University of Maidugiri


Fatima Mohammed Habib is a young empath with a heart of gold, and passion for community service.  She is the  youngest humanitarian in Nigeria. At 14, she  founded the Advocacy for Human Value Foundation (AFHVF); a Not-for-profit organization that aims at improving the lives of the most vulnerable by providing them with basic needs such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), health care services, protection and education across Nigeria.

Fatima  is  a graduate of Political science from University of Maiduguri, and a YALI Regional Leadership Course (RLC) alumna.  The organization is powered by over 1,300 volunteers around Nigeria and 30 staffs. With operations in Abuja, Borno, yobe, kaduna, Kano, Taraba, jigawa, and katsina states.

Fatima  Habib is well known for creating awareness on child sexual exploitation, gender based violence, and promoting girl-child education in vulnerable communities. Her organization has impacted over 6000 lives in 73 marginalized communities in Northern Nigeria over the years it has been in existence.
In October, 2020, Huawei Technology Company Nigeria Limited partnered with the AFHVF and The Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy in donating standard equipment and renovating the school building of Al-Walidyn Charitable School in Pantami Community, Gombe State, Nigerian.
Fatima’s motivation comes from support she gets from her family and the values upon which she was raised amongst which is kindness to people of all backgrounds. She shares her inspiring story with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview.
Fatima Mohammed Habib
Childhood Influence

I was born on September 23rd, 1999. I am Kanuri by tribe and hail from Maiduguri, Borno State. I had my Primary and Secondary Schools at Adeola International School Abuja and later moved to Maitama Model Secondary School Abuja to complete my SSCE in 2015. I’d say that I have always wanted to help the less privileged. My parents were my first teachers and therefore had the biggest influence on my life. Things they say and do, their way of being and relating to me and others, laid the foundation for many of my beliefs, values, attitudes, and respect for people around me.

Inspiration behind  Human Value Foundation (AFHVF)

My zeal and passion to help the less privileged most definitely pushed me into this path. Let me start with the man whose character, intellectual milieu, and philanthropic gesture to whosoever approaches him in the day, at night, or any other time is indescribable. He is Dr. Mohammed Kyari Dikwa mni. He has greatly inspired me beyond measure.

Additionally, Dr. Zainab Bagudu (the First Lady of Kebbi) whose Medicaid Cancer Foundation is similar to my Foundation’s objectives remains dear to my heart as a woman. I also had the opportunity of meeting Hajia Laraba Shuaibu (a barrister who works with my dad in the Corporate Affairs Commission) in 2014 with my siblings.  She had cupboard-of awards displayed in her sitting room which I believe was a result of her versatility, network, and consistency towards her work and profession.

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My Passion For Issues Centered Around Child Sexual Exploitation, And Gender-Based Violence

We realized that one of the most prevalent issues that almost all women face is the issue of Gender-Based Violence. We have studied and come to the conclusion that why most women face this problem because of their dependence on others for their sustenance. The solution to most of the causes of Gender-based violence is the economic empowerment of women.

To this end, I recently started the advocacy on Sexual exploitation. We advocate making these victims become stronger, and more well-informed so that despite the daunting challenge they could be able to speak up and change the face of the world.


Sometimes the security challenges in the Northeast make it difficult to reach some communities. Even when one is determined to go, loved ones will caution against that. Other times, there is the issue of funding.

When we have a project to execute, we usually find it quite challenging to raise funds to meet our budget. We navigate the security challenges by trying to do as much as possible what we can in areas that are safe. For the funding, we try as much as possible to cut down our budget or improve efforts on fundraising

Fatima Mohammed Habib

My Thoughts On The Development And Advocacy Sector And What  Stakeholders Should  Do Better

Stakeholders can do more with the regulations in the sector. Founders should be vetted before giving the necessary license or registration documents to start. This is to protect against people who set up non-profits to enrich themselves. Stakeholders should set more regulations to protect the humanitarian development space from being flooded by people who don’t have the appropriate aim.

