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Women who combine different career and stay focused don’t only win wherever they take their light, they also encourage other women to have  “Can Do” Spirit.  Ruth is making impact  and touching lives in Uganda, using the media as a toolkit, and her passion as the drive,

Ruth Atim is a Journalist by profession and has worked for both broadcast and print media. In 2019, she was shortlisted as a finalist in the Isu Elihle awards, a South African Media award that rewards innovative
journalism about children. Ruth also Co-Founded the Gender Tech initiative-Uganda (https://www.genderinitiativeug.org) a not-for-profit organisation that empowers women (mostly journalists) with digital safety/security skills and Digital literacy skills. She is very passionate about Gender and Tech and most of her work is geared towards ending online abuse that targets women and her work has been able to save many women from online harassment. Ruth’s seeks to Empower women from various spheres of life and
professions to fight Online Gender Based Violence.

Childhood Influence

Well, I didn’t have an easy childhood. I grew up in a family of 2 boys, and I was the only girl, raised by our widowed mother who later passed on leaving us to face the world. The world taught me that nothing comes easy, hence my inspiration to work hard and do the things that I do.

Why I pitched my tent in the Media sector 

I started my Media career when I had just joined university, after graduation, I decided to continue with the media because I loved it. It felt good getting paid for doing what you love doing.

Inspiration behind the Gender-Tech initiative?

 Well Gender-Tech initiative-Uganda is an organisation that supports women human rights defenders, mostly journalists with skills to fight online gender-based violence.  I have been a victim of online violence before, but by that time, I didn’t have any knowledge about it and I almost left the profession at that time because of the constant harassment. After attending a leadership program (Young African Leadership Initiative) and Safe-sister fellowship that empowers aspiring Tech Savvy Women), I developed a huge drive to start-up something that would support women and that’s how Gender-Tech initiative-Uganda came in place. We started out by having informal conversations with some female journalists and some of their thoughts shaped the organisation Vision and Mission statement.

 Being  passionate about online abuse that targets women in Uganda, and across Africa

 The online space has vast merits that women can and have to leverage on. But because of online violence, some of them have decided to do an internet detox, and this means that they are missing out on the opportunities and connections that come with being online. To avert this, I and my team decided to carry out numerous digital safety/security trainings in a bid to equip our trainees and beneficiaries with skills to fight online Gender based Violence. This has also played a great role in bridging the already existing and wide gender digital divide gap.

Challenges of my work

  As an organisation, most of our activities need funds, and it doesn’t come in timely. This has affected our work but we are now working towards self-sustaining projects.

Other projects and activities

Our other projects are school ICT Clubs. The purpose of these clubs is to motivate and empower young school girls to consider taking up an ICT Career. This is still in the initial stages but we plan to roll it out in upper primary and lower secondary students.

What I enjoy most about my Job

I enjoy the process of preparing content especially when I have a training coming up. It feels good knowing that you are working on something that will impact many lives.

 3 women who inspire me an why

To start with, Stella Nyanzi inspires me a lot. She is is a medical anthropologist, feminist, queer rights activist and scholar of sexuality. She is one of Africa’s most prominent gender rights activist and was recently awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award due to her poems and writings that have drawn her a huge fan base both in and out of the country.

Why she inspires me, is the length she’s willing to move on what she believes in is admirable. My second one is Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. This young incredible woman overcame an assassination attempt by the Taliban at the age of fifteen, to campaign for women’s rights and children’s rights to an education.

The fact that she advocated in an area where the Taliban pose a serious threat makes her an inspiration to me. She has fought life and limb for what she believes in. And lastly, Winnie Byanyima. She is an aeronautical engineer, politician, and diplomat. To me, her name screams hope and resonates with what a woman can achieve if she believes in herself a little more.

Byanyima was appointed as the executive director of the UNAIDS by the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres following a comprehensive selection process. Before this, she served as the Oxfam International executive director.

If she can achieve this and more, why not me.

How I  balance your work as an advocate and journalist

Well, I just get my priorities right and plan for my day, a day before. I also love to delegate, because I believe that one can’t achieve much if they are everywhere doing different things. I focus on one thing at a go, and delegate if I am swamped.

Impact of your work in Uganda since inception 

I have trained over 300 young women, and the feedback just excites me. Many of my beneficiaries’/ trainee’s report being more comfortable and at ease maneuvering the internet without any fear of bullying or harassment because they know just the right thing to do in order to be safe online. That to me is a push to do more.

To young women who want to combine journalism with social work

 Both professions are fulfilling. Just find a way and strike a balance between the two, so as to be effective and deliver appropriately.

My view on Gender based violence, and how it is addressed in Uganda

Gender based Violence is everywhere and it was at its peak during the pandemic due to lockdowns and movement restriction. In Uganda, a few perpetrators are being held accountable for their actions, but we need to do more. Women are also very much aware of their rights which is a plus towards fighting Gender based violence, all thanks to the different stakeholders who have made it a point to empower the women.

Being  a Woman of Rubies

I support and empower women to be better versions of themselves.

