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The challenges facing many women in Africa of how to manage and care for their natural hair is one that entrepreneur Farida Yahya is all too familiar with. It was the inspiration for the launch of her business Lumo Naturals, which today creates a range of specialist hair products that both cleanse and treat the hair gently. Today, the brand is winning scores of fans who are looking for a natural solution for their natural hair.

Lumo Naturals is an award-winning haircare solutions brand. With over 6 years in operation and a team of professional hair consultants and stylists, they offer a wide range of hair services and products. They provide quality hair services, along with top lines of our well formulated natural hair products.

As a naturalista, growing up, Farida saw her mother try to tame her hair with tons of relaxers. Farida’s mother tried various products and used tons of strategies but none ever worked. And just like other natural hair owners, she had problems with her own hair ranging from breakage to dry hair, breaking the piggy bank to get premium products to maintain the hair, as well as shrinkage. Additionally, Farida would spend so much time watching tons of videos on YouTube and natural hair blogs looking for tips and inspirations. In 2008, Farida resorted to making DIY products for her hair because there were no big shops that sold natural hair care products in her location. Interestingly, her experiments worked and people began to buy them.

As a female founder, you should never feel pressured to “lead like the boys”. There is nothing wrong in leading with empathy, and you should know that the world of entrepreneurship is tough, and so, don’t demand things from the angle of a victim, instead work hard and smart enough to have those doors open for you. When you do succeed, look back and lift others, mentorship and support is crucial for female founders, if we want to go far, and build the mass we need to change things for good. — Farida Yahya.

Lumo Naturals was birthed in 2012. It started with the production of the first set of natural hair care products – hair butter. And with Farida’s over nine years of experience in biochemistry and a diverse range of complementary skill sets, she has been able to create an extensive offering of affordable natural hair care products designed to benefit naturalistas.


For Farida, running her own business has pushed her to grow. Being responsible for her team and customers has challenged her to learn about how money works, what is required from a leader, and why it is important to deliver quality service consistently.
Farida says she is happiest when she solves a client’s hair challenge, and when she gets feedback about their formulations. In her words, “it gives me such a thrill to know that I am doing my quota to help make the world a better place, and reduce social inequalities.”

Lumo Naturals fill a unique niche in the beauty space. Their product line includes everything from hair cleansers to hair treatments and hair scrums, with a focus on multi-functional products. Additionally, all their products showcase clean, locally sourced ingredients that are cruelty-free, animal-free, and free of harmful irritants and additions such as parabens, benzene, and formaldehyde.

On September 11th, Esther Ijewere hosted Psychotherapist and Mental Health Advocate; Dedoyin Ajayi on her famous Tweet chat session #GettalkingwithEsther, and they discussed how to live an wholesome life.

The  Psychotherapist did not only share the importance of protecting our Mental Health, but she also gave insight on what Therapy looks like, and why we all need to slam the brake sometimes and do what’s best for our emotional wellbeing.

See summary of the tweet chat below.   You can also read more about Dedoyin, and her work as a mental health advocate and Psychotherapist Here

 

 

Empower a woman and you have empowered a whole community. Ubong Agina understands this so well which is why she has built a successful fashion training school centered around empowering women and helping them fulfill their potentials.

The entrepreneurial journey is not easy; it requires a large heart. However, as challenging as it may be, just as a child’s first attempts at walking, success is sure with clear focus, consistency and the ability to manage changes.

Agina was inspired to launch her fashion design and training school business, respectively for a couple of reasons.
The first being a love for African fabrics and the fashionable beauty of local, well-made designs relative to foreign brands. The second being a deep love for teaching/training.
When Agina ventured into couture, fashion designing and creation, she found a vast opportunity for capacity building and empowerment among fellow African women. So, she expanded to also establish a fashion training school.

