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self development

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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

 

 

The beauty  of being  a legal practitioner is understanding the plight of those you defend, and advocating for them. Not many Lawyers can mult-itask and deliver successfully  both ways, but Toyin Ndidi Taiwo-Ojo is breaking boundaries in her profession as a Lawyer and Human rights activist. She is not only “walking the talk”, but also lending her voice to the voiceless, vulnerable and marginalized in the society.

The amazing  legal practitioner is also the  founder of Stop The Abuse Against Children and Women Foundation, popularly called Stop the Abuse foundation. The seasoned negotiator and mediator bagged her law degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, also known as the Great Ife . She has worked in various notable firms.

She was one time welfare secretary of the NBA Ota, Ogun State branch and currently a member of the NBA national NHIS committee, she was also at one time the Personal Assistant of the wife of the Executive Governor, of Kogi state , position she held until she resigned in 2017 to face her advocacy passion squarely. A human rights advocate, she sits on the board of some notable charities in the country and has great passion for vulnerable children, women and the environment.

She shares her inspiring journey, and tips on the right way to report cases of violence and abuse.

Childhood Influence

Growing up with a widowed grandmother in the village, it was all too easy to understand the hardship that women and children face especially in a deeply patriarchal society. Also , seeing my grandmother stand up for herself and persuading her kinsmen to sell land for her when it wasn’t the norm to do so prepared me for this future.

Inspiration behind Stop the Abuse Against Children and Women Foundation

 I have always offered pro Bono legal services to indigent people but my vision became clearer in 2015 when a young boy of six years named Promise was stabbed by his mom with a broken bottle as a sort of punishment for allegedly “ defiling” a two years old girl. There and then, I knew I had to do something. Most parents were ignorant of acceptable methods of disciplining, kids were being subjected to the most ludicrous form of abuse in the name of punishment, being raped and maltreated and sometimes needed rescue from even their own parents!

Being a legal practitioner, human rights advocate and managing it all

Honestly, it has been God but having a supportive husband has made the journey easy.

Impact of Stop the Abuse Foundation since Inception

 Oh wow! Stop The Abused was a registered in 2018 and has rescued over 30 young girls from physical and sexual abuse. We have also rescued women from domestic abuse. Our food drives, economic empowerment interventions have affected more than 5000 families and it is still counting. Stop The Abuse Foundation is also keen on advocacy and sensitization and more than 10, 000 persons have been affected through our grassroot mobilization. The far reach of our constant appearances both on TV, newspaper, radio and social media on advocacy and sensitisation cannot be overemphasized

 

What the Government should do to support the Gender Based Violence sector

 I think the government should support critical stakeholders by providing Funds! A gender purse should be set up with critical stakeholders and philanthropists to run it just like CACOVID was set up during the covid crises of 2020.

Most shelters run by private owners are poorly funded. As of now in Nigeria, the cost of justice for survivors is very high! Within Lagos alone to rescue a child, one must be thinking of spending between 40,000 to 50,000 naira at least from providing vehicles from arrest to logistics of investigations with the police. When the suspect is arrested, one also must provide the vehicle to court and a lot of other sundry things. Government should be deliberate and help to see that our laws are more robust in tandem with current realities. This brings us to the issue of access to justice delivery. Countless adjournment makes the victims oftentimes give up but if cases were treated speedily, it would encourage victims to seek for redress in court.

Challenges of my work

Attitude of the society towards gender-based violence is a big challenge. The culture of silence being encouraged by our people is one example, victims of gender-based violence are not “supposed” to speak up talk less of fighting for justice especially when the perpetrator is a family member, their extended family believes that the victim speaking up will break the “unity” of the family. This brings us to victim blaming. The general belief that it must have been what the victim wore or did that seduce the rapist is another sociocultural challenge. Our people see anyone who fights for other women as an oversabi, the challenges are too numerous

Other projects and activities

We currently apart from rescuing victims and offering legal, paralegal, and psychosocial interventions free of charge. We also do food drives and economic empowerment for widows. We are currently looking at building a transit shelter for children. We are also planning a skills acquisition center to help indigent women who are survivors of domestic violence to become economically empowered so as to fend for themselves and children.

 What do you enjoy most about your job? The thing I enjoy most is the smile I get from survivors after a rescue! The smile often carried the whole message of gratitude, hope and relief. Knowing that you have made a difference in the life of someone who has given up hope is quite exhilarating.

3 women who inspire me and why

My grandmother Blackie Ekwutoziam Awana is my first role model, she taught me that women can be anything they want to be! From being widowed at an early stage and quite illiterate, she questioned the tradition of not selling land to women in her hometown even when the woman had the money. She is an unsung hero. Women all over the world striving for a better life, keep inspiring me to be a better version of myself.

To women in abusive marriages  who are afraid to flee

The covenant of life is far greater than the covenant of marriage.

Steps to take to seek justice for cases of domestic violence and rape

For a rape victim, the first is to speak up, do not let anyone shut you up. Speak your truth. If it is a recent rape incident, do not clean yourself(vagina) up and if you must, clean up, use a white handkerchief, tie the handkerchief in a clean white nylon, then go the hospital before going to the police. Call a human rights organization. Better still, call the human rights organization first to give you moral support as you fight for justice.

