Unknown to alumna Fatima Ademoh, a recipient of the 2012 Rockefeller Social Innovation Award, running a campus mart as a Finance major would be the catalyst to spark her enthusiasm towards empowering people through agriculture.
While the classroom equipped Ms. Ademoh with the theoretical tools to create change and provide solutions, it was managing Quickie Mart on campus that shaped her practical experience and helped her to stand out.
She would proudly point out that applying the acquired knowledge to a real-world business scenario helped hone her entrepreneurial skill.
The campus club, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), was formed to support and improve small-scale businesses in the Yola community. Quickie Mart was a project of SIFE; in 2009/2010, Ms. Ademoh served as the third president, with faculty members as advisors.
Today, Ms. Ademoh is the founder of Ajima Youth Empowerment Foundation (AYEF), an NGO that works with young leaders to create sustainable social enterprises and projects that foster innovation and economic growth in developing communities.
AYEF has supported projects such as “Youth Agro Entrepreneurs,” a scheme that focuses on providing youths with up-to-date training on practical agriculture and entrepreneurship skills to enable them to grow a sustainable agribusiness venture.
In 2014, Ademoh with 25 semi-finalists from 18 other African countries participated in the ‘AgribizforAfrica’ competition and won $1,000.
The big break however came for her when she successfully secured $100,000 from the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) Power Africa Off-grid Energy Challenge to launch the project “Waste-2-Watt.”
The project aims at increasing access to affordable electricity in rural communities and power production activities.
Ademoh explained that the push behind “Waste-2-Watt” initiative is to “eradicate energy poverty in Nigeria through affordable solutions that feature community ownership of renewable energy projects.” The initiative will leverage agricultural waste generated in the Kuje area of Abuja by providing off-grid electricity, clean water, and biogas cooking fuel for farmers.
Ms. Ademoh is also a recipient of the Mandela Washington Fellowship, a network that provides young African leaders with the resources to foster change in their communities. Recently in Abuja, she was featured as a panelist on Institut Français du Nigeria quarterly talk on ecological management.
By Nelly Ating