Lois Auta

Founder and Executive Director

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Lois Auta – The Thisabled Amazon, hails from Kagoro, Kaura Local Government of Kaduna State. She was affected by polio at age two but she sees her disability as a bridge not a barricade to impact many lives and she also believes that disability does not define her but her ability does. Lois is a graduate of Public Administration from University of Abuja. She is a support staff with NNPC from September 2010 till date at Central Transport Services Section (CTSS) under Group Admin Services Department. She is a 2014 Mandela Washington Fellow, 2016 Ashoka Changemaker and a Finalist at Aso Villa Demo Day. Former Vice President of Mandela Washington Fellowship Alumni Association Nigeria (MWFAAN) Lois was elected as Vice President of African Change makers Network in June 2017, Board Member – Potters Gallery Initiative, Board Member – Southern Kaduna Emergency Relief Initiative (SKERI). A mentor with MasterCard Foundation, Baobab Foundation and Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme. Lois Auta has placed Nigeria on the global map by being the only Nigerian selected as a young global leader in 2017, after the induction of class of 2017 in Argentina Lois realised she is the first disabled African woman to be named a young global leader of the world economic forum in April 2017. This is very huge for disability community in Nigeria and Africa.

Lois Auta is the founder and Executive Director of Cedar Seed Foundation, CSF is a non-profit, non-governmental, non-sectarian, non-partisan, youth-led independent development organization that promotes inclusion and equal opportunities for disabled people. Lois founded CSF with the objective of mainstreaming the issues and concerns of persons with disabilities particularly women, girls and children with disabilities in Nigeria into the national development agenda based on the United Nations Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities (UNCRPD).

Since the inception of Cedar Seed Foundation Lois and her team has impacted thousands of persons with disabilities through her ideas and initiatives. She was the 1st Vice President of the Mandela Washington Fellows Alumni Association, Nigeria Chapter. She has represented persons with disabilities at local and global events.

Lois Auta was the only lady from Northern Nigeria and the only disabled organization among the final 30 organizations that were selected for Aso Villa Demo Day 2016 where she got a handshake and a photograph from President Buhari, Vice President Prof Osinbajo and number 7th richest man in the world the CEO and Founder of Facebook – Mark Zuckerberg on September 02, 2016 at Aso Rock Presidential Villa. It was an amazing and memorable experience for Lois and her team! She was also given an award at Nigerian Rebirth Project by His Imperial Royal Majesty Ooni of Ife on September 20, 2016 as Nigerian Dream Personality Honours at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja. Lois met Michael the CEO of Y Combinator during the fireside chat organized by Ventures Platform on September 27, 2016.

She was also selected as a member of the technical committee for the deliberation and drafting of Nigerian Disability Bill and Vision 20:2020. Lois also emerged the winner of Miss Wheelchair Kaduna State during the First Miss Wheelchair Nigeria Competition in 2010. She was also selected by President Goodluck Jonathan among 100 exceptional youths and invited to Aso Rock Presidential Villa in 2014. Lois represented This-abled People in drafting Youth Declaration Document for President Buhari Administration in the Pre-Summit Youth Consultation on Youth Development on August 11, 2015 for International Youth Day 2015 and was among the team that presented thedocument to President Buhari on International Youth Day at Aso Presidential Villa and had a presidential handshake from President Buhari.

Among the 500 Young African Leaders that were selected to participate in the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) for June/ July 2014 was Lois Auta. Lois had the privilege to get a presidential handshake from President Obama and a hug from Michelle Obama, which was very inspiring. Not only did she receive a handshake from Barack Obama but also from the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari where her achievement on the International Youth Day 2015 were solely recognized on Nigeria’s National news on electronic and print media headlines; an immense honour in other words!

