Author

Women of Rubies

Browsing

A notable Author once said; “There is no friend as loyal as a book”. Reading is like a voyage through time, the more that you read, the more things you will know. We can’t downplay the culture of reading, and authors who write and curate the contents we digest.

Award-winning Amazon bestselling author, Esther Enewerome Odafe is one of such authors promoting reading culture, and also helping professionals, entrepreneurs, organizations and individuals fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors.

The famous writer has worked with local and international clients to birth top-notch quality books that reflect their personal or business brands with 0% plagiarism. Her passion for equipping individuals with the right knowledge and skill set for decent work and economic development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 8) has led her to birth a Facebook community of passionate and talented individuals who want to earn from their skills and grow their business.

Esther was shortlisted for the 2018 African Writer’s Award- Flash fiction category; 2020 SME100 Nigeria 25Under25 Awards- Creative Writing & Content Creation category; and her book won the 2021 Bookney Book of the Year Award.

She is also the founder of The Midas Touch Literary Services and co-founder of Bookney. Her works have appeared on local and international magazines, blogs and television programmes including Writers Space Africa magazine, Freelancers magazine, and Patabah books blog

She shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive and insightful interview.

Childhood Influence

Growing up, my parents would buy me storybooks to read, and I believe it was their way of helping me to cultivate a reading habit. The great thing about reading is that it sharpens your mind and makes you want to bring your imaginations to life through writing. Today, as a ghostwriter, writing a brilliant book involves a lot of research, which has to do with intensive reading. So, yes, my childhood prepared me for what I do.

Inspiration behind  Bookney and From Hobby To Career Africa

Bookney was founded by me and Precious Osikha in 2020. In 2019, we noticed many authors complained about intellectual property theft, people selling their books and making money off them. This was what prompted us to start a unique and safe platform for book reading and publishing with better incentives for both authors and readers. I started the Facebook group, From Hobby to Career Africa out of a passion for equipping individuals with the right knowledge and skill set for decent work and economic development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 8). My goal is to help passionate and talented individuals who want to earn from their skills and grow their business.

The journey so far

 It has been an interesting journey so far, but not without challenges. However, persistence and seeing the bigger picture of my dreams has kept me going.

Being an author, ghostwriter, editor, and managing all the hats I wear

 For me, it all boils down to knowing what jobs to take and how to arrange my schedule. Anytime I feel pumped to work, I do all the ‘heavy-lifting’ jobs and reserve the more fun ones for when I am lethargic and need an energy boost.

Ripple effect of training 100 newbie writers

This is certainly one of the most fulfilling things I have done. Getting testimonials and seeing milestones from past students about how they have put the training to use either by working for companies or running their businesses makes me happy. Also, helping clients who never thought they could become authors write their books and become bestsellers is fulfilling.

Challenges of my work

The major challenge for me would be meeting several deadlines around the same time. As someone who wears many hats, jobs come in at different times with varying deadlines. Sometimes they are so close, and it becomes hectic meeting those deadlines.

3 women who inspire me and why

 My mum is my number one inspiration because of how resilient she is. The next person would be Esther Ijewere for her doggedness in helping people notwithstanding the outcome. Last but not the least, I would say to myself because of how determined I am to achieve my dreams.

Nuggets on how to become a successful ghostwriter and editor

The first thing I would recommend is love knowledge. Whichever way you want to gain knowledge about new things is up to you although, I would recommend reading wide as your best shot. Also, develop the habit of being meticulous if you are not, because you need this trait to deliver excellent work. Finally, learn the act of marketing your services and closing sales because without sales, you are just not in business.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I am a woman of rubies because I am valuable, strong, and giving. Every business venture I have started, every book I have written, has all been intending 

Contact details;

Social media handles:
Instagram: @enewerome
Facebook: Esther Enewerome Odafe-Ohakah

The federal government as part of its conditional cash transfer programme (CCT) has started the payment of N1.6 billion to 167,000 poor and vulnerable women in Jigawa.

The CCT programme requires that beneficiaries meet certain criteria like enrolling their children in public schools and getting regular check-ups at the hospital.

Mustafa Yakubu, the Training and Communication Officer, State Cash Transfer Unit (SCTU), made this known to journalists on Saturday in Kiyawa, Jigawa State.

Speaking after monitoring the exercise at Andaza and Shuwarin villages of Kiyawa LGA, he said the funds were disbursed to beneficiaries via Fund and Electronic Transfer Solution (FETS Wallet) engaged by the National Cash Transfer Office.

He explained that the payment was for the months of May and June and that each beneficiary got N10,000.

“In Jigawa, we have not less than 167,000 beneficiaries in the 27 local government areas. For all components of the programme, we are paying not less than N1.6 billion every two months,” Mr Yakubu said.

He said there was a need for the process to be more ICT-savvy, adding, “The application of ICT will remove the need for beneficiaries to gather in one place to collect the money.

“This will help in curtailing insecurity issues surrounding the process and help the financial education of the beneficiaries.

“Higher deployment of ICT will also help other business activities like the POS service and the observance of social distancing protocol of COVID-19,” he said.

According to him, SCTU also conducts coaching and mentoring for the beneficiaries on how best to utilise the money, particularly in investments.

“Some beneficiaries are already into one petty business or the other. So we train and advise them on how best to use the money in their businesses and trades.

“Some of them formed cap-making groups, some formed cooperative groups, while others engage in small scale businesses,” Mr Yakubu added.

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The award winning photographer who ventured into NFTs  recently sold out her  collections. Payne, who wears many hats, has taken her talent to different sectors, and enjoys working with still and moving images to create visual masterpieces, and NFTs.

Her collections Include;  “Africa”, which was shot in different parts of Africa, “Power In words”; which is a series infusing inspirational quotes, and written with photographic art in muted tones, and her “Blue Chip” collection which is contemporary still life images influenced by Vermeer sold out.

