Monday, 14 May 2012

Kayode Fayemi @ TEDxEuston 2012 - A pseudo-dichotomy between activism and politics

Until TEDxEuston 2011, we had never had a serving politician on stage. Politicians by definition always have an agenda and it would be unfair of us to ask them to stick to a single idea during a TEDxEuston talk. However there was something particularly compelling about  Kayode Fayemi's story that we could not ignore. Like many of us, he was previously resident in London. Before the age of blogs and Twitter, he was a prominent leader of the Nigerian opposition to military rule in exile. Kayode was  responsible for the founding and management of the opposition radios – Radio Freedom, Radio Democracy International & Radio Kudirat and played a central role in the opposition’s diplomatic engagements in exile. An account of the process and roles played in the setting up of Radio Kudirat can be found in his "Out Of The Shadows", which was available at the event. From London he eventually returned home and got his hand "dirty" with politics. He showed that it was not enough to be activists from a distance but at some point, one had to engage...and engage he did!. On the day, he appeared without the entourage of praise-singers that we have to come to expect with Nigerian politicians.

Watch his talk at TEDxEuston 2012 HERE...

Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has been the Governor of Ekiti State in Nigeria since October 2010 after winning a three-year challenge against his political opponent in the 2007, alleging electoral rigging. Prior to entering into partisan politics, Kayode Fayemi was Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, a research and training institution dedicated to the study and promotion of democratic development, peace-building and human security in Africa. Dr Fayemi attended Christ’s School, Ado Ekiti and received degrees in History, Politics and International Relations from the Universities of Lagos and Ife in Nigeria, and a Doctorate in War Studies from King’s College, University of London, England. A prominent leader of the Nigerian opposition to military rule, he was responsible for the founding and management of the opposition radios – Radio Freedom, Radio Democracy International & Radio Kudirat and played a central role in the opposition’s diplomatic engagements in exile. He was the main technical adviser to Nigeria’s Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission (Oputa Panel), which investigated past human rights abuses in Nigeria and also on the Presidential Implementation Committees on Security Sector Reform as well as a member, Africa Policy Advisory Panel of the British Government. Dr Fayemi also serves on the Governing Board of the Open Society Justice Institute. In his book "Out of the Shadows" he chronicles the amazing struggle for democracy in Nigeria

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Toyin Saraki at TEDxEuston - An Unlikely Activist

When we first heard Mrs Toyin Saraki speak on CNN's African voices, we knew there was something special about this lady who belonged to an elite group of women married to state governors in Nigeria called "First Ladies". Before we approached her to speak at TEDxEuston, we examined the work she did in detail and her commitment to the health of women and children which was the focus her efforts. We found an unusual commitment to improving their fate. Unlike most other women who found themselves in her position, her work has not faded after the days close to the corridors of power but it has grown from strength to strength. So, how did all this come about? How did a woman born into relative privilege develope an instinct and perseverance that appears to grow stronger by the day? We asked ourselves the same question....

To find out - watch her talk here!

Mrs. Toyin Saraki is the Founder-President of The WellBeing Foundation, a prominent front-line maternal and child health focused Non-Governmental Organization in Nigeria. She was until recently the First Lady of Kwara State in Nigeria. Having held various leadership positions in humanitarian organizations for close to two decades, Mrs Saraki now dedicates much of her time to the work of The WellBeing Foundation and various networks of organizations that the NGO works with. She constantly advocates for accountability and improved public health policies, better working relationships between NGOs and the continuum of care for maternal, newborn and child health in communities. These efforts have made Mrs. Saraki one of the most heard voices on every issue relating to the health of mothers and children in Nigeria. Her Wellbeing Foundation Africa's 24-7-365 MDG Countdown to 2015 Advocacy And Action Campaign has integrated a strong advocacy profile with a unique model of community participation, direct action, effective communication and the development of innovative funding mechanisms in a resource constrained environment, to ensure universal access to quality basic healthcare. Mrs. Saraki gained her bachelor’s degree in law at the University of London School Of Oriental and African Studies and her masters’ degree in International Economic Law at University of London King’s College. She has researched and promoted the rights of women and children. In 2007 she was appointed Chair of the Federation of International Women Lawyers (FIDA) Committee on the Protection of Children while more recently she has taken up a key roles as a supporter for the United Nations Secretary General's Every Woman Every Child Effort, as Board Chair of the White Ribbon Alliance Nigeria, Member of the Africa Justice Foundation and The Global Foundation For The Elimination Of Domestic Violence.