Fasuyi: LAEAF to Empower Women

Zainab Ahmed

The Chief Executive Officer of Proclips Media & Communications Limited and the founder of Lady of Africa Empowerment and Advocacy Foundation, Bukola Fasuyi, in this interview with Kayode Fasua, unfolds her plan to transform the lives of rural women and other indigent persons in Nigeria. Excerpts:

What are the latest programmes under the Lady of Africa Empowerment and Advocacy Foundation?
What we have just come up with, apart from floating adire native fabric carnival, is the Lady of Africa Women’s Gold Club. This is a pivot group working through Role Model/Protege concept, to create new female leaders. Membership is open to women from all walks of life. This is a pivot group, working to create new female leaders. Activities are pivoted on our Women Empowerment Programme that is designed for mentoring and youth-capacity building, in order to create new female leaders. Lady of Africa Women’s Gold Club is aimed at creating a cooperative society in a modern sense, with high level of business ideas’ exchange, and social interaction. Our mission is to create a platform through which African women can exchange ideas and network in order to synergise on the peculiar challenges facing women all over Africa. We intend that they should come together as one big movement with the aim of aiding the rapid progression of African women into the mainstream of the society.

The Lady of Africa Empowerment and Advocacy Foundation, best known as LAEAF, caters for the less-privileged, physically challenged and indigent people, most especially women. The Foundation has resettled a number of indigent and afflicted people, ranging from those suffering terminal ailments to victims of mundane jealousy and others too numerous to mention. In order to be able to mobilise women from all walks of life into a very big movement to further strengthen the campaign for women empowerment, the Lady of Africa Women’s Gold Club was thus created under the Foundation.

So what other benefits are available under the LAEAF?
There is the provision of human capital development, training and other forms of support for unemployed young people. This is apart from the provision of assistance to women with health issues; most especially cancer victims. We also have Lady of Africa Annual Conference. This is aimed at examining the human development indices of African women, which create avenues for networking with women in successful career. We also offer assistance of vulnerable women; especially indigent women, young girls, single mothers, widows and physically challenged women, toward achieving their life goals. Besides, we organize periodic enlightenment, empowerment and inspirational programmes in issues relating to women development. Also, there is the Lady of Africa Monthly Dialogue that creates an avenue for members to meet with successful women in various professions in their localities and gain from their wealth of experience.

What is the Adire cultural carnival all about?
I personally adore the African cultural values and I express this through LAEAF’s ‘Adire Street Cultural Carnival Concept: An Indigenous Culture in aids for humanity.’ As a way of promoting the African, especially, the Yoruba culture, my team members and I, in collaboration with the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) regularly take part in international arts exhibition and fashion shows where African cultures are promoted. For instance, in the Ondo State Cultural Festival held in Akure on December 15, we partnered the organisers as we played crucial roles. Annually, we take no fewer than 50 Nigerians to different parts of the world to experience how culture is promoted in other countries. These individuals, on returning home, help in propagating the importance of our culture. Proceeds realised from sales of arts and African wears at these international exhibitions are used to empower the less-privileged back home in Nigeria. Besides, when it comes to fashion and textile industry in Africa, Nigeria occupies a pride of place. As a country globally recognised for her rich culture and diverse tradition, the country boasts of an incredible array of fashion choices and fabrics. Notable among these fabrics is the adire, which has found favour among people all over the continent of Africa and as far as Europe, America, Canada and Asia. The fashion industry has also continued to grow by the day, with more and more people coming into adire production, and bringing in various innovations. As a way of promoting this very thriving fashion and garment industry, which by the way will also be doubling as promotion for Nigeria’s culture and tradition, the LAEAF has embarked on a mission to take the highly appreciated fabric to an entirely different level, through exhibitions and carnivals.

As a result, we hope to empower up to 20 million Nigerian women and youths through various activities. Already, a lot of people in the country- both the privileged and the less-privileged-have been empowered through direct and indirect job opportunities created by the Foundation using its various promotion and marketing of the fabric. The LAEAF believes the time is now, to take Nigerian fashion to global platform and inevitably, make Nigeria a home for all fashion lovers.

To further accomplish its objectives, the Foundation is hereby calling for support from culture-loving people, corporate organisations, federal and state governments and parastatals, toward ensuring that this dream comes to fruition.

What endorsement has your NGO got from relevant government institutions?
The Lady of Africa Empowerment and Advocacy Foundation has been recognised and endorsed by the National Council of Arts & Culture, as well as the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture. The two organisations have vowed to collaborate and partner with the Foundation in her activities and future endeavours.