Thematic Areas My Organization Cover

Currently, we work in the areas of health, education, and the environment. In the aspect of education, we’ve assisted many people. We have given scholarships and we recently built a school with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and Huawei Technologies Nigeria. We just completed the building of a charity school – primary to secondary levels.

How I Am  Using My Organization To Create Room For Women In The Community

About thousand of people’s lives have been impacted and shaped by my foundation as we have been able to give children their right education by enrolling them in schools and funding their education. We have done a lot of fundraising on social media platforms and also a television in providing hospital expenses to people with special disabilities ( Vulnerable members of society).

Read Also: 16 Inspiring Nigerian Women Making A Difference In Canada

Periodically, I visit the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Maiduguri and hold discussion sessions with some of our targets where we talk out the problems faced by them. This leads to the curing of trauma and depression amongst the vulnerable members in the various camps we visited. I recently started the advocacy on Sexual exploitation. We advocate making these victims become stronger, and more well-informed so that despite the daunting challenge they could be able to speak up and change the face of the world.

Fatima Mohammed Habib

Women Who Inspire Me

1. Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu
2. Hajiya Laraba Shuaibu

Other Projects And Activities

For health, we are assisting people who can’t pay their hospital bills. So, we post it online mostly. In 2018, the then-minister of health saw some of our posts and made sure that one of the boys we were assisting was given the care he needed.  As for the environment, you know the northeastern part of the country has been prone to conflicts, especially Maiduguri. We have been providing aid in IDP camps and communities affected by criminalities.

In the area of sanitation, we provide boreholes. For the females, we sensitize them to child sexual exploitation and provide them with sanitary pads to enhance their menstrual hygiene among others. That is water sanitation and hygiene.

My Work-Life Balance Routine

I understand that to whom much is given, a lot is expected. I have never taken the privilege I have for granted. I try to be as very organized as possible. Whatever I do, I plan adequately for it. Anything that comes up later that is not in my plan, initially, I try to see if some plans can make way for it. If they are all priorities, I postpone or discard them as appropriate.

Being  a Woman Of Rubies

I am very ambitious. Supporting and encouraging people to pursue their own goals and dreams, I make my own as well. I have a vision for my future and chase after it with voracity.

Follow Fatima Mohammed  Habib on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to see more of her work.

Dr. Abosede Lewu is an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist(@naijaobgyndoctor), Development Practitioner, Girls and Womens right and education advocate and an aspiring author. She is the founder of Girlsaide Initiative , an NGO focused on girls, women and underserved communities. Girlsaide Initiative is currently implementing several project around sexual and reproductive health and contributing towards achieving the SDGs.
Abosede has over 15 years experience on adolescent based issues with her interest and passion spanning back to her undergraduate years. She was a member, secretary and vice president of Action Group on Adolescent Health (AGAH) under the Campaign Against Unwanted pregnancy during her undergraduate years.
She actively serves as a facilitator, volunteer and mentor to several young people with numerous organizations.
She is a Mandela Washington Fellow (Young African Leadership Initiative) a flagship program by President Barrack Obama recognizing Young Africans showing leadership skill and improving lives and their communities.
She is an alumnus of University of Maiduguri, where she graduated with Honours.
She is continuously learning with various certifications such as Nonprofit Executive Program: Mendoza Business School from University of Notre Dame USA, Community health for all through Primary Health Care from John Hopkins University and Basics of Health Economics from World Bank Institute. She is a Member, West African College of Surgeons and Member, National Postgraduate Medical College.
She is happily married with children.
She shares her inspiring story in this exclusive interview with Esther Ijewere

Growing Up

Yes, my childhood definitely did. We nearly lost our mother during childbirth of one of my younger siblings. As a kid then, I saw the doctors that saved her as angels that gave me back my mother and really wanted to be able to do the same for other families. Growing up was interesting, we are 5 kids, I am the second born and first daughter, my parents were civil servants and we travelled a lot due to my father’s work, this had made me make friends all over the country. I am also one of those lucky girls, my father and mother raised us to be ambitious and fearless, growing up, i never saw myself as someone that could not do anything i set out my mind to do

Inspiration behind Girlsaide Initiative

I was inspired to start girlsaide because of the experiences and cases I saw as a medical student and  medical doctor. Young girls and women presenting with life threatening and sometimes, life taking complications that could have been prevented.