 

 

 

 

There is nothing as motivating like a woman who is passionate about humanity, and has a strong affinity for change. Dr. Nimi Stephanie  Ekere is a Consultant Family Physician, a Fellow of the National Postgraduate Medical College of Family Physicians.  She is also a Fellow of  the Institute of Management Consultants and a Certified Management Consultant.  Dr. Ekere is a Certified Management Specialist with distinction in Time Management from the London Graduate School.  Dr Nimi Ekere is also a child advocate, author, speaker, coach and humanitarian.

Dr. Ekere has practiced medicine in urban and rural areas for over 15 years and has endeared herself to her patients through her dedication to duties. She loves geriatric medicine and has had numerous training, workshops and certifications in geriatrics.  Dr Nimi Ekere also loves to guide children and teenagers into their full potential. She is a strong proponent of effective and intentional parenting. She convenes several sensitization programmes and has featured in many panels and conferences both in Nigeria and abroad. She is passionate about combating child sexual abuse, working through her foundation, the SmileandShine Children’s foundation, to tackle the menace.

She is also an author of 4 books for children, pre-teens, teenagers and parents on the dangers of child sexual abuse with effective remedies. three of these books are government-approved for use at schools in Lagos State. Just recently, all four of her books were approved and added to the curriculum of the Rivers State ministry of education to be used in primary and secondary schools in the state.

Nimi Ekere was recently featured by the York City Journal, as one of the most Inspiring Women to look out for in 2022.

Childhood Influence

I grew up in an environment of empathy, kindness, and charity. These qualities literally formed my ideologies about life. I grew up seeing my mother give and care for people so genuinely. Interestingly, my mother also saw her mum give out the little she had to the needy. Helping people and being kind come naturally for me and this is because this was all I saw around me whilst growing up.

On another hand, the zeal to read  also came from seeing  my dad read lot and this of course,  influenced me a great deal. I read a lot of newspapers,  journals, articles and even novels. This made me love to write and I started writing so early. I would write poems and short stories. I wrote a whole lot .So yes, I think my childhood prepared me directly or indirectly for what I do now.

Inspiration behind SmileandShine Children’s Foundation

I saw a profound need to save children as I had seen and related with a lot of them who were hurting so badly from the horrendous effects of sexual abuse. I had also encountered some adults who were still grappling with the effect of sexual abuse suffered in childhood. The scary part was that a lot of their parents were completely ignorant and even the few that knew their children were abused preferred to keep it “secret”.  Sexual Abuse was and still is an unpopular area to delve into, as the culture of silence has eaten deep into our fabrics as a people. It is said that our people wear silence like a badge of honour. People still hold on to false dogmas about sexual abuse and are quick to judge and shame the victim rather than the perpetrator.

The victims and their families suffer morbidly from stigmatization in their communities,  schools, market and even places of worship. I knew that I could change the narrative as I saw more and more children being sexually abused, leaving them with so many life long complications. I also noticed that a lot of parents didn’t know how and when to discuss sex education with their children. They would rather not discuss it or just keep waiting till the child is “old enough” , by which time they would have been fed with so many false information by their peers or even the internet. Being that I love children so much, I knew I could do my part to ensure that children are  protected  and kept safe from abuse especially sexual abuse.  This gave rise to SmileandShine Children’s Foundation, a non profit organisation that is aimed at preventing child sexual abuse and profering solutions to victims and those at risk, including members of their families.

We do a lot to create so much awareness about this menace by educating and enlightening children and even the general public on ways that child sexual abuse can be prevented. We also offer interventions in the sad event of an abuse. Smile and Shine Children’s Foundation offers primary medical and psychological care and in collaboration with other NGOs, ensure that justice is served and rightly so.

Impact and lessons from practicing medicine in urban and rural areas for 15 years

I would say that I am very dedicated and proficient at my job and this is judging by the wonderful feedbacks I get from my patients and even my employers. Beyond the fact that I love my profession, I see it as a CALLING  and intentionally love to make an impact in the lives of my patients. And being a Family Physician has helped me so much in this regard because it  actually goes beyond treating symptoms,  it is about the person holistically.  Being a Family Physician entails that I provide continuing,  comprehensive and  coordinated health care  to individuals and families across all ages, genders and  diseases and this requires a great deal of compassion, good interpersonal skills,  good work ethics, maturity, willingness to learn more and more,  patience and of course expertise, and letting these become a part of my life has helped shape me to the amazing woman and professional that I am today. Additionally, practicing in rural areas makes you more humane as you literally see what a lot of the poor populace go through. It brings out the humanitarian in you as you see yourself inevitably paying a lot of medical bills and this is why I advocate an open health insurance policy for every citizen of the country. As a rule, equity is my watchword at every point, so no matter the age, sex, race, socio-economic status of a person, it is non negotiable that they are treated impartially. Every life is important and this means that I go the extra mile to give ALL my patients the best. So whether it is in the rural or urban setting, my consistency and commitment to patient care remain unwavering. The lessons I have learnt from these years of practice would be that having a great measure of  empathy, and emotional intelligence are very important beyond your expertise. Being empathetic makes you do more to ensure that your patient gets the best that you can give, and emotional intelligence helps you understand that a sick patient may not be so polite or put together, so you are much more patient or tolerant.