Life after Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) experience in the USA led to better surprise for Lois Auta. She has been mentioned, celebrated, recognized and honoured by Christopher Runyan, a Senior Coordinator of YALI/USAID as one of the inspiring, passionate and hardworking Mandela Washington Fellows in Nigeria among more than one hundred Mandela Washington Fellows in Accra, Ghana at the First Mandela Washington Fellowship Regional Conference (West Africa) in April 2015.

Lois is in fact making things happen by ensuring the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in government policies and programs particularly the 2015 Nigeria’s Election in which she promoted a violence – free election and inclusive election for persons with disabilities in Nigeria. Lois was one of the panelist on the Contributions of Women in Developing West Africa with Christelle Bay Chongwain of Cameroon and Selma Neves of Cape Verde at the Regional Conference. Recently, Lois Auta and her team convened a historic event with US Embassy to move disability issues forward in commemoration of International Day for Persons with Disabilities on December 03, 2015. The event took place at Ekiti Hall, US Embassy Abuja. The US Ambassador to Nigeria – James Entwistle acknowledged my passion and projects towards the inclusion of disability issues in Nigeria. The US Ambassador also shared the American experience on the enactment of a disabilities rights Act, and encouraged the government of Nigeria to provide an enabling environment for persons living with disabilities to achieve their full potentials. The Nigerian Senators that were present made a commitment to ensure that the bill is passed into law this time. In attendance were Distinguish Senator Danjuma Laah and Distinquish Senator Wakili, some members of the house of representative, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu the present GMD of NNPC sent a representative (Steve Douglas) from GPAD to speak on his behalf, national orientation was also present, my friends from disability community and other special guests. It was indeed a memorable event.

As a young physically challenged lady, she has risen above her disability to promote and champion the cause of persons with disabilities. “God knew I could manage it well that’s why He created me this way. I’m proud to be a member of the disability community”. Lois is a role model to every one she encounters, she is a proactive individual who is able to develop, motivate and inspire others to achieve their goals in their lives.

AWARDS RECEIVED

  • House of David, Utako, Abuja, Nigeria, June 2012 — The Most Courageous Member
  • National Wheelchair Tennis Federation, Abuja, Nigeria May 2013 —- Best Female Player/Winner
  • I was among 100 Outstanding Youths selected and celebrated International Youth Day with President Goodluck at Aso Rock Presidential Villa in 2014
  • Linking Sports and Communities, Arizona, USA July 2014 —– (MVP) Most Valuable Player for promoting disabled sports globally.
  • Mandela Washington Fellow, Washington DC – August 2014
  • Award of recognition from Southern Kaduna Peoples Union – January 17, 2015
  • Award of Excellence from Great Alumni Initiative, University of Abuja as the most gritty, strong-willed and tenacious graduate of Public Administration Department in December 05, 2015
  • Award of Excellence from Tribes Magazine Southern Kaduna as Thisabled Amazon in December 19, 2015
  • Ashoka Changemaker Scholar – July 2016
  • Finalist , Aso Villa Demo Day – September 02, 2016
  • Nigeria Rebirth Project – Nigerian Dream Personality Honours by the Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) – September 20th, 2016.
  • Most Active Member of the online global firesidechat community facilitated by Alysia Selberg for global entrepreneurs – September 28, 2016
  • I was profiled on Wikipedia on September 29, 2016
  • I received an award as the second runner up of the Best e-Governance Start-up in the NITDA–Nihilent recognition of nation builders program on November 23, 2016 at International Conference Centre. It was mind blowing when the Vice President of Nigeria Prof Yemi Osinbajo mentioned Cedar Seed Foundation innovative idea during his opening remarks.
  • The Honourable Minister of ICT and Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency were standing with me because of power of innovation.
  • I was listed among the most outstanding 100 people in Northern Nigeria in 2016 on January 07, 2017
  • It was amazing and exciting when Cedar Seed Foundation Founder and Executive Director – Lois Auta has placed Nigeria on the global map and was listed among 2017 Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum on March 15, 2017. The only YGL selected from Nigeria in 2017 and the first physically challenged lady to be named a young global leader of the world economic forum in Africa.

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