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Nigeria’s Anike Lawal, Others Win $10m From Facebook

By Dipo Olowookere

Winners have emerged in the Facebook Community Leadership Programme (FCLP) and a Nigerian, Anike Lawal, an FLCP Fellow who set up an online health and wellness community known as Mamalette, is among them.

FCLP is made up of community leaders in residence, fellows and youth participants, supporting more than 100 individuals from 46 countries representing communities of varying topics and goals from civic engagement to health and wellness.

The FCLP is designed to give participants from around the world the support, tools, funding and the belief in themselves that they need to best lead their communities.

“Community leaders play a critical role in bringing people closer together. Many of these leaders turn to Facebook, WhatsApp and Messenger to create these connections, and often tell us that they could have more impact with additional support, better tools and access to funding.

“We created the Facebook Community Leadership Program to empower these leaders who are building communities around the world. Today, we’re announcing the 115 people who have been selected into the program as community leaders in residence, fellows or youth participants,” Ime Archibong, Vice President, Product Partnerships said.

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Commenting on her Community Group, Anike said: “When I got pregnant for the first time, I looked for online communities for mothers in Nigeria and didn’t find any at the time.

“Initially I had no clue on how to start an online community. The most important thing I learnt before I started was that Facebook was a good tool to build and grow communities. So, I set up a Facebook page over five years ago and later a group, to help pregnant women and new mothers connect with each other and have their numerous questions answered.

“Since then, we have evolved to helping to reduce the preventable deaths of mothers and children. Of the 830 mothers who die every day giving birth, 550 of them are in Africa. I am now training and equipping mothers recruited through Facebook as health champions to provide women with support and crucial health information.”

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Since announcing the programme in February, Facebook received more than 6,000 applications from all over the world. A selection committee, which included employees as well as community experts from outside of Facebook, reviewed each application to identify leaders with a strong, clear and committed vision for their community.

Five participants were selected as community leaders in residence, who will each be awarded up to $1 million to fund their community initiative. The final amount received will be determined based on final budget proposal created and submitted by each resident as part of their program training.

The five who were selected are Noah Nasiali (Kenya) who has brought more than 100,000 farmers across Africa together online in less than a year; Adhunika Prakash (India) who built a community of more than 80,000 people in India who can offer and receive support throughout their various stages of the breastfeeding journey; Christian Delachet (France) co-founder of the Wanted Community, a place for people to offer daily support and mutual help to their neighbours both online and in real life; Latasha Morrison (USA) who equips the next generation to lead the way to racial reconciliation in the US as well as Paula Pfeifer (BRAZIL), who is involved in breaking the social isolation caused by hearing loss by creating a community with others who share her experience.

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The programme will also include more than 100 fellows and youth participants who will receive up to $50,000 each to be used for their community initiative. This group includes leaders with diverse perspectives from different parts of the world, but they share a common goal of helping their communities thrive.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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