 My books and testimonials from those who read it

I am an author of four books that address the issue of Child Sexual Abuse. Being a child advocate and working closely with abused children,  I  thought that teaching them  through  story telling about self protection, body boundaries and having a good parent- child relationship would be more productive and far- reaching. I thought that writing age-appropriate books would help them a great deal to understand better about the menace and ways to tackle it . I had always wanted to write children books and I was sure that writing on child sexual abuse in words that were comprehensible and relatable to the children would help them stay safe. Being one who loves children and works with them, I knew that writing age- specific books would resonate better with them and help drive home the message more profoundly, so I wrote “Some Parts Are Special” for children aged two to seven,  “Setting  Boundaries” for pre-teenagers, “Sparkles at Dawn” for teenagers and young adults.

I also thought it was ideal to write for parents and guardians who are literally primarily responsible for the upbringing of the child. Sex education is inevitable in parenting and a lot of parents do not even know what to do in this regard. “Into the Light”,  is my fourth book for parents, written to ensure that parents are equipped with the Whens, Hows and Whats of sex and sexuality education.  It is a well researched exposé that dymystifies sex education, letting parents and guardians know that sex education starts with an efficient parent- child relationship. This book will help parents and guardians know about child sexual abuse, how it can be prevented and what to do in the sad event of a molestation.

My books are approved in Lagos State Government to be used in primary and secondary schools in the state. Also in Rivers State,  all four of my books are in the curriculum of the Rivers State ministry of education and one of them is particularly recommended for use in the Junior WAEC Examination.  My gratitude goes to the governors of Rivers and Lagos States for this step taken to ensure that good  books on sex education are introduced in schools. It will go a long way to curb the menace. As regards the testimonials from my books, I will say that it has been amazing and mindblowing.  I get feedbacks about how children are so bold and empowered after reading the books. I must add that apart from the values and lessons that the books teach,  they were carefully and deliberately written to also enhance the children’s comprehensibility and improve their vocabulary. Children who were not bold to speak about body boundaries are now bold to say that no one has has the right to see or touch their special body parts( private parts). It’s been wonderful and I am so happy that these books are really impactful,  not just in Nigeria but globally.

My York City Journal feature  as one of the most inspiring women to look out for in 2022

It felt like a dream. To say I was exhilarated would be putting it mildly. I was even happier  and more shocked to know that I was the only black featured.. This just goes to say that our good works do not go unnoticed. God is watching and He definitely rewards our labour and sacrifice. People are watching too and as long as you are passionate and tenacious at what you do, the sky would not be your limit but your starting point. All the glory goes to God. I thank my husband and children for the support and motivation always. You truly cannot live your dreams and go very far without the support of a good spouse.

My husband has supported me amazingly. My kids too have been my source of strength. They are so excited to give me their clothes and belongings to the less privileged.  When we go to rural communities for our sensitization outreaches, my kids are always so happy to share their clothes, bags, shoes and toys to indigent children. This feature is an honour and I do not take if forgranted. I specifically give all the glory to God and promise to continue to do more not only for the Nigerian or African child but for  children all over the world.

Parenting and the ills of the society

I think the ills of today would have been curbed drastically if more attention was paid on effective parenting. A lot of innovations which were absent in the past but present now have their advantages but we know that there are lots of disadvantages associated with them. For example,  in the past,  children did not have to study with laptops and tablets. It was easier to monitor what children did at the time, not forgetting that the economy was better and at least one parent was more available. Right now, parents have to work really hard to give children the basic things of life and this leaves the children without adequate care, making them very vulnerable to abuse of all forms. So, whilst the ills of today will not go away any time soon,  parents must be ahead of their game with better and more result- oriented parenting skills that will keep the children safe and make them responsible adults. Parents must do more than parents in the past did as kids now are more knowledgeable and even more exposed to vices and ills via technology and westernization. This is no walk in the park as it looks overwhelming for parents but it is really achievable. My foundation ( smileandshine children’s foundation) has parenting classes and conferences and we are having quite a number of sessions this year. The aim is to help parents from all walks of life learn more about parenting and child protection in the digital age as this.

Other projects and activities

This year, we have quite a number of activities. I already mentioned the regular parenting classes and conferences we are putting together in a lot of states in the country. We hope to have  child protection conferences in as many states of the country as possible and this would involve children and parents. We also have a lot of programmes for  children in public and private schools to educate them on safety/ protection, morals and values. I am very passionate about the hard -to -reach children because a lot of them are left out in programmes like these, so we would deliberately be reaching out to them through various community sensitization programmes and a special project called the  “Talk to me project”, a programme that targets children in hard to reach areas,  teaching them about safety,  protection,  morals and career path. There is also the big  event, in September which is called ” the STRIVE conference, first of its kind for children, in Lagos State. This conference will have notable speakers, child advocates, religious leaders and role models speak to the children on how they can stay away from vices, protect themselves from abuse, live their dreams and become whatever they set their hearts to become. It is going to be a phenomenal one and the first of its kind in the country and Africa

3 women who inspire me and why

I have so many women that inspire me and yes, I keep adding to the list. I have been asked to mention 3 and I  will do just that(laughter). In no particular order, it would be: *Mrs Ibukun Awosika, I think she is phenomenal. Intelligent, humble, God fearing and so entrepreneurial. She is one woman that has excelled in every capacity and inspires me in no small measure.

