Sir Emeka Offor Foundation and Books For Africa (BFA) Donate 20,000 Books to Tanzania Schools




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Sir Emeka Offor Foundation and Books For Africa (BFA) Donate 20,000 Books to Tanzania Schools

Over $18 million worth of books and computers have reached African schools through the support of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation since 2010


ABUJA, NIGERIA, March 12, 2015 The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF), a non-governmental, philanthropic organization focused on youth employment, widows cooperative, education, healthcare and infrastructural development, is set to deliver a total of 20,000 academic books to five secondary schools, plus a University and a Primary school, in the Bagamoyo region of Tanzania. A celebration of the donation of books is scheduled tomorrow morning. The initiative is part of its continuing effort to promote literacy in the continent of Africa. UNICEF reports Tanzania’s total adult literacy rate is 67.8 percent.


Since 2010, the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation has partnered with Books For Africa, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization, to fight illiteracy and promote education. Their combined efforts are aimed at ensuring African schools and libraries – including those in hard to reach communities – are sufficiently equipped with reading materials.


“Our partnership with Books For Africa is paying great dividends and I am happy that we can help provide access to books for as many children as possible in our continent,” said Sir Emeka Offor. “Without education, people cannot create their own solution.”


So far, the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation has underwritten the shipment of more than 73 40-foot containers of books and computers to approximately 19 African countries, including Nigeria and Tanzania. The estimated financial value for this logistical effort is estimated at $18 Million. 


“Over 99 percent of schools in Tanzania have inadequate or non-existent libraries, which are an essential asset of a school, so we are using the donated books to open a doorway that provides students a chance to explore knowledge,” said Charles W. Sloan, Jr., the Manager of Nianjema Secondary School. “The impact of this donation on the lives of these students is immense. It is wonderful that someone from the other side of the African continent can use his time and money to help others so far away in such a dramatic way.” 


Getting books to some regions in Africa can be fraught with logistical challenges along the delivery route, particularly when it comes to security and hazardous roads. A successful delivery is often a cause for celebration for schools and communities.


“Our school libraries are really lacking books, so this is big for us,” said Mr. Sloan.


Books For Africa relies on the generosity of donors, young and old, business entities and publishers who flood their massive warehouse in Atlanta with books that cover all areas and levels of education. In addition, Books For Africa depends on their growing volunteer team to effectively sort and repackage donated materials for onward distribution to African countries. According to Books For Africa, the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is the single largest independent African donor to their organization since the organization’s inception.


About the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation

The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is a philanthropic organization based in Oraifite, Anambra State, Nigeria. The Foundation seeks to alleviate the sufferings of the less privileged through philanthropy, and focuses primarily on giving support and hope to those in need irrespective of tribe, creed, religion and nation. The Foundation has affected the lives of many Nigerians through its domestic programs and projects, which include youth empowerment, Widows Cooperative, education, and health services and infrastructural development. For more information, visit or like us at





Person of the Year: The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation



Globally, a number of corporate organisations, governmental or non-governmental bodies, apolitical groups, religious bodies to mention a few bestow awards at the end of the year on deserving individuals, personalities or icons who have in no small measure impacted positively their immediate community, society or the world at large. The impacts these personalities exude, either in terms of promoting moral principles, innovative tendencies, pursuing social and human justice among others, makes them not only an epitome of pride but also persons worthy of emulation among a section of the populace. It is therefore, not surprising that President Barack Obama, both in 2008 and 2012, was selected Time Magazine’s Person of the Year (known previously as Man of the Year until 1999). Another award three years back would also make him the “Most Admired Man in the World” for six consecutive years (2008-2013).

What do we understand by the term Man/Person of the Year? According to Time magazine, it is a yearly award that highlights and profiles a person, group, idea or object who has positively or otherwise acted in many ways to influence the course of the year’s event. It is simply regarded, or spoken of, as a form of honour, award or prize bestowed on “subjects” or “objects” admired by people for their impacts. While Time’s conception is not to be endorsed wholly, after all, the Hasty Pudding Man of the Year bestows award to members of the Hasting Pudding Theatricals society who have made “lasting and impressive contribution” to the entertainment world and the Silverbird Man of the Year awards “a Nigerian…perceived to have positively affected the lives of Nigerians the most,” both, if not all, pursues almost a similar objective or aim—to honour someone or something that has impacted humanity throughout a year.