Nubeeka Couture, an arm of Nubeeka Concepts, is a creative fashion designing private enterprise founded with the mission to promote African beauty, art and style through creative and innovative garment fashion designing. They are committed to women empowerment through training and through their own fashion school.

Their range of products includes various female apparel such as corporate-wear, semi-formal and casual dresses, gowns, jackets, skirts and tops, and shirts, all of which we produce as bespoke designs, as well as small to large scale ready-to-wear (RTW) designs.


Ubong Agina’s entrepreneurial journey started from her childhood. In her own words, “coming from a meagre background, my entrepreneurial journey started as an arduous uphill task and my main anchor was my passion to drive my mission. After acquiring the necessary basic and advanced academic, as well as fashion design skills, I started my fashion making business in the comfort of my home for the first several months. When customer satisfaction incrementally drove patronage beyond what I can manage in my home, I took the bold but fretful step and I officially launched my business, with the inclusion of the training school.”

Her biggest fulfilment as a fashion entrepreneur and trainer comes from her customer satisfaction, together with their kind and encouraging feedback and referrals.

Ubong Agina’s final words on entrepreneurship is this, “the entrepreneurial journey is not easy; it requires a large heart. However, as challenging as it may be, just as a child’s first attempts at walking, success is sure with clear focus, consistency and the ability to manage changes.”

 

ORÍKÌ Group is a wellness and personal grooming brand that is the first and only company in Nigeria to operate a luxury spa chain coupled with its own farm to skin product range.

They utilize the most, efficient & potent natural ingredients from Africa. ORÍKÌ Group comprises of a multi-channel spa, farm to skin retail product company and a wholesale & amenity product line for spa’s, hotels, and airlines.
They are a fast growing organization having developed/operated six spas, retail stores and created distribution channels across Nigeria and in three countries.

Their mission is to leave a piece of Africa with consumers around the world by creating farm to skin products, wellness centers, empowering farming ecosystems and instilling ‘skinfidence.’

Joycee was intrigued by natural ingredients and their potency as a young girl. The more she experimented; skin and hair became her weapon of choice for self-expression – a way to experiment with raw materials and resources – and it powered a journey that led her back to her roots on the continent of Africa, specifically Nigeria, and that propelled the creation of ORÍKÌ. After years of experimenting with all types of natural ingredients, at one point creating a mini lab in a home setting, testing and experimenting with diverse materials from activated charcoal to wild berries and ingredients in between.

Joycee wanted others to experience the potency of natural ingredients. Seeing a void in the industry and a depiction and narration of Africa as being helpless and lacking, she launched a personal grooming brand “inspired by nature and crowned with opulence,” focusing on a wide range of raw materials and ingredients for all skin types, creating formulas that work for all depending on skin type and concern.

Her goal as a business owner is to expand into more and more communities, giving more people the opportunity to make wellness a lifestyle.
The ORIKI Team is diverse and they all bring their unique strengths to the table. Everyone’s voice matters and everyone’s suggestions and comments are welcome.

Joycee developed a love for entrepreneurship at a young age as she had keen interest in solving problems and monetizing opportunities. She started a babysitters club when she was younger, a candy store out of my locker, she made accessories and much more as a child. Her father was also an entrepreneur and she used to enjoy visiting his office and learning about what he did, it definitely left an impression and fueled her passion.

ORIKI is scaling and expanding and bringing more ORIKI locations to more communities; they are currently working on 3 other locations as well as launching a new farm to skin product line and a new haircare line. In 2020 they were able to scale two of their service offerings – Our Spa at Home services have provided hundreds of homes the opportunity to have spa services in the safety and comfort of their home.

For Joycee, making an impact as an entrepreneur is of utmost importance to her.

Joycee’s personal piece of advice to everyone is to partner with God. In her words, “I have seen my business transform as I said NO to fear and instead gained confidence by trusting in God through every season and allowing him steer the ship and lead my efforts. I’ve come to realize that obstacles and challenges are inevitable but I no longer let the struggles consume me because I have faith that the company would be victorious.”