Physical photos were the trend a few years ago, but Non-fungible tokens (NFTs ) are out to  change the photography market .

It verifies ownership, creates uniqueness, and rewards creators, they  cannot be duplicated or replaced, and earns a digital certificate of authenticity for the visual artist.

NFTs are equally recorded via a blockchain which potentially serves as the digital ledger for NFT artwork, while copyright remains with the artist. It gives the artist the ability to make money directly should they decide to resell. Notable personalities like JayZ, MC Hammer , Eminem etc own NFTs and have spoken of it’s ripple effect.

Speaking about her collections and new feat, Toni Payne said; “I create timeless art, bringing the old into new and giving life to objects I capture with my lens. My blue-chip collection currently has 6 still life with food pieces and it merges old school with contemporary in a medium photography. It shows the depth of what you can do with photography, and features strong aesthetics. NFT art photography is  soaring on historical collection houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s’

Petra Akinti Onyegbule wears many hats graciously, the hardworking sociologist and political communications strategist with experience which spans 15 years in the areas of advocacy and public relations campaigns in the public and private sectors is also a successful entrepreneur and advocate.

She was the Chief Press Secretary to the Kogi State Governor between 2016 and 2019, and Senior Special Assistant on Electronic Media prior to that.   Her foray into advocacy started in 2006 on the Advocacy efforts of the Catholic Church on Oil and Gas Resource Utilisation in Nigeria.

She is currently the founder of Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative where she rallies support to save premature babies using her resources and mobilizing skills to create awareness on prematurity in Nigeria.

Petra is also the director of Libraprime Communications – a public relations agency that has pitched and executed strategic briefs, leveraging strong media contacts and reach in the industry ecosystem, for delivering high-value to client projects. The multi-tasking entrepreneur is the brain behind fast rising clothing line; Anike Robert Clothing (ARC) a brand that provides integrated marketing for experiential and point of sales channels.

She shares her inspiring story, her passion to save preterm babies, and how her clothing line is gaining momentum in this exclusive interview with Esther Ijewere.

Growing Up

I never really thought about my childhood in relation to the work I have done since my adulthood. But I would say that I grew up in a liberal environment; where even though, it was not the norm to question myths, to question how things were done, to question culture, I was too inquisitive to obey the rules. I have such an inquisitive mind that it was just natural for me to question. So I kept questioning and I kept doing what I now see to be some sort of informal and loose advocacy because I wondered why things were done in a certain way and why they couldn’t be done in a certain way. So it was informal but you know, yes, I did that. I was encouraged by what I saw my mom and siblings did to always speak and stand up up for those who couldn’t do so for themselves. So I would say that yes, in some way, my growing up helped. But more importantly, I grew up having some sort of self-independence. I could do a lot of things for myself at a very early age. So it helped shape my perspective on life and the fact that If I want or need something done, I have to work for it. Yes, it did.

Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative

The inspiration for Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative came from experiencing prematurity from my own daughter who was born at 25 weeks. She was in the neonatal intensive care unit of the national hospital, Abuja for 80 days. She was so helpless it broke my heart. She couldn’t even breath on her own for so long and she had to be on assisted respiration. By the time she was discharged, and we went home, the experience was a different level from what I had in the hospital. Going home meant I was the nurse, I was the primary carer and that I was basically responsible for her. A lot of responsibilities that the doctors, the nurses and the other health workers took on in charge of her in the hospital were transferred basically to me. And in the hospital I saw how tough it was for some families. Oh they  had it tough and rough. Showed me that there is a socio-economic nexus to survival of premature babies and small babies. So I set up Tiny Beating Hearts Iniative to advocate for the rights of every child to live  regardless of the socio-economic background into which they are born and to also help provide material and psychological support for parents with premature babies, the kind I didn’t have twelve years ago when I had my own baby.

The journey so far

The journey has been tough, chiefly because it takes its psychological toll on me and on some of the team members I have worked with over time. I have never had to make it an organisation where I paid people to work with me to ensure that the vision is kept alive. I have always relied on volunteers. It’s been tough, because it’s the same people over and over again, who have been supporting us. Of course, there are situations where in certain places, it is so difficult for us to get access to facilities with incubators. Facilities that are actually well equipped to take on these babies and we have to teach Kangaroo Mothercare, excellent hygiene and nutrition so that bigger premature babies can have their shot at life and are saved. So it’s been tough but what keeps us  going is the fact that you know, you see babies whose parents appear helpless, are actually helpless at the time when they need our intervention and you get testimonies from their parents 5 years later, 6 years later, 10years later and they are saying thank you and they are giving you progress reports. It makes all the stress, makes all the efforts, makes all the heartache worth it. Of course, we had situations where that no matter what we did the baby didn’t survive, that’s really heartbreaking. But over all, it’s been a fulfilling experience because the whole essence is to ensure that no child is left to die regardless, so long as the heart is beating however tiny, it deserves to live. That’s the philosophy. And so we go out of our way, we bend over, backwards we go above and beyond to make sure that happens. Our supporters and partners, they’ve been very steadfast, as a matter of fact, their belief in the project is what has kept us going for long. We are grateful to them and we are thankful for all the lives we have been able to save.

Libra Prime Communications

Libra Prime Communications is a perception management firm which deals largely with regulatory compliance audits. What we do is we undertake perception management on behalf of firms and sometimes, individuals. It is a PR firm but PR in such a way that when firms have issues with their regulators, we step in for  independent audit on whether the firms have complied with recommendations by regulators.

