AECF Board member, Kola Masha, is the recipient of this year’s Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. He will receive his award at a ceremony to be held later today. This award was granted due to his work in Nigeria.

Babban Gona serves smallholder farmers with a model created specifically to attract youth to agriculture and away from the looming instability of extremist groups.

On announcing the Skoll Award, Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation quipped, “This year’s Awardees are social entrepreneurs who deeply understand that human dignity depends on the security that comes from knowing fundamental needs are met: health, food, shelter, and safety. Only when those needs are fulfilled can all people achieve their full potential.”

On receiving the award, Kola’s moving speech was read in absentia. He spoke of living by a simple principle, “No Regrets”, yet goes on to express his regret in having started the Babban Gona project ten years late. In reality, the project was not late at all and its impact is being felt by thousands and maybe millions of smallholder farmers in Nigeria despite numerous challenges that plague the region.

He further quips, “We are honored to be the first for-profit social enterprise to receive the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. The problems the continent faces are so large that we must look at innovative models to leverage social investment and commercial capital to solve these problems at scale. We must think big, because the challenges we face are massive. We must think fast, because we have so little time. We must think boldly. We need to go beyond conventional thinking and models of philanthropy and development assistance. We must create thriving enterprises of all kinds whose financial resources benefit people today and come back to help someone again tomorrow — and again, and again — multiplying the impact indefinitely.

That is how we can be sure that we will not look back with regret.”

We commend Kola Masha for this great achievement.