*Prof Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, because she has literally raised the bar for women and proven that everything is possible for us as women if we believe and work hard. She has broken glass ceilings, challenging gender stereotypes in male dominated terrains. I see some of her attributes in me. Her resilience, tenacity and dedication to what she believes in, are qualities that women should strive to possess.

*Mrs Bola Tinubu, the founder of Ceceyarah Foundation is another woman that inspires me. Like me, she is a child advocate and I think she has done well in the area of child protection. She does inspire me a great deal.

Child sexual abuse advocacy, and the role of parents and Government  

The first line of defence for children is the parents who need to pay more attention to their child’s welfare, especially in the line of communication.  Parents need to communicate more with their children, a lot of times parents do not even know what is going on around their child even when the abuse takes place right in the home. Sometimes, children are so scared to discuss with their parents and they would prefer to walk the journey alone rather than tell anyone, including their parents. Again, parents need to be more intentional about their child’s safety and make efforts to ensure that their child is not put in harm’s way by anyone. For example, when you’re not with your child, make sure you run a background check on who is responsible for the child’s care, be it at school, church or even with relatives and  when you’re with your child, make time to cover for when you missed and what you missed.

Secondly, the government is the most equipped line of defence for the child. Policies need to be made in this regard, and enforced. For instance, child marriage is still boldly practiced in some parts of Nigeria without contention. Only the government can stop that. While 26 states have adopted the Child Rights Act, 10 states are yet to domesticate the CRA in their respective states. Even some of those states in which the Act has been domesticated, there are still concerns about enforcement. Lastly, we have to help ourselves in the society. We should watch out for possible predatorial tendencies, whether or not we are directly involved, and call out perpetrators. No one should be too big to pay for their crimes. If justice is rightly served, it would definitely serve as a deterrent to others and help a great deal to curb the menace.

One thing I wish I could change in the health sector

One thing I would change is the weak performance and famished state of the primary health care centres in the country.  I will strengthen and ensure viable and high performing primary health care services in all the 774 local government areas in the country and their  respective wards, and advocate for more budgetary allocation,  knowing that primary health care is the closest health care system to the common man and serves as a gate opener to other higher health care services. This will go a long way to significantly reduce morbidity and mortality in our country.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I would say that I am a woman of Rubies because I love to be the best at everything that I do. I go the extra mile for my patients, and I also believe that the depth of passion, dedication and hardwork I bring to my job(work) and the fact that I am very detailed make me endeared to my patients.  As a child advocate, I am very passionate about what I do. I put in my time, resources and all that I can give to ensure that children are safe. As a wife and mother,  I do my best to take care of the home front and also keep my kids safe.

See more photos of Dr. Nimi Ekere’s outreach programme;

 

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Show me a woman who is passionate about her work, and I will point my compass at Miracle Obiora, popularly called “Celebrity Cleaner”. She loves her job, and she does it with relish and pleasure.

Obiora Miracle Nzubechukwu is a native of Uga in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State.

She is a graduate of Criminology and  Security Studies from Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), Anambra State, Nigeria. Miracle is the CEO of  Mummies Professional Cleaning Services (MPCS) popularly known as ‘Celebrity Cleaner’ on social media. The cleaning agency is located in Awka, Anambra State.

The hardworking  professional service provider has handled several commercial and industrial cleaning in the East and South-south, and it is willing to extend its tentacles to other parts of the country. It’s known for their excellence in delivering topnotch services to the satisfaction of its clients.

 Childhood Influence 
Yes, my childhood prepared me a lot, and  I owe my hustling and building spirit to my guardian (Mrs joy udoji), who happens to be my aunt from my father’s side, she took me in after my last mother passed, and I remembered vividly I was four years when she bought me to Lagos, she is and is still is a hustler that never gives up, so growing she really embedded in me that hustling spirit. My childhood wasn’t boring neither was it full of excitement, but it was good, we were just an average family in Lagos living day by day.


Why I went into cleaning services?
Initially, I started the cleaning to see my self through school, so as to bypass unwarranted insult from lecturers, but as time went by, I found joy in it, the peace and the comfort that comes with knowing that I can solve this problems and make a person happy.

Inspiration behind mummies professional cleaning services
Ans: Honestly, the inspiration behind it was God, and the first year I was about to start my business, I remember kneeling down to pray for a name to call my business, and the only words that kept ringing in my mouth was mummies, and till this day, that was the only name I can remember.

The journey so far
Honestly it been God’. Some days are rainy, some days are sunny, but everyday I keep seeing new methods and techniques in reaching my goal.


Services

We offer commercial cleaning services , industrial cleaning services which is mostly known as post construction cleaning for residential and private houses. We also do staff maintenance for houses. We also handle marble and terrazzo polishing. We also handle 3d epoxy flooring We are very good at before event and after event cleaning both on commercial and private level. We also do interlock polishing and compound washing.