Politics and Advocacy

I didn’t switch from politics to advocacy. Advocacy is what I have always done; my first job post NYSC was as an advocacy officer on a Catholic Church’s project. I have also done advocacy as an independent consultant for a long time. I worked at CBAN – Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria as the first Executive Secretary and Advocacy officer. So advocacy is what I have always done, that’s my major forte. Politics is ubiquitous and I am very interested in the political processes because they determine governance to a significant extent. drawn to politics because there is nothing we do in life that  politics has no bearing on, so I decided to be involved in the political process. I have not switched, I basically just do both hand- in- hand. Because when you talk about advocacy, you are advocating for something to be done, for a policy to be implemented or promulgated. How do you do that without getting involved in the political process? I mean the very basic definition of politics is who gets what, when and how, the how could be through advocacy so I think they both go hand-in-hand. But I have not even left politics. I didn’t switch, I am still a politician. Because I believe that we need to get involved. We need to get involved as much as possible in the political process. Otherwise we lose all the rights to complain about how certain things are done or not done. So it is not a switch. It is just that at the moment, I am giving more prominence to the job which pays me. Because politics is not my job as it were. Unless at a time when I was appointed in a political role. I was given a political appointment in my state, I did a job. But day-to-day politics doesn’t feed me. And I think that every politician needs a job to go back to everyday. That you know, puts food on the table, that adds to the economy which is what I do with LibraPrime Communications and Àníké Robert Clothing.

Work-Life Balance

I am not going to lie that it’s been easy being a Mommy whilst businesswoman and an advocate. It’s not easy. It is not easy at all. But one thing that has helped me is having a supporting husband, one who sometimes steps up when I have to slack on my duties as a wife and mom. Because something always gives; when there is credit somewhere then an account has been debited. So when there is a credit on my advocacy part, it is probably because my business woman role is suffering or my role as a wife is taking a hit or my role as a mom is taking you know, some hit. So at the end of the day, my balance is in getting people to help, getting people to step in when I am unable to be there. So we just continue to balance it up that way. It is not easy, I am not going to lie. It is not easy. Having a husband who supports, family members,  having a good structure in the office, at work,  having a good business partner, a good social support system,  they all help. And these are how I balance my roles as a wife, an entrepreneur,  a consultant and an advocate on multiple issues.

Motivation behind Anike Robert Clothing Line

I love casual wears. There is a saying about wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeves. I love to wear my feelings on my body. So sometimes I brand   the way I feel and I wear that feeling as a tshirt, tracksuit, hoodie, sweatshirt. I  realised along the line that i couldn’t be the only one whose dressing affected their   moods. I am a mental health advocate, and I strongly believe that the environment,  that the way we dress, our outlook, and people’s perception of us affect our mental health. What better way to control people’s perception of you at first glance than appearance? So you have a philosophy, an outlook, what we sum up as attitude?  You should give that attitude a 100%, brand it, wear it. So that is what the Àníké Robert Clothing is about.

There is an economic side to it,not course. I needed something for daily income, you know, like a side hustle. But somehow, it’s such that, it’s surpassed my expectations such that it is now as important as  LibraPrime Communications as the main game.

And my journey in the last one year has been phenomenal; a testament to my philosophy that everything in life has got its pros and cons. Because you see I owe part of the initial success of  Àníké Robert Clothing partly to the pandemic. Because more and more, the way people work and live generally has changed; with companies telling people to work from home,  people not necessarily having to meet at a particular location for a meeting and so more and more, people had to and having to a little less formally. People are beginning to go casual. People are beginning to wear their attitude. So these are some external factors that have  contributed to the pace with which we are growing. Others are the fact that we sell more than the quality of our clothes, which is great if I say so myself; we sell pleasant business experience which keeps over 80% of our clientele as repeat customers.

In the next five years, I see this brand having its own factory and scaling up in the manufacturing of shirts, hoodies and tracksuits. I  see us going into other areas of merchandising and clothing and hopefully, that will happen in the coming five years. That’s the dream.

There have been a lot of challenges of course, but the rewards, both monetary, growth and  lessons  learnt have been awesome.

Challenges 

Number 1 challenge I faced at the beginning and for months  was staffing . Getting my staff to  understand the concept and embody the spirit of excellence, now that was a challenge.  But we have surmounted the hardest part of this and continue to strive to be better. At ARC, now they know that there is nothing like “na small remain. Díẹ̀ lo ku. It is nearly perfect”. If a customer has paid for something, then we’ve got to deliver that. We have all adjusted to this philosophy and making excellence a culture.

The other challenge would be electricity. The erratic supply and rates. Tariff has changed twice in one year. Yet, I don’t get optimal value. Then inflation. My goodness! Production cost keeps fluctuating and highly unpredictable. That’s quite unnerving. Because it makes planning more difficult.

Everyday, there is a price increase in this and that. And this makes the market unpredictable. This unpredictability of it affects me a lot, it leaves me in a fix. Sometimes, we say “oh, the difference is just ₦20 per piece or yard for this particular material but then  I calculate how many of that item I am getting and there are times I  want to throw my hands up in the  air.

3 Women who Inspire me and why

The first person who inspires me to be a better human is my mom. She is incredibly kind, compassionate and humane. That inspires me a great deal. I learnt about dignity in labour and contentment from her. And regardless of everything life has thrown her way, her spirit has remained strong. Even her name inspires me because it becomes some prayer for me every day – Oluwamajente – God, please do not let me be disgraced. Let me not fall from this pedestal. So her life, her person, her name inspires me.

The second person is Prof Dora Akunyili for being a woman of strong conviction and sticking no matter what.

Since you’re limiting to three, the third will be Indira  Nooyi, the former president of Pepsi Co.

