Promoting the Education, Literacy, and Empowerment of Girls in Nigeria
Kate Ekanem is a writer and a Girls’ Rights Activist. Born in Etinan in 1994, she relocated with her father to Lagos two years later following the death of her mother. She started writing at the age of five and today, has a number of publications to her name. Her first travel story, ‘Journey from Kora-Le Berlin’ with the ‘Derive’ crew, Austria, was published online in 2012. It has been translated into French, and other languages. Her works have also been published on Tru Applause Magazine, Pulse Magazine and Huffington Post.
In 2016, she was the runner-up of the Queens Young Leaders Award by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth of England. She is a US Carrington Fellow, a Vital Lady of The Vital Initiative Africa. A Deutsche Welle Scholar and the first Nigerian to represent African Union at the Global Girl20 Summit, Turkey. She is also the founder of Kate Tales Foundation. Girl20 is under the umbrella of the G20 summit, a global summit that selects 27-girl leaders between the age of 18-23 from different countries around the world to represent their country or continent with the aim of assisting the G20 leaders with a communiqué that would help them achieve their goals of creating 100 million jobs for women by 2020.
Kate has been actively involved in community services since I was eighteen years old. Her life’s struggle has provided the energy to step out, tell her story powerfully and in doing so, help the girl child deal with social challenges like physical and emotional abuses, discrimination and lack of access to education that confront them daily. Having left home early, Kate started an initiative where she could freely speak up on behalf of girls going through such experience. From, small gatherings in Lagos, she started receiving invitations to speak at conferences across Nigeria and internationally. In 2015, she was chosen out of 3000 girls across Africa to represent the African Union in Istanbul Turkey. No Nigerian has ever been chosen since its inception in 2009.
“I know what it feels like to rise in the morning and have nothing to eat. I know what it feels like to have an unending burning question, but dare not ask, because girls were not supposed to talk when the other gender was talking. I understand that feeling of heavy humiliation that comes with being sent home from school because your parent cannot afford the school tuition. I know the feeling of depression that comes with having the desire to read books but there is no public library or reading centre in your community. I understand the frustration that arises when as a teen, you are studying for an exam and power supply goes off on you in the dark of the night. I have lived in darkness. I have felt hunger. I have been immensely depressed, and I know, I understand what it means to be a girl, before a woman, in a rural community.
Her foundation works to address these by making sure rural communities have access to education through scholarships and mentorship programs. Since the beginning of the program in 2012, Ekanem has empowered thousands, Nigerian girls and women, with entrepreneurial skills and confidence through 20 different projects. The foundation has multiple goals including leadership and entrepreneur roles and literary and artistic development for women. These are achieved through workshops and books donations in schools, talks and symposiums, exhibitions where women artists can share and sell their artwork. All of this is in addition to scholarships available for less privileged secondary school students in Nigeria.
Kate Ekanem is currently enrolled at Muhlenberg College, where she navigates between classes, assignments, meetings, deadlines, project creations, and continues to run her organization, checking up on her teams, and media projects, daily.
Akwa Ibom Celebrates her irrepressible spirit.