On Friday, June 10th 2016, a private setting for a small group of emerging and established philanthropists gathered to learn from one another’s work and to share insights for strengthening individual and collective efforts to transform Nigeria at the first-ever convening of the African Philanthropy Forum (APF) at the George Hotel, Lagos.
The event featured remarks from a range of speakers who challenged Nigerian philanthropists to become more structured and strategic in their giving and to seek strategies to make their giving more impactful—be it on an individual level or a collaborative level.
Suzy Antounian, Chief Operating Officer of the Global Philanthropy Forum noted that, “Giving is strongly rooted in Africa and is integral to its many cultures. Giving is also in response to local and national needs which can vary from country to country depending on legislation and the enabling environment. Therefore, our focus is not to emphasize the need to give or to discuss the specific legal framework in a given country but rather to look at tested strategies for giving in a number of issue areas – be it education, health, nutrition, or any number of other issues to enable donors to be more strategic in their choices and their philanthropy.”
According to Hakeem Belo-Osagie, one of Nigeria’s pioneering philanthropists,
There are two types of people in the world – those with opportunities and those without. It is our job to make opportunities available to them just as we have been given.”
Underscoring the importance of working together, Aisha Oyebode, the CEO of the Murtala Muhammed Foundation challenged the attendees to “share the burden of transforming lives, and also share the joy!”
Using Bangladesh and the life of BRAC’s founder – Fazle Abed’s life as a case study, keynote speaker, Professor Leslye Obiora illustrated how an individual armed with the courage of conviction was able to transform his country. Obiora emphasized the need for a sustainable network and platform for effective philanthropy in Nigeria, reinforcing the critical role for APF.
In her closing remarks, Ndidi Nwuneli, who in addition to her work as a social entrepreneur, serves as the director of the APF, encouraged more Nigerian philanthropists to join the APF and participate in its annual convening holding in Morocco on October 17th-18th 2016. She noted that the theme for the 2016 meeting was “Taking Big Bets and Bold Steps,” and it would explore the role of philanthropists in leading large scale change on the African Continent so as to seek ways for greater impact beyond incremental steps.
The event was organized with the support of the Ford Foundation and was attended by a range of philanthropists and social investors including Gloria Atta and Sunday Udo of the TY Danjuma Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou of the Dangote Foundation, Onari Duke, of the Nigeria Philanthropy Forum, actress and social activist – Stephanie Linus, the Founder of the Extended Hands Foundation, Dr. Tony Rapu, the Senior Pastor of This Present House and founder of the Freedom Foundation, Gbenga Oyebode SAN, Chinedu Okpareke of Sahara, Dr. Ike Chioke of Afrinvest, Nimi Akinkugbe of the Ajumogobia Science Foundation, Dr. Owens Wiwa of CHAI, Chief Taiwo Taiwo of the Aart of Life Foundation, Simon Kolawole of the Cable, and many other distinguished individuals.
See more photos from the event: