Education is the bedrock of any society
Through the years, the education sector in Nigeria has had its fair share of debauchery and rot. Many kids can barely read, our schools are teaching skills that are mostly useless beyond the walls of the school and our universities are churning out graduates that cannot meet up to the standard of many companies.
Thankfully, many women are stepping in to salvage this and inculcate better reading habits among kids. These women are passionate about helping Nigerian kids become better – through books.
Folawe Omikunle graduated from Babcock University in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Law and Diplomacy. Upon completion of her Master’s degree at the Diplomatic Academy of London, University of Westminster in 2010, she returned to Nigeria and took up an appointment as a School Administrator at Kradle Academy, a Montessori Pre-school in Lagos, Nigeria. Folawe began to think of education inequity as a systemic problem while working as an Administrator, through an experience where an orphaned child was enrolled at her school.
In her journey to contribute to the education sector in Nigeria beyond the school setting, Folawe joined the Association of Private Educators in Nigeria (APEN) in 2013 as Coordinator, to seek a platform that would enable her to improve the quality of education for marginalized children. After two months at APEN, she was promoted to Executive Secretary – a position in which she planned and led several teacher training workshops and professional development programs for educators, and cultivated relationships with key government and education stakeholders.
In 2015, Folawe joined Teach For Nigeria as the Program Manager in its early stages. She quickly transitioned to become the CEO in 2016, leading the start-up, planning, and development of the organization.
Folawe has dedicated her professional life to tackling the challenges in the education sector in Nigeria.
When Funmi hit the streets of Lagos with a mobile library, many people were in awe and many more children were encouraged to read. Funmi drives her vehicles – that are filled with books – from homes to homes, schools, and communities to teach little children and encourage them to read. Funmi believes that it is only readers who lead and she wants to cultivate the habit of reading in little children.
Funmi Ilori is an educational psychologist/consultant and social entrepreneur. She is the founder of iRead Network Africa, the first innovative and fully integrated ‘books on wheels’ for children in Nigeria, bridging literacy gaps and enhancing education for the African child.
Funmi is passionate about growing a reading generation of exemplary leaders and her long term dream is to build the largest children library in Africa on wheels.
Koko Kalango is the founder of Rainbow Book Club. She has great passion for the literary resurgence of the country and is interested in getting “people back to the good old fashioned habit of reading books to improve our society.”
She was the Project Director of UNESCO World Book Capital 2014. She has over 30 years of work experience across education, communication, administration. Koko has worked in Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and as a volunteer in the United States of America.
Koko Kalango has compiled and edited 2 Books: ‘Nigerian Literature’, A Coat of Many Colours – an anthology of 50 writers n 50 years, with forward by President Goodluck Jonathan (2012); ‘African Literature, A Coat of Many Colours’ – an anthology of 50 authors in 50 years of the African Union (2015) with foreword by Chief Emeka Anyaoku. She also co-edited ‘100 Years Around Nigeria (2014), an anthology of stories by Nigerian Children’, ‘100 Years around Port Harcourt, an anthology of stories by children of Rivers State (2014)’. She is also the author of an annual Daily Christian devotional, ‘Colours of Life’.
Koko Kalango has represented Nigeria on various international platforms including Poland World Book Capital 2016, Incheon World Book Capital 2015, Bangkock World Book Capital 2013, Edinburgh Book Fair in 2010, and Kirby Smith youth exchange programme in Tucson Arizona, USA, in 1985.
Adenike Akinsemolu is a passionate environmental educator and author of numerous studies, which have appeared in reputable publications. Her passion for the environment propelled her to study Environmental Microbiology at doctoral level.
In order to make environmentalism a part of the everyday experience of Nigerians, Adenike started the Green Campus Initiative. This initiative began at the Adeyemi College Campus, a college of Obafemi Awolowo University, where she is a lecturer. By creating Green ambassadors on college campuses across Nigeria, Adenike’s movement aims to positively impact the ways in which Nigerian youth incorporate green living into all elements of their lives.
In 2016, the Green Campus Initiative transitioned into the Green Institute, the first Nigerian research institution that subsidizes college tuition costs through a waste management program while training leaders that will systematically transform attitudes about environmentalism in Africa’s most populated and polluted country.
Adenike also founded the Girl Prize, which provides financial and mentorship support for young Nigerian secondary school girls with an interest in the sciences. She is currently an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society and a Robert Bosch Stiftung Young Researcher Awardee.
Adeyoyin Adesina is an experienced educator and Chief Executive Officer of Corona Schools’ Trust Council. She has built her career in the educational sector where she has been impacting the lives of students and teachers alike for over 18 years. A degree holder in English Studies from the University of Ife, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Lagos and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (International) from the University of Nottingham, she is a mentor, coach, public speaker and very passionate about educating young minds.
She is the Head Teacher of Corona School Lekki and she describes herself as a “change manager totally sold out to positively influencing and affecting every life in my school environment and beyond”.
Phew… we absolutely love these women and many more women who are not just raising a generation of book-lovers and better-educated children, but they are contributing heavily to ensure that in the midst of all this rot in the educational sector, more Nigerian kids are given a second chance at having a quality education.
This is a wake-up call for us to come together and join hands in building our communities and helping children have a better and brighter future.