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Dr. ’Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi

Founder Above Whispers
Goodwill Ambassador, United Nations Women Nigeria
’Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a women’s rights activist, writer and thinker. She has many years of experience as a gender specialist, social entrepreneur, policy advocate, fundraiser, journalist and facilitator. She has a BA (1984) and MA (1988) in History from the University of Ife, Nigeria (now Obafemi Awolowo University). She also received an MA in Gender and Society (1992) from Middlesex University, UK. She served as the Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), an international development organisation for African women based in London, UK, from 1991-2001 as well as Executive Director of the African Women's Development Fund, (AWDF) - the first Africa-wide grant-making fund, which supports the work of organizations promoting women's rights in Africa, from 2001-2010. AWDF has played a key role in the promotion and protection of women's rights in Africa, through its support of grassroots initiatives, policy engagements and movement building for social justice.

When her husband Dr. Kayode Fayemi took office as Governor of Ekiti State, Nigeria, October 16th 2010-2014, ’Bisi became actively involved in a range of policy, advocacy, grassroots empowerment and social inclusion programs to support his administration. She founded the Ekiti Development Foundation in 2011. In collaboration with other stakeholders, she led the campaign to enact a Gender Based Violence Prohibition Bill which was signed in to law in November 2011, as well as the Equal Opportunities Bill which became law in December 2013.

’Bisi is a leading voice not only in the African women’s movement and civil society, but in the global women’s movement as well. She is the recipient of the 2011 David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the field of philanthropy, given by the Synergos Institute, New York. In June 2011, the New African Magazine named Mrs Fayemi as one of the 100 Most Influential People of Africa.

’Bisi is the author of ‘Speaking for Myself’: Perspectives on Social, Political and Feminist Activism (2013) and ‘Speaking above a Whisper’, (2013) an autobiography. She also co-edited ‘Voice, Power and Soul’, with Jessica Horn (2008) a compilation of images and stories of African Feminists.