This therefore, takes us to my own Man/Person of the Year. The year 2014 for many Nigerians rounded off with lots of mixed feelings. Apart from those known challenges, it was a year that was perceived with mixed feelings. Despite the challenges 2014 brought, this writer make bold to say that we have every reason as a people to be appreciative. Not many countries in this part of the world would have faced half of what Nigeria faces on a daily basis and live to tell the tale. When we look at Somalia and its failure to form a stable government since the 90s or Southern Sudan, Libya and a host of others whom continually face civil strife and internal divisions, Nigerian would better appreciate their current challenges which this writer believes is surmountable.

When we talk of challenges, this writer sees it in terms of everyday human challenges. It is one of the fundamental problems Third World countries face daily. Poverty, unemployment, civil strife among others remains some of the challenges these countries continue to grapple with. In Nigeria for example, we are faced with insecurity, unemployment, lack of human empowerment etc. It seems that the Nigerian state has neglected its vey constituency, the people, and so not many think the impact of the government has been felt on them. This is where non-governmental agencies (NGOs) come in. A fact remains that government cannot do it all, and so these (NGOs) come to play a complementary role to assist government in its human development objectives. This is where the Sir Emek Offor Foundation (SEOF) comes in. Formed in the early 1990s by its highly ebullient and charismatic founder Sir Emeka Offor, the Foundation in the last two decades has been in the forefront of championing human capacity development, provision of skills acquisition, youth empowerment, widows cooperative, health services, educational grants and infrastructural development programmes. Through the Foundation’s support for small and medium enterprises, a significant number of lives have been touched positively.

The SEOF is not only one of the most outstanding Foundations in Nigeria in terms of how much it places value on human development, it is well respected for its important partnerships with international organisations and institutions whose core objectives are in tandem with SEOF’s own core values — empowerment and human sustainable development.

In the last couple of years, SEOF has taken its international partnership to a remarkable whole new level which for many marked a turning point in the history of human philanthropy and social responsibility in contemporary Nigeria. First, the founder Sir Offor felt the need to throw his weight behind the fight against polio, a disease which until now placed Nigeria as one of the three polio endemic countries in the world, the other two being Pakistan and Afghanistan. Polio as we all know cripples the legs and places a heavy socio-economic burden not only on the individual and family but also the state. Its effect is better imagined than felt. Nigeria’s polio endemic status was so alarming that it had to take the intervention of stakeholders to begin a process that will reduce the country’s endemicity. Starting from 2013, the SEOF went into a bold multi-year partnership with Rotary International. That year in Lisbon, Portugal, a grand donation of $1.3 million was made by the SEOF as part of its commitment to the END POLIO NOW. This donation was made after an earlier donation of $250,000 which Rotary had applied immediately to the on-going efforts in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.   

This commitment did not however stop there; the Foundation also presented another donation of $1 million last year to Rotary International PolioPlus campaign to provide resources that support polio immunization efforts both in Nigeria and globally. This totalled $3.1 million, marching the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2 for 1, bringing the total to $9.3 million. The SEOF and Nigeria’s strong will and determination to end Polio will see it declared Polio free by the United Nations later this year.

For reasons that may or may not be identifiable, education on the continent has been poorly funded, utterly disregarded and in the process has adversely affected literacy levels among students. The situation is so grim that most schools in Africa do not have libraries and even when they do, are not adequately equipped. Understanding the value of education and borrowing from Peter Drucker’s statement that “Knowledge is the only meaningful resource today,” the SEOF as part of its core objectives champions the cause of education in Africa through its partnership with Books for Africa (BFA). Based in the USA, the partnership between the BFA and SEOF has seen shipments of books, desk and laptops and other educational materials to rural kindergarten, primary and secondary schools and local public libraries, including reference books like encyclopaedias across Africa. University libraries too receive books from the liberal arts, sciences, jurisprudential book volumes for law libraries and other specialised books which cover all areas of business administration. Interestingly, these books are not only new but also current while others are minimally used.

