I am a development professional, leader, and human rights advocate with over 17 years of experience promoting human rights-based programming in Nigeria. Currently, I am the Program Director of the Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI), a network of clinical law programmes promoting access to justice, legal aid, justice education, human rights protection, and public interest lawyering. I am an experience facilitator with deep commitment to human rights advocacy and protection, justice education, contributing to curriculum development for law teachers and students in clinical legal education to promote human rights protection, legal empowerment, and peace education. My leadership at NULAI Nigeria has built a strong national organization with wide global reach and network achieved through strategic programming, innovation, and building collaborative partnerships. I bring with me leadership skills, creativity, reflective practice, astute conceptualization built over the years, and a core value as a lifelong learner open to exploring new opportunities and challenges.
Expertise and Skills
Facilitation, designing curriculum, and lesson plans for justice education
Leadership and mentoring
Strategic planning and programme development
Proposal writing & Fundraising
Designing evaluation framework and theory of change at organizational, programme and project levels
Research development and implementation
Exploring what role reflective practice may have in Nigerian clinical law programmes, and to understand how the concept is used in teaching, learning, law clinic practice, and social justice work.
Goal and Objectives
My ultimate learning goal is to become an effective reflective practitioner. My aspirations are to be able to design, facilitate, and investigate what potential reflective practice might contribute to the professional development of law teachers, law students, my team, and the advancement of human rights and social justice in Nigeria.
Lifelong Learning Journey
An analysis of my learning process will start from who I am today, a look at my growth pattern and motivation, my learning process and key drivers and conclude with what the Master of Adult Education hopefully brings to this process and the pathways I see evolving going forward.
I am the Program Director of the Network of University Legal Aid Institutions (NULAI) Nigeria, a non-profit organization promoting clinical legal education, access to justice, legal aid and public interest lawyering in Nigeria. I am the Secretary of the Steering Committee, and member of the Board of Directors representing African region in the Global Alliance for Justice Education, a global network of justice educators. I am the Country Director of Value-Based Communities Initiatives a non-profit promoting community development and local economies, and Board member Action4Justice International. In additional to my professional roles, I volunteer as team leader of capacity development for my church and was the women leader for a period of five years.
My qualifications are derived from degree and certificate programmes undertaken over the years. Attaining these qualifications required a conscious and disciplined learning process that is outlined in this narrative. My learning experience and process have been self-directed and varied drawn from formal and informal platforms. My professional life commenced in 2000 immediately after my one-year compulsory national youth service. Some of my early experiences led me to articulate a self-development mandate to learn something new through a certificate or degree programme every eighteen months. I invite you to explore what this process and journey has been starting with my motivations and growth pattern.
So, what inspired the mandate of learn something new through a certificate or degree programme every eighteen months? My career growth pattern started by first trying to get employment or seeking an advancement with my undergraduate degree qualification which does not feature so much in my current professional life. I graduated with a degree in Human Anatomy in 1998 after spending about six years in a truncated education process due to military occupation in Nigeria. This posed a stumbling block to an ambition to be a medical doctor because after six years getting a BSc, another six to eight years to be a neurosurgeon was not in the least bit attractive. You may ask why? Looking back, I realize now that critical reflection was a key driver in arriving at that conclusion. I had deeply reflected on the dominant learning culture and realized it was a system I did not want to engage with because of how it subjugated those in the medical learning process.
Therefore, I started my professional journey as a lecturer with a School of Health, but quickly realized it was not a thriving environment, there was discrimination based on gender and a grading system that did not promote learning. During my teaching days, I used a legal non-profit organization office space to prepare for my lessons. After a few days, I realized the space was disorganized with mountain of files on every table and room. To help you understand the context, this organization was led by brilliant law professors who functioned in government and non-profit sectors simultaneously. I set free time for organizing the office, the library and filling systems. This became one of my first steps in informal learning. Through this process I had to research filling and setting up a library, I also had to read every document to be able to file it properly. This meant reading over twenty proposal documents, budgets, and reports. Not surprising, I was offered the job of office manager following the result of organizing the office space.
In 2001, interventions within the HIV/AIDs pandemic was gaining traction and opening up space for merging fields such as public health, gender mainstreaming, and right to health. However, the Nigerian environment was not open to such synergy of career mergers and sought certificates as an entry requirement to function in that field. I could not fit into interventions on HIV/AIDS issues as a public health, social science, or human rights expert due to the certificate requirements. However, interest on HIV/AIDs issues spurred me on until an opportunity to do a research paper on gender mainstreaming for a consultant working in the field got me a recommendation to my second job, which centred on domestic service industry. It will be apt to conclude that my motivations and growth pattern was driven by ambition, curiosity, uncertainty of purpose and utility. As Bolton and Delberfield (2018) rightly pointed out uncertainty is the essential educative state of mind, I was often driven by dynamic and creative interim goals that grew on top of each other or expanded as the years progressed. Rising from this and seeking to be true to self I realized that the certificates were important for growth, yet I wanted certificates that align with what I wanted to do rather than certificates for qualification purpose.
My learning sought out what I needed to grow at my place of work in line with my responsibilities. It also looked at opportunities that presented itself. I voraciously consumed knowledge from reading literatures and online platforms on proposal writing, project management, budgeting, setting up an organization and all relevant regulatory policies. This translated to being a leader that engages deeply across different professional field, such as the field of legal education, peace and conflict transformation, international human right law, globalization, women’s right, and community development amongst others. The need for certificate qualification was always at the back on my mind and when ever any opportunity presented itself, I took it. Financing my learning process sometimes created anxieties which I really dealt with from a faith perspective. I am a spiritual person and believe that God has a hand in our life endeavours, therefore for burdens and issues I cannot deal with, I take to God. My singular prayer then and now remain that God help me to see opportunities and use such opportunities even when the result is not quite manifest. What I have found is that as I use the opportunities and build networks, events line up such as scholarships or donor supported capacity building trainings. As a result, I have had the opportunity to obtain a masters in human rights, several diplomas, and certificates.
In 2017, through routine online search, I found the Coady Institute Development programme. The Coady foundation and leadership module facilitated by David Fletcher, Anuj Jain, and Maureen St. Clair supported my understanding of myself as a leader; until then I never put the word leader in my profile. I was able to interrogate and critically reflect on what sort of leader I am, how I lead, and my responsibilities as a leader. I was introduced to new concepts and ideas that I could translate to programmes for my organization or introduce as new initiatives. This journey broaden my perspectives and opened me up to adult education philosophies, as a result, I needed to learn more. This translated to my current enrolment with the Master's of Adult Education in women's leadership and community development. I look forward to where this journey leads and what it translates to professionally and personally.