Olaotan (‘Ola’) Awoyomi is a recent graduate of the African Leadership Academy. Like the ALA’s other students, she demonstrated great potential during her younger years; however, it was only after enrolling at this school that she truly began to come into her own, and discover where her true talents lay. With the help of a fellow student named Steve Bob Oluoch, she set up a very successful catering business, which led to her winning the silver award for Entrepreneurial Achievement. Anyone who is familiar with the ALA, like Tunde Folawiyo, will understand what an honour it is to receive this prize.
Despite being kept busy with this enterprise, Ola continued to study hard and did exceptionally well academically, even getting one of her research papers published in the academy’s scientific journal. In addition to this, she was a member of the ALA’s electoral body, and served as the school prefect. Her excellent grades, coupled with her obvious entrepreneurial skills, are what led to Ola being named as one of the five students to be accepted into Duke University, through the MasterCard Foundation Scholarship programme.
This programme is a ten-year, $500 million initiative designed to provide students from Africa with the support they need to become the world’s future leaders. It offers young people from disadvantaged backgrounds access to the best universities, so that they can have a positive impact on their communities in the years to come. In total, this programme will help at least 15,000 youths to participate in higher education. It’s founders have chosen to focus on African students, as this continent is currently experiencing unprecedented levels of growth, yet is facing the lowest ever rates of enrolment in secondary and third level education.
Duke University was given $13.5 million from the MasterCard Foundation, in order to fund scholarships for students like Ola, and give them the necessary resources to educate themselves. In an interview, Ola explained that she intends to use the knowledge and qualifications she will gain at Duke to improve the health care system in Nigeria, her home country. She intends to major in Management and Economics, obtain her global health certificate, and minor in French. She is particularly passionate about improving resource allocation, as she believes that this is one of the core issues which affect the health care sector. This is a fact which most people, including Tunde Folawiyo, are probably aware of.
Folawiyo is an entrepreneur who, like Ola, is also from Nigeria. You can find out more about him by reading the Tunde Folawiyo online CV.