I also noticed a disconnect between parents and their adolescent daughters and decided to create a platform that allows the girls, women and the communities they live in to thrive.

The Journey so far

It’s been enlightening  and challenging at the same time. I have learned and stretched beyond my greatest imagination. It has also become an amazing platform for me to meet a lot of changemakers nationally and internationally.

It has evolved to include projects such as ‘Get a Pap Campaign to reduce Cervical Cancer, to Keep All Mothers Alive project to prevent maternal and perinatal deaths and our COVID19 response. Some others focused on parents with adolescent daughters girls and those leaving to obtain higher education.  We keep evolving  to address issues affecting our niche. It has made me more of a  development practitioner

Being an Obstetrician , Gynecologist, Girl child advocate, wife and mom , and managing it all

Sometimes I can’t explain how I juggle all but let me try. Once you realise balance is in constant motion, you do what is most important at each time.

So sometimes you have to prioritise being a mother and a wife above all, then sometimes you have to prioritise your work and your calling.

I also enjoy an amazing support system on the home front and my whole family, we plan together even before rolling out. This gives me confidence that when balance seems to be tilting towards work, they are in good hands. Shout out and thank you to my Hubby and the whole family. I also have an amazing inner circle of friends and team members. The advocacy and community work we do has become a team work and that makes sharing of roles and duties easier and more effective.

There is also my ultimate joker, the God factor, he is my ultimate muscle

Inspiration behind  @naijaobgyndoctor  platform , and it’s impact since inception

It still boils down to my experiences. People call me everyday on different health challenges, myths, avoidable complications and I am always surprised by how much misinformation that is out there. Also with the mass migration of health workers to outside shores, the number of specialists to people population is getting lesser. How about people that cannot access me directly or other doctors. I decided to give it a try.

The impact in this short time across my social media platform has been amazing. I have been able to provide consultations, referral services to women and families. I am also actively engaging influencers to demystify and educate  through healthy conversations around health and well being.

I also noticed a lack of support for women who have had miscarriages, stillbirths or lost a child and launched RAINBOW BLOOMS to support them. The uptake of that has also been phenomenal.

The Society  and it’s level of awareness  on issues centered around adolescents, and the right of the girl child

Society is not as well informed as it should be on adolescent issues or girl child issues. Most of this  results from the underestimation of their minds and capability and not realising that youthfulness is a strength.

Another issue affecting this information is that some people are not willing to embrace the fact that the roles, dreams and aspirations of girls have changed so they will rather keep upcoming girls uninformed so as to maintain status quo.

Things are however changing, it may not be as fast as we hope for but there is a forward movement especially with organisations like yours and ours and other advocates continuously pushing the conversations that engage adolescents and girls.

On young girls who need a listening ear, but scared to open up 

A problem shared is a problem half solved. This really frustrates me especially with regards to their reproductive health and cases of drug abuse. When girls get into trouble, only few have the confidence and the kind of relationship it takes to walk up to their parents and guardians to talk to them instead they  go to their friends who don’t know so much.  I implore them to please speak up. The fear you have is not as big as the trouble you can get into with wrong advice. Deliberately seek out your parents to also build a solid relationship with them, as  young girls, they may not believe this, but they are not your enemy, don’t lock them out. If this does not work, look within your family and find a responsible confidant

Challenges of being girl child advocate

Sometimes, you meet people who feel that the girl child issues have been talked about too much and we should all move on. A stronger challenge comes from the gate keepers of culture and tradition who want things to continue as they are, girls not going to school, marrying them off young, ostracizing teenage mothers, not paying attention to their menstrual health etc. This can be frustrating especially when they are women.

The challenge of explaining and defining the real meaning of feminism and gender equity is also there.