Being a Woman of Rubies

Honestly, my joy is to see more women and children free from all these indignities.

Mental Health is often misunderstood, especially by those  who have never suffered from it. It is not well prioritized in our society as people are not well informed on what Mental Health actually looks like. Dedoyin Ajayi is changing that narrative.

The psychotherapist with a specialty in Emotional Health and a diploma in Professional Counselling is using her social media platforms to advocate and educate the society on Mental Health.

She’s also a certified Neuro-linguistic practitioner from the Academy of Modern and Applied Psychology. Dedoyin has a thriving counseling practice with an average of thirty hours per week, vested into both virtual and physical counselling sessions. She currently serves in the capacity of a consultant therapist three organizations, and specializes in helping individuals with suicide ideations, depression, childhood trauma, existential crises, and personality disorders.

She shares her inspiring journey exclusively with Esther Ijewere in this educative and insightful interview

Childhood Influence

It started when I was 7 years old. I remember that I’d fantasize about having an office where people came to cry. I’d give them a handkerchief and calm them down. As soon as they felt calm, they’d go outside and pay my secretary. I never quite understood the picture my imagination was painting, but I knew it was my very first inclination towards preparing me for my present career path

Why I pitched my tent in the  Mental Health sector

As a child, I had a profoundly small stature and I was bullied a lot because of this. It created a deep seated low self esteem that led to feelings of bitterness, resentment and inadequacy. I recall that I badly wanted to talk to somebody that wasn’t family. I knew something was terribly wrong and I needed help. I however didn’t know who to turn to. This helpless feeling drove me to a decision: being that person for other people. I wanted to be able to have the listening ears I didn’t have. This led to a voracious research about the mental health sector. My findings were very discouraging at the time, seeing as therapy wasn’t widely accepted and in some cases, even still being stigmatized. I however couldn’t deny the deep longing within me, to tread this path and here I am.

Being a psychotherapist, Neuro-linguistic practitioner, consultant and staying grounded

To be very honest, I’m not yet proud of how I manage it. Thankfully I have a wonderful support system in my husband and a few close friends who are to it that I rest and take my structured breaks. Sometimes I go through mental burn-outs but these episodes are becoming few and far between. I’m however learning to really prioritize my own mental needs as well.

My Mental Health advocacy on social media, and its impact so far

I became an active mental health advocate in 2018. This stemmed from a discovery I made, which was the fact that the Nigerian mental health community was grossly under-represented on social media. We have a few people doing great things but there was a huge content and information sparsity that needed to be addressed. It’s why I decided to become a voice of mental health for the Nigerian community. As for impact, the response was very discouraging at first, but I continued. The past one year has however been explosive. The feedback has been wild to say the least. I’ve had people sending me DMs, telling me how a post I made was specifically for them and this spurred them to book a session. Little by little, the stigmatization surrounding mental health is thinning out. The narrative is changing! I’m super excited.

Why the Government should support the Mental Health 

First and foremost, it’s no news that the government has been very laid back about the mental health sector, especially considering the fact that an average Nigerian today, has a pertinent issue bothering them. The need for structured emotional support cannot be overemphasized. I’d suggest that the government looks into building Walk-In Therapy Centres just the same way we have clinics. This would enable people to readily have access to subsidized mental health care. There should also be a massive Nationwide awareness sponsored by the government, with the aim of sensitizing people about their mental health. The more conversations we have about the mental health sector, the more growth we would experience as a country.

Challenges of my work

The primary challenge is stigmatization. A lot of people reach out to tell me about friends or family members they’d love to recommend therapy to, but would never be open to the idea of speaking to a “shrink” after all they are not mad.

Another issue is social support. While receiving mental health care, it is imperative that the patient has an effective support system which would further facilitate their recovery. Imagine having to go to work during a depressive phase because your boss doesn’t believe that depression is a valid reason to be exempt from work! This needs to change. All hands must be on deck to help rewrite the narrative about mental illness being a sign of laziness or cowardice.

Other projects and activities

Presently, I co-founded a mental health awareness initiative themed HEART CAFE with Olamide Ogidan-Odeseye (@larmmy). It’s a weekly meeting that is held on Twitter every Friday, where people come to unburden, network and most importantly receive psycho-educational tips that keep them up to speed about mental health. I also run a YouTube channel (Thededoyinajayi), where I get to talk about mental health issues as well as conversations surrounding relationships and lifestyle.

What I enjoy most about my job

The fulfillment that comes with seeing a client recover! Most especially suicidal clients. There’s nothing quite like it. I’d literally be grinning from ear to ear in gratitude and satisfaction.

3 women who inspire me and why

One of my major inspirations is Dr. Thema Bryant; a clinical psychologist practicing in the USA. She’s someone whose consistency serves as a major motivation.

Another woman who inspires me is Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. It’s her self confidence for me. The very fact that she’s able to rock her traditional attires in foreign or westernized settings is a reflection of her healthy self perception and the strength of her persona.