Since the initiation of the partnership in 2010, the SEOF has funded the shipment of over 73 containers of books to some of the most educationally disadvantaged countries in Africa, including Chad, South Sudan, Niger, The Gambia, Somalia, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Liberia to mention a few. Nigeria alone has received sixteen containers of books delivered to libraries across the regions, making it the largest recipient country. Between 2010 and now, the SEOF have successfully provided the delivery of about 1.7 million books and computers worth more than $18 million to 19 African countries. The “one book, one child at a time” strategy has been a highly successful one and a testament of SEOF’s resolve to pursue an aggressive literacy and education campaign for the current generation. SEOF today remains the single largest independent donor to the BFA since its inception.

Understanding that youths are leaders of the future, the SEOF has placed much priority on the youth through its Youth Empowerment schemes. The Foundation empowers youths through provision of loans and micro-finance grants to low income earners and highly industrious persons. All these are basically done to engage youths in more productive ventures and help them to be independent. The motorcycle transit venture is one of the many programmes aimed at helping the youths to plan and manage their businesses. Remarkably, a high number of youths have been able to expand through this, venturing into commercial bus enterprise. This has not only brought additional employment to others, over 500 young minds have been touched and have success stories to tell of how a single, yet simple gift can grow ideas.

Aside the above, the SEOF supports people with disabilities through sponsorships to local and international sporting events. The 2014 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) Junior Games held at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Buckinghamshire England was one of those where Nigerian Paralympian Emmanuel Godwin who participated in the weightlifting category won Gold at the event, doing both the country and the SEOF proud.

One could go on and on but significantly, it must be noted that the local and international partnerships and collaborations SEOF engages with a number of reputable local and international organisations are very key to its philanthropic core objective which is humanity first. This is done basically to help build bridges, cement hopes and transform lives at all times. Our world today must revolve around removing people from poverty and helping to sustain their human needs. We need to understand that human development policies or strategies are the first and last steps to providing human needs without which crisis may set in. For the SEOF, its capacity to fulfil a significant number of our human challenges over the years represents a right step in the right direction of a purposeful human development strategy. It is only when people feel disconnected from their society and immediate environment that they begin to show deviance, a sign that crisis is about to happen. Nations must begin to invest heavily on people rather than on weapons and other less important issues.  

From the above, one would agree with this writer that the SEOF deserves a stellar award for championing the cause of humanity in so many ways. Not many philanthropic organisations today in Nigeria have done so much in terms of how deeply and positively they affect human lives. The SEOF continues to be a pointer to how private philanthropic organisations can effect dramatic changes in highly disadvantaged societies. No doubt, when the history of polio eradication, literacy and education advancement, youth and widows empowerment among other human development programmes are mentioned in Nigeria, Sir Emeka Offor Foundation will really be part of that history. It is therefore, why this writer bestows the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation with the Person of the Year award. It is already etched in stone and its imprints are now felt on the sands of time.


Raheem Oluwafunminiyi wrote via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Scholarship Awards: SEOF Calls for Applications

The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) is calling for applications for its 2014/2015 scholarship awards. Below is the announcement, and a link to download the application form


 SEOF Scholarship Announcement


Click on this link to download the Application form: SEOF Sccholarship Form

Overcoming Obstacles to Eradicate Polio-Sir Emeka Offor Leads Way

Written by Dr. Edwin Ndukwe



Africans in their unique cultural tradition are endowed with rich social capital. Therefore, the welfare of each child in any community is inherently the responsibility of all, which gives credence to the proverb "it takes a village to raise a child".  In the world of business, that same spirit of communal support extends into our modern appreciation of corporate social responsibility, more aptly identified as social sustainability and philanthropy.


Philanthropy, whether internally generated or from external sources, is not a novel concept within the domain of the rich and wealthy. It is a principle that has addressed the fundamental challenges of our societies beyond the capabilities of the public sector. What is phenomenal, however, is the pace and scope of giving among Africans who have risen to play on the grander stage usually occupied by foreign western governments, international NGOs, prominent and super-wealthy individuals, and multi-national corporations. These emerging and highly successful African entrepreneurs are global Pan-Africanists who take great pride in the “African Renaissance” and have solidly embraced the traditions of their forefathers to be their brothers’ keeper.  


While we value and continue to welcome the commitment and support of UNICEF, WHO, CDC, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other international donor organizations, we are proudly cognizant of our homegrown philanthropists and economic game-changers of our new Africa.   A 2014 publication from IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, highlighted a few African philanthropists who are having a significant impact on the continent. Top on their list are the following Nigerian philanthropists: Aliko Dangote, Jim Ovia, Tony Elumelu, Arthur Eze, and Theophilus Danjuma.  Several others from South Africa and Zimbabwe are also mentioned. The list is not entirely comprehensive but it shows that Africans are not idly watching from behind the fence waiting for others to address our problems and challenges. In fact, IRIN News reports that African philanthopists contribute an estimated $7 billion annually to an array of worthy causes.


