Jumai Ahmadu: A passion for empowering the vunerable




Dr Jumai Ahmadu (PhD) is the Founder, Helpline for the Needy, an Abuja-based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) aimed at building a Nigeria where all vulnerable children, youths and women, especially the widows, have access to quality health care, education and equal opportunities to realise their potential. In this report, CHIZOBA OGBECHE focuses on activities of the Kogi-born philanthropists and the activities of the organisation.

For Dr Jumai Ahmadu (PhD) helping others is second nature. Her passion for empowering women and girls, especially the vulnerable knows no bounds.

In a bid to actualise her dream of reaching as many vulnerable members of the society as possible in an organised fashion she started the Pure Saints Home targeted at the Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) matters. It was later expanded to include poverty alleviation and women and girl empowerment.

The name of the organisation was changed in 2010 to Helpline Foundation for the Needy to undertake activities as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).

Helpline Foundation is aimed at building a Nigeria where all vulnerable children, youths and women, especially the widows, have access to quality health care, education and equal opportunities to realise their potential.

Her background

Little Jumai, who was born to the family of Mr and Mrs Usman of Ofante Local Government in Kogi state, started her education at LEA Primary School, Ofante, where she obtained her First School Leaving Certificate.

She then proceeded to Ofante Community High School, for her secondary school education.

After her secondary school she then moved to University of Jos, Plateau state, where she obtained a National Diploma in Mass Communications and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science.

Subsequently, she enrolled for a Master of Science Degree programme in Public Administration and Policy Analysis and went on to pursue a Doctorate Degree in Policy Analysis and has since been awarded a PhD in Policy Analysis.

Jumai gained employment at the defunct Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) now Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) as administrative officer and rose to be Chief Administrative Officer and Head, FCT Call centre, which interfaces between residents and the FCT Administration as well as coordinates television and radio programmes like Dateline Abuja on 8.3FM and Brekete Family Show on Love FM 104.5 and WAZOBIA FM.

She, who was recently promoted as Deputy Director, is the acting Director, Reform Coordination and Service Delivery, FCTA.

Humanitarian activities

The helpline Foundation for the Needy currently provides education support for over five hundred children, with 70 per cent beneficiaries as girls, across the North-central states of FCT, Kogi, Nasasarawa, Niger, Kwara, and Kaduna.

The Foundation provides tuition, books, and other educational materials to beneficiaries cutting across primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions.

As part of activities to support widows and other vulnerable women, the Foundation has also instituted a non-profit revolving loan scheme aimed at helping beneficiaries manage and grow micro businesses thereby decreasing their dependence on aid and charity.

The Foundation also operates a food bank which stores assorted food items, donated by individuals, institutions, and friends of the Foundation, usually distributed at the annual End-of- year get together.

In 2017, the Foundation introduced a project tagged: “Girl Realise Your Potential” aimed at making information the girl-child needs to grow up and make informed decisions based on the mentorship programmes they undergo.

Helpline Foundation has successfully hosted parallel events at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Conference in 2016 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively.

Help Foundation founder is also the convener, Proudly Nigeria Expo and co-convener, Africa Women Conference (AWC) inaugurated in New York, United State in March 2018. The maiden edition of the conference held in November 2018 in Namibia, which second edition was hosted in Marakesh, Morocco, with an unprecedented number of African women from different walks of life and positions of leadership in attendance.

Garlands

In recognition of her numerous programmes and projects geared towards the empowerment of the girl-child, women and the vulnerable, Jumai has been honoured with several awards and recognitions including: NYSC Honours Award; university of Jos Alumni Distinguished Honours; African Achievers Credible Leadership Award for Transparency and Accountability.

She has also received letters of commendation for commitment and outstanding performance in the discharge of duties; letters of commendation from two Ministers of the FCT for good initiative, honesty, and accountability.

The founder Helpline Foundation is also a Fellow, Institute of Corporate Administrators of Nigeria; member, Chartered Institute of Administration as well as member, American Management Association (AMA).

Jumai Ahmadu is a member of several committees involved in the development of the FCT, Nigeria and Africa. She has attended courses, workshops, and seminars within and outside the country.

She is married to Dr Abubakar Ahmadu and they are blessed with five lovely children.

