The Future Awards Africa & Obiageli Ezekwesili Prize in Advocacy
Hauwa Ojeifo (26)
It’s not very often that the work of mental health activists from Nigeria is championied by the MTV Music Video Awards. But Hauwa Ojeifo of She Writes Woman has transcended the stereotyping of traditional mental health activism in Nigeria, rebranding herself as a global advocate for empathy for sufferers of mental illness and pushing for legislation that protects the rights of sufferers. Ojeifo is a trained Mind and Mental Health Coach, with experience in Neur0-Linguistic Programming, Emotional Freedom Techniques and therapy. Ojeifo is known for her advocacy work especially for victims of sexual violence and targets younger demographics in her education and advocacy work.
She founded and runs She Writes Woman, a non-profit that seeks to redress the misinformation that exists around sexual violence and mental health struggles. Her work has been recognised locally and globally, and her accolades include The Queen’s Young Leaders Awards in 2018, given by the Royal Common Wealth Society and the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Trust. She was the only Nigerian female recipient at this year’s ceremony. She also named dint eh Leading Ladies Africa Top 100 most inspiring Nigerian women in 2018 and awarded the inaugural Generation Change Award at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards.
Charles Odii (30)
Charles Odii understands Small and Medium Scale Enterprise. He understands their unique struggles and the very stringent barriers that prevent them from scaling into successful corporations and he has dedicated the last five years of his life to helping them navigate the treacherous terrain that is business in Nigeria. Charles Odii runs SME100, the business support non-profit organization dedicated to teaching small businesses how to leverage the media as a tool to grow their businesses, position their businesses as key players in their chosen fields and attract foreign investment. Charles Odii has facilitated the startup and growth of over 10,000 small businesses specifically among youth age 25 and below in Major cities and communities across Africa
Through SME100 Odii has mentored and enabled the dreams of 2,300 youth in Nigeria and rewarded successful businesses through the Young Entrepreneur Awards that rewards business owners under the age of 25 who have covered significant ground in business and strategy. Through his efforts, hundreds of businesses have passed the five-year mark and continue to restructure the private business sector, making it more conducive for unconventional ideas. Odii’s reach encompasses telecoms, financial services, media, entertainment, retail and the public sector.
His impact in ensuring that small businesses get a level playing field in Nigeria’s patronage-driven economy is admirable.
Samira Sanusi (30)
Samira Sanusi experienced first-hand the consequences of living with Sickle Cell Disorder. She was also privileged to undergo a life-changing surgical procedure in her teens that effectively cured her of the disorder, a privilege she understands Nigeria’s majority poor do not have access to. To this end, Sanusi has dedicated her life’s work to advocate for better sickle cell care for all sufferers, better education for families living with sufferers and young couples about to take the plunge and try for children.
Sanusi runs the eponymous Samira Sanusi Sickle Cell Foundation, the umbrella for all her efforts in activism. Through it, she raises funds for clinics and organizations that provide treatment and care for sufferers and creates awareness on the dangers of carriers having children without adequate medical advice. Sanusi also wrote S is for Survivor, a memoir chronicling her own personal experience with Sickle Cell and her work in activism. The SSSCFoundation has 198 members, over 53 partnership collaborations and over 100 donors to its cause.
Uche Kenneth Udekwe (31)
In spite of innovations in global medicine and education on the perils of multiple births on mothers and babies, Nigeria still ranks very high on the global index of live births. As a consequence, the country also ranks high in the global index of maternal mortality. Uche Kenneth Udekwe understands that the problem with pre and post-natal mortality must be addressed at the grassroots level and has taken it upon himself to do this through NATAL CARES, a health non-profit he founded and runs. NATAL CARES primarily focuses on providing health care, medical monitoring and emergency services to at-risk pregnant women, reaching them in their hometowns and villages and advocating for better access to healthcare at primary healthcare centres.
Udekwe who is a graduate of the University of Technology Akure and an alumnus of the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) and YALI harnessed the power of mobile technology to deliver valuable information about the symptoms of prenatal conditions such as pre-eclampsia and spotting via mobile phones. It also schedules medical checks, immunization reminders for breastfeeding mothers and other post-natal care tips. Through NATAL CARES, Udekwe ensures that no mother, no matter how disadvantaged, is ever truly abandoned by healthcare professionals provided she has primary or secondary access to a mobile phone.
Martins Gospel (30)
There is scarcely a month that passes in Nigeria without some tragedy linked to crude oil and its products being reported on the news dailies. The country’s fortune is inextricably intertwined with its most profitable natural resource and the communities on whose land these resources lie have become ground zero for a man-made health and environmental disaster that has played over the last four decades. In spite of this, widespread ignorance still persists, predisposing young people hustling for a piece of the pie to direct exposure to the toxic and carcinogenic crude.
Martins Gospel is determined to do something about this and is known in the Niger Delta as an environmental activist with a mission to harmonize his people’s interaction with the land the resources that are on it. He is committed to ending illegal bunkering and oil sabotage through education on the dangers of handling crude oil without the necessary protective equipment and the short and long-term consequences of exposure. He does this through Oil Dangers With Martins, an education initiative that has educated 8000 people on the need for increased environmental awareness and the economic consequences of oil theft and illegal local refining.
#SaveOurFutureToday his flag modules has 8 student beneficiaries on scholarships and has created 25 jobs for youths. Martins preaches the gospel of inclusion and social responsibility and lives what he teaches.