Chika got her footwear making skills during the annual mandatory National Youth Service Program in 2012. She has since used her work at NCR Design Shoemaking School to improve the lives of women and youths in Nigeria by enabling them to produce and export standard footwear products through training, job matching opportunities, mentoring, and access to quality and affordable raw materials.

In 2017, Chika participated in the YouWin (Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria) scheme, an initiative that finances outstanding business plans for the young, aspiring entrepreneurs in Nigeria. In 2019, she emerged among the top 100 semi-finalists in the Access Bank Womenpreneur pitch-a-ton competition. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a lockdown and restriction of movements and social distancing, as well as an economic recession that resulted in loss of jobs, hunger and insecurity, Chika took to training 36 students (2 students each month) in the art of footwear making for free. She organized virtual meetings to speak on the importance of vocational skills and handiwork in these days of uncertainty when nothing is sure, with regards to securing a good job.

Chika also recently got shortlisted as one of the top 20 female entrepreneurs to participate in the She Leads Africa High Growth Coaching program. She is a member of the Bell-Africana community, YALI West Africa, She Leads Africa, and currently signed up for Female & More Africa in collaboration with Ford Foundation.  Her designs have been featured in publications, and have been worn and commended by reputable icons.

Since the incorporation of NCR Design in 2018, Chika has through the business provided the needed skills that have pulled 1000 beneficiaries of the footwear making programs out of poverty and given them a new lease of life. Chika is working towards expanding the business to accommodate varieties of courses to enable the participants to opt for the one that suits them best.

What inspires Chika the most is her desire to help others by using her business to provide jobs for those with special needs. All I have ever wanted to do in my life is to help people especially women who do not even know why they are suffering, who are denied access to quality of life, who are willing to work to get those two pieces of bread for themselves and their families, who should not suffer.
She draws inspiration from the hardships of these people, to work her way out somewhere through which she can really help them.

They provide students with enough training skills and support that will enable them to establish a career in small and medium size businesses. NCR Design provides mentorship and internship opportunities, free accommodation and makes its training facility, tools, and equipment available to students who completed their training in the school.

Chika does not come from an entrepreneurial background, and her parents are disappointed chose Shoemaking over Medicine, Engineering, Law etc. In her own words, “I wanted to create value with something that I was passionate about. I have always loved shoes but became increasingly interested in shoes when I joined shoemaking CDS group during my days as a Youth Corp member in 2012. I started to dig deep into the art of shoemaking, read about master shoemakers, the business of shoemaking, its rewards, the challenges, and opportunities… just everything about it. It was fascinating to say the least. It had never occurred to me that I could make a living out of it because interestingly, I am a graduate of Soil Science so academically, nothing really linked to the career I have now. But growing up I loved making things. I loved art. I loved creating, but somehow had forgotten about it during my years as a student. My joining the shoemaking CDS group made me remember how much I loved crafts.”

What gives Chika the most satisfaction as an entrepreneur is knowing that she is contributing to something larger than herself. That I am solving problems and bringing a product and service to the world that people need.

Chika says to young women, “You can be anything and everything you set your mind to, with the right amount of ambition, commitment, dedication and of course, hard work – you will do it. First things first, you need to realize what that best version of yourself looks like. What does this woman look like to you? Who is she? What does she do? Did she build a business from the ground up? Or is she an amazing advocate for female empowerment? There are certain questions you must ask yourself to get to know yourself. Figure out her traits and see how many of them you have yourself. Chances are, you have a lot more in common than you may have originally thought. The only differences might be that this woman is recognized for her work and gets to do it on a larger scale. That is how you need to figure out how you can take the next step.It is all about your mindsets and reprogramming your mind for success. The women we admire and look up to and aspire to be all each have different mindsets.”