The third woman is Rinu Oduala (Savvy Rinu). She displayed a unique and uncanny strength during the whole #endsars campaign, and her intelligence is phenomenal. These three women are most definitely huge sources of inspiration to me.

When a person should seek therapy

Asides mainstream mental health issues like clinical depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and so on, therapy should be sought the moment you notice any alteration in the default emotional state. Feelings of deep sadness, incessant worrying, loss of concentration at work, relationship issues, abuse of any kind, frequent change in moods, loss of interest in activities as well as a deep gut feeling that something is wrong. The truth is ANYONE can come for therapy. Even if it’s for a holistic checkup. We all could do with emotional support systems.

Nuggets on how to stay mentally and emotionally balanced

To stay mentally and emotionally balanced, the very first step is SELF AWARENESS. You can’t manage what you don’t understand. Afterwards, it’s important to be intentional about taking mental recuperative breaks. It’s a form of self-care. Going for walks, swimming, taking dance/ music lessons, exercising and so on can serve as activities you can engage in during a mental recuperative break. Another vital thing is to filter through your relationships. Humans play a major role in our mental well-being. Surround yourself with people who genuinely love and validate you. Above all, never hesitate to seek help. Very important.

Being a Woman of Rubies

My implicit faith in humanity. I strongly believe that if we have a love-themed world, everything would be more colorful and beautiful. The fact that I choose to heal the world one heart at a time, makes me a Woman of Rubies.

***Dedoyin Ajayi can be reached on social media : @thededoyinajayi on IG, @dedoyinajayi on Twitter. A detailed overview on the services she renders are on dedoyinajayi.com

 

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

Bad money habits are kind of hard to break. We do them over and over without even realizing it.

We all want to be rich. I mean, who doesn’t? But it’s one thing to fantasize about the many things you can do with a big paycheck and it’s another thing to muster the discipline you need to make it a reality. If you have bad money habits, you’ll get into a lot of financial trouble.

For so long, I had no clear plan for my financial journey. All I knew was there was money and it had to be spent.

Are you having issues saving? Do you feel like it’s a load of work putting some money down for the future? Well, I’ve got a couple of tips that can help you.

Here are 4 bad money habits you need to quit this minute if you want to become more financially independent:

Procrastination

This is personal for me. I put off starting an investment plan for a later time. And I just kept pushing it farther. Not that I was super busy or anything, just plain laziness and a lack of self-discipline on my part.
It wasn’t until I told myself the hard truth: that I can either continue pushing it later or just do it now and get organized. I realized that time was running out and that I had no clear financial goals.

The Fix

No one is coming to do it for you so you better get on with it. If you keep procrastinating, you’ll end up broke with lots of debts.

Impulse Purchasing/Buying

We’ve all been here. That urge to buy something. We give ourselves all the reasons why we need to have it. Impulse buying is all in the name. You see a bag and immediately want to buy it. You don’t even stop to consider the cost or whether you actually need it. You buy it before you stop to think whether you need it or can afford it.

The Fix

You need to first recognize this is a problem and keep track. Before you find yourself reaching for that candy or new pair of shoes, ask yourself if you have the resources and if you really need it. Don’t be in a rush; be certain you need it before you do.

Not Budgeting

A lot of people live on more than they make. If you don’t have a monthly budget, your money will disappear and you won’t know where it went.
A budget allows you to see how much money you’re bringing in and where it’s all going. It enables you to make changes that help you save more money and avoid going into the red each month.

Pro-tip

It doesn’t have to be a big chore. It can start with only carrying a small amount of cash with you each day. You can also sign up with a money-saving app that automatically tracks your spending for you. Here’s an easy budget template for you.

Love of Convenience

Once a while, it’s okay to make a convenience purchase. These are purchases that are routine and take little thought when being bought. However, if you find yourself regularly making convenience purchases, it’ll cost you.

Pro-tip

You can start by cooking instead of buying fast food every day. Make a regular weekend event of preparing a dish that can be separated into freezer containers for future use.

You can also stop getting that expensive breakfast on your way to work every morning and rather get up 5 minutes earlier to prepare something. I know waking up early might be hard for me so, I cook when I come home. At least I know lunch for the next day is sorted out.

So, there you have it, 4 bad money habits that are keeping you from attaining financial independence. Which of them are you  guilty of?

About Judith Abani

Judith Abani is a contributing writer and editor for She leads Africa . She is a graduate of Sociology and Linguistics. She believes that it is never late to achieve your dreams and is passionate about the success of ladies. She is an avid reader, a writer, and lover of good food and positive people.

Sarah Kuponiyi is a passionate youth leader whose work cuts across gender equality and sexual reproductive health. She is also a 2019 nominee for 120 under 40 New Generation of Family Planning Leaders, recipient of Sustainable Solutions Africa 30 under 30 2019 and Cohort 15 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) emerging Leaders Program West Africa.

