When a Pharmacist  has a burning passion for women and children,  committed to giving hope to the hopeless, and lending her voice to the voiceless, she deserves to be celebrated. Tobore reflects what humanity should look like.

Tobore Anne Emorhokpor is the founder of Nigerian Child Protection Trust and the convener of the End Child Sexual Group. She is a leading voice in the women and child development sector.

The Cardiff University Alumni also did a virtual leadership principles course at Harvard Business school. Tobore is driven by personal development and self-improvement, and she  has emerged as a credible voice armed with a passion for getting justice for the oppressed. She loves to go beyond people’s expectations and delight them.

She is renowned for her unique style of blended mentoring, empathy and speaking up for the oppressed through her various social media channels. Her inspirational leadership, empathy and benevolence makes it easy for women and children to have a connection with her. She wants a Nigeria where women are empowered to look after themselves and their children.

She detests children being used and abused for child labour and wants a great reduction in sexual abuse and rape of women and minors.

The testament to her impact is the media mentions she has gotten for her humanitarian work and her Right Livelihood Award for outstanding role in reducing hunger, inequality and improving sustainability.

Tobore is happily married with kids. She shares her inspiring story in this interview exclusively with Esther Ijewere.

Childhood Influence

Growing up, I witnessed the effects of abuse and cheating around me. Domestic abuse has a negative impact on children. That is why I get really upset when women say they stay for the sake of their children. This is a myth not reality.

They stay for themselves because the children suffer more in such situations. Your children cannot be happy if you are not happy. I love children dearly. I am passionate about children. I love carrying babies and playing with children. They make me so happy. I remember one time our driver beat up his 3-year-old son badly. I was so enraged. I asked my Father to deal with him. I knew I had to fight for these children that could not fight for themselves.

Inspiration behind my organisation; Nigerian child protection trust and End child sexual group

 I was coming across a lot of sad posts on Facebook about children being defiled and nothing being done about it. I eventually decided to do something. I wasn’t sure how or what I was going to do as I currently live in the UK, but I wanted to start with what I had, so I started a group on Facebook. I asked friends if they would like to join, and they did. That is how we started ‘End child sexual abuse in Nigeria’.

I would post stories of cases, some educational posts on how to protect your child and other requests for help. I also used my personal wall to ask for help. I then decided that I could act as a signpost for people.

Wherever there is a problem in Nigeria, I will find the closest Human rights officer, NGO, or Government Organisation to help. I was not going to change the world and make as much change as I could. I wanted to become the voice for these children.

Being a Pharmacist by profession, and the impact on my advocacy for women and children

I started off as a pharmacist and practised in the UK and Nigeria, then I decided to branch into Human Resources. I currently work as a Workforce Planning Lead. I enjoy planning and putting in processes. This helps me in how I deal with the cases that I work on. I speak with each person to find out what they currently do, how they got into the situation they are in, and how they can get out. It’s not a pity party but a way to plan their way out of their problems. I feel very proud when women I have helped turn around and help others up. I am very proud of the women I have helped.

The journey since I started my Organisation

The journey has been tough but very rewarding. When women come to me for help, I would ask what they can do and try to start up small businesses for them so they can be self-sufficient. Some people just want someone to talk to. I spend time chatting with them to understand the situation and give the best advice I can. I am so happy with what we have achieved together in such a short time. I didn’t know what I would really be doing but my social media pages have brought succour to many and I thank God for that.

The spike in cases of domestic violence and rape since the beginning of the pandemic

In the past, abusers would go to work or to school and leave the home environment and return at the end of the day. Due to the lockdown, there was no room for escape. Emotions were heightened. People lost jobs and hardship increased. This added stress to an already burning pot and resulted in a huge increase in the number of cases of violence. Poverty breeds ignorance.

Challenges of being a women’s advocate 

The people I am trying to help sometimes lie and try to scam me. One of these women showed me a prescription and lied that she needed to buy the medications on it for 3 weeks for her baby.

Unfortunately for her, I know how to read a prescription and I told her no Doctor would tell her to do that. She started stuttering and saying it’s the hospital. I was scammed by another lady who got people to act and do videos requesting help as a trick to get money from me and other unsuspecting kind-hearted people.

We also have the Police who sometimes take bribes and let culprits go. We then have to use social media to call them out to get them to do the right thing. Victims and their families are sometimes scared about reporting crimes and refuse for us to help them seek justice when they have been harmed or wronged.