Women’s participation in Politics

My views on women participation in politics is that it is not enough. We need to do more. We really  need to do more. And that we need to have an agenda. We need to go all the way, we need to be with partners who understand what it takes for a woman to be involved in politics and would support us to make the sacrifices that a woman needs to make in politics. Now, I think that women also need to, we are doing it, we are doing it; more and more, women need to develop thicker skin because there is a lot of slut-shaming of women in politics. However, it is not going to stop, it is not stopping anytime soon. So whilst we continue to make that advocacy so to say let us deal with women on the merits of their credentials, on the merits of their capacities, and on the merits of the value that they can bring into the political space and processes, we also need to continue to forge ahead and ensure that if there’s a meeting lasting into the dead of the night, we are participating all the way and not giving excuses. We should not expect anything to be handed over to us on platter. And we should understand that we need to be tenacious. Of course, there are challenges of money politics, prebendal godfatherism, etc but if we are focused and purposeful and ambitious, something will keep giving until we have a whole new structure and system and landscape. Do I see myself contesting for any position in the future? I say never say never but I do not see myself contesting.

Advice to young women trying to navigate through life

My advice to young women who are trying to navigate through life and find their purpose is this: YOU ARE ENOUGH. Live your life, make your mistakes but always learn from them; when you fall, you rise. Never stay down. Never ever, allow anybody define you by what you’re not. Never allow anyone define you by your limitations. We all have strengths and weaknesses; we can continue to work on our strengths and we develop our weaknesses to ensure that our weaknesses do not define us. In the age of social media, a lot of people are under pressure to fake it till they make it. How about work the course till you become a force? Behind every story, there is a history. Therefore, look for the history and learn the lesson therein.

If you’re reading this and wondering how you can save a preemie, please reach me.

I am also an advocate of mental health, I champion destigmatisation of mental illnesses and encourage those who suffer any illness on the spectrum to seek help.

Following seven months of planning and a final 27-hour operation, two conjoined twins have been successfully separated and discharged from hospital in Istanbul, Turkey.

The adorable nine-month-old sisters, named Elizabeth and Mary, left Cameroon for Turkey joined at the hip but have now been separated seven months later.

The girls’ mum has praised the ‘extraordinary’ medical staff in Istanbul who carefully planned the surgery on 3D models before getting to work on little Elizabeth and Mary.

According to their parents, the girls who came out the womb attached were living in pain which led to them seeking medical help.

Xray of the twins joined by the hips.

The twins’ father, Richard Akwe said;

We were very saddened by the thought of our babies not being able to move around freely and that they were hurting.

We were also saddened by the crying of our little girls when they were hungry while my wife tried to breastfeed them one by one, but they were a gift to us and we are dedicated to taking care of them in the best way possible.

Parents of the twins. Photo: Reuters.

The girls’ mother, Anne Caroline Akwe told a news conference;

I was very very happy, for seeing Elizabeth and Mary being separated and well without not any complications. Despite the many difficulties, I breastfed my babies for a year while they were conjoined.

We never lost hope that they would be separated and live in good health. And that dream came true with the extraordinary effort and success of the Turkish doctors.

After the 27-hour operation, neurosurgeon Dr Memet Ozek said;

The separation of the lower part of the spinal cord was a problem in the eight-and-a-half-hour separation process. Why was it a problem?

Because it involved four important functions: the movement of their feet, their control of the urinary tract, being able to control defecation, and to prevent a problem in their future sex life. Each one had its own unique set of problems. After surgery, the aim is to keep them protected.

Mako and Kei Komuro, both 30, first met when they were students at the International Christian University at a study-abroad event held at a restaurant in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.

Mako previously told The Telegraph that, “First, I was attracted by his bright smile.” Komuro proposed in December 2013 and the couple continued to have a long-distance relationship while Mako worked towards her master’s degree in Art Museum and Gallery Studies at Leicester University in England.

Princess Mako, the elder daughter of Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko, and her fiancee Kei Komuro, a university friend of Princess Mako, smile during a press conference to announce their engagement at Akasaka East Residence in Tokyo, Japan, September 3, 2017. REUTERS/Shizuo Kambayashi/Pool

She graduated in 2016, and the following year she and Komuro held a press conference with Japanese media to discuss their plans to wed, a ceremony which was scheduled to take place in November 2018, a move cheered by the country.

However, things soon turned sour as tabloids reported on a money scandal involving Komuro’s mother, prompting the press to turn on him.

That February, Imperial Household announced the marriage would be postponed until 2020 with Mako citing “immaturity” as the cause for the delay.

Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino, Crown Princess Kiko and Princess Kako wave to Princess Mako leaving her home for her marriage in Akasaka Estate in Tokyo, Japan October 26, 2021 in this photo taken by Kyodo. Kyodo/via REUTERS

The marriage was postponed, and he left Japan for law studies in New York in 2018 only to return in September.

Their marriage consisted of an official from Imperial Household Agency (IHA), which runs the family’s lives, submitting paperwork to a local office in the morning, foregoing the numerous rituals and ceremonies usual to royal weddings, including a reception.

Mako also refused to receive a one-off payment of about $1.3 million typically made to royal women who marry commoners and become ordinary citizens, in line with Japanese law.

Television footage showed Mako, wearing a pastel dress and pearls, saying goodbye to her parents and 26-year-old sister, Kako, at the entrance to their home. Though all wore masks in line with Japan’s coronavirus protocol, her mother could be seen blinking rapidly, as if to fight off tears.

Though Mako bowed formally to her parents, her sister grabbed her shoulders and the two shared a long embrace.

Japan’s Princess Mako hugs her sister Princess Kako and they are watched by her parents, Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, before leaving her home for her marriage in Akasaka Estate in Tokyo, Japan October 26, 2021 in this photo taken by Kyodo. Kyodo/via REUTERS

In the afternoon, Mako and her new husband will hold a news conference, which will also depart from custom. While royals typically answer pre-submitted questions at such events, the couple will make a brief statement and hand out written replies to the questions instead.