 3 women who inspire you to be better and why

My mother; She inspires me through her intelligence, resilience, love for God and her forgiving spirit, she is truly a gem

Mrs Amina J Mohammed

Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. She has been an exemplary Diplomat and politician. I admire her  greatly and all she has achieved and represents

Mrs Folorunsho  Alakija

She is a ceiling breaker, she has excelled and achieved global recognition in a tough field. She also  gives back a lot through her foundations and programs

There are many more women who all inspire me to reach for the stars

Being a Woman of Rubies

I am a woman of rubies because I am innovative, solution oriented,  not observing rather I am actively working to provide solutions to problems affecting my gender and community

Nuggets on how Girls can protect themselves during the Pandemic

Protect yourself from COVID19 by practicing all safety measures; stay home, wash your hands, use cloth masks when needed, maintain social distance. Protect yourself from dangers that can arise due to COVID19; don’t succumb to negative peer pressure, don’t experiment with bad stuff just because you are at home and bored. If you feel unwell speak to your parents and guardians, please do not self medicate for any condition you may be experiencing. This too shall pass.

NAIJA OBGYN DOCTOR is a health service provision entity that focuses on women, all health services related to them especially sexual and reproductive health.


I want to use this opportunity to call on the government at all levels, private sector leaders and philanthropists to make  investment in health a top priority and know that only healthy citizens can create and maintain wealth and build the economy.


Follow on IG @naijaobgyndoctor

Follow on Twitter @NaijaObgyn



 – Says Government need to set up Mental health facilities and distress lines as soon as possible….

One of the downsides of the present change the world is experiencing because of the Coronavirus pandemic is the effect it would have on the mental health of so many people globally. Many have never been in situations where they have to stay in one place and not move around. While the social distancing and lockdown is a necessary safety measure to flatten the curve of COVID virus, we also need to create mental safe space for everyone.

Rinret Gofwan shares her thoughts on this. She is a behavioural change therapist, licensed trauma therapist, a certified emotional intelligence coach who specialises in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Advanced Training for Trauma Treatment of complex PTSD, overcoming compassion fatigue with professional resiliency, trauma and addiction.

Rinret is a University of Abuja Trained Communicator and Psychologist from the University of Jos, and a Sociologist From the University of Maiduguri with a Masters in International Relations and Strategic Studies. She is also the founding director at the Miriam Gofwan Women and Children Foundation. She shares her inspiring story while giving us an insight on how coronavirus will affect the mental health of people globally.

Growing up
Growing up as an only child, I was spoilt with everything. Looking back, I was an over-pampered child. My late mum wanted me to have everything life had to offer until she passed on. So at 16 years, I was alone, I didn’t know how to wash my clothes; it was at that moment life welcomed me. I had to start learning and I had to adapt and survive.

Inspiration behind Miriam Gofwan Women and Children Foundation and its impact
I always get this question and I’m always trying to figure out which life lesson to start with.  Is it being accused of witchcraft, being abused and raped or almost losing my life in an accident? All these alongside my near-death experience inspired me to start the organisation. I disconnected from reality and built a personality. I couldn’t face my life as it was, suffered from pain and disassociating (disconnecting-from reality and couldn’t feel anything). I was fortunate to meet my mentors, Innocent and Talatu Usar, who God used to pull me through that phase of my life.

Being a Behavioural Change Therapist, Certified EI Coach, Trained Communicator and managing it all
Well when you are addicted to finding ways to heal, you will stumble into many training. In my trauma healing work, I need to be equipped with the right tools that would help in healing, so I committed myself to learn. You know people respond differently to trauma; what might be traumatic to someone might not be to you. How we react and respond to traumatic events are different. With this in mind, I went into learning and this has helped me understand my clients and knowing what tool to use in any case we have at the Foundation and the wellbeing hub.

