Michael is a member of the Nigerian Drug Demand Reduction Technical Working Group; National HIV Prevention Technical Working Group, UNDP African Regional Key Population Expert Working Group and a 2015 Fellow of the International Visitors Leadership Program on LGBTI Human Rights and Advocacy of the US government. Also, he is currently the Key Population Advisor with Heartland Alliance International, Nigeria.
Michael Akanji was born on 1st September 1984 and studied Electronics Engineering at the Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa and Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State Nigeria. He progressed to the University of San Diego, where he studied Gender Studies and became an alumnus in 2016 with a degree in Gender Studies. In 2017, Michael obtained a Graduate Certificate from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell in Peace and Conflict resolution with specialization in intra-personal peace and gender identity.
Michael works on human rights using the public health approach for Sexual minorities and a Sexual Health and Rights Advocate with over a decade experience on LGBTI issues and interventions in West Africa and trained in Peace and Conflict resolution with expertise in Intra-personal Conflict. In 2019, obtained professional development certificate in leadership and management in health, implementation science and project management from the University of Washington.
Mr Michael Akanji was part of the Research Team for the UN 2000 Young People Report on the progress made on the “UNGASS Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS: Our Voices Our Future” (https://www.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub-pdf/youth_UNGASS.pdf) and also contributed to various publications on Key Population and LGBTI issues, which includes: MSM in Sub-Saharan Africa: Health, Access,& HIV: Findings from the 2012 Global Men’s Health & Rights (GMHR) Study (http://msmgf.org/files/msmgf/documents/MSMinSSA_PolicyBrief.pdf); The Nigerian MSM Health Scorecard: a tool for assessing and monitoring the accountability of stakeholders in advancing the health of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Nigeria.
Michael has served as a member of the Local Organizing Committee of the First National Conference on Inclusivity, Equality And Diversity in University Education in Nigeria, 2017 (http://inclusivity2017.com/speaker/mr-michael-akanji/). He is a co author of the book “Through the Gender Lens” edited by Funmi Soetan and Bola Akanji.
Michael has attended several pieces of training on Sexual Health and Rights advocacy; Population and Reproductive Health; Youth and Sexuality; Sexuality and Culture; Religion and Human Rights and key population programming, security, Research methodology among others and a trained paralegal with the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative.
Michael is the director of The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) a community center and safe space for gay Nigerians.