Challenges
Mostly it is just client we feel may not be satisfied, but we are quite professional when dealing with them.

Other project and activities
No ongoing projects for now, I’m more concerned towards growing and pushing mummies to a very high and well known level.


 What I enjoy most about my job
The experiences it brings,  both the good and bad. I also enjoy the fact that I meet high personnel’s that always needs my services, and I the exposure it brings whenever we get to other states  in Nigeria to work. It is kind  of a tourist journey for me…And most importantly,  the fact I fix cleaning problems in people’s environment.

 3 women who inspire me
1) MO Abudu –  recently just made it to Harvard course, she’s exceptional, a ground breaking goal getter, that has been challenging status quo in the media industry.
2) Genevieve Nnaji –  she is a silent achiever, and doesn’t make any noise, I mean she is definition of silent billionaire in the igbo tribe.
3) Ovaiosa –  This lady is a true definition of hardwork, I am amazed everyday with the way she go out there in the world and get it.

Studying criminology and security studies but choosing another career path
Fate.. Because I have planted my seed in this industry.

Managing my business during the pandemic
Relevancy, consistency, and awareness. The covid issue was a nice marketing tools for us, because it helped us create an avenue for people to see the benefit of using a cleaning company to disinfect and clean your house.

If I could change one thing in the cleaning services business
Under-rating and under pricing from clients. It still baffles me how people are able to build houses of over millions of naira, and and when it get to the aspect of giving you a spotless and sparkling environment, you begin to under price a cleaning company. I always try to explain to my client that my services are premium, the mental and physical work I and my team put in are very sophisticated.


To young women who want to go into my  line of business
1) Get the knowledge and experience from a good cleaning company first. I personally was trained and trained in I worked for three different cleaning companies before I started.
2) Don’t go into the business with making quick money mindset, my dear Mark my word, the first six month you are likely to give up. Go in with the mindset of creating solutions, it the passion that will keep you in business.
3) Make research on your own, learn new methods and skills in the janitorial industry.
Lastly, have God, you will need him a lot.

Why they call me  ‘celebrity cleaner’
It is  actually” royal celebrity cleaner”, 60% of all the jobs we do are mostly from Royal families, and so technically I am a royal cleaner.

Being a woman of rubies
My ability to be a goal getter. I am a woman of rubies because I see my sisters rising and breaking the tides in every industry in the world and I am super proud that we are no longer confined to the backyard, but we are now are leading.

Vimbai Angela Butawu is a Zimbabwean young social entrepreneur. She is an energetic, goal-oriented young lady with a heart for social development especially focusing on child and youth development.

She holds 2 degrees from the University of Monash South Africa. She graduated with her first degree in Bachelor of Social Sciences (2017) double majoring in Child and Youth Development and Criminology and holds a Postgraduate Degree (2019) in Business Management specializing in Corporate Governance.

Vimbai’s commitment to service is outstanding and has been internationally recognized. She was one of only 10 students out of more than one million students worldwide in the Laureate Universities network (200 campuses worldwide) who were recognized as honorees of the Here for Good Award—for making a positive social impact in their communities and countries. In the same year, through the MSA LEAD program, she was selected as one of the top 10 social entrepreneurs in South Africa.

She started My Africa Child and Youth Development Organization in 2018. Her dream is to make a positive change in Africa, creating opportunities for young people. She believes that young people are the future leaders and giving them a platform for positive growth will be beneficial to the development of the continent. Her vision is to create an organization that focuses on making a profit for good, thus creating a self-sustainable organization making a positive social impact on the continent.

On what she does at MACYDO 

MACYDO is an organization that focuses on the development of young people in Africa. We aim to groom young people to become influential leaders and change-makers in their communities and countries and play a vital role in Africa’s economic and social development. We believe that young people are tomorrow’s leaders; therefore, it is of utmost importance to invest in them positively.

MACYDO focuses on various sectors that play a role in young people’s lives: education, Entrepreneurship, Health, and Entertainment. MACYDO has been operating since 2018. The organization was found in South Africa and has impacted more than 50 young people through our talent-based Saturday classes.

In 2020 MACYDO Education launched a scholarship program in Zimbabwe, and we currently have 20 scholars benefiting from the program. The scholarship program focuses not only on providing education funding for the scholars but also on self-development, leadership, and entrepreneurship training for all our scholars.

In 2021 MACYDO Entrepreneurship pioneered a fellowship program for young entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe – MACYDO Leading Entrepreneurs foR African Development Program (LEAD). The program focuses on empowering entrepreneurs with projects that impact the country.

 

“I’d rather have a cupboard full of herbs, than a closet full of heels”, says a popular Herb specialist. Herbs have many practical uses and because of this, they are highly favored by many. Herbs are usually small plants that are used for culinary and medicinal purposes although there are some herbs in use that come from trees and shrubs. The term herb or herbaceous plant refers only to the short-lived, non-woody plants even if they may bear seeds. Herbs are valued principally because of their aroma, flavor and medicinal property.

Herbs have been used by different cultures around the world for thousands of years. The pandemic also caused many to turn to herbs for healing. Ultimately, herbs and spices are an important part of our diet and our health.

