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Toyin Saraki At Forbes 400 Summit, Discusses Global Problem With Warren Buffet, Muhammad Yunus, Others

By Henry Ibya, Abuja

It was a huge honour for former First Lady of Kwara State and Founder/President, The Wellbeing Foundation, Africa, a non-governmental organisation, Mrs. Toyin Saraki on Wednesday when she was one of the select few 200 participants at the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, held in New York.

At the gathering of the world’s biggest givers, Mrs. Saraki co-captained a high-level problem-solving group together with esteemed American entrepreneur, Jay Walker.

At the group, Rajesh Panjabi and Peter Luckow, CEO and COO respectively of Tiyatien Health, a Liberian health charity, presented their growth challenges in scaling up their flagship projects which bring health services to remote communities and will reach 1.5 million people in the next five years. Mrs Saraki was sought out to co-captain the workshop due to her experience in growing The Wellbeing Foundation into a pan-African maternal, newborn and child health empowerment organisation.

Mrs Saraki spoke of her own start in public health. Her advice to Rajesh Panjabi and Peter Lucklow was to build and utilise partnerships and global support. She said: “I look at you two and see myself. When my husband became a governor and I started seeing villages like the one where you two are working, I encourage you to seek partnerships. The easiest way for a startup to grow is the strength of global partnerships.”

The Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy 2013 provided an avenue for some of the world’s most prominent entrepreneurs, business leaders, and innovators in the field of development, to find effective strategies and solutions to the world’s most challenging issues.

This year’s theme focused on tackling extreme poverty. Two hundred global thought leaders including Bill Gates, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, and singer Bono gathered to use their success and results-driven-mindset to solve the world’s most intractable problems. Muhammad Yunus, Founder of the renownedGrameen Bank and Yunus Centre, was honoured with a Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship. Berkshire Hathaway CEO, Warren Buffet was also celebrated for his work and received the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Philanthropy.

As a prominent pan-African maternal, newborn and child health empowerment organisation, The Wellbeing Foundation Africa advocates for the empowerment of women, the improvement of public health systems, and the reduction of maternal and child mortality rates across Africa.

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa has been highly active in taking a leading role on the global stage in forging a path for African based philanthropy to address African based development challenges.

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa was a member of a core cadre of organisations who formed to create the African Philanthropy Forum (APF). APF will serve as a regional affiliate of the international network, the Global Philanthropy Forum, and will work to enact development policies and practices to promote equitable growth and inclusive development across Africa.

The Wellbeing Foundation Africa has been a leading advocate of the United Nations’ Every Women Every Child (EWEC) initiative, as well as the United Nations Commission on Life-saving Commodities for Women and Children’s Health, and the Foundation has been proactive in the implementation of the solutions by increasing access to life-saving commodities such as safe delivery kits and client-held personal health records (PHRs), as well as innovative demand-creation to drive maximal impact of MNCH interventions.

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