Some of the questions took mistaken information as fact and upset the princess,” said officials at the IHA, according to NHK public television.

Komuro, dressed in a crisp dark suit and tie, bowed briefly to camera crews gathered outside his home as he left in the morning but said nothing. His casual demeanour on returning to Japan, including long hair tied back in a ponytail, had sent tabloids into a frenzy.

Just months after the two announced their engagement at a news conference where their smiles won the hearts of the nation, tabloids reported a financial dispute between Komuro’s mother and her former fiance, as the man claimed mother and son had not repaid a debt of about $35,000.

The scandal spread to mainstream media after the IHA failed to provide a clear explanation. In 2021, Komuro issued a 24-page statement on the matter and also said he would pay a settlement.

Japan’s Princess Mako, the eldest daughter of Crown Prince Akishino and Crown Princess Kiko, strolls at the garden of their Akasaka imperial property residence in Tokyo, Japan October 6, 2021, ahead of her 30th birthday on October 23, 2021 and her marriage on October 26, 2021, in this handout photo provided by the Imperial Household Agency of Japan. Mandatory credit Imperial Household Agency of Japan/Handout via REUTERS

Public opinion polls show the Japanese are divided about the marriage, and there has been at least one protest.

Analysts say the problem is that the imperial family is so idealised that not the slightest hint of trouble with things such as money or politics should touch them.

The fact that Mako’s father and younger brother, Hisahito, are both in the line of succession after Emperor Naruhito, whose daughter is ineligible to inherit, makes the scandal particularly damaging, said Hideya Kawanishi, an associate professor of history at Nagoya University.

Japan’s Princess Mako and her husband Kei Komuro deliver a speech during a news conference to announce their wedding at Grand Arc Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, October 26, 2021. Nicolas Datiche/Pool via REUTERS

He expressed;

Though it’s true they’ll both be private citizens, Mako’s younger brother will one day become emperor, so some people thought anybody with the problems he (Komuro) had shouldn’t be marrying her.

Japan’s Princess Mako and her husband Kei Komuro attend a news conference to announce their wedding at Grand Arc Hotel in Tokyo, Japan, October 26, 2021. Nicolas Datiche/Pool via REUTERS

The two will live in New York, though Mako will remain on her own in Tokyo for some time after the wedding to prepare for the move, including applying for the first passport of her life.

Via Reuters.

If there is one thing this generation suffers from, it is poor posture. Take a look around you and observe keenly the people around your environment. You would see people with poor sitting, standing and walking postures.

In your work place, you would have noticed people hunched over their seats, with their backs bent.

You’re probably currently sitting at your desk reading this, blissfully unaware of your posture right now—and that’s perfectly normal. It can be difficult to always be mindful of your posture, especially during a hectic workday through hours of Zoom meetings and conference calls.

Your posture is a very important indicator of your overall health, as it supports blood flow, improves your mood, increases your confidence, and strengthens your other muscles and joints. Practicing better posture while at your desk at work or at home, even in the smallest ways, is a great way to be mindful of your health on a daily basis.

Here are a few quick ways you can improve your posture as you go along your workday.

1. Switch up your seating

Your seating can make or break your posture—literally. Seating with little to no back support, worn-out chairs, and working from your couch or bed could wear on your body over time, straining your shoulders, spine, and lower back.

If your desk chair doesn’t have the support you need to sit comfortably and in an upright position for an hour or two at a time, you may need to switch up your seating.

A good, ergonomic chair for your workspace will have lumbar support to help the middle of your back, where most of the tension goes when you’re hunched over your desk. You also want to pick a chair that keeps your body at a neutral, upright position with an adequate seat height that keeps your arms and legs leveled and a backrest that isn’t too firm or too soft.

If you’re now working from home, make sure to be mindful of where and how you’re sitting. Set up your own workspace with a desk and chair that supports your back and shoulders and promotes better posture over time.

As much as you can, avoid working from your bed. Your spine will thank you.

2. Take frequent stretch breaks

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your workday and forget to move, so set an alert on your work calendar or on your phone as a regular reminder to take a break and switch up your posture by taking a walk, standing briefly in between meetings, stretching, or getting a quick exercise in.

Spending hours upon hours every day in a seated position where your back is either slouched or hunched over is detrimental to your posture. Many health professionals have declared that sitting has now become the new smoking, a popular myth that compares the negative chronic health effects of both, such as weight gain and diabetes.

Prolonged sitting can have long-lasting effects on not only your back but also on your overall health.

Make it a priority to get up and move around on a regular basis throughout your workday to give your body some relief from sitting and staring at a screen all day. Put yourself on a daily schedule to get some time away from the desk so you can give your back a break from sitting in an upright position, putting more pressure on your spine.

3. Exercise for better posture

When we exercise, we often forget to exercise for better posture, especially as working from home becomes more prevalent. Your posture is key to better overall health, and taking time to focus on it during your workday can help prevent lifelong body issues.

Exercising throughout the workday for better posture can be as simple as standing upright for an hour or two at a time at your desk, stretching and rotating your neck to relieve some of the tension from hours of working, or getting a good back bend at the waist to loosen up that lower back.

Give yourself a few small breaks during the workday to work out those kinks in your shoulders, neck, and back from sitting too long, and focus on exercises specifically for those areas.

4. Keep your workspace eye level

Hunching over your desk to look at your laptop or to type is one of the key indicators of poor posture. If your laptop or desktop computer isn’t eye level, it makes it easy to slouch and get stuck working that way for hours.

Do an overall assessment of your workspace, including your laptop, your monitor, your desk, and your computer accessories like your keyboard and mouse to make sure they are level to your eyesight and body to ensure that you’re not straining your neck, shoulders, and back to use your devices.