Heroine of Covid-19 fight

According to Abuja-based Public Affairs Analyst, Musa Wada, “In Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), many analysts have come to mention the name of Dr. Jumai Ahmadu of the Covid-19 Situation Room as their heroine so far in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. She is the founder of the Helpline Foundation that has positively impacted the lives of many Abuja residents, especially at this time when the government needs partners in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.

“The pandemic is overwhelming and one of the excruciating part for people is the feeling of utter helplessness in the face of widespread sufferings and hardship. Certainly, staying at home and staying healthy are the most crucial ways to stave off this crisis by individuals.

“In this regard, the Helpline Foundation founded by Dr. Jumai Ahmadu has made a number of donations and contributions which have impacted the lives of many residents, especially at this time when the people are in dire need of help.

“Her Foundation has helped tremendously in serving at this critical time as the residents centre for Covid-19 philanthropy. Its resources help the people make intentional and informed decisions on the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. “Through this Foundation, she has helped to coordinate funds to create the Covid-19 response funds to support first responders, health workers and individuals that are being quarantined.

“Her Foundation has helped provide funds to first responders in need of protective equipment and giving financial assistance to vulnerable groups like widows, orphans and the disadvantaged in the society who have been worse hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.”

Wada in an article title: Jumai Ahmadu as Heroine of Covid-19 Fight, published in a national daily further stated that: “The Helpline Foundation has hired professionals and volunteers to cater to vulnerable communities around Abuja to alleviate the negative effect of Covid-19. They are also supplying these communities with protective equipment and replenishing medical supplies in critical hospitals around Abuja.

“The Foundation has been in the forefront in the collection and distribution of medical facilities needed in various rural and urban hospitals in Abuja in the current fight against Covid-19 crisis.

“The Foundation has also bolstered its quick response line which provides callers with vital information, resources, vital services and support to ward off the Coronavirus pandemic.”

Annual reach-out programme

In a bid to give hope and put smiles on the faces of the vulnerable the Foundation organises annual reach-out programme for vulnerable women across the FCT and neighbouring states of Nasarawa, Niger and Kogi.

As part of activities to mark its 20th anniversary and end of year reach-out for 2020 Helpline Foundation empowered over 500 vulnerable women.

The Foundation also distributes assorted food items and clothing to women and children in rural communities.

Speaking to journalists during the programme at Moshood Abiola Stadium, the President of the Foundation, Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, revealed that over 10,000 vulnerable women and children have benefited from the scheme since inception in 2003, while 3,000 children from less privileged homes are on the scholarship scheme of the foundation.

She also used the forum to state that besides the reach-out programme, the Foundation has redesigned its programmes to focus more on skill acquisition training and empowerment rather than distribution of food stuffs, stressing that the 20th anniversary was unique as over 100 women would be empowered to carry out various skills.

“We are here this morning to mark our 20th anniversary and at the same time have our usual annual reach-out programme for widows and orphans across the FCT and the neighbouring states of Nasarawa, Niger and Kogi.

“It has been our tradition for 20 years now to seize every opportunity and occasion to put smiles on the faces of the less privileged especially women.

“Today, we are training women on the art of gale making in different forms in view of the season and to distribute foods and clothing items to them, so that they too can join the privileged class to celebrate Christmas.

“It has been our philosophy and our slogan that “nobody is too poor to give and nothing is too small to give”. However, we at Helpline Foundation have decided to focus more on skill acquisition programmes and empowerment of the vulnerable as we can witness today,” she stressed.

The Founder commended the present administration for demonstrating commitment in ensuring that women are able to access available grants designed for women empowerment, adding that the FCT Gender Department under the Social Development Secretariat has lived up to its mandates.

In her words: “We have now gone beyond talk, and we are now doing what ought to be done for women. We in the FCT, the Gender Department under the Social Development Secretariat is always there for us. The government of the day is beginning to live up to its responsibility in terms of women empowerment.”

Also speaking, one of the beneficiaries, who is the Coordinator, Bwari Women, Mrs. Terdoo Ubah, commended the Foundation for its steadfastness in women empowerment, revealing that the revolving loan scheme launched by the foundation has empowerment over 200 widows in Bwari Area Council.

The highpoint was talks for women on how to start a with zero capital; digital tools for growing a business online; how to tie gale; soap and disinfection production, as well as basic protection for the girl child.

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