Omotola Olaniyi-Omosebi is the current Creative Director of Gmoty Fashion Academy. A graduate of Business Administration from Yaba College of Technology Yaba Lagos. She founded Gmoty Fashion Academy in 2014 graduating from Ginani Fashion School. In 2016 she attended Zaris Fashion Academy for a finishing course. Her mission is to help women become resourceful so they can help their children and family.

“A few years ago, I struggled with how to cut and sew clothes, I didn’t know where to start from or where to learn the skills I needed. So I spent years looking for a solution to this problem from different places. I ended up wasting years learning little to nothing, I wasted money and time yet with nothing to show. On different occasions I would watch videos, read books and even attend sewing group tutorials all in the hope to learn. My sewing skills, interpretation of designs or perfect finishing was nothing to write-home-about. I became so confused, worried, scared and frustrated because I knew I was losing out, I didn’t believe in myself and my skills as I couldn’t sew anything meaningful for myself, not to talk of making clothes for clients. I spent a full year learning from a so-called ‘good’ tailor. But I knew if I could get hold of these skills it would help a great deal. I knew I needed a way out very fast because it was starting to affect my self-esteem; I didn’t like the fact that I was always asking my husband for every single kobo I needed. It was really bad. I finally found a way out.”

Today the story is different, as Omotola not only sews well fitted garments, she also now help and teach other married women who are interested about learning how to sew and earn from the skill. In May 2018, she opened a Fashion Training Academy where she trains people so far, they have trained over 300 women (boys and girls also included for summer classes) and still counting. Gmoty Fashion Academy is indeed a community that helps women find clarity and move very fast from being a full housewife to a resourceful housewife.


Her fashion school doesn’t teach only fashion, they also teach the business side of fashion. This is where they bring in experts from the industry to train and educate their students on selling and branding etc. They train them and we give them their first job.

They also teach their students how to use the latest tech tools to promote their products and services.

We do fashion training and education, sales of fashion designs (Ready to Wear), childrenswear, handcrafted products made by students, including Laptop Bags, Ankara Tote Bags, Neck Pillows and Accessories etc. We also offer a range of consultancy and advisory services.

Omotola specializes in African ready to wear, casuals and corporate wear. She has participated in various fashion shows including Runway Fadan 2015 (Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria), Ankara Fiesta 2015 and a host of other exhibitions.

She has participated in various fashion shows including Runway Fadan 2015 (Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria), Ankara Fiesta 2015 and a host of other exhibitions.
Omotola is a recipient of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 women initiative Scholarship, and studied Entrepreneurial Management at the Pan Atlantic University (Lagos Business School). She is a member of FADAN (Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria) the recognized body for the Fashion Designers Profession. Also a member of AFDEC (African Fashion Development and Empowerment Centre).

What gives her the most satisfaction as an entrepreneur is the ability to practice her skills every day, and she is happy that this skill is creating the safe place for women to grow their self-belief so as to become support systems to their families and role models in their communities. Omotola finds joy in seeing women become more involved in running the home front, leading in their communities, and speaking out loud with their heads up high. This can only be achieved when our women are empowered with livelihood skills, when they have different streams of Income.

This is why Omotola screams to anyone who wants to listen “Learn a skill today!! Never depend solely on your spouse, the power you have is that little money you can call your own. The best time to start is NOW!”

Kennie Akinyemi-Okomah is the founder of Change Agents, a non-profit organisation and philanthropists group, with a mandate to affect the world positively and empowering the less privileged. A passionate leader, with a long track record of successful management, she had an MBA in Finance from the University of North Alabama, USA. She has been in the oil and gas industry for almost 18 years and currently a Stocks and Equity leader. She is also the CEO of Temnnys Foods with its headquarters in Southern California USA, and branches in Lagos and Abuja. In this interview with Maria Diamond, Akinyemi-Okomah, who grew up in Lagos and hails from Ayedun Ekiti, spoke on the need to empower the less privileged, especially the girl child, single mums, orphans and unemployed graduates. She also talked about the challenges of being a female entrepreneur in Nigeria.