The founder of  A Well-Informed Adolescent  (AWA) Initiative, an organisation where she leads the team in creating and managing Safe Spaces that ensure young people can achieve their potential by enabling them access to essential services. She recently launched Alora Reusable Pads, a social enterprise to address period poverty by creating eco-friendly menstrual hygiene products freely distributed to in school and vulnerable girls and sold at affordable prices to the public. As a Beijing +25 Eagle (women advocate) for UN Women Nigeria, she uses her skills to advocate for upholding of human rights for sexual and reproductive health as the key to ensuring that women and girls can be equal and free to make decisions in all spheres of their lives, without discrimination, violence, or coercion, and with the assurance of their dignity upheld.

She shares her inspiring journey, her passion for development work, and  endorsement of different Government parastatals  in this interview with Esther Ijewere.

Childhood Influence

No, I don’t think my childhood prepared me in any way for what I do now but I can say it’s part of what inspired me or should I say it is one of my why(s) in doing what I do now.  Growing up, it was awesome experience, had a lovely family, hardworking and sacrificial parents. Life itself was not so smooth not so rough; it was a beautiful as well as hard a journey.  Becoming an adolescent I realized I was a lone ranger hardly had friends, there were issues around self-identification and family challenges I had no one to share with, my parents were not available for those kind of talks and I always bottled them in. I was at the receiving end of my parent’s emotional breakdown when they separated and there were days I felt like running away, if there were safe spaces then that I could trust and go to it would have been helpful but I sucked it all in same with my siblings but in all right now I look back at my teenage self and I can say I am proud of that girl, the woman I have become is proud of the young teenage girl I was, she survived the lassitude of life, rode the rough waves graciously and got ashore unscathed, like not all adolescents could have been strong enough to to pull through without losing hope or sight of the goal.

So what I do now is to provide safe space services I couldn’t get at my time for adolescents and young people alike so as to enable them share their challenges, give a listening ears to them, let them know being stuck in the dark is not forever for those going through challenges and provide them tools and resources they need to make informed choices about their life, health, career etc so that they can transit to healthy adults without letting the light of their mind go dim even as the voyage on life’s journey.

Inspiration behind  “A.W.A” 

So what I went through growing up like I explained earlier inspired me to start A Well-Informed Adolescent (AWA) Initiative, which started as a community based project in 2018 to provide adolescents in rural communities an inspiration to live beyond their present definition, to aim high and think big and not let their background define them. Like the name of the organization, I am eager to have adolescents, who are well-Informed about the stage of life they are in, help them answer all the burning existential questions they have about their life, their overall health, their career, provide them guidance and tools they need to make informed choices by themselves. We achieved this through use of Multisectoral programs that link health to education, recreational activities, skills acquisition, youth club activities, school-based campaign, safe space services, advocacy and peer health education. Over the years the organization has grown to be more encompassing we also work to reduce gender based violence by educating women and young people about harmful gender norms and practices that contribute to Gender Based Violence in our society. We address issues around sexual violence; educate women and young people about their sexual reproductive health and rights. We provide parenting support programs, school-based dating violence prevention programs, & community based interventions to build equitable gender norms & attitudes in boys & girls. We provide sustainable livelihood programs for young women and girls through economic skill training and acquisition program. Nonetheless our primary core focus still remain investing appropriately in the health and development of young people and we continued to strive towards improving the health and development of this unique population sub-group

Inspiration behind Alora reusable pad

As a younger girl who stayed with her father, I could not afford to buy sanitary pads for myself due to how pads were unaffordable for someone like me, neither was I able to ask him for such due to culture of shyness and silence. Likewise, working on school health outreaches made me realized this situation has not change and the Story is what cut across all region of the country; Nigeria is one of the countries that place a heavy tax on menstrual products. Without access to proper menstrual products, many girls miss classes and older women are unable to attend work A pack of sanitary pads cost an average of $1.30, even as an estimated 44% of Nigeria’s population (87 Million people) lives in extreme poverty earning less than $1.90 per day, women and girls may delay urination and defecation but it is not possible to stop menstrual flow. The lack of affordable sanitary products also exacerbates anxiety and stress during menstruation and increases their vulnerability to gender based violence and sexually transmitted infections. Alora Reusable Pads was created to solve Period Poverty by producing and selling eco-friendly reusable menstrual hygiene products from specialized fabrics that are comfortable to the skin, hygienic, and affordable. Alora Reusable Pads are made for every woman and girl. It is affordable, easy to use, comfortable and available in three sizes with varying thickness to fit every woman at all times. It is made of several layers of absorbent fabrics including cotton and water proof fabrics and it has numerous benefits such as  saves you money, very economical, environmentally friendly, safer for the body, fashionably feminine and very affordable.