Your workspace should be at a comfortable level but upright enough where your posture isn’t compromised. Switch up the positioning of your workspace so that it’s easier to sit upright while still being effective throughout the day. If you work remotely or from home, find a better place to set up your workspace like on a high bar-style countertop where you can easily sit in an upright position, or even stand and work for a change of pace.

5. Be intentions about your sitting posture

Taking the time to connect with your body every so often throughout the day to see how it feels can seem like another item for your to-do list, but your back will definitely thank you for it!

Practice being mindful of your posture throughout the workday by setting frequent reminders on your phone to check in with your body.

Use this mindfulness to be more aware of your posture on a daily basis and when you place the most tension on your back. Do you find that your posture suffers during long Zoom meetings? Are you sitting for more than two to three hours at a time in the mornings or afternoons? Take note daily of all of your workspace habits and how it impacts your posture and your overall body. This will help you anticipate and be more mindful of your posture during the most stressful times of your day and prepare to change it up.

6. Keep your feet flat on the floor

Your feet and their position while at your desk play a crucial role in your overall posture while sitting. If your feet are crossed or elevated, that could compromise your posture, as your weight is primarily on one leg or your back is taking the brunt of it. When your feet are flat on the floor and properly leveled, the weight of your body is evenly distributed across your hips. Keeping your feet flat on the floor also makes you more mindful of the overall stance of your body, as it unconsciously makes you straighten up.

Practice keeping your feet fully on the floor for longer periods of time instead of elevating them using a footrest or crossing your legs at the knees underneath your desk. Planting your feet on the ground will help you be more aware of your posture and if you’re slouched or hunched over your desk.

Your posture is a key indicator of your body’s health during your workday. Don’t ignore any signs of back or shoulder pain; make it a point to take care of yourself while working, starting with your posture

Which of these tips do you find helpful?
Which of these tips would you start practicing today?

What other useful tip would you like to add? Please share with us in the comment box below.

If you have spent a minute in the job hunting scene, you will agree with me that the interview process is stressful and hectic. You are trying to make a good impression while at the same time, trying to exude confidence and capability of handling the job.

Then there is the fear of doing too much or doing too little and not being called back after the interview.

I can relate with you and I understand how you feel.

Sure, looking professional is important and should be taken seriously. However, if you look good and don’t know how to conduct yourself throughout the interview, you probably won’t get the job. It’s that simple.

There is an art to doing a good job during the interview, and this article is here to show you how.

Dress Like You Already Have The Job.

The most basic of all the interview tips is to come dressed professionally. My tip? Dress like you already have the job. What I mean by that is actually going to the company’s website and having a look at their employee pictures. Most companies have those, and you can see what kind of clothes they’re wearing.

 If they don’t have those, then go with the tried and true interview uniform:

  • Black or navy slacks
  • White blouse or button-down
  • A structured blazer
  • Pointed-toe pumps or ballet flats
  • Structured bag

You can never go wrong with this professional attire.

Do Your Homework.

The easiest way to show your interviewer that you are keen on getting the position you are interviewing for is to know about the company. Go on their website or social media account and really read up about them.

Write down their mission statement along with any cool information you find out about the company. At the interview, when asked, “So, why do you want to work here?”, use something you found out about them earlier in your answer! This is the easiest way to impress your interviewer.

Be Friendly.

This completely goes without saying, but be friendly. Have a smile throughout the interview as it makes you look approachable. Friendliness goes a long way at interviews. Interviewers are more likely to hire someone who is easy to talk to and approachable than someone who looks super serious and stern. Unless, of course, the job you are interviewing for is one which needs that kind of a look.

Be Confident.

Along with being friendly, show the interviewer that you are also confident in your skills. If you’re not somebody who is naturally confident, practice saying your answers out loud at home or with a friend. Doing that will get you ready and eliminate the unnecessary umms that might come when you’re unprepared.

Also, try to remember that the interviewer will probably make you feel as comfortable as can be. They usually know that people get nervous during an interview, so don’t sweat it if you get a little nervous.

Don’t Lie On Your Resume.

One of the biggest interview tips I have is to be truthful on your resume. Trying to seem like you know it all and including things that aren’t true on your resume are going to get you in trouble. Don’t do it. If you can’t speak French, don’t have it as one of the languages you’re fluent in. Imagine how embarrassed you will be when the interviewer starts speaking to you in French.

Clean Up Your Social Media.

Something a lot of interviewers and HR personnel do these days is looking people up on social media. It’s a good idea to either clean up any pictures you wouldn’t want your future employer looking at, or setting your accounts as private.

The thing to remember here is that you will, hopefully, be representing the company. Most employers probably won’t want someone working for them who post inappropriate content online.

Ask Questions.

At the end of the interview, you will probably be asked if you have any questions for the interviewer. This is a good chance for you to find out additional information about the job, as well as the working environment.

Some good questions to ask are:

  • What’s your favorite thing about working here?
  • What does a typical day look like here?
  • What do you think are some qualities which will make a person excel in this role?
  • What are the expectations of someone working in this role?

Which of these tips resonate with you?
What other interview tips do you have yo share with others? Do share them in the comment box below.

Folakemi Adesina is the Founder of Do Good Charity Initiative; a foundation through which she has impacted well over 5000 children and women across different states in Nigeria. She is a seasoned lawyer with exceptional work ethics and a passion for Property Law and Company Secretarial Practice.

 The Olabisi Onabanjo University graduate, and award winning innovative leader is the Lagos State Coordinator for Good deeds day international, a global movement for doing good, she is also the Ambassador for Global Impact Network.

Under her leadership, Do Good Charity Initiative launched JEANS FOR SOCIAL IMPACT PROJECT; where used jeans are upcycled into eco-friendly school bags. This project has impacted over 2000 children in underserved communities

Folakemi is a passionate change agent and humanitarian fuelled by real life situations of children and women living in underserved communities. She strongly believes in poverty eradication amongst people

She  is happily married and blessed with kids. The amazing amazon shared her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview.

