Adewumi Mojisola Advocates for Women’s Land Rights in Nigeria
Adewumi Mojisola (Sola) is a social entrepreneur and activist who is the founder of 21 st Century Entrepreneur Initiative, an NGO with focus on women’s economic empowerment and engaging women and girls in vocational and leadership training skills to enable them to set up small/sustainable businesses and become self-reliant. This includes advocating for women’s land rights. Mojisola is an alumnus of the University of Twente (ITC), The Netherlands and Adekunle Ajasin, University Nigeria. (See Video Below – start at 7:19)
Actions of volunteering and advocating for human rights has given her a better chance of developing her leadership skills with prestigious national and international awards like the Thomson Reuters Foundation, London Scholar awards for support on human rights. She received the Transparency International Fellow Award– for Youth in entrepreneurs tackling land corruption in Africa. With support from Transparency International national secretariat, our recent article on gender empowerment and land corruption in Nigeria has been published in an international journal with the opportunity of article presentation with an international audience. Sola received a National Presidential grant by the Federal Government of Nigeria on Youth Enterprise with Innovations, national competition supervised by the London Business School and Pan Atlantic University EDC Nigeria. Recently, she represented Nigeria as a delegate to participate in a round table discussion with the African Union President and other world leaders on economic integration between the two continents at African/Arab Youth Platform Conference in Aswan, Egypt. She received the Global Program for Women Leadership Fellow Award by the Observer Research Foundation in India and DFID, UK Government. GPWL 2019 is a global platform bringing together young women leaders from across the globe to provide solutions to the world’s pressing challenges. Sola received the Global Peace Ambassador Award by Global Peace Chain. In addition to SDG 16 innovations challenges award organized by the Canadian Embassy and Accountability Lab, Nigeria. (Award was based on activities and actions, clamoring for peace, justice, and strong institutions in Nigeria.) These accomplishments are companioned with many other notable national and international recognitions and high profile speaking engagements.
Q & A with Adewumi Mojisola:
Q: What was the first situation that propelled you into leadership?
A: Growing up was quite challenging, born and raised up in a community where culture determined the right of women and girls, where women are totally disengaged from the process of development but dream to make a positive difference and influence others. This strengthened my desire for helping women and girls in communities and villages to make them a better version of themselves. Sincerely, my childhood experiences led me to community services.
Q: When you founded 21 st Century Entrepreneurs Initiatives in 2013, what problems were you aiming to solve and how did you plan to go about solving them?
A: Many women in Nigeria are subjected to various forms of social injustice, arising from customary practices that support male dominance in land ownership and inheritance, forceful\eviction without compensation, sexual exploitations, and most importantly lack of political will and strong institutions to implement policy that supports equal land use and control. Land in my community is a valuable economic resource and the individual’s ability to derive economic or non-economic value from land depends upon existing land rights. Therefore, the lack of access to land and ownership rights results in a lack of collateral. This, in turn, limits access to farming and credit facilities, thus increasing levels of poverty among rural women. 21 st Century Entrepreneur Initiatives explores community-based approaches, focuses on women’s economic empowerment; engaging them in vocational and entrepreneurship training skills to enable them to set up small sustainable businesses and become self-reliant while educating them on their lands rights. Through this community, women have successfully undertaken collective action and have participated in capacity-building programs, including advocacy, lobbying, and mobilization. The strength of the collective has given women the courage to translate their learning into reality.
Q: Do you feel that youth in Nigeria are able to see possibilities for themselves in terms of education there and outside of Nigeria?
A: I see education as an investment in the country’s future but the fact remains that uneducated youth often end up unemployed, and the Nigerian economy rarely rewards the educated ones. Many Nigerian youths are well-educated but unemployed or underemployed, thus making them a liability to the nation’s economy. Personally, l feel that youth in Nigeria are already making waves for themselves in terms of education in Nigeria and abroad. Many Nigerians all over the world are the best of the best. I’m really proud of Nigerian youth.
Q: How do you empower youth to adopt a mindset that they should be citizens of the world-caring about others who aren’t just like them?
A: Sustainable empowerment for youth is a tool to influence the cultural heritage and belief of youth to change the mindset of the present and future youth. Youth must be part of developing solutions to issues concerning them. Training of youths as citizens of the world-caring about others is a collective effort of governments, curriculum planners, parents, international organizations, and society.
Q: What is the next step or new direction for 21 st Century Entrepreneur?
A: Currently working with policymakers to ensure that marginalized women in Nigeria are included in the process of development, including advocating for the eradication of all forms of gender-based violence and implementing a policy that will support gender balance in land use and control. Without empowering the majority of Nigerian women in a sustainable manner, gender inequality, gender-based violence, and poverty would be very difficult to end. Thus, we will be focusing on partnering with international and national organizations to empower women in Nigeria in a sustainable manner.
Sola’s Networking Interests:
- Executive Director, UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo- Ngcuka due to the organizational role in promoting gender equality, inclusiveness and leadership development of young women and girls.
- Founder WomenForWomen International, Zainab Salbi is really appealing to me. I believe so much in her mission strong women strong nation.
- Partner with international organizations who work to empower women, fight poverty, and advance gender equality at the community level.