The reception since we launched

Wow, the reception has been awesome. We have received considerable acceptance in the development space and government parastatas because it is a sustainable way of solving period poverty but for individuals we realized there is need to do more awareness creation on reusable pads in Nigeria, it is still a new niche and awareness about this would help influence mind shift and behavioral change which help increase acceptance. Notably to note is our Alora Pads has been purchased by the following;

  • Cross River State Ministry of Women Affairs purchased Alora Pads for its UNFPA funded dignity packs distribution project in Cross River State.
  • Ekiti State Governor’s wife Her Excellency Erelu Bisi Fayemi purchased Alora Pads for her Keep Girls in School Project for world menstrual hygiene day 2021
  • NGO in Adamawa KPANG SURRI Foundation purchased Alora pads to commemorate World Menstrual Hygiene Day
  • NGOs in Calabar Gender and Development Actions (GADA) and A Well Informed Adolescent (AWA) Initiative Purchased Alora Pads to commemorate World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021
  • Alora Reusable Pads was invited by Federal Ministry of Women Affairs Abuja, Dame Pauline Tallen in commemorating World Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021 at the Ministry Complex in Abuja.
  • Official presentation of Alora Reusable pads to United Nation Population Funds (UNFPA) Calabar Sub office
  • Discussion on period poverty on HitfmCalabar with Abenmire Ade where we shared sustainable solutions to addressing this menace; one of which is Alora Reusable Pad
  • We are so excited as our founder and team lead got profiled by US Mission to African Union on the celebration of International women’s day 2021.
  • Gate Way Excel Collage Otupka Benue State purchase alora pads for their gate way pad up project
  • Alora reusable pads was endorsed by the UN Women Nigeria.

Being a certified adolescent sexual health professional, running my organisation, volunteering for several international organisations, and managing it all

(Smile) well, let me honest not easy, reward of hard work is more work but because all I do is what I am passionate I enjoy it and I give it my best, I prioritize my schedules and deliverables, I have calendars and to do list, I set reminders, I delegate where necessary and most importantly I work with awesome amiable teams both at AWA Initiative and with Alora Pads.  Our board of trustees, staff, volunteers and supporters are all amazing.

Challenges of my work

Time consuming, Mentally stressing -My life is all about work with little or no time for other things of life but lately I am making conscious effort to live a balance life.

Challenges involves in handling   Gender based violence prevention at the grassroot or community is having to contend with community gate keepers and community strong holds (laugh) let me not go there while for young people it just a matter of them trusting you enough and the work becomes easier.

Other Projects and activities

We have done various projects and here are some of them

  • A Well-Informed Adolescent Campaign 2018
  • A Well-Informed Adolescent Campaign 2019
  • A Well-Informed Adolescent Campaign 2020
  • A Well-Informed Adolescent Campaign 2021
  • Women Voice Leadership Project in partnership with Child Care and Adult Protection (CCAPI) and Action Aid Nigeria funded by Global Affairs Canada
  • UNESCO/Society for Family Health Spotlight Initiative potlight Initiative Project Activity 4.2.4 which is aimed at ”Strengthening the capacity of youth network (Civil Society Organisation) to carry our peer education and support young people to access Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and SRHR services” in Cross River State

Here are the Programs we run at A Well-Informed Adolescent  (AWA)  Initiative

  • Tackling Gender Based Violence; A weekly program that offers crucial approach to poverty reduction, economic development and a key to protect sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Friday Talk Date: In this event we provide adequate age appropriate comprehensive sexuality education to adolescents at the youth resource center
  • Safe Space Activities: We provide youth friendly services that cater for the overall development of young people
  • Health Programs
  • Livelihood Programs

 3 women who inspire me to be better and why

I have plenty women ooo but since you asked for 3 here are they

  • Dr. Yolanda N George-David also known as auntlanda, I met her while I was still in secondary school through a radio program tag “Sharing Life Issues” wow she inspires me to do better because despite her own life issues that she could use as a legit excuse to just remain in her corner yet she leaves everything to give her all to total strangers, mehn its wow. And she first exemplified this bible verse “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” to me mehn Mama has plenty PhDs in Neurology, Obstetrics and gynecology, psychologist etc an OAP, a wife, mother, farmer, business mogul, caterers etc she literally made me believe I could be anything I set my mind on and work towards.
  • Mrs Emilia Eyo-Effa, I met her while working at my first NGO work ever she was the Gender Specialist, currently now works with USAID, seeing her transition from jobs to jobs gives me hope that I can achieve my career dreams in the development sector, all I need to do is work hard and be consistent. She also an amiable supporter of our organization, she is one of our astute board of trustees who always open her arms and doors for me, to advises me using her wealth of professional experience I am so glad to be in her circle and to have as a board of trustee for AWA Initiative.
  • Michelle Obama, reading her book titled “Becoming” gave me a glimpse to her life, her roots, how she came of age, her family, her life as the first lady. Reading about her triumph and disappointment made me realized I am a work in progress I have not arrived or gotten to my final destination and that in every of my life phase I keep working, keep learning, keep living and keep becoming the better version of myself always.

To young women

Self Identifcation, Self-worth, Self-value. I would tell them to work on themselves first, evolve or commence their journey of becoming before getting entangled,  and I would tell them to be strong and not lose sight of their goals not be distracted by society but rather press on and be the best version of themselves that they could be.

Future of Alora Reusable Pad

At Alora Reusable Pads our vision is A World without Period Poverty, were every woman and girl can have their period with dignity. Our Mission: To be a leading producer of affordable, eco-friendly, comfortable reusable pads in West Africa and to address period poverty through distribution of reusable pads and provision of menstrual health and hygiene management programs. We hope to reduce poor menstrual hygiene by 30% in Nigeria (and Africa) by 2025.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I am a Woman of Rubies because contribute to developing my communities; I empower women and girls to become change agents.