Alatise Zainab Oluwatosin is a herbal practitioner, and healer. She is the founder and lead formulator of Ashabioge Herbal, a leading brand in the health and wellness industry in Nigeria.

The Ijebu Ode native obtained her national diploma from the prestigious Federal School of Statistics Ibadan campus.  After a personal health crisis in 2019, which led her to going back to her love of African herbs and roots, Zainab has been  committed to helping more people enjoy their life to the fullest using her tested and trusted 100% pure African herbs.

With her long family history of time tested and proven herbal formulations, which has been handed down for generations. Zainab is also currently enrolled in a world class institute for herbal formulations, in order to ensure that her brand meets with international best practices.

Ashabioge Herbal as a fast growing brand in the health and Sexual wellness industry has catered to people from all over the world, including but not limited to Dubai, the United Kingdom, Botswana, Canada, Chicago, Australia, Ghana, South Africa, and across the length and breadth of Nigeria with tangible results and accolades. The United Nations advocate for SDGs 3 – Good health and wellbeing, and 17- Partnership for the goals, shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview.

Childhood Influence

Yes, I can say that my childhood prepared me for what I’m doing now.  I grew up with a large family, and I remember that a time, when I was about 6 or 7 years old, I fell sick for a long time, alongside 2 of my siblings.  We tried different options until my grandmother intervened and prepared something for us that was made from 100% herbs.

Since then, I have recommended that herb to different people, and it has worked for them everytime. That single incident made my family always resort to herbs which has been a huge blessing to us.

Ashabioge Herbal

I was inspired to start Ashabioge Herbal from the need to help others who were going through health challenges and were not seeing the results that they wanted. My desire is to help as many people as possible, improve their health, prevent needless health challenges and live a full and happy life with their loved ones.

Privilege of the herbal formulation passed down to me

Oh yes, I feel very humbled to have access to such wealth of health information that is helping people from all walks of life to live their life to the fullest in good health using 100% herbs from the African soil.

My products

Since 2018 when I officially started making herbal formulations, we have developed  10 products.  All our products are created  for one specific health challenge or the other. Few examples of our best seller formulations are; 1:Sabi men (for quick ejaculation, weak Erection, low Libido etc )2: Jedi ( for detoxification of excess sugar and toxins .)3: Herbal flusher (serves as general antibiotics for both male and female.) 4: hypertension tea ( The tea is formulated to cater for high blood pressure )

These products have sold in over 6 countries with hundreds of tangible results and testimonials from our esteemed customers.  This has made our customers free brand ambassadors who always recommend our products to their family and friends . Our vision at Ashabioge Herbal is to be a world class brand.

Institute of herbal formulations

In 2019, I actively started looking out for international training to help us realise our vision and the institute of Herbal Academy was recommended to me by a friend.  The aim of the institute I  is to help herbal formulators do better in formulation I am so happy that I went for the opportunity because our work has improved in the following areas; 1: Preservation, 2: Formulation  3: packaging

Challenges of my work

Logistics ( sending herbs to some countries from Nigeria is so difficult sometimes I have to first send to a particular country then move it from there to final destination this means I will get someone in the first country to collect for then send to final destination this is not free the person will charge me.Getting fresh herbs is so difficult too sometimes we have to use dried ones instead

Other projects and activities

Currently working on having some of my herbs in a capsule, tea bag and  hopefully our Jedi will be in CAN like a drink soon. Many people want to take herbs but they hate the bitter taste of some herbs so having such herbs in a capsule for people like that will be okay. Also many wants to drink there Jedi on the go that is why I will working JEDI soon

What I enjoy most about my job

Creating new recipe (I love it when I create new recipe for any health issues)

The women who Inspire me and why

My mum and my big sister Damilola Ewa. My mum has been so supportive even though at first she said must you do what your father does, why not get work with your certificate Tosin. People will fear you, this kind of business is not for a young woman like you and all sort but when she noticed I have not been going to hospital like I used to nor did I fall sick regularly like before she has been the one referring customers she taught me herbs her grandma thought her and her prayers has been working in my life and business

My sis Damilola, we met on Facebook she is a blessing despite being in the same business with me she kept showing me I have never seen a more beautiful soul than her and she is doing wonderfully well in the herbal industry too

To young women who want to go into the herbal business

They should get their formulation right and not just sell because everyone is selling herbs there is trend I noticed recently people sell because they see others selling which is very very wrong

Whatever business model you want to venture into, the first thing is to learn and research.

Changing the misconception and narrative about herbs

I use my platform to educate my audience on importance and uses of herbs I do advice them to also seek professional guidance not just use DIY (do it yourself) they see on the internet

What I wish to change In the Herbal sector

Make herbs accepted globally many people still believe herbs are not safe which is not true herbs is safe

Being a Woman of Rubies

I always look out for the girl child and educate the ones around on sex education I choose this topic because of what I have seen while growing up a lot of girls that we grew up together many young girls then under 17 got pregnant many of them did not even understand what sex is and the implications of having sex at a very tender age  .

The secret of multitasking is that it is not actually multitasking. It’s just extreme focus and organization. Lola Adamson fits the bill.

