Naza Alakija is a humanitarian and philanthropist deeply committed to three areas of impact: education, the empowerment of women & girls, and the environment. She believes a sustainable, prosperous and equitable world is within our grasp, if we can provide women and girls with the education they deserve, and lead communities towards an environmentally resilient future.
In 2018 Naza founded the SAGE Foundation, an NGO which finds, funds and empowers grassroots movements with creative solutions to the climate crisis and beyond.
Naza’s humanitarian work is firstly dedicated to identifying and deploying solutions to address the negative impacts of climate change, for low-income communities, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). She invests in long-term solutions, such as solar- powered boreholes through UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) section, in Northeastern Nigeria.
She has supported a number of initiatives which provide emergency care and long-term development aid plans during humanitarian crises. During the ongoing conflict in Yemen, she has raised funding for emergency care aid including food, medical supplies and psychosocial care, as well as for UNICEF.
Alakija was born in Tehran, Iran and was raised in the U.K from the age of nine.
She has a BSc in Biomedical Materials from the University of Manchester, a Diploma from the University of Oxford’s AI program, and a certificate from the University of Oxford in Climate Change and Environmental Ethics.
She is currently pursuing a Masters in International Relations at Queen Mary University of London.
Naza is fluent in English, Farsi and Portuguese.
Naza is a Senior Advisor for UNICEF, and in her Advisory work, she has travelled to some of the worst conflict zones of the 21st century, including Afghanistan. She has always been amazed and humbled by the people she’s met and the stories they have to tell.
Naza is deeply grateful for the role education has played in her life, and became a fierce defender of a girl’s right to a full education. She supports a number of educational programs which help girls to fulfil their potential, such as GIGA, a global connectivity expansion project designed to connect every young person in the world to the internet. Recently she sponsored Nanosatellites, an initiative in Kazakhstan which encourages girls into STEM, through launching satellites into the upper atmosphere to collect climate data.
During COVID, Naza funded the re-opening of schools in Palestine and Nigeria, along with the construction of a much-needed new girl’s school in Iran. Naza was recently named one of the ‘Next Generation of Female Philanthropists’ by the organisation Women Moving Millions, a community of 340 individuals who have each pledged a minimum $1 million commitment to global initiatives which benefit women and girls.
In 2021, Naza forged a connection between the Government of Qatar and Bloomberg Media to drive the creation of the first ever Qatar Economic Forum.
SAGE EMERGENCIES & COVID-19 INTERVENTIONS
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SAGE Foundation launched SAGE Emergencies, to partner with international organisations to provide food, soap and education to help refugees, IDPs and other vulnerable communities in the Middle East and Africa.
In April 2020, SAGE Emergencies donated 84 tons of soap + hygiene kits for more than 350,000 people in Afghanistan, in partnership with the WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) unit of UNICEF.
In response to the month-long lockdown in Nigeria, SAGE Emergencies partnered with a local NGO, JAKIN, to distribute food to 1000 households in the Iwaya Community in Lagos.
In June and July 2020, to ensure the safe return of millions of children around the world to school, SAGE Emergencies supported Safe Return programs in Northern Nigeria and in Gaza. The programs were designed to mitigate the threat the COVID-19 pandemic posed to learning for 5,600 girls in Borno State, in Northern Nigeria, and for children across the Gaza Strip.
Once the pandemic passes its peak, SAGE Emergencies will shift its focus to providing protection and financial interventions for people in vulnerable communities who have been displaced by climate-related issues.