I have had a few cases where people tell me about situations of abuse then grow cold feet and refuse to go further. No matter how I try to encourage them to tell the truth and speak out, fear of being known as the whistle blower does not allow them to help victims.

There is a man who lures boys with gifts and passes them about in a paedophile ring. The sister of one of the boys approached me for help then later recanted because her parents told her to ‘leave it to God’. Another person contacted me about a school in Lagos where the Principal rapes young girls in his care but then refused to give me proof when they realised the school might be involved in the case.

Other projects and activities

When covid first struck, there were a lot of families that were left without any food and money. The first post I made was to ask ‘who has 5k to spare for a family in need’. People responded and I paired givers with recipients. Others saw what I was doing, and the finances poured in.

We bought bags of rice and shared them out to people in Warri, Port Harcourt and Ilorin. I used my Facebook wall to raise money to pay rent, start up small businesses for the women so they can renew the next year’s rent. We paid for surgeries, medicines, school fees and everything else in between.

I have posted job adverts so people can get jobs and a few kind people have offered free sewing courses and other types of training for people on my wall for free or for a little sum.

We paid for a few caesarean sections and have helped pay the bills for women who have ended up as hostages in hospitals as they were unable to pay their huge medical bills. I remember when I was called about a woman whose baby had died inside her and was rotting and there was no money to pay a deposit to do the emergency c-section. I put it on my wall and within half an hour we had raised the deposit to start the surgery.

We ended up raising over 500,000 Naira for her medical treatment which lasted a while.

 What I enjoy about my job

I enjoy helping people. That is what makes me happy. I like seeing everyone around me happy and smiling. In every job I have done, that is what has kept me satisfied and motivated.

3 women who inspire me and why

First, my Mum; She has worked hard and tirelessly to give us a good life. She is the most hard working and innovative woman I know. She is dogged and never gives up.

Defunke Adewumi – She has a heart for women and children. I saw the love, care and humility in her post and knew I must be her friend. She has supported me in many ways and continues to be a beacon for women and children in Nigeria.

Michelle Obama – A Queen!

The Nigerian Government and it’s support for the Gender Based Violence sector

So far, I have seen that Lagos state has taken the fight against rape seriously. I believe all other states need to follow suit. There should be special Police Officers trained on how to handle such cases and special courts to fast track such cases through.

There needs to be adequate shelters to house victims and survivors. There should also be programmes put together to help them recover psychologically and help them start up business or get jobs and reintegrate into society. All states need to adopt the Child Rights Act and make sure children are protected from exploitation either sexually or via labour. Every child has a right to good education and a good life free from abuse.

Work life balance

It is quite difficult, and I have to keep reminding myself I cannot do it all. The requests for help are more than I can handle, and each one rips through the heart chords. It is especially sad for me each time I turn some people away, but I have to do so. I try to get some time to myself, and I also work on spending lots of time with my children. They are quite young and need a lot of my time right now. I try to maintain a good balance.

One thing I wish I could change in the Gender Based Violence Sector  

There needs to be a budget to support women and children who are victims of all forms of abuse. Shelters should be built to house them while working on helping them to integrate back into society. Children who are found to be child labourers in homes, can be taken away and given better lives rather than waiting for them to be abused and degraded by their mean bosses. Their only crime is being born into poverty.

Receiving the right livelihood award in 2021 for reducing hunger

I was excited and grateful for being recognized. The work is done out of love, but it is nice to know my peers see it as something commendable.

Being  a woman of Rubies

I am a woman using my abilities to help make a change and impact the world around me.

Hope Ifeyinwa Nwakwesi is the founder of Almanah Hope, a non-governmental organisation focused on lending a helping hand and giving a new lease of life to Nigerian widows. Though she was widowed early in her marriage, the educational supervisor, author, radio presenter and social entrepreneur, was never deterred in her life’s course. Joining the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s International Widows’ Day, she launched Nigeria’s first Widows’ Database, which seeks to accommodate Nigerian widows, especially those in the rural areas. In this interview with TOBI AWODIPE, she talks about the widows’ protection bill, ending harmful practices against widows and why men must begin to take family planning and will writing more seriously.

You recently organised an event in Nigeria to mark the International Widows Day (IWD), how did it go?
It went well. We had Her Excellency, Dr Aisha Buhari as the Special Guest of Honor, with the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, as the host. We also had notable speakers such as the UN Women Country Representative, Comfort Lamptey, the media and other notable stakeholders and speakers. Pauline Tallen launched the Nigerian Widows Database, as Comfort Lamptey confirmed the parameters required in the data collection. We discussed the need for the widows’ protection bill and the importance of amplifying these issues and works.

