The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Laozi.
Adepeju Jaiyeoba is a Nigerian Social Entrepreneur, whose journey started from a personal story, in this case a tragedy; she said that her social entrepreneurial journey began with “a death that put a face to all of the statistics of mother and infant mortality in childbirth in Africa.”
Listen now to this podcast interview with Adepeju Jaiyeoba:
What’s the story behind Mother’s Delivery Kit?
As a young lawyer, she was faced with the death of a dear friend during childbirth in a small village in Africa.
From there, she took off and traveled through villages, trying to understand why the statistics of death during childbirth were so high.
According to the World Health Organizations, most of the deaths can be attributed to complications from delivery and many from infections and severe bleeding. Most of these deaths can be prevented if more women in rural areas had access to health services.
For Adepeju, she found that the births in the villages she visited, though assisted by midwives, were delivered without sterile medical supplies nor a sterile environment. The births were often times on the floor and broken glass was used to cut the umbilical cord.
She knew that just a few sterile supplies in the hands of midwives would help. But how was she going to get supplies to the villages that were difficult to reach?
The problem turned into an opportunity. She identified women all over the villages who could distribute the kits while in turn make money for themselves too.
Mother’s Delivery Kit was founded on the assumption that she could solve two problems: income and health for the very poor.
What advice does she have for other social entrepreneurs?
She offers advice to other social entrepreneurs:
- Recognize a problem that exists, determine if the solution you have is viable, and never give up. In a culture where women were expected to go to school, get a job as a seamstress or hair dresser, get married and have children, the challenge to start a business not traditionally started by a woman could seem overwhelming. How did she do it? Persistence. And a network.
- Connect with likeminded people, other entrepreneurs. Build a network, reach out to others for mentoring and guidance, and learn from them.
- Think outside the usual, the routine, the traditional ways. Think outside the box, as she said. That is where the solutions can be found.
What does she see as her purpose in life?
“Someone invested in me and I believe I must invest in others.”