Awards and Recognition

National Gender Youth Activist for United Nations Women HQ, Beijing eagle (Women advocate) for United Nations Women Nigeria. A 2019 nominee for 120 under 40 New Generation of Family Planning Leaders, recipient of Sustainable Solutions Africa 30 under 30 2019 and Cohort 15 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) RLC emerging Leaders Program West Africa. Immediate past Deputy Coordinator YALI Network Cross River State, She is part of the Cross River CSO Gender Responsive Budgeting Monitoring Group, Cross River State CSOs Network, and Cross River State GBV/SRHR Network respectively among others.

 

Damilola Olokesusi is impacting lives by making commuting a productive part of one’s day. It is no wonder she was included in the 2019 Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 list in the technology category.

Damilola Olokesusi is Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Shuttlers, Nigeria’s leading, scheduled ride-sharing platform that allows professionals to access comfortable, safe, and affordable transportation in Lagos whilst providing learning and networking opportunities. Shuttlers recently launched SHE-MOVES, (Strengthen Her: Mobilizing Ventures for Social Innovation) an initiative designed to provide Whole-Person Leadership development. The initiative is supported by the Ford Motor Company Fund and Ford Motor Company in partnership with Global Water Challenge (GWC).

Read Also: Funmi Iyanda

Alongside other Co-founders – Busola Majekodunmi and Damilola Quadry, Damilola Olokesusi is on a mission to provide smart mobility solutions in metropolitan cities in Africa.

Damilola Olokesusi
Damilola Olokesusi

Damilola has an impressive educational background. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the prestigious University of Lagos. She was a member of the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance for the 2018 cohort; a team of highly educated young African entrepreneurs attending leading universities in Asia, Europe and North America.

Before Shuttlers, Damilola worked as a Member of Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance and as a Trainee Engineer at Marine Professionals Limited. Alongside Shuttlers, Damilola also works as a Business Mentor at Impact Hub Network.

The techpreneur has received several awards and accolades for her impacts on the technology scene. She is a recipient of the Digital and Tech award at the Women in Africa Contest which held in Morocco and won an award for the Best Idea at the Aso Villa Demo Day. Damilola is also a Global Shaper of the World Economic Forum where she leads the Entrepreneurship and Innovation team and was the Vice-Curator,  Lagos hub of Global Shapers for the 2019/2020 edition. Also in 2019, she was included in Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 list in the tech category.

Damilola Olokesusi is committed to positively impacting Africa through building efficient systems and creating tech-focused solutions. We applaud Damilola for redesigning the way professionals commute in Lagos by providing a comfortable, efficient and affordable ride-sharing service to and from work.

Check out www.shuttlers.ng to learn more about her amazing initiative.

The signs of emotional exhaustion are hidden in your emotional expression, and they show through your mood and the way you react and manage your emotions.

When lacking self-awareness, the most efficient way to identify the signs of emotional exhaustion is to seek professional support or ask your loved ones to have a closer look at your behavior, your reactions—like body posture, facial movements (micro-expression), and verbal or non-verbal expressions.

I know, it is not easy to share such personal feelings and weaknesses with others. But one thing that we must understand is that we are all interconnected, and our personal growth is dependent on communication and interrelation with the people around us. And that applies especially when things go wrong.

If you don’t open to your closest, how can you nurture your positive emotions and express positive qualities and virtues to others?

Self-awareness detects emotional exhaustion. As a meditation teacher, it is my daily business to analyze, study, and share my opinions about emotions. The meditation as the fundamental element of reviving the self-awareness can help to manage this whole subject matter.

1. You Feel Tired Very Quickly and Very Often (Physical Exhaustion).

It is nothing but natural to become physically exhausted after performing physical activity. After a rest, the body recovers, recharges strength, and replenishes energy. Usually, in this condition, you have the stamina and the resilience to absorb many of the below-mentioned signs. But once the physical exhaustion becomes chronic, the body cannot replenish its energy that easily. That’s when you will feel fatigued.

2. You Lose Interest in Engaging in Daily Activities.

Chronic tiredness results in a mood that expresses demotivation, idleness, annoyance, and frustration. These are signs of emotional exhaustion—showing no motivation, no vitality for engaging in or exploring new things in life.

3. You Feel Less Tolerant in Your (Long-Term) Relationships.

The signs of constant boredom and annoyance are linked to a behavioral tendency showing indifference that makes you less tolerant in your relationships. The signs mentioned above breed impatience, which quickly creates anger, envy, and even hatred, where even more frustration arises by the fact of not being able to manage relationships on any level.

4. You Feel Insecure, Incapable, and Unworthy.

The need for isolation arises and you reach a mood where you feel insecure. Doubtful and anxious, you begin to question your capabilities and your self-esteem sinks lower and lower. The cocktail of these feelings and moods creates so much confusion, resentment, and sadness up to a point of complete emotional exhaustion—a state of burn-out.

This process of emotional irritation and imbalance happens rather unexpectedly. Without notice, despair crawls deep into the psyche exhausting all vitality and all creativity.

How to Prevent or Get Over This Exhaustion?

