Sarah Boateng, Founder of IGEA Enterprise (Image: Supplied)
Sarah Boateng is an award-winning social entrepreneur, passionate advocate for young girls living in rural communities in Africa. She aims to eliminate all barriers blocking girls in Africa from accessing quality education. These barriers may be physical, such as rampant illnesses, menstruation, distance from schools. As a Special Educational Needs and Psychology graduate at the age of 21, Sarah always had a desire to see education accessible to those in marginalised communities. She in 2016 in the quest to understand the issues facing young girls in the local community.
Then she discovered that girls were still hindered by the opportunity to have a quality education. Which was the same experience her mother had growing up in rural Ghana over 50 years ago. She knew there was something that needed to be done. Having worked for the Unite Nations (UN) in Geneva and found that working for such a large organisation would be extremely difficult to make the change she would like to see. Sarah launched IGEA as way to create an organisation for the community they wish to support.
Investing in Girls Education in Africa (IGEA) is a non for profit organisation with a mission of delivering quality education to girls in rural parts of Africa. Starting operations in Ghana, the home country its founder. we aim to collaborate with like-minded people and groups in order to work all over the continent.
She and her team started off a pilot of 100 girls in our project through crowdfunding. In under two years, they were able to provide over 10,000 period products in the U.K. and Ghana. The IGEA team also designed a programme called ‘Menstruate and Educate’, aimed to support girls attend school whilst menstruating in rural communities in Africa. They work with the local community leaders and the education service to deliver workshops. Highlighting the importance of education and additionally targeting the taboos of menstruation in the community.
Additionally, they run workshops for the parents and teachers aimed to enlighten them about the importance of girls education. And ways which they can support them and get them involved. Lastly, IGEA provide reusable period pads that last for up to two years. Which support girls to attend school whilst menstruating.
Johns Hopkins Faith Adole is Giving Back to Africa
Johns Hopkins University trained Faith Adole is a healthcare executive and entrepreneur paasionate about healthcare advocacy, public health and inspiring African nurses and midwives to lead in global health settings. In this exclusive with Alaba Ayinuola of Business Africa Online(BAO), Faith talks about her foundation, interventions in Africa and passion for improving healthcare access to underserved communities around the globe. Excerpts.
Faith Adole is a trained nurse practitioner, healthcare executive, and entrepreneur. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer and founder of U-VOL Foundation, Inc. A servant leader, Faith is passionate about inspiring African nurses and midwives to lead in global health settings. She is committed to health care advocacy and bridging the gaps in existing health care and wellness needs for less privileged communities throughout the world, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Faith was inspired to start the U-VOL Foundation after volunteering in several international medical outreaches within Africa and seeing firsthand the poor health/hygiene practices, preventable health illnesses and even deaths in many disadvantaged and rural societies. Faith also noticed the existing inequities in Global Health delivery within Africa with a notable lack of Global Health leadership by African women as well as by those within the nursing profession.
As an African in diaspora, and as Nurse Executive with multiple years of field-based experience, Faith brings a fresh and dynamic approach to leading in the Community and Global Health sectors. Faith is currently completing her doctoral studies in Nursing as well as an MBA at Johns Hopkins University.
Inspiration behind U-Vol and what it’s set to achieve
U-VOL Foundation (United Vessels of Love Foundation) is a registered international non-profit healthcare foundation transforming lives one community at a time. Through its mission to help meet the unmet healthcare and wellness needs of vulnerable societies. This is done through medical outreach, health education, WASH and other healthcare sustainability initiatives.
The organization emphasizes love and care for all humanity through its global partnerships, its healthcare initiatives and through healthcare advocacy. U-VOL’s vision is to build dynamic relationships and partnerships with people, communities, and organizations to create global healthcare and wellness initiatives to lessen existing healthcare disparities worldwide.
Recent projects, challenges, funding and impact
Since 2015, Faith alongside U-VOL’s volunteer teams have embarked on successful international medical missions in Nigeria and in South Africa. As well as multiple domestic health and wellness domestic outreaches with the United States.
Under Faith’s leadership, her team has successfully launched a Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program (WASH) in Nigeria in 2021. And recently concluded a solar powered clean water borehole project. The recent water project provided a sustainable source of clean water for 1700 people in Obi LGA of Benue State, Nigeria. Before the borehole, residents had zero access to clean water and frequented a local stream within the village called Orowu. Which dries up seasonally and gets contaminated easily during the rainy season as the same water source is used for multiple uses. This intervention will help to lessen the burden of preventable water-borne disease through harnessing a clean and long-lasting energy source.
Water Project video HERE
U-VOL’s borehole intervention swiftly follows a medical mission in the same Obi community, where a team of medical volunteers treated over 600 people. The recent medical mission and clean water project was powered by volunteers, public and private support, and a local project management team. Through skillful planning, efficient operations, strategic partnerships, thought leadership, and perseverance, Faith has been able to overcome challenges that come from influencing positive change within the African health sector despite various obstacles.
