Kwara: The Making of a New State
State of Harmony
Kwara State will always hold a special place in my heart, my thoughts and my actions. The State of Harmony, in the North Central Region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in the beautiful continent of Africa; it is my home and community. From 29th May 2003, to 29th May 2011, Kwara State was transformed by essential development and improvements from infrastructure to education. In 2003, His Excellency Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki was elected as Governor of Kwara State and I am so proud of the work my husband did as Governor to transform the state.
It was also during my time as First Lady of Kwara State that the Wellbeing Foundation Africa’s Alaafia Kwara Initiative was born, dedicated to supporting and improving the health and wellbeing of women and newborns, children and families across Kwara State, as our heart and our home. Inspired by the work of my husband and my own personal tragedy, I decided to put my passion to a purpose, in effective actions, strategic advocacy and structured giving, to help mothers and children in the state by advocating better maternal health, for example through key interventions such as the Personal Healthcare Record and Mamakits for clean births and safe deliveries. The Wellbeing Foundation Africa has since grown and carries out a wide range of global health, gender equity and social justice programmes focused on safe childbirth, HIV, education, ending child marriage, domestic violence, and religious tolerance programmes with societal wellbeing as our central pivot.
Reflecting on the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, and guided on the path towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, I am struck with inspiration by the transformation of Kwara into a new state, shaping a new social history of change, with African-driven solutions for African challenges, amplified by the power of strategic global partnerships, I continue to engage each and every one of you in a call to action, to explore and engage your passion and purpose, to improve the community around you. It is after all our duty and responsibility to leave the world in a better place.
About the Advocate
As Founder-President of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA), Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki is a global advocate for women’s and children’s health and empowerment, with two decades of advocacy covering reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health; ending gender-based discrimination and violence; and improving education, socio-economic empowerment, and community livelihoods in sub- Saharan Africa.
Mrs Saraki is the Inaugural and Emeritus Global Goodwill Ambassador for the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM); special adviser and member of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Africa (AFRO), was named by Devex as UHC Global Champion, is the UNFPA Nigeria Family Planning Champion, is the Save the Children Newborn Health Champion for Nigeria; and is a Global Champion for the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, and member of the International Steering Committee ICPD25.
A vision for the future
“I started doing charity work many years ago now, long before I was lucky enough to be able to set up this Foundation. So I have had endless opportunities to think about why we continue to face the challenges we face and how best to deal with them. And I’d like to share my thoughts with you all, as together we will hopefully be embarking on historic work together, solving African challenges with African aid.”