Tell us about Change Agents, what exactly is the thrust of the NGO?
We are a non-profit organisation with the goal of touching lives positively, starting from our immediate environment. We reach out to the unreached people, giving hope to the less privileged and sharing love. We empower people by enhancing their skills and provide business grants to business owners and starters, so that they can stand on their feet. It’s my way of giving back to society.

When was the NGO founded and who are your targeted audiences?
The organisation started in March 2016 and our our target audience are the less privileged, single mums, the girl child, anyone who needs help generally; be it emotional, spiritual, mental and even financial.

How much have you been able to achieve so far?
Quite a number of people have benefited from our NGO, both individuals and orphanages. Most recently, we visited the Maryland Orphanage Home in Gwagwalada, Abuja; we took relief materials to the orphans and had a time of fellowship with them. It was quite an inspiring one for us, seeing the lives God has rescued. We are not oblivious of the fact that it could have been any of us in such a situation. We have also empowered some ladies recently to start up their businesses; especially those whose husbands have left them and cannot meet their basic needs. We have also empowered unemployed graduates to start up businesses.

How do you follow up on beneficiaries to ensure they stay empowered?
We follow up on beneficiaries by supplying funds in phases at various levels as they start up. This is to ensure that they stay empowered for financial needs and avoid careless spending. We constantly check on other beneficiaries to know how they are doing and see where we can come in. We ensure to keep them active around us, especially on social platforms, and in case of any withdrawal, we quickly check to know what is wrong.

Considering how Change Agents is a non-profit organisation, how do you raise funds to execute your projects?
We don’t raise funds. This is one of the ways I give back and God has been faithful.

Having spent 18-year in the oil and gas sector, what prompted a diversion into food entrepreneurship?
The goal is to eventually be an entrepreneur full time. However, I chose food because it is a basic need of man. Truth is, under whatever circumstance, good or bad, people would eat and always eat. We can resist buying new clothes, electronics, etc, but it would be hard to resist hunger; knowing this reality prompted my switch into food entrepreneurship.

I have a great concern for Nigerians and their plights as it relates to high unemployment rate. This is an opportunity for me to actualise creating jobs thereby empowering Nigerians.

Tell us about Temnnys Foods, what kinds of food do you offer?
Temnnys Foods is a snack and beverage company with headquartered in Southern California. The idea is to make tasteful snacks and beverages that are non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) and gluten-free.

Do you have outlet in Nigeria at the moment?
All work is in progress to ensure we have a very successful launch in Lagos. The grand opening and launch party of the Temnnys Foods Lagos will take place on July 10, 2021, at Imperial Hall, Alausa Secretariat Ikeja.

As a woman in business, what is your biggest challenge?
I would have to say gaining access to capital for entrepreneurial endeavors is one of the top challenges for women in business. To have an idea is great, but accessing funding to implement is probably the biggest challenge you will face, especially, as a woman entrepreneur. It is difficult to pitch your idea and not get questioned in a way a man would never be. This is one of the biggest challenges that women entrepreneurs face; they encounter more rejection than men.

Sometimes they might be judged for the way they look, or for the way they dress. However, the key is to believe in your idea, work twice as hard to eradicate loopholes. This will make it difficult for ‘No.’

How do you manage your businesses in the USA and here in Nigeria?
This is where we get to appreciate the beauty of technology where the world is connected as a small village. We have a very competent work force that oversees the operations in Nigeria and reports back to me on a daily base; they are goal and result oriented. However, the idea is also to frequent Nigeria as much as possible.

Source: Guardian

Former Minister of Education, Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, and five other global figures have joined the Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs as senior fellows.

Mr Peter Salovey, President of Yale University, United States of America, said this in a statement on Sunday.

Salovey also welcomed the institution’s 19 returning fellows.