Your view on the health sector in Nigeria and Africa
“The truth is, there is so much opportunity for Africans within the diaspora and for those within the continent to collaborate for long lasting impact and change. I love the saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone but if you want to go further, go together’. It’s high time Africans begin to write their own narrative and leverage on the knowledge, skills, resources and influence within the continent as well as in the diaspora. Collaboration and unity will help us move forward. This is because we need both dialogue and action.
We need various stakeholders at multiple levels as well as diversity and inclusion of thoughts and hands. Community development and relief organizations are still relevant and have their place but it will take all of us to truly impact healthcare in the long term, through advocacy, healthcare policy, legislation, research, technology, education development, infrastructure, job creation and through many other avenues.”
Finally, your plans for the year
U-VOL plans to continue expanding its newly launched Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program. Which is targeted at empowering and advocating for vulnerable rural communities throughout various parts of Nigeria. The organisation hopes to help aid both governmental and other NGO efforts to eradicate open defecation, provide health promotion education activities on hygiene and sanitation, and promote the construction of public toilet facilities.
Saibatu Mansaray Speaks On Breaking The Bias
Saibatu Mansaray is a former White House Senior Executive, US Army Major (Rtd) and Medical Practitioner. Saibatu Mansaray speaks with Business Africa Online (BAO) on her thoughts on this year’s international women’s day theme: #BreakingTheBias. Excerpt.
As an African and Muslim woman who moved to the United States at 20 years of age and immediately joined the United States Army. I understand the bias I carried with me into a foreign land and the military. Everyday, questioning myself given my background. But my determination to overcome my self-imposed bias and that of those around me, pushed me to over perform and prove that I am supposed to be here and will leave a mark. I got system support in the military as a woman to compete and complete military training courses that were mostly male dominated. I remember being in a few extremely challenging military courses with very high attrition rates. But upon graduation I was the only woman standing alongside the men.
In my determination to always overperform in order to break the bias and glass ceilings. I was the first woman the U.S. Army had ever assigned to the White House. To serve as White House Physician Assistant and Tactical Medical Officer to President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden. I was the first woman to be promoted early to the rank of Major as a physician assistant. I was the first medical officer and to date the only to serve as military aide to two Vice Presidents of the United States. In my own small way I created a gender equal world during my service in the military and continue to do so as CEO and Founder of The Mansaray Foundation. “Together we can all break the bias!”
Saibautu Mansaray is former White House senior executive, a physician assistant, CEO and Founder of The Mansaray Foundation. A Muslimah and retired decorated United States Army Officer. After over 20 years of humble service in the United States, she has chosen to return to Sierra Leone to make a difference.
Dr. Adama Kalokoh, Founder of Impact Sierra Leone on Breaking The Bias
Dr. Adama Kalokoh (Image: Supplied)
Dr. Adama Kalokoh, Founder of Impact Sierra Leone shared her thoughts with Business Africa Online on #BreakingTheBias.
“This theme resonates with me so deeply because we all deserve a seat at the table. It does not stop there, we also deserve the right for our voices to be respectfully heard in and out of the boardroom. The time is now for the world to recognize that gender equality is not an option but an absolute necessity.
As a proud descendant of Sierra Leone, West Africa and founder of Impact Sierra Leone organization. I have insight on gender issues both in the United States and in West Africa. There seems to be a common factor between the two regions in terms of far less opportunities for women as compared to men. The playing field has yet to be leveled because we see too often that a woman’s skills or experiences are considered less important than her gender.
As a global leader, I join in the fight against injustices, stereotypes, discrimination and inhumanity. Due to gender by promoting empowerment programs by empowering other women to have a voice. We are impacting the future generation of leaders who will ensure a world of inclusiveness and equality where all are valued. It is quite remarkable to see the various events planned to celebrate International Women’s Day with such a powerful theme.
My personal view is that the chains of bias must be broken in every facet in life from the medical field, political field, business field, and career fields but most especially globally. There needs to be a total mindset shift to eradicate the notion that women are inferior. Women’s equality will be the driving force to more positive change in the world.
The poet Maya Angelou penned a powerful poem titled, “Phenomenal Woman” and indeed this is true. The fight for women inclusion must never end and needs to be championed by every citizen. Breaking the bias must happen at every level from the executive office to the most remote village in rural West Africa. We need more awareness, resources and policies set in place. And this can be done via training workshops, women’s equality groups, social media platforms and within the workplace.
Much like how we won the war on slavery and overcame many setbacks from the Civil Rights Movement. We can win the war on Women’s Inequality and do it Together. To leave you with my favorite quote, “United We Stand, Together We Rise”.
Let us stand up, raise our voices, take action and join forces to erase gender inequality worldwide.”