Folashade Oluwakemi Sonibare’s Inauguration Speech

I, Mrs Folashade Oluwakemi Sonibare, on behalf of the new Executive that will take up the administration of Ebunlobinrin Foundation in Lagos State wish to thank everyone for electing us. We feel confident, excited and optimistic to begin this our responsibility of moving forward the good work of this prestigious organization. We want to thank you, the BOT and the Eminent Members for trusting us.

We as an executive are fully aware of the gigantic task of leading this great Foundation in the most populous city in Africa, the most industrialize state in Nigeria, the center of excellence. Lagos State. We truly belief that leadership is not about position, but is about action, we have eaited for so long for this Inauguration ceremony and now, our dreams have finally come true, to see all our dream projects for Ebunlobinrin Foundation turned to action.

Everyone in the world today is fully aware of the challenges faced by the African Woman, especially at the grassroot level. Therefore, this foundation was born with keen focus on steady increase in awareness and empowerment fo women. This is to improve their socio-economic status, to enable her cope and contribute meaningfully, in this period of economic crisis. We have therefore single out the underprivileged and misinformed group of women, mostly found in the rural and semi-urban communities at large. This we have decided to pursue with unwavering passion and strategic projects executed in the past. These projects included skill acquisitions of various trades where over 3,000 women and youths were trained, certified by professional training organization and established to start up small scale businesses.

We also have a soft loan acquisition facility, which runs on zero-interest and no collateral requirements. Because we found out that most women are denied loans from financial institution due to gender based discrimination of not having collateral. This has given a lot of women opportunity, to start up small and medium scale business; I dare to say that women have proven to be credit worthy and a lot more enterprising. With these loans, over 15,000 women have benefited, and many more are still joining to participate. We run an arm for the girl child education, awarding scholarship for the underprivileged girls in the society, among others.

Now as a new executive, we would be extending these to Lagos State. In Lagos, we would serve as a source of inspiration to the women especially in the rural and semi-urban part of the state to increase awareness and access to information of the girl child and women at large. We all know that this is so important and directly proportional to the level of development experienced by a country. Train a woman and you must have trained a whole household, so it is said. The woman is the first contact of knowledge and direct transmitter to her offsprings; this includes the men and women: one ignorant woman translates to an ignorant community. We have found out that most used forms of accessing information by women is the radio, television and person to person communications, either by word of mouth or telephone. We therefore intend to increase awareness of women, of the great potential if computer literacy. This we believe, will make them do better in their various vocations, helping them feel confident and stand up for themselves anywhere. We will organize computer literacy workshops for the semi-literate woman in different areas of the community. We also intend to seek local and international support from companies of high repute who are deeply interested in the sponsorship of such program. To enable us teach women new technologies, to access information with a vision of improving their standards of living.

The African continent is endowed with abundant natural resources, yet Africans remain poor and most of these poor Africans are women, in almost all countries in African, women empowerment poses a major challenges. About half of the world’s population is women, who are ideally supposed to contribute half of the world’s economic, social and political input. This does not occur, however as research has shown otherwise. In Nigeria it was revealed by the British Council, Lagos on Gender in Nigeria, that only 15% of Nigeria women have bank accounts and yet of the 165.5 million people in the country, 49% (80 million) are women and girls (NWIRO 2012) Furthermore, other research confirms that many women live in ignorance, poverty with little or no means of getting to know what is happening in the outside world. Since there are more female-headed household now, than ever before, women therefore need information that will lead to economic empowerment. We are therefore determined to find more ways of empowering women in order to assist them to stand up for themselves and achieve socio-economic independence.

Our intervention strategy will help give the girl child a voice and improve their lives. We know there will be challenges on our road to empowering the women, in spite of the tremendous prospects for growth, and development. We would also be organizing workshops on helping the female entrepreneurs get education and big loans from financial institutions to eliminate gender based discrimination policies. Creating information networks to make access to information easier for women, Actinmo (2012) saw access to information as access to everything, and so do I.

We plan to empower the girl child through self awareness and inspirational workshops organize in public and private schools, bringing female Role-models who were raised in public schools themselves but were able to rise to stardom by dint hard work and sheer confidence to encourage the girls. We would bring in counselors to entertain their emotional and social hang-up, giving answers from the life experienced with continuous follow up of their financial and educational challenges.

Health wise, free screening outreach will be organized in different zones to help reduce the incidence of both non-contagious and contagious but treatable diseases especially breast and cervical cancer screening, this door step approach, we believe will go a long way to eliminate the myths surrounding their health and help them stay alive and healthy.

Accessing of information through our various sensitization, workshops and campaigns, we hope in the end will help network women and girls in challenging situations to discover the real purpose of their existence, and create new possibilities for themselves without fear of intimidation.

Our aim is to at the end of the tenure increase the efforts of improving the health, economic, social and political status of the Nigerian women and girl. By so doing reduce violence against women and girls to its barest minimum. Empowerment through counseling and outreaches will help women facing domestic violence find a voice and a foundation that can enable them give their lives a fresh start up.

All these we can only make possible with your support and you alone, we know, we will conquer this great battle we take up to fight from this day henceforth, so help us God.

Great Ebunlobinrin Foundation Lagos Chapter

Greater Ebunlobinrin Foundation

Thank you !!!