Ashoka and Lenovo empower Nigerian social innovator to transform maternal and child healthcare

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Global technology leader + the world’s largest network of social entrepreneurs today announced the selection of visionary social innovator Abiodun Adereni to receive support, guidance, and collaboration opportunities on his changemaker initiatives.

Today, global technology leader Lenovo and social innovation non-profit Ashoka announced the selection of Dr. Abiodun Adereni as the first Fellow fully supported by their partnership. Adereni leads initiatives in his native Nigeria to leverage the latest technology to improve critical healthcare services focused on mothers and young children.

Dr. Abiodun AdereniDr. Abiodun Adereni
Dr. Abiodun Adereni

Recognizing a profound lack of access to basic primary care services in communities, Adereni founded HelpMum in 2017 to reduce infant and mother mortality rates in West Africa. Abiodun has already helped drive a 50% reduction in maternal mortality in and around Nigeria, including over 200 rural communities, by distributing clean birthing kits, launching e-learning programs, and leveraging artificial intelligence. He will now be empowered by Ashoka’s global network of changemakers and benefit directly from Lenovo through funding, collaboration, and consultation with AI and technology experts around the world.

“We need technology to elevate and empower our communities, especially new mothers and young children,” Adereni said. “I am deeply grateful to Ashoka for recognizing our vision and impact at HelpMum and to Lenovo for taking us to the next level of community transformation through technology. We will do extraordinary things together.”

This builds on a multi-year partnership between Ashoka and Lenovo, including the Kind City initiative in the Philippines, South Africa, Argentina, and Mexico, and an ongoing mutual learning journey between Ashoka Fellows and Lenovo leaders to identify potential social and business synergies. The two organizations share a commitment to leveraging technology as a transformative force for positive change through social innovation.

“We find real transformation often starts by empowering communities to build the agency to access and manage their own health journeys,” said Olivier Fruchaud, Partnership’s Director at Ashoka. “Abiodun is an exceptional social entrepreneur who uses a systemic approach to impact lives throughout West Africa, and we’re thrilled to partner with Lenovo to support him.”

“This is an incredible opportunity to use our global resources to make lasting local impact with Ashoka as our brilliant and visionary partner,” said Calvin Crosslin, Lenovo’s chief diversity officer and president of the Lenovo Foundation. “Dr. Adereni exemplifies so much of what we value at Lenovo—bold innovation, social consciousness, community investment—and I cannot wait to collaborate and support his work delivering smarter technology for all.”

Nigeria has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world and also ranks among the highest mortality rates for children under the age of five. This situation is largely due to pre-existing medical conditions that go undiagnosed and untreated, inadequate health supplies, inadequate sanitation and hygiene, illiteracy, and poor health-seeking behavior of women.

Through HelpMum, Adereni works directly with midwives and community health workers to address these issues holistically, embracing established local relationships and empowering caregivers. One initiative involves Digital Health Cafes to provide clean medical facilities, internet access, pre-loaded e-learning tablets, and other tools to improve care and protect patients.

HelpMum team administering vaccines.HelpMum team administering vaccines.

In another groundbreaking example, Adereni developed an AI-powered vaccination tracker to help track children’s vaccine status and offer AI-generated notifications, updates, and logistical options to receive care.

Crucially, Adereni prioritizes developing tools and educational content in local Nigerian languages, including Yoruba, Igbo, and Hausa.

Adereni and his team are working on making the code for both the vaccination tracker and an AI adviser tool open source for easy replication across Africa to improve vaccine uptake across the continent. Through Ashoka and Lenovo, he will expand those initiatives, widen his network, and leverage the latest advances in smarter technology. Learn more about HelpMum.

Adereni is the first from a community of system-changing social entrepreneurs the Lenovo and Ashoka partnership aims to build and support, with the overarching goal of connecting Lenovo’s business and employees with social innovation and contributing to wide-ranging impact goals.

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