They say Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds the true friend in his wife. This is one of things Amaka Chibuzo-Obi’s organization wivesroundtable advocates for.
An organisation dedicated to using media to empower women with valuable information, tools and resources to help them live wholesomely.
Amaka who is also the founder of The Wivesroundtable Foundation ; dedicated to improving the lives of indigent, low income women in her community, using entrepreneurship and education, is also an NLP and results certified coach, a Family Life practitioner and a certified Positive Psychology practitioner.
A graduate of Computer Science from the University of Calabar with an MBA from Lagos State University, Amaka Chibuzo-Obi is passionate about women development and empowerment having coached many women to fulfill their dreams. The beautiful wife and mom of three is also an event compere, having hosted many high brow events with glowing testimonials
I had an interesting life growing up. I was an only child to a woman who was mother to many. My mom was that woman who opened her doors and her heart to everyone who needed help. I saw generosity, empathy and the desire to make a difference, first hand in my mother. She died when I was just 8 years old (God keep resting her beautiful soul) So growing up, I always knew I wanted to change people’s lives for good. I had no idea how, what path I will take or what vehicle will lead me there but I just knew I was going to do something that will cause major impact in lives and in my world. Even though I battled low self-esteem and acute shyness at one point in my life, this desire to positively affect my world helped me overcome all that and keep the focus. So yes, my childhood kind of prepared me for what I do now.
Inspiration behind Wivesroundtable franchise
Like I said, I had always wanted to make a mark in my world, to positively affect lives and impact people. I just didn’t know how. I grew up watching Oprah Winfrey and loved how she used media to make a difference. I wanted to be like her. I dreamed I would one day rule the screens like Oprah. I kept that dream in the coolers as I faced the realities of life. After youth service, I came to Lagos in search of a better life. I took up a job in a media independent agency. In the years I worked there, I got married. I remember coming back from that break after the wedding to my colleagues who warmly welcomed me, especially the married ones. Shouts of “welcome to the club” filled the air. One welcome actually played a huge part in changing the trajectory of my life. A good friend (or so I thought), someone with whom I had shared so many things in confidence, walked up and after welcoming me, she said “Ehen, Amaka, now I can really talk to you. Because now you are married, you will understand me better”. This got me thinking deeply. I realized 2 very important things as I thought about this remark. (1) That married women felt more comfortable discussing with other married women on issues important to them (2) That married women didn’t have a lot of avenues to vent. So, years later, in 2011, Wivesroundtable was created. And it started as an online platform for married women to anonymously relate with one another, share their stories, experiences, concerns and challenges and get suggestions and encouragement from each other. This later morphed into the Wivesroundtable radio show which started airing every Thursday evening 8pm on 92.3 Inspiration FM Lagos in April 2013.
To further meet our objective of being an agent of positive change in the lives of women, The Wivesroundtable Foundation was born in 2019. This foundation’s objective is to empower poor and vulnerable women through entrepreneurship and financial literacy. We set them up in business and then train them for several months after, so they can learn the basic skills required to effectively and successfully run their businesses
Being a certified computer scientist, but tilting my tent in the Coaching sector
Let me be very honest with you, when I filled in “Computer science” on my JAMB form back in the day, even I knew that I wasn’t going to go on that path! I only did the sciences to prove to my father that he had an intelligent daughter. LOL. You know how it was back then with the science Vs Arts dichotomy. Because of my desire to directly and intimately affect people’s lives positively, especially women, coaching was the most logical way to go. So, after I had satisfied myself in the paid employment industry and left to start Wivesroundtable, I started empowering myself with knowledge, courses and certifications that will help me be a coach that will hold women’s hands on their way to a life of well-being
Being a certified coach, family life practitioner, Positive psychology practitioner, radio host, women’s advocate, wife and mom, and managing it all
Two words – Intentional living and Support. I tell people, women especially that I don’t claim to be super woman or super mom o. I do what I can, when I can. I prioritize per time. I don’t entertain guilt that will cause me to ignore myself and my needs in the scheme of things. I remind myself daily that, I matter too. That my goals and dreams matter. I look for, pray for and get capable hands to support me on my journey. My husband is also incredibly amazing and highly supportive. He allows me space to fly while he fans the wind beneath my sail. Every woman deserves to have support and should also be open to utilize the ones they have, so they can go for and achieve their dreams. Also, God has been super faithful and gracious. He has given me the Grace, Strength and Courage to do all these.