Let us now turn the spotlight on health, and specifically, the Global Polio Eradication Initiatives (GPEI).   Prior to the discovery of the Inactivated Polio Virus (IPV) vaccine by Jonas Salk, polio ravaged the global community almost unimpeded.  This devastating disease led to paralysis and often death of an estimated half million people annually.  Confronting the polio health crisis became a challenging burden of leading nations and global health agencies. The polio vaccine discovery paved the way for an expedient relief, cutting the cases of polio in the U.S. from 20,000 per year in the 1950’s to 1000 per year in the 1960's. In 1988, through Rotary International support, the World Health Assembly articulated a global response to polio eradication. From 350,000 documented cases of polio in 1988 to a remarkable low in 2014, Rotary International, seeing the possibility of global eradication, is not letting up. Presently, there are only three countries in the world where polio remains endemic, namely, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria.


One cannot speak of polio eradication efforts in Africa without mentioning the determined and passionate commitment of Rotary International’s Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, Sir Emeka Offor.  Sir Offor, who is the founder of the Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) and one of Nigeria’s most versatile and successful businessmen, is not just the leading African donor to Rotary International’s polio efforts, he is also the Continent’s most active and vocal advocate for the eradication of polio, a tireless health crusader, and an impassionate voice for the preservation of health for all. One cannot speak of polio eradication in Nigeria without taking note of Sir Offor.  Known as a modest and self-effacing businessman, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Chrome Group and the Chairman of Kaztec Engineering Limited has quietly steamed past his compatriots with an accumulated total donation of $3.1 million.  Matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates 2 for 1 program, a new aggregate total of $9.3 million is accredited to Sir Emeka Offor.


It is important to underscore that while we have seen a 99% global reduction in the number of polio cases, there are still roadblocks to achieving the end game in Nigeria. Access to some interior communities in the heavily volatile areas of the Northeast has proven problematic in the heat of insurgent activities of the Islamic group Boko Haram. The Federal Government, however, is actively addressing these challenges. One approach that ought to be applauded is the defiance and bold strategy of “quick entry and exit” coordinated by polio workers at the grassroots in concert with community dwellers when the perceived threats of insurgent activities are low. In other words, when information filters through from locals that the insurgent activities have tapered, then polio workers make a quick entry into the area and immunize children and then vacate the community. Such social innovations and the commitment of health workers have provided sufficient buffer in the containment of polio and without equivocation formed the basis for the success Nigeria recorded in contending with Ebola.  


Recognizing these realities, Sir Offor recently allocated considerable financial resources to establish a center for tracking polio cases in the country. The new office not only serves as a hub for advocacy but also a proving ground for polio related policies and inter-agency cooperation. . Sir Offor's financial commitments and his widely recognized altruism have enabled Rotary to complement Government’s efforts and reduce the number of polio cases significantly to 6 in 2014, an 85% reduction compared to previous years.  In fact, a recent article by mega-philanthropist Ted Turner, the erstwhile owner of Time-Warner, titled "No Letting up Fight to end Polio", he further substantiates that over 75% of all children in eight Northern Nigerian States have been successfully immunized against polio in spite of a deadly insurgency and unprecedented insecurity in Northeastern Nigeria.  This is evidence of the immense strides made in Nigeria towards eradication of the disease.


Nigeria has the resolve, the human capacity, and a renewed political will to bring an end to polio. Private sector support without equivocation is paramount to achieving the desired goal. Sir Offor and other like-minded Nigerian philanthropists believe that the end-game is closer than ever before.   In his official capacity as Rotary International’s Polio Ambassador to Nigeria, Sir Offor has said he "will not rest until every child is immunized and Nigeria is polio free". This “privatization” of polio eradication efforts, I believe, represents a real turning point in Nigeria’s long fight against this crippling disease.  


It has taken leaders of uncommon vision, unbridled action, and deep compassion and commitment to get us to where we are today.  When the story of polio eradication in Nigeria is written, Sir Emeka Offor will feature prominently in the pantheon of the philanthro-capitalists who made it happen. 

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