Childhood Influence

I was born into a Godly family. My parents were educationists and disciplinarians who valued education and believed in raising a child in a Godly way. As the only girl in the family, I was taught to be useful and responsible, engaging in different activities in the house. I learnt how to work with others, lead with confidence, and contribute my quota to my community in my little way. My parents actively participate in community services in church and with their permission, I started volunteering at a tender age. Growing up, I was essentially taught to stand up for what I believe in.

Inspiration behind Do Good Charity Initiative

I am happy to be amongst people making positive changes in the world. I founded Do Good Charity Initiative because I want to give children and women a VOICE and a chance at a better life. I started volunteering at a very tender age, as far back as 2004. My volunteering experience started with Garnet Youth Foundation in Osogbo, Osun State. As a serial volunteer working with children, I had a better understanding of their struggles. I have seen how hard children and women work to meet their basic needs. This fueled a desire in me to address real-life situations of children and women living in slums and underserved communities. The organisation was founded to lift children and women out of poverty.

Our activities include (but not limited to):,Food banking, Love Without Limits (an annual food and clothing drive outreach), Jeans for social impact (school bags and shoes swap program),Undies for every child (awareness on prevention of child sexual abuse), Women Empowerment programs

The journey so far

The journey has been fantastic, filled with different experiences and challenges. Putting smiles on people’s faces makes me fulfilled. The major challenges that comes with running an NGO are Management and Fundraising. As a nonprofit organization, we rely solely on public financial support, and seeking such funds comes with accountability and transparency on public benevolence. To ensure this, we carry out in-depth research to identify the most vulnerable, ascertain their exact needs and work towards meeting those needs.

Jeans for social impact project

Growing up as the only girl in the family was so much fun. My mum made it a priority, despite all odds to always give me the best. She so much believed in UPCYCLING – not that I knew what it was called at the time. But you see, she never allows any of her Ankara (printed) or lace materials to go to waste. Before you know it, an ‘anko’ (uniform attires) has been made from those materials for my brothers and I; with matching slippers for me.This fueled my passion when I founded Do Good Charity Initiative; to address the physical and psychological needs of children living in underserved communities. JEANS FOR SOCIAL IMPACT was born out of a desire to meet the major needs of children while saving the environment. It is an upcycling project where jean wears are turned into school bags and lunch boxes for children in need of them.

Textile waste is the third-largest contributor to dry waste in Nigeria and is a massive environmental problem. Therefore, if a pair of jeans is upcycled, the electricity and water needed to make a new product can be conserved.

Impacting over 5000 children across Nigeria through my work

As an advocate, I’m able to go beyond ‘passion’ and ‘talks’ to identify needs and solve tangible problems people (orphans, widows, women, and children living in slums) face. Illiteracy is part of the non-education problem, with Nigeria having one of the highest out-of-school rates. This is why I’m working to ensure that these children are enrolled in schools; provided with books, bags, shoes, uniforms, and encouragement. Beyond immediate needs, empowering women through vocational training, to be able to cater for their children, are parts of the projects I am working on. I believe, and it’s important, we don’t leave any child behind because they all matter. Anybody can be an advocate for anything as long as the interest is honest. I also feel that there’s so much more I need to do so, so many lives to be touched

The  society, the act of giving and it’s knowledge of Charity

To an extent. Nigerians are known to be among the most generous people on the planet. In a recent global survey conducted by the World Giving Index, it was discovered that almost two-thirds of Nigerians spend time helping another human being.

The goodness of heart of the Nigerian people is reflected in their donations to the needy. The act of giving brings together Nigerians, to help them achieve a common goal of helping those who are less privileged than them. However, we need to keep creating awareness on generosity and kindness; celebrating acts of giving and the importance of giving back to the society.

Challenges

Getting the required funding and sponsorship to support our projects is one of the major challenges we face. From companies to partnering with other Non-governmental organizations, to seeking support from our local audience, this challenge has posed itself as an opportunity to put our best foot forward by engaging in strategic communication, follow-ups, networking activities, and strategically positioning ourselves for better prospects. There’s still a long way to go through.

Another challenge we are faced with is identifying beneficiaries that are truly in need and streamlining their numerous needs. With operations in one of the largest cities in Africa, the rate of poverty and illiteracy is relatively higher. However, we can only reach a number of communities (and people) due to limited resources.

Some other challenges include; lack of fairer distribution of resources, political interference in development issues, and the lack of potential human resources. As a humanitarian, I believe in empowering people and as we seek to expand our reach, we ensure that whatever resources we get are fully utilized to meet the direst needs (in line with the organization’s mission and value).

 3 women who inspire you to be better and why?

Malala Yousafzai, her story inspires me a lot and I admire her love for girls and her passion for access to quality education.

Mrs. Ibukun Awosika is another extraordinary woman who inspires me through her works. From her teachings, I have understood how I can multitask; being a wife, a mother and at the same time a workaholic. She’s one worthy of emulation.

Michelle Obama. She stands out as one of the most passionate and accomplished First Ladies in history because of her charisma, compassion and powerful speeches. I’m also inspired through her works with girls – funding girls’ education and tackling everything from leadership to poverty.

Being  a woman of rubies 

Folakemi Adesina is a woman of rubies and more. She is just the right blend of beauty and brains. Comfortable in her own skin, releasing positive vibes, innovative, and with quick wits. I’m a lady of good values and one of those unique individuals with a heart for humanity.