She is an Actor, Storyteller and Content Creator. Her love for film, art and music blossomed at a very young age. Inspired by her famous artist dad; Kenny Adamson, It is safe to say she took after him.

Lola is passionate about the film industry, motivating and entertaining people. Her Love for all things film paved the way to storytelling which led to writing and reading real life stories, untold stories and fictional stories on her platform, Short Stories with Lola.

She was a publicist and talent manager for 9 years. Managing some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry such as: DJ Cuppy, Tiwa Savage, MI Abaga, and a host of others .

In 2017, passion and purpose kicked in and placed her on the path to pursue her acting career, which led to her recent appearance in Eddie Murphy’s “Coming To America 2”.

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

Growing Up

I grew up in a creative and expressive environment. My dad is an artist, Kenny Adamson. Growing up, I spent most of my time with him. He was a single parent and I was his only child then. He taught me to express myself and to never be afraid, not even when it comes to risks or failure. He would teach me to learn from it and be a better person. I watched my dad earn a living doing what he loves. I’d always be in the studio with him watching him sketch and paint. Listening to a wide variety of music with him as he worked, I would see the joy on his face as he tapped his feet and stroked his brush on the canvas. And after each painting was done, we would sit on our stools, no music, no sound, just the 2 of us staring at the painting. Sometimes if he was alone, he’d call me to come sit with him and he’d ask “tell me what you see”. It was simply beautiful.

When times were hard, I never heard him say “let me learn a course or dive into a different field because we need money”. He would say “this is all I know; this is the gift and talent God has blessed me with. God has equipped me with the tools I need to earn and with God’s help, I will always succeed

Why I became a storyteller and pitched my tent in the movie industry

From a very young age, I always knew I wanted to be an actor, it always came first. The desire has been in me since the age of 7. Deciding what course to study in University, theater arts was first but I ended up studying International Relations for my undergrad and International Business for my masters. At that point, I feared I had outgrown any opportunity I had, I was afraid and lacked any form of confidence in pursuing a career in the film industry.  After many years working in the music industry, I realized the moment I wasn’t happy anymore that something had to change. I deserved to be as happy as the clients I was managing, they’re following their dreams, why wasn’t I doing the same? And so in 2017, I decided it was time to pursue passion.

I always thought of myself as a storyteller. It’s part of the reason why I am extremely passionate about the film industry. The desire to pursue acting opened the door to storytelling.

Short stories with Lola

In June 2021, I was thinking of what else I could do to bring in money for myself. I didn’t have a job then and I also didn’t want anything to take me fully away from pursuing a career in acting. I took a notepad and sat outside, I told the Holy Spirit to bless me with ideas and He said to list the things I love doing. I wrote out 6 different things and I got lost, didn’t know how to continue so I closed the book and told the Holy Spirit to bring me back to these ideas when it was time.  A few weeks later, during my therapy session, my therapist said “if I say you’re a storyteller, what does that mean to do?”. I was surprised but also really wasn’t because it’s a part of me. She continued and said “Lola God wants you to start writing and telling stories”. A week later, I opened my notepad, found myself on the page where I wrote out the things I loved doing and storytelling was the 6th thing I wrote. I started crying, It made sense. God spoke but I was unsure of how to move ahead, then He spoke through a familiar voice. I recorded my first story that week. That’s how Short Stories with Lola was born.

Changing career paths from talent management into film and acting

We’re all on different paths. For some, that one career is the path to do all God has said they would do in life. Purpose is a journey, not a destination. God will always move us and change things in our lives, there’s always more He has for each of us. Purpose evolves, it has different layers just like an onion. It was made a mystery for us to find. With my story, each layer has helped unlock the next. Do not limit what God can do in your life. Do not put God in a box. Take the first step and move and as you move you will see, learn and understand more. For some people, within their purpose for a season is another purpose.

The transition process 

To be honest, I still kind of worry sometimes but thank God for my therapist and life coach who has helped me with the process of challenging and eliminating limiting thoughts.  I know I am not Crazy for following this path. There was a time I thought I had outgrown any chance I had, I lost confidence in myself, was scared people would laugh at me so I locked myself in the cage of fear for over 15 years. Inspired by Ava DuVernay’s story, I told God I was ready.  I knew the minute I made my decision, it would not be easy. I believe I mentally prepared myself for the struggle, disappointments, rejections etc, and that has helped me hold on. I take it one day at a time.  For me it wasn’t and still isn’t a “will it ever happen? Am I good at this?”. I know that I am a talented actor, I know God didn’t make a mistake blessing me with this beautiful gift and I know it will happen. The when and how is what I leave to God.

I feel drained sometimes, the frustration sets in and I say to myself “I don’t know why I didn’t bring Tech or business head into this life o, I’ll be making money now instead of wondering if they’ll cast me or not. Or if I had just stayed in the music industry I’d have grown so much and living life like my colleagues” Lol. I know that’s the stress talking because I always end with “I will keep pushing”.

