Profiles

How Funke Adeniji’s Intiative Is Empowering Women Through Sports Across Africa

   

The Women Elite Sports Empowerment Initiative (WESIE) was founded in 2012 by Miss Funke E. Adeniji who began playing basketball in her teens and was able to overcome a series of athletic and personal challenges to work her way up from collegiate level basketball in the UK to division 1, the UK’s premiere league for women.  Her hunger to learn and improve as a player led to a brief stint in Australia, after which she returned to the UK to play for the Sheffield Hatters whom she helped win back to back championships.

 

Whilst experiencing some success, the series of challenges she faced on her journey led her to conclude that many women have limited options and opportunities to achieve their full potential as players; this realization would change her life forever. She decided to set up WESIE and qualify as a basketball coach with the aim of creating opportunities on and off the court for female athletes to achieve their full potential.

Her experience as a clinical pharmacist with an interest in Global Health Policies has also made her especially sensitive to current health challenges being faced by millions across the globe within the context of struggling health care systems, especially across Africa. While attending an international health conference she realized that she could easily combine her efforts to help women excel in sport whilst creating a platform upon which to improve the health and wellbeing of participants and their wider communities, starting with Nigeria.  There is an immense passion for WESIE events in Nigeria and they have become an effective health intervention tool there.  Nigerian women, and African women as a whole, face the same challenges that women in sports all over the world face but the problems are magnified due to weaker infrastructure and a lack of government support. By creating local opportunities for these women to excel and reap the full benefits of sports within their own communities WESIE is empowering these women in their communities.  Many of the young women who participate are considered  a high risk group for diseases such as HIV so WESIE events have served as an effective  mobilising and interactive tool to deliver health & well-being messages.

WESIE was founded with the motto ‘To Inspire, Empower, and Enable’ to encourage communities to live healthy and productive lives, the WESIE founder recently published ‘Truth About Health Exposed’ a holistic health guide to support people in their quest to live healthy. Alongside it she hosts a podcast called ‘The Ma Titia Podcast’ under the name of “Ma Titia” (which means teacher in the Efik tribe of Nigeria), in which she addresses trending topics in health as well as the issues outlined in her book. Proceeds of the book and related activities will go towards furthering the WESIE vision and outreach capacity.

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