Salovey listed the school’s other 2021 senior fellows as Staffan de Mistura (Italy & Sweden), Jessica Faieta (Ecuador), Anne Patterson, David Brooks and Jessica Seddon(United States),

“Jackson’s senior fellows are leading practitioners in various fields of international affairs and will spend a year or semester at Yale teaching post-graduate courses and mentoring students.

“Ezekwesili will teach two post-graduate courses on Democracy and Africa’s Political Distortions and Resolving Africa’s Economic Philosophy Dilemma, respectively, during the 2021 fall semester.

“Yale Jackson School of Global Affairs applies evidence-based scholarship to challenges of maximum global importance, such as climate change, war and peace, ethnic conflict, inequality, and migration,” he said.

According to Salovey, the world needs creative ideas and leadership to help end global conflicts and solve intractable problems.

“By establishing the Yale’s Jackson School of Global Affairs, we will create an intimate community of outstanding faculty, practitioners and students to conduct research of great relevance to the development and adoption of international policy.

“Yale will continue to fulfil its longstanding mission to educate passionate public servants, who confront the day’s most daunting challenges with wisdom, facts, insight and courage,” said Salovey.

The new fellows include economic experts, astute commentators, publishers, bestselling authors, ambassadors, and academics.

An economic policy expert, Ezekwesili is Senior Economic Adviser to the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative.

She is a co-founder and pioneer director of Transparency International.

She is also the Founder/Chief Executive Officer of Human Capital Africa, which is working in the education sector across Africa; Chairperson, School of Politics, Policy and Governance; and Chairperson of research-based citizens-led #FixPolitics Initiative.

Ezekwesili and her colleagues would join a cast of global leaders who are returning as senior Jackson fellows.

Senior Jackson fellows include global leaders like former US Secretary of State, John Kerry; former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton; former United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development, Rory Stewart.

Ezekwesili expressed appreciation and delight to accept the globally prestigious fellowship from Yale University and the opportunity to teach its distinguished post-graduate students.

Source: NAN

Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu (former Regional Director of M-Net West Africa) has been named Principal Head of Content Acquisition for Amazon Prime in Africa.

This comes only a few months after enabling cinemas in Nigeria to be among the few to screen its “Coming to America.” Amazon’s continuing push to acquire a presence in the African market will be bolstered by this new appointment.

Wangi announced her appointment through an Instagram post. According to the press release, she would “define and execute the content strategy for Prime Video in Sub-Saharan Africa, oversee content licensing/ commissioning, selection for US and local film and television as well as build the content acquisition pipeline for local and US/Hollywood content across languages”.

 

Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu was the Director of M-Net in West Africa, having joined the company as its West African regional manager in 2012.

According to her Linkedin profile, “Wangi is passionate about the TV, Film and Entertainment industry and at M-Net Africa, she is committed to growing and transforming the media landscape in Africa by demonstrating thought leadership and driving the agenda for the creation of compelling global & indigenous content that resonates with Africa.”

She was a pioneer in the founding and promotion of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA).

Congratulations Wangi!

Source: Bellanaija

Life they say is a series of building, and there is no good innovation without human impact. It takes a certain level of bravery to dare to be different and thrive in the STEM sector. Multi-award winning social innovator Amanda Obidike is one of the women breaking boundaries in STEM globally.

The technologist and scientist is the founding curator of the WEF Global Shapers, Ozubulu Hub and Executive Director of STEMi Makers Africa. Her role in this position is to provide leadership, strategy management and oversee the design and implementation of sustainable Community projects and STEM Education across 19 Sub-Saharan countries by preparing the next generation of Africans with STEM lucrative skills for Africa’s workforce.

In addition to STEM, she addresses thematic topics on Social Innovation, Data Science, Youth Development, Entrepreneurship and socio-economic policies. In 2020, Amanda received several awards including the Global Award for Achievement by TechWomen 100 and 30 Under 30 Inspiring Leaders of Africa.

