Naza Alakija is a humanitarian, entrepreneur, and a Senior Advisor for UNICEF. She was recently invited to become a Founding Global Principal for UNICEF’s NextGen. She is the Founder & CEO of Sage Foundation, an NGO that is deeply committed to three important aspects of life: education, empowerment of women & girls, and sustainability.
Naza is a champion for girls’ access to education. She is dedicated to finding and funding creative, grassroots ideas that lead to an environmentally resilient future of communities.
|place of birth||Tehran, Iran.|
|Occupation||humanitarian, entrepreneur, and a Senior Advisor for UNICEF.|
Naza founded the SAGE Foundation, an NGO which finds, funds and empowers grassroots movements with creative solutions to the climate crisis and beyond in 2018. Through Sage Foundation, she supports and advises small-scale initiatives and business owners that have the potential to cause a lasting change.
She has brought about partnerships from environmental activism & awareness in Cote D’Ivoire, Gender Based Violence in Nigeria, mobile learning in Afghanistan, and empowering female survivors of genocide in Rwanda.
Sage Productions were launched to increase progress, instill hope and drive action, by creating advocacy and awareness campaigns which influence Global audiences to create a better tomorrow.
Sage’s contents aim to magnify the voices of the unheard, such as the indigenous, whose powerful words and touching stories deserve to be listened to.
Sage Foundation’s distinguished, atmospheric films share the stories that concern us all, in an impactful, unforgettable, visual style.
Naza’s humanitarian work is first dedicated to finding and deploying solutions to address the negative impacts of climate change, for low-income communities, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). She is more into investing in long-term solutions, such as solar-powered boreholes through UNICEF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) section, in Northeastern Nigeria.
So far, she has supported a good number of initiatives that provide emergency care and long-term development aid plans during humanitarian crises. During the conflict in Yemen, she was able to raise funding for emergency care necessities including food, medical supplies and psychosocial care, as well as for UNICEF.
Alakija was born in Tehran, Iran. She was raised in the U.K. from the age of nine.
She has a BSc in Biomedical Materials from the University of Manchester, a certificate from the University of Oxford in Climate Change and Environmental Ethics, and a Diploma from the University of Oxford’s AI program.
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 as an advisor, she has been able to travel to some of the worst conflict zones of the 21st century, including Afghanistan. She has always been amazed and humbled by stories of the people she has met.
Naza’s education played a great role in her making. That is why she is a fierce advocate of a girl’s right to a full education. She supports a number of educational programs which support girls in maximising 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, and the construction of a much-needed girl’s school in Iran.
Naza was tagged one of the ‘Next Generation of Female Philanthropists’ by the Women Moving Millions organisation, a community of 340 individuals who have each pledged at least $1 million commitment to global initiatives which are of immense benefit women and girls.
In 2021, Naza made 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
SAGE Foundation launched SAGE Emergencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, to partner with international organisations to provide basic needs like 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.
During the lockdown in Nigeria, SAGE Emergencies partnered with JAKIN, a local NGO, to distribute food to 1000 families 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.