Homecoming – A Letter to RLabs Nigeria
At our soft launch for the RLabs Nigeria hub last week and Thursday, we were wooed by the wise woman that is Mrs Maryam Uwais. Also known as Ma Maryam, a real-life superwoman, she is a name partner at Wali Uwais & Co. and was the Special Advisor to the former President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari. She is also a human rights activist with more than 36 years of practice in the courts of Nigeria, fighting all sorts of injustices, but most notably for the liberation, protection and empowerment of women and children in Nigeria.
This larger-than-life character, with her solicingly maternal presence, keenly introduced us to the Nigerian civil society in Yaba, Lagos. The picture she painted of the organisation was more than enough to ensure our Nigerian team at our Yaba office is widely supported in what they are about to undertake.
She said: “By understanding the needs and aspirations of communities … pioneers like RLabs have been able to develop solutions that have a direct, positive impact on people’s lives. This virtuous cycle has the potential to create a ripple effect, spurring further innovations and leading to a snowball effect of positive change in society.”
Who can refute this statement when based on the observation and experience of such an experienced, and deeply invested heroine? She has not only given RLabs her blessing to pursue a grand social impact project in her beloved homeland but has also practically given us the keys to the country, so to speak. Her influence in the realm of social investment means that we can expect everyone in that space to desire a synergistic relationship with RLabs Nigeria.
To increase our chances of being approached by serious collaborators, she also reminded everyone, as well as illuminated our understanding, of the state of the Nigerian youth populous. “Having been in the social sector space for over 4 decades now,” she says, “I cannot overemphasise just how critical these existing and emerging opportunities are for us, as Nigerians. Given our population, estimated currently at about 223 million, with a 53% youth unemployment rate, RLabs has come to THE destination, for desired impact.”
She has made our case and reminded everyone of the sheer need that exists in the country. One could say that the way has been pridefully paved by this mighty woman, to get off to a good start, and also make a large-scale impact there.
We are now looking to build on this foundation she has laid and foster the empowerment of communities and the creation of technologies. We aim to encourage the creation of these technologies, for these communities, by these communities. To paraphrase the sentiments of our CEO, Rene Parker, those people experiencing the problem know the problem better than any of us, and they can find the most targeted possible solutions. They just need to be given the tools and the opportunities to do so.
We are immeasurably appreciative of Ma Maryam’s contribution to our collective efforts of impacting 2 billion people by 2023 and kickstarting the development of our Nigerian social ecosystem. Her efforts and blessings will go a long way toward helping us realise our goal.
So it is with heartfelt thanks, and a deep sense of gratitude, that we salute and celebrate her heart for people, her accomplishments in her field, and the tangible impact she has made on the whole social sector in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
Without characters like Ma Maryam, we cannot do what we do at the scale we are looking to do it at. She is a vital link in the chain that supports the heft of this undertaking. Without her, this simply couldn’t transpire the way we require.
So, let’s vividly remember her name when our cause succeeds out there, and attribute the success of it to the strong foundations laid by her, and the ecosystemic network she’s unlocked.
If she is reading this, and we certainly hope she does, then we’ll say…
Thank you, Ma Maryam. You are wonderfully admired and deeply appreciated!
If you would like to read the full speech by Mrs. Uwais please click on the link below: