Dr Jumai Ahmadu
Vigor Awards 2020 | Humanitarian Award Nominee
For almost two decades, I have watched with keen interest the work that Dr Jumai Ahmadu does to improve the lives of vulnerable people in rural communities in Nigeria, I am greatly inspired by how much impact she makes in the lives of vulnerable women and girls in Nigeria; without any prejudice, I make bold to say that Dr Jumai Ahmadu deserves to receive the Humanitarian Vigor Award.
Dr Jumai Ahmadu is the founder of Helpline Foundation for the Needy Abuja, an NGO which started informally in 2003 as Pure Saints Home and in 2010 registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of Nigeria as Helpline Foundation for the Needy Abuja. Helpline Foundation started out as a charity organization solely providing scholarships, books and relief to help children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Nigeria’s federal capital territory stay in school but has since extended its projects to focus on improving the lives of women and girls in under-resourced communities in Nigeria. Jumai Ahmadu has also over the years extended the programs and activities of Helpline Foundation beyond the FCT to all the North-Central States of Nigeria and most recently Enugu State in South-East Nigeria.
Through various programmes she initiated, Dr Jumai Ahmadu meets the socio-economic needs of diverse demography:
Helpline Foundation operates a food bank in Abuja, the first of its kind in Nigeria, where it stores various non-perishable food items. toiletries and clothing donated by friends of the foundation and other individuals. The items stored are distributed to households headed by vulnerable women in local communities affected by poverty, food shortages and conflicts around the FCT, Nasarawa, Kogi and Niger States.
Dr Jumai Ahmadu has also helped over five hundred women in Nigeria overcome extreme poverty in the last three years through the Non-Profit Revolving Loan Scheme: the Non-Profit Revolving Loan Scheme was birthed in response to the realization that the same set of women struggle to benefit from Helpline foundation’s quarterly food and relief handouts, Dr Jumai Ahmadu in May 2017 established the Non-Profit Revolving Loan Scheme to provide sustainable financial support through a corporative model to women thereby encouraging them to be self-reliant. Beneficiaries are grouped into clusters within a single community, they go through basic financial literacy classes where they are thought how to profitably manage their small businesses, they are also introduced to the revolving loan corporative model and are subsequently supported with between twenty thousand ($56) to fifty thousand Naira ($138) each, depending on the scale and capital requirement of their business.
Members of each cluster meet monthly to review their businesses and make their monthly repayments which are then loaned out to new entrants to the cluster. Within a period of ten months the women pay back the money they were borrowed without any interest, are able to save and have their business still running. A cluster which starts with twenty women also grow with a membership strength of between forty to fifty by the end of its first ten-month circle. Dr Jumai also mobilizes other women-led NGOs to adopt the non-profit revolving loan scheme in their communities of operation, this led to her collaborating with Right Care Empowerment Initiative through which over two hundred women in South-East Nigeria have been socio-economically empowered.
Dr Jumai Ahmadu in 2017 conceptualized the idea of having a platform through which women from all sectors of the African society can come together to dialogue and proffer Afrocentric solutions to the common challenges they face and in partnership with the Echoes Africa Initiatives, a New-York based NGO, the Africa Women Conference (AWC) was borne, the AWC aims to strengthen partnerships and build collaborations to ensure the full implementation of the BPFA and the SDGs in Africa. Dr Jumai also rallied other women under the auspices of the AWC to launch the Leadership Development Centre for Women and Girls on September 30th 2019.
The Africa Women Conference Leadership Development Centre for Women and Girls is structured to raise female community leaders in African communities who understand the importance and are committed to ensuring the sustainable development of their communities. The Leadership Development Centre equips young women and girls with skills required to take up leadership roles through personal and career growth.
The AWC Leadership Development Centre for Women and Girls provides a platform for highly skilled International resource persons who are driving change across various fields to provide training and mentorship for African Women and Girls who are living in under-resourced communities thereby enabling them to aspire for excellence and leadership while helping them realize their full potentials. The Centre achieves this by running a full circle of practical and theoretical impartation which begins with a workshop that enables mentors to meet physically with their mentees via group and individual training, during the workshop resource persons work with the mentees to develop individual work plans that will be implemented over a six-month period in the mentees’ communities. Both parties remain in touch via online and physical platforms during this period. After six-month the mentees performances are evaluated through a peer review mechanism, the best performing leaders in various sectors are then selected and empowered to do more for their communities.
Dr Jumai Ahmadu through the Helpline Foundation for the Needy Abuja funds the participation of over forty women from various local communities in a quarterly fish farming and processing training which holds in Abuja, Nigeria. The beneficiaries are drawn from across poor communities in Northcentral Nigeria brought to Abuja for the training after which they are given a startup grant of between fifty thousand to eighty thousand Naira.
Dr Jumai also initiated the Girls’ Realize your potentials Series in 2017, this birthed the Voice of the Girls Parliament. This project has been running successfully for the past three years, and it brings girls from public schools within Abuja together to be mentored by women who have braved all odds and become successful in their chosen fields, these girls are targeted because they are mostly girls who have been taken from their low-income families and brought to the big city to work as maids for wealthy families who do not show the required care and guidance required by a young girl to excel. The Voice of the Girls Parliament is also a practical tool through which young girls are inspired to excel and become leaders. Members of the parliament also undergo a lot of life skills training and are taught how to identify victims of child abuse in their schools and immediate environment, they are taught how to report these abuses to the appropriate authorities.
Dr Jumai Ahmadu also hosts the quarterly widows’ outreach, a one-day event which is held in a fun atmosphere for indigent widows to relax, share experiences and collect food, clothing and household items.
Dr Jumai Ahmadu is known in Nigeria’s Federal Capital and its environs as the “Mother of Vulnerable Women” her philanthropic work has brought succour and helped thousands of vulnerable women and girls in Nigeria out of poverty. While some of her work has been posted on social media and published by media organizations, a lot of her work still remain undocumented.
I appeal to your office to favourably consider my recommendation as I believe that I speak on behalf of thousands of women and girls in Nigeria. While I anticipate a positive response from you, please accept my highest regards.
Rita Eghujovbo and Funmi Ajare