Amanda got an opportunity to be trained by IBM in Business Intelligence/Analytics after 8 months. Upon completion, she took the initiative to serve as a knowledge panel in preparing Africans with 21st-century skills and future-focused options for an emerging workforce.

This was her inspiration, her driving force to starting STEMi Makers Africa.

She serves as a Mentor in the New York Academy of Science, Cherie Blair Foundation, the 1 million Women in Tech, Global thinkers for Women where she lends her voice, knowledge, and serve as a role model to girls in Africa.

She currently serves on the Leadership Team of the 500 Women Scientists, USA and Trustee Board of the MAI Foundation. The amazing amazon shares her inspiring story with Women of Rubies

Childhood Influence

I never had a background in Technology and Engineering. I have always dreamed of one day leading currency operations in the Central Bank of Nigeria. Growing up, I was a curious, adventurous, and daring girl. I went to different secondary schools cutting across 3 different geopolitical zones in Nigeria, gave myself to community volunteering, travelling, and learning how to do business.

Inspiration behind STEMi Makers Africa

STEMi Makers Africa emerged when I suffered underemployment and depression in 2O18. The meaningful and lucrative jobs available required technical skills that I didn’t originally have after graduation. Nigeria also began to transfer major resources and job opportunities to skilled professionals and expatriates due to a lack of competent and domestic STEM workforce.

STEMi Makers Africa was founded to address the leaky unemployment pipeline and break the wall of Inheriting fragmented and disconnected education institutions in Africa.

If current trends continue, by 2050 some one-third of Africa’s one billion young people will lack basic proficiency in math, reading, and STEM subjects. Millions will be unemployable and unproductive. To remain competitive in a growing global economy where 96% of jobs are now automated, we are raising African talents and achievement in STEM Subjects, and Skills of the Future by empowering Educators, marginalized communities and students to be self-reliant or effectively transition from education to employment.

Impact and testimonials since inception

STEMi Makers Africa is a non-profit organization that builds diverse African talents with lucrative STEM resources, skills and currently designed a national innovation base that supports key sectors of the economy, including agriculture, energy, healthcare, information and communication technologies, manufacturing, and artificial intelligence.

We have maintained one of the greatest strategies in helping 78+ communities in 19 African countries and 30,000+ young people develop job skills, improve educational outcomes, provide opportunities to succeed and we are planning ahead not to leave the younger generation feeling displaced and inheriting a more fragmented world than we live in today. Through our innovative approach to education and capacity building, we emerged winners of the 2021 Stroeous award for Global positive Impact on Innovative Solution, became a Falling Walls Berlin Engage Finalist for Breakthrough of the Year in the Digital Education category, 2020.

Just recently, one of our Educators who was a recipient to our first STEM Integration training for Educators got accepted for a 4 year USA Teacher Exchange Fellowship, which is renewable. We recorded 51 Internship and job positions for our project Kuongoza mentees program alone for 2O21.

Journey so far

The journey has been rocky, yet tremendous. There are times we get concerned about resources, partnerships, effectively managing operations across other African countries, but we keep pushing and leaving an indelible mark that can one day inspire esteemed organizations to collaborate with us.

Managing it all

My dear! (laughs)

I believe it’s due to the value I bring and the confidence people have in me. Majority of what I represent sprung from people’s recommendations, and organization appointments. I count it an honor and do my best to serve in the best capacity I can.

Awards and recognition

I was given the Global Award for Achievement by TechWomen 100,  in recognition of leading the way for future generations of tech talent, shaping the future of the technology industry and having a responsibility as a role model to share my experiences, laying the foundations for others to follow in the wake of technology. My driving force as an African woman who was under-employed and depressed is to Build an “Africa By Us, For Us” ecosystem that prepares diverse young talents with future-focused options in STEM lucrative pathways to become more experienced for Africa’s workforce. As a social innovator, I strengthen competencies, empower the next generation of Technologists, Engineers, and Innovators by training Educators with new, research-based instructional pedagogy, hands-on resource tools to ensure their students are allowed to solve ill-defined problems, make real-world connections while deepening their content knowledge and preparing them for STEM careers.

