For our #BellaNaijaMCM feature this week, we celebrate Gideon Olanrewaju, an education policy analyst, quality education activist and youth advocate. Gideon is the founder and executive director of Aid for Rural Access Education Initiative – ARAEi.
Driven by a mission to see a world where every child, regardless of socio-economic status or geographical location, have access to quality educational opportunities to live to his/her full potential, Gideon founded AREAi in 2014.
ARAEi is a nonprofit established to give marginalised, low-income, underrepresented, and underemployed children, youth and most especially women and girls, access to formal education as well as informal training and empowerment opportunities.
The organisation uses a “10-months accelerated learning program” to create quality alternative formal and non-formal educational opportunities for out-of-school children and those in public schools to develop skills around digital literacy, cognitive problem solving and critical thinking, peer-to-peer learning and innovation as well as technology design and programming.
Apart from its various programs focused on the development of children, ARAEi also provides effective professional development opportunities for teachers serving in conflict-affected, under-resourced and underserved communities.
The volunteer-driven organisation has reached out to thousands of children across at least 8 communities in Nigeria.
Gideon holds a B.Tech in Biochemistry from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology and a Masters of Arts (MA) degree in International Education and Development from the University of Sussex as a 2017/2018 recipient of the UK’s Chevening Scholarship. He’s currently a PhD Researcher at McGill University where he’s engaged as a Research Assistant on an Insight Grant research project on “Countering Violent Extremism through Education in Multicultural Canada”. The program is funded by Social Science & Humanities Research Council of Canada and Gideon works under the direction of Principal Investigator, Dr. Ratna Ghosh, Distinguished James McGill Professor of the Department of Integrated Studies in education (DISE), Faculty of Education.
Gideon is a member of the Global Shapers Community, an Initiative of the World Economic Forum and a 2015 YALITechCamp South Africa Alumnus.
He is also a UNESCO Young Leader in Africa, a Teaching Fellow/Certified Entrepreneurial Leadership Educator at the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa and A Global Youth Ambassador with the Global A World at School International Campaign on Education.
ARAEi has been recognised by the United Nations’ International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity as a “leading innovation in Education”.
We celebrate Gideon for devoting his time to democratising education across Nigeria and we’re rooting for him!