Tell us about the database, how would that benefit widows?
The Nigeria widows’ database initiative came up during this pandemic. As we all know, the effects of the lockdown affected so many especially widows whose source of income are predominantly from daily sales. I have many widows on my phone, seeking for assistance even from other states. I remember seeing some government agencies on Twitter talking about their palliative actions and I asked for help for my widows, but they didn’t respond to me. I then realised that there’s a need to help ourselves using data so that widows in the rural areas can also benefit. We contacted Women Radio to partner with us as we set out to start the data collection.

One fundamental challenge during the distribution of palliatives was a clear absence of a comprehensive database, including a database for widows in Nigeria. A database will go a long way in direct Federal Government intervention through the Ministry and in the appropriate channeling of much-needed resources to target programmes, demographics and households, thus directly improving the welfare of widows. It will help commissioners and local councils create localised programmes on skill acquisitions and empowerment. Having a database will in time, help widows seek for their own rights from relevant authorities knowing that they will have no excuse of not knowing how to reach them. A demographic database will also help attract international bodies with programmes and facilities as they can easily and directly access them from the data. The psychological effect of being counted is an antidote of the long experience ‘sin of omission.’

How did you get into fighting for the rights of Nigerian widows?
I was widowed young with four young kids between the ages of 4 and eight. It was a painful experience as I had to battle at every side; from harmful cultural practices (though my rites were the basic as the human factor was excluded off mine as I had my liberal and literate in-laws which shunned the vindictive ones) to the social issues. As a widow, my experience was traumatic and a long one. One month after I buried my police officer husband, I came back from the village to the barracks to meet a letter ejecting my children and me from the barracks. Three months later, I went to my office at a police school where I worked as a teacher and saw some people at the notice board. As I went there to see what they were reading, posted on it was my letter of suspension. My legs buckled under me and I fainted. These are just a few examples of the systemic rot that goes on to which millions of women are not speaking about due to fear and shame.

How do we eradicate these harmful practices perpetrated against Nigerian widows?
For last year’s IWD walk, we said we were going to end every widowhood rite that violates women’s dignity; we shared flyers in the streets and markets of Lagos Island and Mainland, Awka and Abuja with our suggested 7 points action which are: Government must pass the law and transmit it to the masses using all channels; Traditional rulers send a letter to every family; use town criers to disseminate the stop order; Religious leaders must talk and preach against these harmful practices; All age-grades meetings must begin to speak against and stop these practices; Schools must inculcate it in the curriculum and enlighten children and youths; Improved media enlightenment and campaign; Posters calling for the end to these practices must be pasted on all women affairs offices, secretariat, Local Government headquarters, primary healthcare and strategic centres; stating it with the place of complaints in English and local languages.

And I add again, organisations, review your CSRs, let your advertising inculcate it; sponsor programmes that address social issues. Imagine a company’s advert and billboards saying, ‘Confiscating a widows property is stealing; report to so and so if you are a victim.’

You have been advocating for the widow’s protection bill, how would this bill protect them?
Yes, Almanah Foundation has prepared and submitted for consideration in the Federal House of Representatives, a bill for an Act to eliminate all forms of repressive cultural practices against widows, provide for the protection of their fundamental human rights and for other matters connected thereto, 2020. This Bill shall be cited as Widows Protection Bill, this is currently in the hand of Hon. Adejoro Adeogun (Akoko South East/South West Federal Constituency), which he promised would be having its first reading in March but was badly affected by the lockdown. I call upon all women and influencers to please partner with us and get this comprehensive protection rights for women passed.

You are also at the forefront of the fight to eliminate violence against women and girls, how far have you gone in that regards?
As a teacher and educational administrator with three daughters and six grandkids, I believe in nipping SGBV in the bud. There’s a subtle downward transmission of these GBV practices from our culture and intentional teaching is required to re-orient our youths. This gave birth to our inter-secondary competition on violence against women and girls in celebration of International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls through the 16 days of activism from which I produced my second book, Message to the Youth.

Schools are made to decorate the entrance with posters depicting the various forms of this violence and students write articles and poems on them. It has been informative and rewarding these past three years but regrettable, as neither the Women Affairs Ministry nor Education Ministry, which I have constantly approached, found it interesting or a need as I continue to spearhead it alone.

