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‘And Then The Women Came’ A Tribute To The African Women’s Development Fund

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Saturday, October 29th, 2016

I have just returned from Accra, Ghana, where I went to attend a panel discussion on African Women and Philanthropy, to mark the 15th anniversary of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) the first Africa-wide grant making foundation. I co-founded AWDF in 2000 with Joana Foster (Ghana) and Hilda Tadria (Uganda), and we began operations in 2001. The panel also featured Leymah Gbweh, the 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate. I have a long history with Leymah, dating back to the period when Liberia was going through a civil war. Leymah has founded a number of initiatives over the years to address peace, security and governance issues, and AWDF has supported all of them.

At the panel discussion, the first question we were asked was about our earliest recollections of acts of philanthropy. For me, it was my  parents. I believe that most Africans get immersed in cultures of giving from an early age. I grew up observing my parents helping family and friends with contributions towards school fees, vocational training, medical expenses and personal milestones such as weddings and funerals. They gave financial support, material assistance and provided accommodation.  I therefore understood, like many others who had a similar upbringing, that no matter how much or little I had, there was an obligation to assist others.

My mother was always giving something to someone. I watched her give away money, clothing, foodstuff and her exquisite collection of dishes. I saw her give advice and support to women in the neighborhood. She would take in women in distress and offer them a shoulder to cry on and give them sound counsel till they could get back to the rigours of life. From my mother, I learnt the value of solidarity with other women, and the importance of being your sister’s keeper.

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Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of, an online community for women. She can be reached at

11 Responses

  1. I am really inspired to start taking good care of my fellow sisters, Inspired to do great things that would affect my sisters in this generation. I am inspired to keep this fire burning so that Institutions Like AWDF will not die in my time.

    God bless Mrs Bisi-Fayemi. You have really been a woman of great support to me through this platform.

    Longlive AWDF
    Longlive Abovewhispers.

  2. Wow!! Congratulations. 15 years is really massive. AWDF has really helped a lot of women out there most especially in leadership positions. Thank you and well done.

  3. Wow…. awesome!!!
    God bless AWDF visioneer and those who saw to the growth and development of it. As a growing girl, I have learned that the act of Giving goes a long way, it opens doors of God’s goodness and blessings. God loves a cheerful giver – Especially to the less privileged.
    God Bless AWDF.

  4. Happy 15th year celebration AWDF. When their is a vision, purpose is very easy to achieve. Thank you ma’ for your strong support for the women. African women, united we stand divided we fall.

  5. I always like your spirit ma for your support and assistance rendered to women. I can really see that love you have for the african women, you are not just putting your money where your heart is but also being. Happy 15th anniversary AWDF. I celebrate . long live you.

  6. Hmmmmmmm…….. AWDF really doing great by empowering women out there.
    Congratulations AWDF
    Long live AWDF


  7. 15th years of celebration? This is really great with the achievement so far kudos to AWDF. Happy celebration. Keep the fire burning.

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