Dr. Ayoade Olatunbosun Alakija, is a pan-Africanist with a strong dream to see an independent, poverty and disease free African continent in the near future.
She is the founder and Executive Director of the Transformational Development Agency (TDA), a non-profit organization that works along various governments in Africa and else where to ensure that development goals are realized.
During her visit to Rwanda recently, The New Times’ IRENE V. NAMBI caught up with her to discuss the organization’s contribution to Rwanda’s development in particular.
Briefly tell us about yourself and your work in Rwanda
I am an international programme adviser at the George Washington University but also the founder of TDA.
We work with communities, governments and people all over the world basically to transform nations in the areas where change is required. If I may give an example of a butterfly, there is a stage where one can think it is not very active (as a caterpillar) but when the butterfly emerges, it’s beautiful.
So we work along governments to be involved in that process as we hope to be part of the answer to sustainable development.
Exactly what does TDA offer to the Rwandan people through your alliance with the government?
We bring solutions and consistence in providing financial and economic assistance in various ways. Rwanda is amazing because everything happens in a systematic and accountable way .We have worked with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Gender and so far, we have identified working with children at risk and increasing capacities in those institutions.
As a member of the George Washington University board, we were able to facilitate the first maternal and neonatal conference and I am glad that some of the recommendations are already being implemented, that way we shall have contributed to cutting maternal and child death rates even further.
TDA also supports the white ribbon campaign. This is the largest effort in the world of men working to end violence against women.
Any plans in the pipeline?
Oh yes, a lot is still needed to transform the Rwandan business community. As an African who has also moved all over the world, I have seen the west come in and aid our countries but I believe it’s time for us to rise and sustain our own economies.
My love for fellow Africans, has translated into building schools, structures for businesses and soon we will be introducing micro-finance opportunities.
What more should African nations do to achieve that dream of self-sustainability?
Non-government organizations that tend to sprout in developing countries must partner to work alongside the government to achieve development goals that meet the countries’ needs.
Implementation of various programmes that aim at accelerating economic growth is also important. A strong and committed leadership just like Rwanda’s is also a vital necessity.