Loss of financial power is a major challenge most widows face, how are you helping them surmount this hurdle?
By mentoring them; start at your level, readjust your lifestyle but don’t destroy yourself. Create a ‘financial hub’ by having multiple sources of income, even if it is to sell sachet water. Change accommodation, schools and whatever if you must begin again at your strength. We’ve supported some with cash and others with the loan, but I’m a great advocate of widowhood not being a charity case. So, it’s better to help them to build up themselves from where they are.

Tell us how your widow cooperative club works, how do members benefit?
We have two types; Esusu, where we contribute and each takes and contributes and shares quarterly, yearly or as the need arises. The second is a partnership business we just flagged off in Enugu, an AHCoOps agricultural business where we buy, produce and sell farm products in partnership.

You often say that until widows’ issues become an integral part of all discussions and actions of gender equality, there will be no equity in the equality, why?
My simple answer will be what transpired between two women and myself. First, I met an educated, widely travelled woman I met after church service one day and gave her a copy of my book A Widow’s Window to buy. She pushed it back to me, saying, “Hold it till I know any widow I can give it to.”

The second encounter, I met a woman two years ago in Abuja, a prominent actor, a one-time political head, a great influencer and a personal assistant to another bigger politician. We sat on the same table at the Women Radio Voice of Women award 2018. I gave her an invitation to The Widows Summit we were having that November. She gave me the invite back, saying she’s not a widow; that’s the attitude of women to widows’ issues from churches, social, family circles and so on. Some people think I’m crazy, but after 26 years as an educationist, I’m not. I have even sent a letter to UN Women asking them to first address the ‘sin of omission’ by changing to ‘International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Widows, Women and Girls’ having identified Day of the Girl Child, International Women’s Day and International Widows Day. Removing them on a day they want to address the violation is an exclusion that makes us invisible.

A lot of people have argued that the Ministry of Women Affairs isn’t doing enough for Nigerian women, what’s your take on that?
Yes and No. Yes, because I’m personally yet to see or hear of a standing project of empowerment to girls, women and widows to which any of this group is benefiting from. Judging from my past experiences of having approached them for most of our programmes that are serious GBV issues, their outright unrest, even as we seek the only endorsement, leaves me bewildered. No, because of the singular act of the present honorable minister of Women Affairs this IWD of her endorsement of the Nigeria Widows Database and her promise to ensure their rights are enshrined. The Ministry of Women Affairs needs to wake up and present a preventive, prosecutive and rehabilitative front; not just in their files, but also in the communities. They should start by sponsoring programmes on GBV education on radios in their various states and create posters and billboards on these issues across their local government communities.

Do you think these women can be better empowered and supported through careers as against just teaching them to make soaps, bread and the likes?
I think that skill acquisition is part of career development, but it is the presentation that is the issue. I’m of the school of thought that says our new norm of empowerment of widows and women must be modified to our former vocational and technical education. University education is great, but we can see the massive unemployment and importation of almost everything we use today. We used to have secondary/technical and vocational schools for both women and men, but they’ve all been abandoned. Proper skill training for young women and girls will help her build a career as she perfects her skill, but ad-hoc empowerment training often does not as she’s not fully equipped. We have a Widows and Women Empowerment Program (WaWEp), a project that will take this training to the widows and women to their space, giving them ample opportunity and time to master one skill and build a career of it; which we’ve already submitted to Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.

How do you think the government and private individuals can lend tangible support to widows?
Government should provide a policy to protect her rights, having identified the absence of a legal framework that is targeted at widows. I personally believe that supporting widows is protecting her rights and providing facilities for her to be independent and not be a liability. An educational scholarship/loan for her children, health insurance, SME loans by government, organisations and individuals can help cushion her struggle as she builds herself with less humiliation and abuse.

How can Nigeria end SGBV against women and girls?
We must go back to the basics, starting from family, schools, media and religion. As parents, we must teach our children from infancy that ability is not gendered sensitive. While the physiological differences must be respected and observed accordingly, abilities are both inherent and can be nurtured for both sexes. Schools must have gender-based education as core and extra curriculum and intentional education of SGBV laws. Last year, walking into one of the schools, a teacher approached me and said, ‘you’re Almanah Hope? I just want to say thank you!’ I asked what for and she said, ‘when I was nominated to prepare our students on the competition, I was angry, asking myself what is this one again. But something I observed between my students changed my perception. An argument ensued between students (a boy and a girl); the girl jumped on the boy and grabbed his collar. Raising his fist high, he dropped it and said, “If not because they said beating is violence, I would have given you the beating of your life.’ The competition was to draw, colour and paste on their school entrance the various activities of violence against women and girls. Imagine that young boy absorbing this teaching intermittently; he will grow with a respectable attitude to the female gender. Media must intensify education and information; Religious bodies must begin to preach an end to SGBV on the pulpit and even in Sunday school classes.