Apart from the different techniques to overcome mental exhaustion, there is one organic way to recover from emotional exhaustion: Meditation.

Prevent the development of emotions—in other words, learn to identify the emotion before it arises and cut its process of evolvement.

For example, the feeling of boredom leads to annoyance, and that leads to rejection, irritation, frustration, and so on.

Once a negative thought arises and creates a destructive feeling, it is a sign that negative emotion is about to erupt. The idea here is to disrupt the creation of this process and exchange it with a constructive mental and physical activity.

This can be done only in a meditative state of being—in a state of inner observation—watching the thoughts.

Breathing exercises can help you reach that state.

As emotions are the result of the unconscious repetition and acknowledgment of feelings that are supported by the constant creation of thoughts, it is imperative to understand that the root cause of emotional exhaustion is found in the creation of these thoughts.

The meditative state of being can slow down this process and then give a clear picture of what is going on deep inside of us and find the root cause of the problem and the solution for it.

Final Thoughts

One thing worth remembering is that no human being is spared from the turmoil of emotions. You, me, and everyone else suffer and enjoy the effect of the emotions that we create for ourselves.

The above technique sheds light on how you can identify, understand, and move through the whole spectrum of emotions to get over the emotional exhaustion and achieve emotional balance. This way, you can safely experience being the victim as well as the beneficiary of your various emotions.

Hence, it is inevitable to look into how emotions work and how to approach them. The techniques on how to get over emotional exhaustion carry the idea of initiation into emotional self-education.

Know that emotions are there to be analyzed and understood, not only to be enjoyed or avoided. Embrace them, handle them, and don’t get lost in them.

Getting motivated at work is often easier said than done. Sure, you might have the best intentions, but then three hours have passed and you’ve accomplished nothing.

Motivation can be fleeting, but there are workarounds for when you’re feeling like taking a nap rather than knocking out your to do list.

Natural motivation comes and goes–but with a few good tips, you can make getting motivated a consistent practice so that you never find yourself feeling stuck in the no-motivation zone.

So what causes lack of motivation at work–and what can you do to overcome it?

What is lack of motivation and what causes it?

Lack of motivation typically manifests itself with physical and mental symptoms: Feeling tired, exhausted, and having poor concentration or focus.

The French word for this is ennui, which means a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction that comes from a lack of interest or excitement.

When people lack motivation at work, they often they have a hard time completing tasks, miss deadlines, and withdraw from group activity, becoming very quiet and disengaged.

What causes a lack of motivation?

The sources for this problem are vast, but can be linked to things like:

1. No opportunity for advancement or development.

When a job feels like a dead end, it’s hard to get motivated to do your best work and keep pushing forward.

2. Lack of direction within a role.

Those who are trying to figure out what exactly they’re supposed to be doing within their job often find themselves spinning their wheels. Make sure you have a detailed job description, clear objectives, and benchmarks in place so you can get motivated to meet them.

3. Burnout.

If you’re working too hard, too long, and on too many things, you’re probably feeling unmotivated and burnt out. This stressful behavior can zap your productivity and lead to resentment toward your daily work.

4. Lack of a leadership at work.

If your boss isn’t leading at work, it’s probably hard to get excited and motivated about projects–and this may be a chronic flaw within the organization.

5. Feeling unvalued.

If you feel unappreciated and like you’re not a valuable part of the team, you’re probably not motivated to contribute and do your best work. It may be time to have a frank discussion about how your company can be better about celebrating wins and acknowledging process and success.

6. Conflict with team members.

Drama at work is distracting, demoralizing, and makes it hard to concentrate on actual work-related tasks. If you’re dealing with conflict at work, take the issue to your supervisor and have a mediator help resolve the issue so you can both move past it.

7. Personal issues.

Sometimes life gets in the way of work–there’s no way around it. From marital issues to family health and everything in between, life just happens. Therapy, time off, and transparency with your boss can help you get through it a little bit more quickly.

Tips for getting motivated at work.

So what can you do to become more motivated at work?

Here are a few ideas, plus insights from real people who’ve found them effective and scientific research on why they work so well.

Change your scenery.

Sometimes you just need a change of scenery to reset your brain and spur some motivation. Talk a walk (or a full mental health day) to take in some fresh scenery and practice mindfulness.

As you take your walk, consider going to a quiet area in nature, walking in a green or tree-filled area (rather than an urban or residential area) has significant health benefits. Forest walking reduces heart rate and significantly decreases depression, fatigue, anxiety, and confusion.

Other people recommend simply changing your work setting and escaping your traditional work environment to mix things up. Using a cafe, co-working space, or restaurant as a mobile office may help spur productivity.

Create a routine.

Achieving a state of flow at work is no easy task, but building a consistent routine is one way to simplify the process. By implementing regular tactics like time batching, a productivity system, or even listening to the right music regularly, you can get into motivated work mode a bit more easily.

Don’t overload your schedule.

Putting too much on your to-do list is a great way to kill motivation, as it leads to overwhelm and decision paralysis.

If you feel like there’s too much to do, consider prioritizing the most important tasks, delegating where you can, and speaking with your supervisor to look for other solutions to the problem.

