Oluwafunmilola Aduke Iyanda popularly called Funmi Iyanda is a Nigerian entrepreneur, writer, film and TV producer, TV host and Philanthropist. She is the Executive Director of Oya Media, a London-based media production studio and a brand advisory.
Oya media develops, produces and facilitates films and TV shows for cinema, television and the web. Funmi was the co-founder and the Executive Director at Creation Television UK and is best known for independently producing and hosting Nigeria’s most popular talk show, New Dawn.
Funmi Iyanda Biography
Funmi was born on the 27th of July, 1971 in Lagos to late Gabriel and Yetunde Iyanda. She hails from Ogbomosho, Oyo State. Even though her mother died when she was 7 years old, she still made something out of her life.
She attended African Church Princess Primary School, Akoka, Herbert Macaulay School in Lagos for her primary education and the International School Ibadan for her secondary education.
She has a bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Ibadan and holds a certificate in Global Leadership and Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School. She is an honorary fellow of the University of Cumbria, UK.
Funmi has a daughter, Morenike Odegbami.
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The entrepreneurial journey
Funmi Iyanda’s love for journalism drove her into producing and presenting “Good Morning Nigeria”. Good Morning Nigeria was a breakfast television show that focused on the injustice suffered by Nigerians. The programmes became a hit with its “Heros” and “Street Life” segments which tell the stories of people who are maligned in the society.
She also anchored a sports show on MITV live and later covered the 1999 female football World cup, the All Africa Games in Zimbabwe, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games in Sydney and Athens respectively. She also worked on the documentary for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.
After she had gathered experiences from her previous works, she sought a bigger platform to showcase her talent and this gave birth to New Dawn. New Dawn was a daily show on NTA 10 Lagos in 2000. The highly rated programme was aired nationally for eight years making it the longest show on NTA.
Funmi became one of the most watched and respected TV personalities. She has also produced and hosted a string of international nominated productions including My Country: Nigeria and Chopcassava.com.
My Country: Nigeria was commissioned by BBC and was nominated for Best News Documentary at 2011 Monte Carlo TV Festival in Monaco. Chopcassava.com is an innovative web series documentary of the 2012 Nigerian fuel subsidy protest and was nominated by BANFF.
In 2010, she started Talk with Funmi (TWF) which was directed by Chris Dada. It is an interestedly usual show which captures the lives of celebrities and everyday Nigerians. She also started a show I 2017, Ask Funmi which is produced by Oya Media. Ask Funmi is a web series that uncovers the truth in the thought and views of her guests.
She has started four media companies and has produced many TV documentaries, shows, events and special communication project for media organisations over the years. She is also an avid writer and has written on a regular for Tempo Magazine. She has also written for PM News, Daily Trust, The Punch and Vanguard.
Funmi Iyanda is the founder of Change-A-Live (CAL) Foundation, a social intervention program birthed on one of her show, New Dawn in 2002. Chang-A-Live was created to support families who have experienced trauma as a result of Nigeria’s government failure ethnic and religious conflict and crime.
In 2009, the social intervention program evolved into non-profit organisation with over 150 beneficiaries under its care. CAL connects the less privilege with individuals, agencies and organisation that has the capacity to meet their needs. This is done through scholarship, vocational trainings, business grants and women empowerment.
She is a board member of Tutu Africa Leadership Institute, Change-A-Life Foundation and Aspen Institutes Global Leaders network. She also serves as board member of Farafina Trust and Positive Impact Youth Network.
Recognitions and Awards of Funmi Iyanda
- Forbes’ 20 Youngest Powerful African Women 2011
- Yong Global Leader by the World Economic Forum 2012
- Nigeria’s 100 Most Influential Women 2014
- A BBC 100 Women to watch lister 2014
- Honorary fellowship from University of Cumbria 2015