Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here! I’m back with the scoop on the changemaking leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Emiola Banwo, the founder and CEO of Monuments. Let’s see what he is doing to make a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Thanks for joining me, Emiola! Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through your organization?
Emiola: Glad to be with you, Spiffy! Communities around the world face many issues of different shapes and sizes. These social, economic, or environmental issues are all connected to each other, but today we tend to address them as isolated and unrelated issues. Doing it this way makes it very difficult for our communities to solve all their respective issues with the limited time and resources that we have. At Monuments, our mission is to empower our communities to address all of our biggest issues at the same time—as if they're all pieces of one big puzzle.
Spiffy: Intriguing! What motivates you to tackle this challenge?
Emiola: I'm both motivated (and terrified) by the fact that we are the last generation that can prevent climate change. Climate change is the biggest issue of our time because it affects all other social and economic issues we face, making our communities even more unsafe and unfair for everyone. I named the company “Monuments” because I truly believe that all eight billion of us alive today will be celebrated as “monuments,” timeless heroes, for how we worked together to solve our climate crisis. It's not easy and won't ever be easy, but I keep doing this work because every big and small effort we make will prevent disasters and save millions of lives.
Spiffy: Amazing! How would you describe the impact of your work?
Emiola: Monuments helps everyday people work together to make their communities fair for everyone and friendly for the environment. We're building an app that enables thousands of people to come together to understand all the problems in their communities and build solutions that effectively address those concerns. With Monuments, each and everyone can commit their skills and time to solving the biggest issues in our communities and across the world.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent milestone or initiative by you or your organization. What impact does that make?
Emiola: We recently launched our app to allow a few communities to test it and give us feedback about what works and what doesn't work. This is a first major step for us that allows us to improve how it works before we bring our solution to the rest of the world.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Emiola: As a young boy, my family was homeless in Nigeria. During that time, I had many unfortunate and life-threatening experiences where I got to see for myself how unsafe and unfair our communal spaces can really be. At the age of eight, I promised myself that I would commit my life to solving these problems for people around the world. Through those experiences, I truly believe that each and all of us can do legendary things by improving our communities, and it doesn't matter where we come from or what we've been through.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Emiola—it’s been an honor!
Emiola Banwo is a once-homeless Nigerian boy committed to making our communities more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable. As founder of Monuments, he's accelerating a sustainability revolution by building a collaboration platform that empowers communities and organizations to work together to achieve the sustainable development goals. (Nominated by Sumia Shaikh of Visible Hands. First published on the Ladderworks website on April 10, 2023.)
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.
© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by George Romar. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.