Work, Family And Lifestyle Balance Is A Must’
Bountiful Taiwo Adelanwa is the founder of Bountiful Foundation, a non-profit, non-political organisation which she started in 2007 to realise her passion for poverty reduction and creation of a better Nigeria. She spoke with DEBO OLADIMEJI on her career and interest in human development.
BOUNTIFUL Taiwo Adelanwa was motivated to set up Bountiful Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO) because of her passion to make better individuals, better families, communities, organisations, nations and ultimately, a better world that will ensure global peace. For now, she is running the NGO with her personal funds, support from friends and families even as she sources for corporate sponsors.
“What we want to do is to reach out to more people. Our target audiences are youths and women; active population between ages 17 to 50 years. We keep having people in their 50s and 60s joining our programme,” she said.
Born in Agege, Lagos, by the late Pa Taiwo and Deaconess Oluwakemi Tejumade from Yewa area of Ogun State, Bountiful Taiwo had a Christian family background, with lots of discipline from her mother who always pleaded with her children to be focused and set high standards that will make them to have a great future.
“We had to pray every morning to commit the day into God’s hands. We were taught to study and to share the Bible with our neighbours. Yet, it was a polygamous family; my dad had four wives. I am fourth from my mum, out of five children.”
She attended Akilo Primary School, Ogba Asade, Agege, Lagos; Baptist Girls’ College, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta; Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye where she read Microbiology; Lagos State University, Ojo (for her Masters). She bagged B.Sc in Microbiology at OOU, and had her Masters in Social Work at Lagos State University (LASU).
“My parents wanted me to read Medicine because I was very brilliant but I settled for Microbiology. I attempted to go for Medicine later through direct entry after my first degree, but at about that time my boss, where I was working as a graduate assistant (in the medical laboratory), advised that I would do well in Social Work and management consulting than Medicine. We did some analysis and we found out I was pursuing medicine to satisfy my urge but I will fulfill my main passion of caring and providing solution to people’s problem in Social Work than Medicine. So I went for my Masters in Social Work,” she reminisced.
She recalled that after she had made up her mind to go for her Masters in Social Work, she decided to look for a good non-governmental organisation to learn more about humanitarian work.
“I searched for an active foundation with credibility. I applied to MTN Foundation but I was advised to apply to Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN) and FATE Foundation. I googled the two suggested organizations. The next day, I applied to FATE Foundation as a volunteer, having preferred their operation and their target audience who are youths and entrepreneurs over that of JAN that works with children.”
She revealed that within three months as a volunteer, she got full employment with FATE Foundation where she learnt a lot from what she described as a wonderful team that provided great opportunities for her to express and to develop her passion for human development and wealth creation.
“There, I worked with the business support unit, providing business training support and solution to entrepreneurs, visiting them in their businesses in different locations within and outside Lagos, audit training sessions and later I was promoted as Project Coordinator for Samsung Real Dream project – a Samsung Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme for Africa till I resigned to work in grassroots and indigenous communities, partnering with other local actors, foundations such as T.H.E foundation and several community based organisations.”
In her passion for human and communities development, she recalled that she did a research on the living conditions and lifestyles of economically active grassroots populations with Agege as a case study.
“We found out that people model their lifestyles by what they see. So I started ‘Mentoring Timeout With Bountiful’ as a free platform to give back to the society what I have learnt and also gain certain things from my participants.
“I have been engaging youths through youth associations for over 10 years. We thank God for the overwhelming results and impacts. So, we believe through the mentoring platform that I’ll reach out to more people particularly outside my locality. “’Mentoring Timeout With Bountiful’ is a value re-orientation programme that is planned to run on television but I started with what I have for now as a live session, since I can’t afford to do a studio recording yet. And it’s yielding results.”
She recalled that she did a research in 2004 with Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Lagos through the British Council and found out that every bus conductor on the road wanted to live a better life.
“But in the quest of searching for a dignified life, they take to what they are doing, which is working as bus conductors and with that they are exposed to many adverse conditions, and they find if difficult to live a dignified life. A miscreant that is not taken care of will become a social problem for the rich.”
She said she is now bringing people together to give them an opportunity to express and rediscover themselves.
“After the main programme, some people always come to see us for counseling and coaching. After working for 12 to 15 years, we can say we have produced role models and graduates. One of them from the East, who later became a chartered accountant after graduating with a Second Class Upper from Babcock University. He was a laptop repairer at Computer Village, Lagos.
“I have been working with Elephant Club of Ogba for the past 15 years. We were able to re-orientate the group from wasteful spending during carnival, into doing something for the community, like organising community football matches. Through that we have produced many good players.”
Bountiful Taiwo says she is doing what she is doing to add her little quota to the development of the society; to communicate with the less privileged.
She recalled how she met her hubby, Prince Adekunle Adelanwa at Panseke Bus Stop, Abeokuta in the early hours of Sunday, May 9, 1999.
“I was in a taxi and I saw a man’s frame that resembled my ideal future partner. So, I peeped out of the car to look well. Behold, it was a familiar face. So, I beckoned on him from the moving cab to say “Hi” and he waved for the driver to stop the car. I gladly alighted and found out it was a close resemblance of someone in my neighbourhood in Agege, Lagos.
“We exchanged greetings and I found out that he is a brother to the person I thought I saw. Unknown to me, my hubby had been eyeing me in the neighbourhood, and we became friends. I saw him as a big brother who I trusted so much, confided a lot in him, until he proposed to me. The marriage is blessed with three boys – one set of twins and a little boy.”
She noted that her husband is not only an understanding man but also supportive. “I map out my daily schedules and take them by their order of priority. Work, family and lifestyle balance is a must”.
She urged the young and upcoming to follow their passions and success will follow. “My life has been influenced by Funmi Iyanda and Abike Dabri Erewa for being a source of inspiration to women,” she noted.