Kuongoza Mentoring Program

Our Project Kuongoza Mentoring Program has made significant strides and supported 195O+ women aged 15-35 access new markets, work flexibly and integrate these learned skills needed for the workplace – after being mentored.

Second, the STEM Integration for Educators as an ongoing partnership with the U.S Consulate General to cultivate a STEM Workforce, streamline STEM Education and refine Educator’s instructional pedagogy where students are allowed to solve ill-defined problems, make real-world connections while deepening content knowledge and preparing them for STEM careers. We have further inculcated these educator projects across Kenya, Uganda, Zambia and Cameroon.

Representation  of women and girls in STEM

Women make up half of the total of Nigeria’s college-educated workforce, but only 11% of the technology and engineering workforce are women. Research shows that girls start doubting their STEM intelligence by age 6 and continue to lose confidence as classes become less gender-balanced and more intimidating. Whatever the cause, it’s clear that parents, educators, allies and we as a community must work together to show girls that no subject is off-limits simply because of their gender.  Women and girls remain underrepresented in STEM and this is why we combine proper preparation in middle, high schools and universities, offer hands-on resources and opportunities, and provide young girls in Africa with women role models and subject matter experts in STEM.

Challenges

Resources like human resources, resource tools, access to investment and partnerships.

Other projects and activities

Mentoring Support:- Since 2016, I mentor at the New York Academy of Science, Cherie Blair Foundation, Global Thinkers Forum where I offer mentees academic, business support and invaluable life skills to thrive.

Policies:- In addressing policy concerns that revolve around governance and public administration, I serve as Assistant Director in Public Relations to the Nigerian Global Affairs Council.

Children Development and building:- I offer psychosocial development support and community management in the Royalty Children’s Network.

Gender Issues:- I offer pro-bono technology services to women Entrepreneurs, to help them incubate, innovate and commercialize their ideas and also serve on the 500 Women Scientists Team.

3 women who inspire me and why

Tobiloba Ajayi is transforming the face of cerebral palsy in Africa through advocacy, counselling, capacity building, referral services, and educator training. I am inspired by the work she does in the Let the CP Kids Learn, a foundation she founded out of a desire to change the prevalent narrative about the intellectual capabilities of Children with Cerebral Palsy

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is showing us that it is possible to dream, and excel. She became the first woman and African to be Director-general of the WTO in March 2021

Melania Trump continues to serve as an ardent advocate for children and devotes her time and efforts to helping young people navigate the many issues they face in an ever-changing society. In 2018, she announced BE BEST, an awareness campaign that strives to promote a world for children based on healthy living, kindness, and respect.

Nuggets on how to be successful in STEM as a woman

  • Be fearless. Be free to Dream. Be free to collaborate. Be free to ask questions. Be free to excel and Be free to succeed.
  • There may be hurdles in the journey but please maintain focus. STEM is a wonderful decision anyone can make. Feel free to reach out to the peers you admire or professionals in STEM who could share their stories, tips and advice that can help you in the field.
  • Get yourself a mentor and advisor.
  • Volunteer with community led organizations who are driving STEM Education.
  • We need more women in STEM fields. ILO stated that Women are 30% more likely than men to lose their job as a consequence of automation and low STEM skills.
  • There is a lot we can do in this field for our better livelihood, economy and improving retention of young women in STEM Careers.

Being a Woman of Rubies

Proverbs 31:10 says “Who can find a virtuous and capable woman? She is more precious than rubies.” A Woman of Rubies is full of wisdom and strength. She is an enabler, a teacher, a friend, a community mobilizer, tenacious and kind. Yes, I am a Woman of Rubies.

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