I am a gender and development specialist, social entrepreneur, policy advocate, writer, business woman, wife and mother. I have a BA (1984) and MA (1988) in History from the University of Ife, Nigeria (now Obafemi Awolowo University). I also received an MA in Gender and Society (1992) from Middlesex University, UK. I served as the Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), an international development organisation for African women based in London, UK, from 1991-2001 as well as Executive Director of the African Women’s Development Fund, (AWDF) – the first Africa-wide grant-making fund, which supports the work of organizations promoting women’s rights in Africa, from 2001-2010. AWDF has played a key role in the promotion and protection of women’s rights in Africa, through its support of grassroots initiatives, policy engagements and movement building for social justice.
When my husband Dr Kayode Fayemi became Governor of Ekiti State, Nigeria, on October 16th 2010, I was actively involved in a range of policy, advocacy, grassroots empowerment and social inclusion programs to support his administration. I founded the Ekiti Development Foundation in 2011. In collaboration with other stakeholders, I led the campaign to enact a Gender Based Violence Prohibition Bill which was signed in to law in November 2011, as well as the Equal Opportunities Bill which became law in December 2013.
I am the author of ‘Speaking for Myself’: Perspectives on Social, Political and Feminist Activism (2013) and ‘Speaking above a Whisper’, (2013) an autobiography. I also co-edited ‘Voice, Power and Soul’, with Jessica Horn (2008) a compilation of images and stories of African Feminists.
I am currently a Board member of the African Women’s Development Fund (Ghana), Board member of Global Fund for Women (USA), Chair, Advisory Board of the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund, and UN Women Nigeria Goodwill Ambassador.
I love reading, writing, scrabble, photography, watching documentaries and TV mini-series. I exercise regularly (albeit reluctantly), try to eat the right things, and I surround myself with as much positive energy as possible.