2017 was a big year for arewa men and women. From Sports to technology, fashion to film, there were a lot of firsts. But as we put together the analysis for who we want to recognize as our person of the year, Hauwa Liman’s name came up one too many times.

From Accra to Abuja, Lagos to London, Sokoto to Taraba, Hauwa was in almost every major city in Nigeria on various missions. It was a full year of impact for the beautiful Katsina native. In a clime like ours, where balancing family and work seems too hot to handle, especially with the many organizations that she is an active member of, Hauwa made it look so effortless, with her signature style and warm smile, she listened, contributed, and cheered on so many around her. Before sharing ssome of our best #arewagirlmagic moments from her incredible year, let’s share a little more about her.

Multiple award winning business and social entrepreneur Hauwa Liman is a Senior Inspector with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). She is the creative director of the Afrocentric Modesty Fashion Brand-AFRIK ABAYA, she is also the founder, INSPIRE FOR IMPACT INITIATIVE; a platform that inspires, empowers and mentors youths to realize their full potentials and also impact on communities through networking, collaboration and active youth volunteerism. The project also promotes ethnic and religious tolerance among youths in multi-ethnic and multi-religious Nigeria.

Through her work with NYSC, her project and enterprise, Hauwa has worked with over 10,000 youths on value re-orientation, attitudinal change, small business start-up and community development among others. Through her FASHION FOR DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE (FODI), she runs a creative entrepreneurship boot-camp for girls in disadvantaged communities in North-Western Nigeria. Her vision is to see youth unemployment and poverty tackled through intensive early entrepreneurship education and vocational training.

Hauwa Liman holds a BSc in Economics and a Masters in Development Studies from Bayero University in Kano. She obtained certificates in Business and entrepreneurship from the Enterprise Development Centre of The Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos, and the Mccombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin, USA; as well as a Certificate in Leadership and Policy Making from the University of Cambridge. Hauwa is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management; 2015 Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneur; and alumnus of the Cherie Blair/Exxon Mobil road to growth initiative for women. Hauwa is also a 2016 Mandela Washington fellow and a 2017 British Council Future Leaders Connect Winner.

In line with her passion for women and youth empowerment, she received various awards in the year under review and gave us some real #advocategeneral goals. Check them out below:

Influencing policy: Hauwa was one of six- the only one from arewa- winners of the future leaders connect by the British council. While in London, Hauwa visited the UK parliament and got to visit the prime minister’s office to present her policy recommendations on youth unemployment.

Walking for peace: In August, Hauwa convened a big gathering of youth leaders in Kano to discuss peace and development. The event will only prove to be a starting point for an issue close to her heart, as she was chosen to join world leaders later in the year to walk for peace. As usual, she stuck to her stylish and effortless theme, showing up in a signature ankara blazer.

Building bridges: Collaborating with a jewelry designer based in Austin, Texas to deliver a creative entrepreneurs boot-camp in Lagos was another highlight we loved. Especially having listened to Hauwa talk about African youth leaders taking charge, and harnessing the potential in their community, we were happy to note that she was indeed walking the talk.

Community organizing: From Sokoto, to Yola, to Taraba; Hauwa visited eight states across the region in September as she led the MWFAAN team to speak and connect with community youth leaders. She spoke passionately about being responsible for the change they seek, and the feedback online showed that she had indeed scored a super delivery with her message.

Supporting Startups: Hauwa was the model mentor this past year, as we followed her journey from Katsina to Kaduna to Kano, as she offered advise and support to budding entrepreneurs. She has definitely seemed to be everywhere and very aware of events and activities in her industry.

For these reasons, we believe Hauwa deserves to be celebrated and recognized for flying the flag all 12 months of the year. We salute you for your passion, courage, leadership, and enthusiasm. Keep inspiring and spreading the message of change.