Impact and lessons from managing some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry for 9 years

The one great important thing I learnt was “in this industry, you need to have tough skin”. That alone teaches you there will be disappointments, rejections, disrespect but you know who you are and what your focus is. Humility will teach you how to be calm and ignore some things because really, not every action requires a reaction.  And also, never mess with your contracts. Don’t just leave it for people to read for you. Be aware of what you’re signing, how it favors and affects you. Hold yourself accountable because it’s also not just about you, there are other souls tied to your destiny.

Highlight of my appearance in “Coming to America” 2

Being on the same production set with people I idolize growing up was unbelievable. A blessing. Looking at the cast and thinking “this is real Lola, they’re real, it’s not a dream”. It was like God showing me the more He has for me if I keep believing, trusting in Him & doing the work. I was on set for 3-4 days, 14-16 hours each day, in winter. Many special moments but my fav was talking to Wesley Snipes at breakfast, told him I’m Nigerian. He saw me hours later at lunch & said “Bawo ni”, I lost my mind. I still wonder how he knew I’m Yoruba. Lol

Seeing Arsenio Hall maintain his character as Baba when the tapes weren’t rolling was an amazing learning experience. It wasn’t just a background role for me, I was in class, learning. I didn’t worry about taking pictures with the cast, I’ll take better ones with them real soon, on set.

3 women  who inspire me to be better and why

1, My late aunt, my dad’s twin sister. She was a mother to me, she raised me. My aunty Taiye was all about peace. She was sweet, her words were always encouraging and soothing. As a kid I always admired her dedication to her catering service. She catered to a few banks in VI back in the early 90’s. You’d see people from all walks of life around her, praising her, praying for her. She cared for many children in her life and watching her do that gave birth to the desire to always want to do something for children.  She was the true definition of “your life isn’t just about you”.

 2, Laila Johnson Salami. I’ve known Laila since she was about 18 or 19, we met before she finished university and she has always inspired me. She’s always known what she wants and has gone for it. I’ve watched her grow from then to now as one of the best news broadcasters in Nigeria She’s achieved all this at the age of 25. I’m excited for her future and proud to call her friend.

3, Rihanna. I admire her love for, and passion poured into making her country a better place. I love how she pours into her home. I desire to do that. I always say she got lemons and made the tastiest lemonade with it, lol. I love how she’s herself, there’s a vibe to her authenticity. She’s who she is and does what she does. Her journey is one for the books

Challenges of being an actor and storyteller

The major challenge with acting is dealing with the rejections or no response to projects I’ve auditioned for. Another is finances. This dream requires sacrifice, you must pour into it and spend a lot till it starts paying you. And with finances, you need a good job. Now a really good job will require my time and passion for it as well. Lol. It’s like a roller coaster sometimes.  With storytelling it will be writing fictitious stories, sometimes I am blank for weeks till something comes in. Other times are trying to convince people to share their stories.

Being a Woman of Rubies

Oh wow, lol. Wouldn’t be nice to list things. Really, It’s God. It’s God in me. That’s who makes me a woman of rubies and more. I always pray that when people see me, they see God. That alone gives me unexplainable joy.

To anyone having a hard time going after their passion because they’re afraid of plunging into unknown territories

What is the worst that can happen? We will all die one day. Do you want to die knowing you tried or knowing you didn’t try at all? It’s better to take risks, learn from your failures than not try at all because you let fear keep you trapped. It all starts in the mind. The mind is like a stubborn child that likes to throw unnecessary tantrums because it’s scared of what it doesn’t know. You are in control, not your mind. Who are you leaning on? Who’s leading you? Who are you surrounding yourself with?  Let God be your main focus, He will then equip & bless you with the right tools & people that will help motivate & push you to be the best version of yourself, living out the desires He has placed in you.

The art industry in Nigeria, support for artists, and need for improvement

In recent years I believe the industry in Nigeria is starting to support female actors and storytellers. It’s been a long time coming but it is happening now, women are making great moves and it gives me so much joy to experience it.  I would say the area of education, that’s the foundation. Let’s normalize reading books, learning about other great women who have walked this earth and accomplished great things and impacted the world with their stories and characters portrayed.

Talent management and future goals

I really don’t like to say never because the truth is, we don’t know what will happen or how we will feel in the next year. But, it’s not something I want to go back to. I’ve been offered a job in Atlanta to work with a new record label and I passed on it.

Ruqoyah Ogunbiyi  has a degree in pharmacy and a master’s degree in child and adolescent mental health.

Today she is a child and adolescent mental health professional and founder of Sane Mind,a child mental health organization providing accessible mental wellness solutions for African Children.

Over the past six years, Ruqoyah has built her expertise in child mental health designing interventions that promote mental wellness in children and address academic, behavioral, and emotional challenges children go through. She has trained over 5000 parents, teachers, and corporate professionals on different aspects of mental health.

Through her organization, she has consulted for over 100 families on confidence building, family therapy, and child psychotherapy.

Ruqoyah has a degree in pharmacy and a Masters degree in child and adolescent mental health from Africa’s premier Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health where she finished among the top 3 in her class.

She’s been featured in The Guardian, The Nation, LTV and Arise TV. She is also one of UNICEF’s mental health experts.

Thanks for keeping the environment safe and sane. We celebrate you.

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

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.

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.