the essence of participatory leadership. Other activities include skill acquisition training, reproductive health talks and on access to micro credit to improve their education and trades.

The young women are currently reaching out to another community in Kaduna as they hope to continue to deploy the project to other rural communities in the future.