Phenomenal women are the back bone to great nations. A woman like Aisha Buhari has carved her name into history. This woman is more than a beautiful face, she is educated, confident, and a great role model for young girls growing up.
The informal title of the First lady has always been bestowed on to the wife of a Nigerian president. Since the election of the current president, Muhammadu Buhari in May 2015, his wife Aisha Muhammadu Buhari became Nigeria’s fifteenth First lady. Mrs. Buhari is an advocate for equal rights, respect, and the full support of education for women and girls. At each given moment she continuously shows and stresses how much can be achieved with determination and access to education. She also disapproves of child marriage before the age of seventeen and homosexuality. With these being her focal points while she campaigned for her husband in 2015, she received overwhelming support from powerful, successful women, both private and public sectors, locally and abroad as well as from housewives.
Coming from a family of outstanding scholars, Mrs. Buhari also secured a myriad of achievements under her belt. Before marriage, she was educated at the primary and secondary level. She was also accepted into University to study Mass Communication but declined so that she could become a housewife to her husband. Luckily for her, she received the support from her husband she desired and continued her education. She went ahead and over time she secured the following:
● A Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU).
● A Master’s degree in International Affairs and Strategic Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna.
● A Diploma in Beauty Therapy. Her specialty lies in Mesotherapy, Micro-dermabrasion, and Permanent Make-up, with qualifications from the Carlton Institute of Beauty Therapy, Windsor, United Kingdom.
● A Post-graduate diploma in cosmetology and beauty from Academy Esthetique Beauty Institute of France.
● A book titled “Essentials of a Beauty Therapy: A Complete Guide for Beauty Specialists”.
Career and involvements Before pursuing her tertiary levels of education, Mrs. Buhari became a business woman. She became a certified cosmetologist and beauty therapist who founded the Hanzy Spa and was the head mistress of Hanzy Beauty Institute. Among her achievements, she acted as the following:
● Source of information and resources concerning Beauty therapy and cosmetology for the National Basic Technical Education (NBTE).
● Contributor and participant in the development of the syllabus for Small and Medium Enterprises for NBTE.
● Active Member of the International Health and Beauty Council and United Kingdom Vocational Training and Charitable Trust.
In July 2014, she advised Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to resign from office as president of Nigeria, following a suicide bombing and an alleged assassination attempt on her husband. She is a women’s right activist and child right Advocate, and she has criticized child marriage and homosexuality.
Aisha Buhari is a vocal advocate of women’s rights and children rights, and this was a focal point during her campaign for her husband’s election in 2015. She has, on several occasions, emphasised the need for young girls to get primary and secondary school education before getting married, saying that she believes no girl should get married before the age of 17.
In May 2015, on the sidelines of the Global Women Conference held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she stressed the need for Nigerian laws that will protect the women from forced early marriages, sex trafficking and other issues Nigerian girls and women contend with. She raised concerns on child sexual abuse in Nigeria, sex trafficking and the need for legislation against early marriage.
Her marriage to President Buhari is blessed with five children and a granddaughter.
Her life philosophy is: If there is no corruption in governance and public life, there would be enough resources in any nation to meet the important needs of the common people, including women and youth.
Her Future Assured Programme
Future Assured is an initiative founded by Aisha Buhari to continue her advocacy work for the health and well-being of women and children through community mobilization and health promotion. She was prompted by the need to improve the current poor health outcomes of women, children and other vulnerable groups of the Nigerian population, and she affirmed her commitment to this work at a stakeholders meeting held at the presidential villa and a public launch of Future Assured programs at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly held in New York on 29 September 2015.
She currently is working with Internally Displaced Persons in Nigeria which as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency that has plagued the country since 2009. She set up a committee to deal with the distribution of relief materials after a visit to an IDP camp in Borno Northeast Nigeria.
RATIONALE FOR FUTURE ASSURED INTERVENTION
Future Assured Focuses on 3 broad Areas
As a key diver of our activities, Future Assured believes that every social indices can be influenced for good if the Health, Education and Economic Status of the Population are improved upon.
Leveraging on her capacity as the Wife of the President of Nigeria, the founder of Future Assured, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, held consultative sessions with key National and International Stakeholders and organisations working around the Health of women and Children, to discuss a way forward to improve the Health indices in Nigeria. The Stakeholders identified the need for:
• High level Champions to Push for continued advocacy engagement with government and parliamentarians to improve the implementation of existing national RMNCH policies and plans, accountability to RMNCH commitments (global and African) and increase budgets for overall health.
• Research and produce Nigeria-specific knowledge products, disaggregated by state and highlighting challenges and required interventions.