Other projects and activities

Good Deeds Day is an annual tradition of good deeds. All over the world, hundreds of thousands choose to volunteer and help others, putting into practice the simple idea that every single person can do something good, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively change the world. I’m privileged to be the Lagos State Coordinator of Good deeds day Network

Good deeds day was launched in Lagos state on October 6th, 2021, Lagos is the commercial nerve center of Nigeria. The city is home to so many wonderful organizations working hard to make Nigeria a better place. A lot of young individuals are hungry for change who are willing to devote their time and resources to making the world a better place. We want these individuals to be part of this network of change agents within Lagos and other states in Nigeria. Our aim is to make this day where we will bring together all good-doers, volunteers, charity organizations, schools, universities, religious groups, companies etc. to do good. The initiative’s aim is to promote generosity and Kindness. The initiative makes it easy for people to #InspireGoodness. The next Good deeds day comes on April 3rd, 2022. The initiative allows citizens across the globe to make a difference in their communities throughout the year.

Twenty-four hours after its official launch on 1st February 2021, the Talkative Mom app was ranked the number 2 parenting app in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Its popularity in those countries may have been short-lived but for the Ghanaian developer, it was proof of a huge demand amongst expectant mothers for a crucial commodity: information.

Founder Eno Quagraine did not start out intending to build an app at all. The initiative was born from a deeply emotional personal experience.

In the early hours of November 18, 2017, Eno and her husband David Quagraine were rushing to a nearby hospital in Accra. Expecting their first child, Eno’s labour had begun the previous day with few cramps and discomforts. Now it was getting intense.

“We practically ‘flew’ to the hospital that Sunday morning and I was escorted to my private ward,” she recalled, telling her story in her typical “no-holds-barred” fashion. “My cervix was examined. At this point, I had begun dilating and I was now 2 cm. I knew that once I was at 10 cm, it was go-time,’’ she explained.

But after being admitted, things took an unexpected turn. Following the adrenaline-filled rush to get to the hospital, she was put on hold. Connected to a cardiotocography machine, she was asked to wait for the gynaecologist. She had a litany of questions for the doctors… the key one being how long she could expect labour to last. An examining doctor had an easy answer ready.

“Usually, every hour you should have dilated 1cm, so in the next 8 hours, I am sure you would have given birth,’’ the doctor announced confidently.

Encouraged, the expectant mom decided to brace herself and got through the labour pains, confident everything would be over soon. She was wrong.

Several hours later, with no sign of the baby arriving, the pain had become unbearable. She was advised against taking any painkillers as it would prolong labour. When the gynaecologist arrived, he revealed to Quagraine that she was not likely to have the child that day. Her heart sank.

Exhausted and in pain, she couldn’t fall asleep so she took a brief walk around the facility to speed up the process of childbirth. That didn’t help, either. Eventually, she managed some sleep after taking a substantial dose of painkillers.

At 2 a.m she was woken by severe pains and bleeding. She knew instantly something had to be done to save the baby. The doctors then performed an episiotomy – a surgical procedure to aid a difficult delivery and prevent the rupture of tissues. At 6:20 am on Monday, November 20, the Quagraines’ 3.1-kilogram baby boy finally made it out alive.

It was this unexpected ordeal – and the fright at almost losing her baby and her own life – that pushed Quagraine to start a blog. She realised she had not known nearly enough about what to expect. She wasn’t going to let that happen to other expectant moms.

In her blog, she was frank about her ordeal and left nothing to the imagination. It became a hit. “I realised that people loved how candid I was,” she explained. “At the initial stages, my mother felt that I was sharing too much of my private life. Her mindset changed when someone walked up to her in church and told her my story had prepared her for childbirth. She immediately realized I was making an impact and now she is a great supporter of my work.”

Two years later, Quagraine turned her blog into an online app with the help of her husband David, a software specialist. “I called it the Talkative Mom app because I am a talkative and I wanted a name that was catchy and at the same time suited my personality,” Quagraine explained.

Despite spending close to 3000 dollars to set up the app, Quagraine decided to make it free for users. “We thought it was a wise decision to make it free so that we don’t prevent anyone from getting information that may help them through their motherhood journey,” she said.

 

The app has four distinct features: a motherhood-specific search engine called “Mom Plug’’ where users can ask questions on parenting and search results that apply to the Ghanaian context; “Marketplace”, where vendors can sell parenting goods; the regular Blog from Quagraine and finally, “Listings” for service providers. The app carries contributions from certified experts such as speech and language therapists, paediatricians, sex coaches, breastfeeding specialists and nutritionists.

“Marketplace” has been particularly well received by expectant parents.

“This unique feature makes them find all the Ghanaian products they want but are so difficult to locate,’’ Quagraine explained.

It’s the blog, however, which seems to keep users coming back for more. One of the reasons is that amongst the stories shared by mothers, there is plenty of comic relief. However, it is the information provided on the app that remains its best selling point.

“There are so many apps around but most of them are foreign and don’t address our local needs. This app is unique because it speaks to the issues bothering the Africans, which we feel very shy to talk about. My children’s paediatrician is even there so it makes direct access to medical services easy,” said a regular user of the app, Dzidzor Arkutu.

Arkutu uses the platform to share her motherhood journey and to look up the services of certified paediatricians. She also markets her spa treatments on the app.

With thousands of users regularly visiting the platform, major brands have been keen to get on board, too.

“I have worked for so many brands, like Boomerang, Vlisco and Pepsodent and I am still working with others. These are opportunities I would never have gotten if I did not take the bold step to share my motherhood journey,” said Quagraine.

In October 2021, Quagraine started her television show – aimed at young African mothers.

The 31-year-old mother with a masters in marketing now aims to take Talkative Mom to every mother on the continent. While that points to huge personal ambition, it is the message that keeps her motivated.

“What makes me more excited is when I hear people tell me how my app is helping them on their motherhood journey,” she said.

Source; Bellanaija