Make sure you have down time in your schedule as well, as this will help provide a short mental rest that keeps you from overloading yourself.

Get organized.

Another way to spur motivation is to start with a clean slate and a well-organized plan of action.

Clean up your workspace and computer screen, create a new (prioritized) to-do list, and let the clarity this provides lead the way.

Get a good night’s sleep.

It’s hard to get motivated at work when you can barely keep your eyes open. Good sleep is essential for focus, so be sure that you’re getting six to eight hours of rest per night.

This might mean establishing a sleep routine and putting down the devices a bit earlier in the evening, but the mental recharge this provides will be well worth the adjustment.

“Being chronically tired to the point of fatigue or exhaustion means that we are less likely to perform well. Neurons do not fire optimally, muscles are not rested, and the body’s organ systems are not synchronized. Lapses in focus from sleep deprivation can even result in accidents or injury.”

Establish a support network/accountability partner.

If you’re struggling to stay on-task and motivated on projects, consider getting an accountability partner, a mentor, or a general support network who can help you stay on track. Having to report to someone else will give you more reason to get motivated, and these people can serve as your cheerleaders along the way, encouraging you to keep going.

If you’re struggling to find someone for this role, consider looking to online forums, social networks, and contacts within your virtual network. Your partner doesn’t have to be someone you see day to day, but it should be someone you feel comfortable checking in with regularly (even if it’s only through phone or video conversations.)

Final Thoughts.

Get motivated to work, get more done
Now that you know some of the causes for a lack of motivation at work and some handy tips for overcoming those days when you don’t feel like doing anything, the only thing left to do is to test some out. Try a few different tactics and see what works best at getting you back to your high-functioning self.

 

All successful women seem to share a particular innate quality. They all carry themselves with a kind of confidence that matches with their level of success.

They all know there is a need to invest in certain not-so-secret things and they also show that acquiring and attaining these characteristics won’t buy you success. But it will give you the confidence to be the woman you dream to be and show you that it’s not someone you need to transform into, but someone you’ve been all along.

So here is how you can become the best version of yourself as a woman by investing in these 6 things.

1. Education

Sheryl Sandberg has openly admitted that one piece of advice she would tell her twenty-year-old self would be to create an 18-month learning plan.

Alongside your goals, you need to plan out exactly what you want to learn over that period and improve on the things that scare you the most. Because the successful woman knows that in order to succeed she needs to commit herself to education.

More importantly, she knows that it doesn’t finish when University does – the process of learning does not stop there. It’s up to you to further your education and build your knowledge. It’s a choice and it’s a choice you should make for yourself every day.

Your day should consist of at least one hour of personal development. And this can be as easy as signing up to coursera and learning a new skill in an hour.

2. The tools you need to get things done – such as a personal computer, a tablet, a journal.

Oprah famously keeps many journals to get her through, she keeps a health and wellness journal to track her growth so she can look back on it and reflect.

But it’s not only her, no successful career woman can get through any day without her planner. It’s her right-hand man and it goes wherever she does.

A journal helps you keep tab of things and a planner helps you note down things you need to do at particular times. And no, it’s not just about keeping up with a to-do list.
You need one for every area, finance, fitness, business plans.

3. Your wellbeing.

Gwyneth Paltrow is a huge wellness advocate and has even built a brand around it – and there’s no wonder she looks so good. But it’s not only her on that’s on a wellness mission, Arianna Huffington also boasts that yoga is the best thing she can do to achieve and maintain balance in her life.

Because if you look after your body, in turn, it will look after you. It’s your wellbeing that will help you become successful, it goes hand in hand! Without it, you’ll struggle, but with it, you’ll be bigger and better.

This concerns your health, what you eat and put into your body (make sure to only eat for energy) and how you switch off at the end of the day.

4. Mindfulness.

If you want to become successful you have to start taking mindfulness seriously.

Take a leaf from Victoria Beckham who uses crystals to keep her grounded, or Gwyneth Paltrow who is very holistic. It’s about clarity and keeping your mind clear.

By doing this you’ll be ensuring that you’re well looked after and calm of mind, which will help you not only to perform better at work but be more present daily.

5. Your self-development

Growth should be one of your top goals always. And it’s something you need to always remind yourself to do.

What makes you different from six months ago? If you reply with nothing then it means you’re not progressing.
Finding the time can be difficult, but that’s where you need to make the time because it will only help you in your career.

Read and buy books you usually wouldn’t, expand your horizons, attend those classes you never get around to – just do it.

Make a list of the areas of your life you want to progress in and then come up with a plan that will help make this happen.

6. Proper Organization

I could talk about organization for days. It’s something that excites me and helps me operate at my best. I cannot think clearly if it is not tidy around me, which means it’s essential that not only my work life is organized by my home life too.

Emma Watson, for example, said she swears by multiple notebooks to get things done. “I keep a dream diary, I keep a yoga diary, I keep diaries on people that I’ve met and things that they’ve said to me, advice that they’ve given me,” she revealed.

Keeping multiple notebooks is no bad thing, it’ll allow you to organize your thoughts and keep everything in the right place. Invest in stationery that’s designed to help your life run smoother.