The Wivesroundtable radio show which started airing on Thursday April 11th 2013 has aired 339 episodes as at Thursday 28th November 2019. In this time, it reaches an approximate 180,000 people every single week in and around Lagos! The Wivesroundtable radio show has changed people’s mindset and beliefs about themselves and their relationships. We receive emails very frequently from fans of the radio show who just write in to appreciate us for the work we do. More than 15 women have gotten their fertility issues resolved from information and resources gotten on the Wivesroundtable show! Numerous marriages have been restored and businesses set on the path to success. The Wivesroundtable radio show has, in various major ways, been a catalyst for positive growth and development in the lives of numerous people.
Challenges of being a Social Entrepreneur
There are many issues facing us at Wivesroundtable, top of which is the issue of Finance. The business terrain in Nigeria is a very peculiar one. There are many jobs we do for advertisers where payment gets delayed for as much as a year! Also, financial support is a crippling challenge in our work with The Wivesroundtable Foundation. Raising funds to empower the women is a herculean task – people who wish to support usually have little means and those with the wherewithal most times ignore the call. In spite of all these challenges, we still push through because we know what our goal is and we do not desire to stop anywhere short of it.
My thoughts on Society’s perception of women who don’t conform to pressure to marry at a certain age?
The society is changing gradually but surely. We live in a society where marriage is a big deal. From when a girl is born, the prayers for her getting a good husband and beautiful children starts. So, you can imagine the shock when said girl gets to a certain age and isn’t yet married. Society kind of gets disappointed and tries to shame her into getting married. This is actually very ridiculous because marriage is just one of the very many things humans do on earth. If a woman chooses not to, it’s her life and therefore, her prerogative. I am glad that the narrative is changing. More and more people are refusing to be cowered into taking a major decision such as getting married just because society wants them to. More and more people are taking control. One thing I know is that, society will find a way to adapt as the narratives continues to change (it always does) so women should keep standing up for their rights.
Being a Woman of Rubies
My empathy, my strength, my resolve to make a positive difference and my resilience to not give up all make me a bona-fide woman of rubies!
Final word for Women, especially wives who are finding it hard to have a work life balance.
Know yourself and the dynamics of your life. Utilize every resource available to you. Remind yourself daily that you matter too. Don’t be shy or afraid to speak up and ask for help when needed, especially when speaking up has the potential to favor you. Know yourself well enough to know your path and love yourself enough to follow it doggedly.
Nuggets for singles and Married, especially the newly weds
Let me start with the singles – Realize that the person you marry has the ability to make or disrupt your journey so open your eyes wide when dating. TALK! Talk about all areas of life, so you can have an idea of how the person reasons and how he/she sees life. Ask relevant questions. Ensure that your goals and dreams are in alignment or at least, that the other person is not opposed to yours.
Then for the newlyweds, realize that the butterflies in the tummy will settle sooner or later. This doesn’t mean you have fallen out of love. It just means that the journey has started in earnest. From there on out, what will keep you both will be a firm commitment to and mutual respect of each other. See yourselves as a team – much like Arsenal and Liverpool. Teams score together, win together and celebrate together. They also lose together if they do not prepare or perform well. When you realize that it is TOGETHER not INDIVIDUAL, you will take the other person’s matter like yours and help each other be better versions of yourselves. Be kind. Be considerate. Be open. Practice effective communication. Learn it, if need be. Develop yourself inside marriage. Do not take your marriage for granted. Work on it like you do for every other thing of importance in your life. Your marriage is worth it. You are worth it.
On a last note…
I coach women how to create Balance in their lives so they can effectively play the different roles they have and still live a life of well-being and harmony. My mantra is “Creating a better world one woman at a time” (which is also the payoff line for the Wivesroundtable Foundation) and I do at least one thing every day to achieve this. It is my desire to affect the lives of women in Nigeria and beyond. Some people say “Women have so many initiatives for them. Isn’t it too much?” I always reply “It isn’t nearly enough!”
Women deserve every single initiative directed at empowering them. After centuries of being marginalized, discriminated against and belittled, women need all the help they can get to get on their feet, drag a chair and sit at the table! A world where women aren’t afraid to be and do all they want to do; is a world I dream to see. That is what I work to achieve! You can find out more about what we do at our website www.wivesroundtable.com.ng. My name is Amaka Chibuzo-Obi and I am proud to be a woman!