If you could change something for Nigerian women, what would that be?
Our cultural perception of women! The patriarchal society aftermath of ‘she’s a women,’ her ability defined in her sexuality.

Where do you draw inspiration from, how do you stay motivated when things aren’t going the way you want?
My inspiration comes from God and life itself. You see, my life did not go as planned, but I had to walk into the unplanned to get a plan. My motivation comes from my experience and my profession. Yes, I told myself that life would not swallow me as I got up to move and at each difficulty; I pause to say if I survived that I will survive this. When things start going wrong and I seem to see myself in the left, I have learned to walk on the right.

What last words do you want to leave with women reading this that have been inspired by you?
Widowhood is in the life evolution of every woman who says, ‘I do.’ Women are strong forces in families, the ‘Umuada or Ndi nyom’ speak up and take actions. Women, be independent in your dependent; love and respect your man, but let not your man be your hands so that his death will not be an amputation of your hands. Mothers, let’s teach our daughters and not just give them working tools, but also make them greater worker before they say, ‘I do.’ Women, keep your hands very busy and be involved in all his doing. Family planning education and will writing campaign should start again especially in our rural communities, making them know they can enjoy sex without producing children. Many children at bereavement are more responsibilities for those left behind. Men, as husbands, plan your home from day one to protect your wife and kids in case God forbid, the unplanned happens. You cannot be too sure that your family will do the right thing, but one thing you can be sure of is that the mother of your kids would take care of them with her life.

Widows, if your in-laws rob you, seek redress legally, but don’t make it your profession; you must face front and take responsibility for your life.

An Equal World is an Enabled World #IWD2020  #EachforEqual

International Women’s day is set up to celebrate women. A day to project women achievements, raise awareness against bias and take action for equality and fair treatments.

A believe that an equal world is an enabled world is blooming.

How it all began

A day came in New york 1909, when the Socialist Party of America celebrated 15,000 women who protested over long work hours, low pay, and the lack of voting rights in New York City.

Originally called National Woman’s Day, the annual celebration spread across the world (officially celebrated in 1911).

The Set Date

According to TIMES, Russia unknowingly set the March 8 trend.

March 8th (23 February in the Julian calendar) the Bourgeois Democratic Revolution, was the first of the two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Fototeca Storica Nazionale—Getty Images

In 1913, women experienced difficulties caused by WWI while men were at war. These women dealt with food shortages and a government who wouldn’t listen to them. Therefore, on March 8 tens of thousands of Russian women took to the streets demanding change. This cry for help paved the way for Russian women to be granted voting rights soon after.

The theme for this year 2020, is titled ” Each for Equal”

Anna Friedman set it better.

When you meet a woman who is intimidatingly witty, stylish, beautiful, and professionally accomplished, befriend her. Surrounding yourself with the best people doesn’t make you look worse by comparison. It makes you better.

Anna Friedman

As a woman you need to challenge yourself to be better, make a list of everything you are most proud of accomplishing. Then, think about introducing Shine into your life, whether it’s bringing it to  your best friends. Watch how much trust you build when you are able to support another woman and be supported.

Riley Morrison is just 9 years old and she’s changing the game for female athletes. In November, the young girl wrote a letter to three-time NBA champion Stephen Curry expressing her concern over the lack of girls’ sizes in his Under Armour kids‘ basketball sneakers.

Not only did Steph write back to Riley about how he was going to “fix the issue,” but they worked together to design a new pair of basketball shoes for International Women’s Day.

Stephen Curry


Appreciate you helping us get better Riley! We got you.

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On March 7, the day before the release of the new sneakers, Riley (who coincidentally has the same name as Steph’s oldest daughter) joined the Golden State Warriors player to debut their hard work.


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Under Armour Hoops


Look at what the power of a voice can create. 9-year old Riley Morrison wrote a letter to @stephencurry30 to let him know she could not find his signature shoe in girls sizes. 5 months later, she co-designed theE for International Women’s Day.

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Riley and Steph worked together on the UA ICON Curry 6 United We Win purple shoe, which features a sockliner designed by Riley. The liner has inspiring quotes like “Girls Hoop Too,” “Play With Heart,” “Girl Power,” and more.


Steph said.


The sneaker’s colorway that blends purple and deep orchid with white is also reflective of International Women’s Day, as purple is the internationally recognized color to symbolize women, according to the IWD website.



Credit: Fab Woman