• Mobilize active media participation in the Nigeria RMNCH advocacy process through a media event and site visit to a maternity hospital. This is intended to strengthen the media’s understanding of RMNCH and to encourage reporting of maternal and newborn health issues.
• Mobilize active community participation in RMNCH advocacy and raise awareness of the right to health through outreach, aimed at women, faith based groups and professional and community associations. This strategy is intended to tackle the challenge posed by myths and misconceptions that limit the uptake of RMNCH services, particularly antenatal and immunization services at the grass-roots level.
Future Assured has taken up the baton to create partnerships and high-level advocates from states across Nigeria on RMNCAH+N issues. The Program will work with Government MDAs, Private Sectors, CSOs, NGOs, development partners and other stakeholders to:
• Advocating for the Repositioning of health as a development issue
• Use high level advocacy to mobilize the governors and their wives as state level champions
• Champion the momentum and movement with officials at all levels of government the need for accelerated implementation of RMNCAH+N programs to increase service provision and utilization
1. Mobilize families on the actions they can take to improve the health of mothers and children.
2. Influence investment in critical and high impact intervention areas in the health sector through high level advocacy
3. Work with the private sector, NGOs and CSOs to promote accountability for the attainment of maternal, new born, child and adolescent health targets through the already existing institutions, mechanisms and initiatives.
PRIORITY AREAS OF FUTURE ASSURED PROGRAMS
Get involved was launched as an initiative of Future Assured to generate funds for the improvement of the nutritional level among malnourished children across the country, especially those in IDP camps. Over N200 million worth of goods was raised and distributed across the country.
Health screening exercises were conducted for women to encourage them to be health conscious, diseases that kill women in focus, these are high blood pressure, high blood sugar, breast cancer, cervical cancer, and kidney function. They also go through eye checks and are presented with glasses free of charge if required and provide family planning counsel. Over thirty thousand women have so far been reached in the 10 states so far covered.
Health screening for children checks them for worms, oral hygiene and eye problems. Children go home with dental packs after the screening.
Nutritional supplements supplied to lactating mothers across the country with over 250,000 women having been reached so far.
Nutritional supplements supplied to malnourished children across the country has over 100 tons of these supplements distributed.
In the same vein, nutrition-based food items were distributed to the needy in all the states of the country to cushion the effect of poverty and improve nutritional status where hundreds of thousands of Nigerians have been reached.
She has presently commenced construction of a maternity ward at the Daura General Hospital, Katsina State with a view to expanding the network of maternity services accessible to women across the country.
Her Excellency is at the forefront of the campaign for women and girl-child education. Both in school and outside school.
She presently supports school girls with school bags and writing materials across the country.
Efforts are underway to rebuild broken down community learning centers and scale up on their spread nationwide, so that women who did not complete their education can return and complete their education through these centers.
Youth Education Empowerment Programme (YEEP) assists the large number of youths struggling to transit from secondary to tertiary institutions through tutorial classes, for WAEC, NECO, NABTEB and JAMB. Pilot already successful and scale up being discussed with stakeholders. YEEP also trains youths to develop writing, communication and public speaking skills.
Empowering women across the country is viewed by Her Excellency as very critical to family sustenance. Pilots in Kano, Katsina and Lagos were successful with over 5000 trained in various trades. National programme is about to commence.
To encourage women farmers, women are mobilized to venture into agriculture and take advantage of opportunities provided by government in terms of improved seedlings, fertilizer and other agricultural inputs especially in the area of fisheries, livestock and poultry.
She also encourages them to access loans and facilities provided by the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, CBNs NIRSAL and Micro-finance Banks.
She recently acquired 20 rice milling machines and 25 fish driers for the use of women farmers across the country at no cost to them.
SUPPORT TO VICTIMS OF INSURGENCY
Support to IDPs that return to their communities with relief materials including foodstuff, clothing, beddings, plastic containers, mats, blankets, and building materials. Over 6 trailer loads of roofing zinc, roofing and noggin wood, assorted nails and asbestos ceiling were distributed.
Parents of Buni Yadi Boys and Chibok girls were supported with 55 million naira being total proceeds of Her Excellency’s book launch.
She has commenced construction of an orphanage and school primarily for the children in the IDP camps.
PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN
Her Excellency has always been on the vanguard of women that have suffered gender-based violence including battery and rape.
She has also been an advocate against rape of minors, which is becoming more rampant.
Her Excellence, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari is a classy woman who has her nation’s best interest at heart. Her outspoken character raises problematic issues that require immediate attention and action. She is a firm believer that women are more than trophies and should be involved in the development of their nation. Mrs. Buhari is one of the world’s most powerful and influential woman, though she promises not to overstep her husband she continues to make history with him.
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