The year 2016 was a turning point in Faith Oloruntoba’s life. In pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Masters program, she ventured outside of Africa for the first time — leaving Nigeria for Denmark and experiencing, for the first time, what it meant to be a migrant, to be African, to be a black person and a minority. As Faith said,
“I was on the fringes of society, becoming an object discussed by the media and scorned by certain groups in society. While I cannot deny that I was a privileged migrant, it was tough realizing how vulnerable my position in my new society was.”
“I want to use the platforms, resources, and networks available to me to help as many as possible, particularly girls and women.”
These new struggles with identity and negative coverage of immigrants in Denmark led her to Humanity in Action. During the 2017 Fellowship in Copenhagen, Faith actively engaged in conversations about migrants, refugees, and ethnic minorities — yet, her biggest takeaway from the program was actually learning how to discuss and resolve conflicts on social issues with individuals from different backgrounds. Even today, Faith “tries to remember that every individual has a different level of sensitivity to my views and actions, and I have to respect and acknowledge [them].” Since she aims to go into policy-making one day, this skill of sitting at the roundtable with those on opposing sides is one that she will continue to practice.
“I have a journey-focused, rather than a destination-based mentality. I keep searching for new career and purpose-relevant opportunities and never stop applying myself.”
Since participating in Humanity in Action, Faith moved to Germany to finish her masters’ studies and started her doctorate studies in Giessen. Faith’s research focuses on migration issues, especially African migrants in Germany, as she wishes to contribute to increased discussions about this group. This also led Faith to participate in Humanity in Action’s Flight and Migration Forum in Berlin, as well as presenting on EU-Africa cooperation on migration at the 2018 International Conference in Strasbourg. To Faith, the connections she has made through Humanity in Action has been “amazing” — both because of the inspiration and role models, she has found through the network. It has also made her realize the power of her own work and how others have been learning from and are inspired by her work as well.
Faith “does not believe in impossibilities and glass ceilings” because she can see how the heights that were once considered unreachable for certain races, gender, classes, nations, and individuals are attainable now.
Faith’s sensitivity to injustice has also increased as a result of the Fellowship, and since then she has joined numerous social organizations focused on minorities, including the Nigerian Scholars in Germany (NiSiG) and the Afro-Deutsch Akademiker Netzwerk (ADAN). She “does not believe in impossibilities and glass ceilings” because she can see how the heights that were once considered unreachable for certain races, gender, classes, nations, and individuals are attainable now.
Coming from Nigeria, a country with deep gender and economic inequality, Faith strives to use the platforms available to her to empower others. Her Action Project “SHE Talks Initiative,” a sex education program encouraging young Nigerian teenage girls to talk freely about “taboo” topics related to sexual health, is only one step of many in Faith’s journey to help as many people as possible, particularly girls and women.
Academic Articles from Faith
- Transnational gendered narratives on migration. the Nigerian media and female migrants enroute to Italy from Libya. (2018)
- Big data and accountability in Nigeria. Insights from the BudgIT organisation and the #OPENNASS campaign. (2018)
- Gender Responsive Election Coverage in Nigeria: A Scorecard of 2015 General Elections. (2017)