Isimeme Ejodame-Whyte, Senior Special Assistant on World Bank Projects
The first born of Mr and Mrs. Festus Ejodame, I was not birthed with the proverbial silver spoon but had a humble beginning growing up, with most of my childhood spent in the popular western city of Ibadan.
Leadership and public speaking is not new to me as I was appointed Vice-President of the Interact Club and bagged the award for “The most out-spoken student” at African Church Grammar School at my valediction.
At the age of 19, I returned home to Edo State with my parents and siblings to begin a new life, it was truly the beginning of new things in my life and as a butterfly would spring to life from a pupa, my inner yearnings to make a difference in my society began to gain expression.
I joined Girls’ Power Initiative (GPI) from 2002 – 2004 and worked at Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), where I received a one-year training.
It was at a KIND public ceremony, I learned about LEAP Africa. I was nominated for the LEAP Africa Youth Leadership Programme (YLP) where I received mentoring in the art of leadership, negotiation skills, networking, time management and a whole lot of other life-equipping skills.
By this time I was already a certified peer educator imparting knowledge and inspiring young girls to be the positive change in their society. I was also a child delegate to India in 2003 on an exchange visit sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation on the theme “Maternal Mortality and Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in India and Nigeria”.
In 2004, I started my own Non-governmental Organisation, Young Girls’ Foundation Nigeria (YGF Nigeria). The organisation is an expression of my deepest desire to teach young girls life-management skills, empower them intellectually and socially to make a difference in society, and for them to have an open friendship with their parents, to influence their peers positively and be equipped to be decision makers in the society.
By the time I was rounding up the YLP training in November 2005 I was ready to impact the world! One of LEAP Africa’s core convictions is that young people should be positive change agents in their society. It wasn’t long before I proved this conviction true.
In 2007, I was selected by the British Council to serve as a youth ambassador for the Belongings Project in the UK and Africa, after a careful and rigorous selection process that saw over 15,000 youth applications from Africa. On my return to Nigeria from the UK, I put together a program tagged “PARADIGM” which was sponsored by the British Council and Society for Family Health to mark the 2007 World AIDS day.
Under my watch as Special Assistant on Non-governmental Organisations, I brought together all NGOs in the state under the umbrella body of CONGOS (Conference of NGOs) which gave them a common voice and provided a channel for the various NGOs in the state to interface with Government.
In 2013, I attended the Spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington D.C., USA. I was also a delegate to the United Nation Commission on the Status of Women in 2013 (UN CSW57) and 2014 (UN CSW58) at the United Nation’s headquarters in New York.
I am currently making my impact in the state in collaboration with the World Bank as the Senior Special Assistant on World Bank Projects and Social Accountability Officer for the SEEFOR project.
Although I have a background in the sciences, having graduated with a BSc. Degree in Microbiology from the prestigious University of Benin, my passion for social work and human capacity development remains undeterred. I am fun to be with, full of life, a lover of God and compassionate. I’m also proactive, full of ideas, a great cook and not one to shirk my responsibilities.
Have you got an interesting story to tell, email info@leapafrica today!