Khuraira Musa is the president and founder of Arewa Development Support Initiative, ADSI, a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization. Aside from her humanitarian endeavours, Khuraira is a pioneer and celebrity makeup artist of over 20 years. She is the founder and creator of Khuraira Cosmetics, a luxury, full-color cosmetics line for women of all ages, color and skin conditions. In this interview with IBRAHIM RAMALAN, Ms Musa speaks on her efforts towards teaming up with spirited individuals to uplift the lives of less-privileged Nigerians. “I believe the world will never be flawless unless each needy child is fed and cared for. Let a hurting child anywhere be the responsibility of all of us everywhere,” she says.
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What is the ADSI all about?
Arewa Development Support Initiative, ADSI, is the coming together of good-hearted Northerners using God-given talent, finances, and their time to rebuild Arewa for all, regardless of one’s political inclination, religious beliefs or tribal sentiments. We believe in peaceful coexistence for the betterment of our region and Nigeria.
What inspired you to pick up this initiative?
I founded ADSI in 2019 after many years of mentoring youths on social media. Through our discussions, I came to realize despite all the screams of disagreement between Christians and Muslims as portrayed on social media, these young people want nothing but peace, jobs and education. This prompted me to establish an organization advocating for skills acquisition.
How are the members drawn?
I invited the first 125 members that are very passionate about seeing a better and progressive Arewa and ultimately a prosperous Nigeria. The members are then required to invite at least 10 people each from family members and friends who share the same mindset as us.
What services or support do you offer to the people?
The members are expected to pay two thousand naira (#2000) each, which will be used to train the youth and women on skills acquisition.
How are the beneficiaries of the palliatives and skill acquisition State projects picked?
We have done skills training and medical outreach programs. These beneficiaries are selected by a screening committee that determines their eligibility. The beneficiary has to come from a disadvantaged community and background. The Beneficiaries we select are mainly; Orphans, widows, people with disabilities, youths and women, and we are equally gender-sensitive in all our selection processes.
How often are the palliatives distributed to the beneficiaries?
ADSI engages more in training, which is sustainable for life rather than on palliatives. The palliative programs are not carried out often. However, our training initiatives are carried out every 3 months. Due to COVID-19, we had to postpone all training in 2020. Currently, we have 6 states that are ongoing at different stages of training on different skills.
How does ADSI monitor the impact its programs?
ADSI has created a platform where beneficiaries are monitored and mentored. We also have in place the Monitoring and Evaluating team that pay periodic visits to the beneficiaries for updates and assessments.
How do you encourage the public and private sectors to provide employment opportunities to Northerners?
We encourage the public and private sectors to invest in skills training as a social responsibility which will help the trainees to become self-reliant.
What are the methods used to encourage and mobilize Northerners to channel their energy and resources for peaceful co-existence and sustainable socio-economic development?
ADSI encourages all Northerners and friends of the Arewa that are financially able to support us by a monthly contribution of two thousand naira (#2000) only and the funds, when collected, are used solely to train and empower the less privileged among us. After training, we also encourage our members to assist the trainees by employing them. Members have a choice to pay their dues to any state of their choice in Arewa. Funds are posted for everyone to see and the same goes for the training cost. ADSI is all about 100% transparency and accountability. Our books are open for all members of the public to see and to query where there are doubts.
How was the partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation initiated?
We do not at the moment have a partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Rather, we are putting mechanisms in place for the training of our youths and women on how they can compete effectively to access the Foundation grants and support. Most of our Arewa youths have lost out mainly due to not having adequate knowledge on how to go about the screening process.
What does the Foundation support ADSI with?
The Foundation does not and have not supported ADSI on anything, however, we only raised funds to get our youths trained on how to participate in the application process by some of their alumni who are fellow ADSI members but we do not shut our doors to whatever support or partnership that the Foundation may avail us with.
What milestones has the partnership reached?
Through our training process we have been able to train over 700 young people and about 400 of them have passed the first stage and are undergoing the online business training which Tony Elumelu Foundation provides. Those that have reached the final stage will be able to pitch their business idea for a chance to win a $5000 grant from the Tony Elumelu Foundation. The application process is still ongoing at the moment.
When it comes to loans granted to Agro Entrepreneurs, how do you ensure the funds are returned when profit is made?
At the moment all funding of ADSI activities is performed through the payment made by our members. Our focus is skills training for now.
Does ADSI plan on expanding its advocacy projects to other areas?
ADSI’s focus, for now, is the 19 Northern States and FCT but we pray this gets lots of traction so that our sisters and brothers that are financially capable can adopt the same concept in their region to uplift the lives of those less privileged among us. This is doable if we all set our minds to do it. Getting all hands on deck can make our country better and more prosperous allowing peace to reign. As the saying goes “A hungry man is an angry man”, when we empower our most vulnerable we reduce most of the ills that affect the progress in our society.