What inspired me to start the pan-Nigeria healing room and the wellbeing hub for professionals
You see, the pain has no gender, no religion, no status no tribe, no class. Pain does not choose who feels it, we ALL feel pain; either from losing a loved one, loss of our childhood, abuse of any kind (verbal, emotional and physical) heartbreaks, disappointment, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, accusation or any traumatic experience. We are constantly trying to deal with these emotional issues and staking them side by side.

When emotions are over-staked and thoughts can’t be controlled, we need to devise methods to help. That’s how the Healing Room and the hub for professionals started; to enlighten, help and give professionals a place to go seek for help. The Healing Room became a place we go to sort out all these stacked up emotions, a no-judgment zone where you speak up and get healed. Coming to the healing room to some is like coming for medical checks monthly or weekly. To others, it is like coming to take vaccines to reset their minds; to some, it’s coming for medications in each session. To some, it is a place to support others who are in pain. To some, it is a place to hang out and stay emotionally healthy with proper guidelines.
Above all, it is a place of restoring wholeness for professionals.

Mental health effect of coronavirus pandemic and what can we do as a society to sensitise people
The first thing is to encourage people to stay calm, already I have many clients who are suffering from depression and anxiety because of the situation and we kicked off online group sessions to help them.

The truth is, being isolated is not healthy for people who are not used to such serenity, or people who have had a history of depression. What mental health practitioners can do right now is to start using technology and phone calls to help manage their clients, I have started on my end and I hope many more will go that route. The government would need to leverage on technology to also enable people to get first-hand mental health help online, by providing distress numbers to call. This will make a lot of difference.

Wellness nuggets for women who don’t know how to slam the breaks and detox
You see, mental and emotional wellbeing is an important part of our overall health. Women who are mentally and emotionally healthy are more in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Women need to understand how to master their emotions and know how to be balanced in all seven dimensions of wellbeing, which are social, emotional, spiritual, environmental, occupational, Intellectual and physical. Stress is the feeling of being under too much pressure and feeling unable to cope with situations. Women who are constantly affected by stress in different ways end up getting sick and over time, ending up with mental health and physical issues.

Here are some things women can do to help reduce stress, constantly and instantly, over a period time:
Learning how to say NO, breathe; learn to relax your mind and body, try breathing exercises that can calm you down when under stress, exercise, get Spa dates to help release tension. Sleep – try to go to bed and wake up at a good time, laughing to relieve stress, talk- open up to someone you trust about your problems, and surround yourself with people who inspire you.

Challenges of Being a Mental Health Advocate
Mental health stigma, our justice systems, religious believes around mental health issues, funding for the foundation, consistency in following the therapy processes, the high rate of people in rural areas who are not aware of mental health issues, and how poverty has made them turn all issues of mental health to spiritual issues, the deliverance centers where they beat and abuse those with behavioural issues instead of therapy homes and the lack of mental health therapy centers.


Other projects and activities
We are currently working with some government agencies to launch and fix our sanitary pad boxes across the country in communities and public schools. We have opened our sanitary bank where we receive sanitary pads for distribution to schools and communities. We are opening more healing room therapy groups in five other states. We designed some trauma-informed course outlines to help schools and organizations. We recently just opened the wellbeing hub in Abuja, where we attend to clients who want private therapy and want trauma-informed trainings and care for their schools and organisations.

What makes you a Woman of Rubies
For me the stone ruby is also believed to protect self and others from negative entities that bring positive energy, promoting spiritual vitality and wellness. Now this describes the woman I have become- a strong woman who has gone through a lot and survived, coming out beautiful, standing strong and helping thousands of men and women. Now, that describes me!

As a counselor of repute and certified Trauma specialist, do you think the Nigerian Government has done enough in the Mental Health sector? If not, what would you suggest they do better?
I believe the government can do more by setting up more mental health facilities and rehabilitation centers; creating awareness around mental health issues and the stigma around it; reforming the justice process in rape cases and how evidence is processed; setting up therapy session and mental health training for our men and women in uniform; creating a safe working environment for women and young girls to speak up, not be shamed and judged; including mental health sessions in our school curriculums, and making sure we have sanitary pads and the boxes hanging everywhere in the country.