|Intro||Nigerian activist and writer|
|Birth||11 June 1963, Liverpool, Liverpool, Merseyside, North West England|
Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi (born 11 June 1963) is an award-winning Nigerian activist, writer and philanthropist in feminist and human rights movements. She became the First Lady of Ekiti State in western Nigeria in 2011.
Adeleye-Fayemi received her bachelor’s (BA) and master’s (MA) degrees in history from the University of Ife, now the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria. While working on the latter, she became interested in women’s contributions to socio-economic development in south-western Nigeria. This prompted her to continue on to another master’s in Gender and Society at University of Middlesex, UK.
Between 1991 and 2001, Adeleye-Fayemi was director of Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), an international development organisation for African women, based in the United Kingdom and with offices in Uganda and Nigeria. During her time at AMwA, she set up the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), which has helped train over 3,000 leaders.
In 2001, Adeleye-Fayemi, with Hilda M. Tadria and Joana Foster, founded the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), the first continent-wide grantmaking organisation supporting the women’s movement. She was appointed its first executive director.
Adeleye-Fayemi has been associated with a number of international women’s rights and philanthropy organisations, including as co-chair of the International Network of Women’s Funds, president of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), and chair of the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC). She has also been on the Board of Trustees for Comic Relief (UK).
Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winner, delivered Adeleye-Fayemi’s 50th birthday lecture in 2013. Titled “Leading the Change: The Journey of an African Woman”, the lecture detailed how Adeleye-Fayemi’s support was foundational to Gbowee’s work in Liberia, eventually leading to her Nobel Prize. Gbowee talked about how Adeleye-Fayemi, as head of AWDF, had supported the women’s peace movement in Liberia in its infancy, saying: “We crave change, but wait for someone to come and save us. Most times, our reluctance to creating change and acting accordingly means that we don’t change perception about us. But, Bisi, you have helped us to achieve change. You have used your position to sew dreams and show that change is possible and helped to set our minds to it. That I won the Nobel prize is because of people like you. That day, you didn’t see me. You saw a sister. Today we say, ‘Thank you. You have helped to set our minds to it.”
She is married to Kayode Fayemi; they met while they were students. He went on to become Governor of Ekiti State, making her the First Lady. They have one son, Folajimi, born circa 1995.
Awards and recognition
Adeleye-Fayemi was given the “Changing the Face of Philanthropy” award by the Women’s Funding Network in 2007, and was named one of the 20 most influential African women in 2009 by New African magazine. In 2011, Women Deliver listed her as one of the top 100 people in the world, advancing the rights of women and girls.
- 2013 Speaking Above A Whisper
- 2013 Speaking For Myself
- Adeleye-Fayemi (2013) Speaking Above A Whisper Amandla Consulting, Ibadan, Nigeria.
- Jimoh, Michael (27 October 2013). “First Lady with a Difference”. This Day. Retrieved 5 July 2014.
- Ajibade, Kunle (21 October 2013). “Championing the Cause of African Women”. City Voice. Retrieved 5 July 2014.