LGBT puzzle


Empowering LGBTQI+ Leaders in West Africa: Rainbow Academy Expands

May 13, 2024

As countries across Africa intensify the criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity, there is an increasing need for LGBTQI+ organizations and individuals to collaborate across borders. Uganda has recently rejected the bid to overturn its Anti-Homosexuality act while Ghana now proposes a prison sentence on individuals for simply identifying as LGBTQI+. The Bisi Alimi Foundation has responded to this growing demand, by launching Rainbow Academy West Africa.


Since its inception in 2019, Rainbow Academy has been at the forefront of empowering LGBTQI+ individuals across Nigeria to excel as thought leaders, campaigners and entrepreneurs. From 2022 until now, Rainbow Academy has invested nearly £5000 in support of queer businesses in Nigeria through the Mini grant initiative. Alongside financial investment, the RA program offers mentorship and virtual classes with cross-border skills, classes led by tutors from prestigious international institutions like Harvard University in the United States and the NHS in the UK. This initiative helps our scholars learn life skills to drive personal, professional, and community development. The program runs for a 12-month period and has a remarkable cohort of over 60 scholars who have benefited from our programs so far. Countless individuals have experienced transformative journeys:

Simon Sylvester, He/Him went from struggling in his business due to facing societal marginalization and limitation, to attracting investors through the help of the Rainbow Academy Mini-Grant initiative.

“Thanks to Rainbow Academy, my life and business, Simon’s Life Bank, has been transformed. With a grant of NGN130,000 ($313), I upgraded equipment and secured a better space, turning a distant dream of owning my own lab into reality. The RA 2022 training program also equipped me with invaluable knowledge and support. Today, I operate my own lab independently, attracting investor interests as one of the leading establishments in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria (DCT). Bisi Alimi Foundation’s unwavering support has empowered me to pursue my dreams relentlessly.”

Drawing from the success of our program in Nigeria, we’re experimenting with expansion into West Africa, with the addition of five LGBTQI+ activists joining the Rainbow Academy classes from Ghana, Liberia, and The Gambia. We hope to replicate our impactful work in Nigeria and to cultivate a solid LGBTQI+ ecosystem driven by passion, solidarity, and purpose.


Whilst we know and accept that this is work that needs to be done, we also know better than to dive in unprepared. Challenges lie ahead in terms of funding, support, and mentorship, which is why we’re asking, and hoping you will join us in this undertaking.

We Need Mentors:

  • We’re looking for Individuals with professional, Academic and professional life skills, who can teach a virtual class to our scholars, who are willing to give (2hrs) hours of their time, to mentor and support our scholars.
  • These mentors will be brought down to Nigeria, at the end of the year for the Rainbow Academy residential program

Help us accelerate the social acceptance of LGBTQI+ individuals in Nigeria and West Africa. Donate, Volunteer, and spread the word by amplifying and sharing this post with your social network!