Meet Sonwabise Sebata: The woman fighting to make sure that Africans get equitable access to future COVID-19 vaccines

Sonwabise Sebata

This is the second part of “Inside Global Citizen”, a limited series this August. We pull back the curtain and highlight members of Global Citizen staff who are key parts of the organization’s advocacy, impact, and more. Be part of our community of outstanding women by joining today. 

 

“I went into public relations to help women realize their greatness. I saw PR as a way to drive women’s potential and to show the world that women aren’t fickle nor do they speak based on emotion. Women are intelligent, ambitious and their voices count.” – Sonwabise Sebata

 

Sonwabise is not your average PR girl. She is the Senior Manager, Global Policy and Government Affairs at Global Citizen and the (Acting) Chair of the Board of Directors for the South African Women in ICT Forum

Sonwabise is passionate about helping governments and companies bridge the global inequality gap through the use of technology. She attributes this drive and penchant for leadership to her background and how she was raised. 

 

“Being a firstborn Xhosa daughter, I [was] part of the elders in the family and got consulted on things that matter – big decisions within a family. And from a young age, I’ve had to make big decisions. I’ve had the opportunity for my voice to be heard,”  Sonwabise says.

The drive behind her quest on economic inclusion

“My life’s work is improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged based on their identity to take part in society. We cannot afford to leave anyone behind.”

-Sonwabise Sebata

 

Years after entering the workforce, Sonwabise was surprised to learn that a lot of women felt the need to have men validate their ideas and opinions. This realization sparked her commitment to fighting for equality and inclusion in all areas. 

She finds the exclusion of women in the workforce revolting and wasteful. A 2018 World Bank paper estimates that Africa alone lost $2.5 trillion in human capital due to gender inequality, and 11.4% of total wealth in 2014. 


Sonwabise says, “At the individual level, imagine the cost of exclusion – the loss of wages, lifetime earnings, and poor education. At the national level, the economic cost of social exclusion can be captured by lost gross domestic product (GDP) and human capital wealth, imagine that!” 

Exclusion robs individuals of dignity, security, and the opportunity to lead a better life.

As a continent, governments, organizations, and individuals must work towards “leaving no one behind” to help countries promote inclusive growth and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Sebata takes on COVID-19 issues in Africa

 

Thrust into the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sebata explains that she finds that her work is even more important than ever. The pandemic has amplified existing systemic inequalities from gender-based violence to unemployment and systematic racism.

Focusing on access to good health care, Sebata and her team have been working to support the World Health Organisation’s efforts to make sure everyone has equal access to future vaccines.

 

“We ran the Global Goal: Unite for our Future summit. We were calling on world leaders to commit to equal access to treatments, tests, and vaccines for all. This was part of supporting the accelerator which was formed by the World Health Organisation, to ensure that all the global resources and finances are pooled into one fund so that there’s equal access and equal distribution when we finally do find a vaccine.” – Sonwabise Sebata

 

With kids out of school, families struggling to put food on the table, and some communities disproportionately dying, the most vulnerable people are losing the most in this pandemic. Sebata is hopeful that her work will help reduce the suffering of the most vulnerable.

 

“Ultimately, the campaign raised $25 million and the commitment by ECOWAS which will be used to develop resources and ensure all people in West Africa have the opportunity to reach their full potential,” Sonwabise states.

Sonwabise Takes the Fight to South Africa’s ‘Second Pandemic’

 

Globally, lockdowns have succeeded in “flattening the curve”. However, in South Africa, a frightening number of women have become victims of gender-based violence while locked in their homes. Not one to tolerate inequality and injustice,  Sonwabise rallied her team to create another campaign.



“We started another campaign where we got a lot of male influencers, male allies that support the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) to take up pledges to say they will not keep quiet. That they will stand up to any sort of GBV and GBV activities that they see amongst themselves and amongst their friends, whether overt or covert.”

As a result of the campaign, the National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence and Femicide was completed and delivered to the President of South Africa. Sonwabise believes this milestone is a step in the right direction and hopes to see ground policing improve.

Advice on how women can fight daily systematic inequalities at work

 

As economies continue to try to wade through the effects of the global pandemic, Sebata warns that women should be prepared to deal with systematic inequalities at work more than ever. She advises that women collaborate and form mentor-mentee relationships to share intergenerational insights. 

 For women who are not yet in the workforce, she advises that “It is very important to go through some kind of either gap filler or internship between your graduation and the beginning of your career. Going through an internship program will take you through a real induction [so you can see] what the job is like, the corporate culture, communication, and the ways of working within corporate. An internship will help in educating yourself on laws and salary information.”


Sonwabise encourages young women to seek out mentors.  A mentor would be someone who helps put your career path into perspective and to see what milestones you hope to achieve.”Mentors are great! They guide you in terms of what to read, who to talk to and how to navigate certain challenges; as well as things not often spoken about like, ‘what do you do when you’re in a meeting and you feel awkward because your male counterpart is making you feel inferior?’ ”


Interested in making an impact in your community like Sonwabise? Learn more about how you can take action at globalcitizen.org or Global Citizen Twitter page.

5 Reasons Why Your Budget Is Not Working and How You Can Fix It.

Sis, let’s be real. Since you created that budget, you probably haven’t used it more than once or twice. If you are like me, you sat down when you were extra broke and created that “wonderful” budget that accounted for every single thing- including chewing gum. Once you got a little money, you forgot all about it.

I know it is tempting to spend. Most of us have the spending bug somewhere in our systems but we must learn to control it, especially now that Ms. Rona is out and about. 

Here are 5 budget mistakes and tips on how you can fix them.

You made it too generic

Budget mistakes

So, remember how you went online to download xyz’s budgeting template and never bothered to make it suit your own spending habits? Yeah, this is a common budget mistake. On a general level, we may have the same basic needs- food, housing, transport- but Akosua from Ghana’s expenses can never be the same as Sheryl’s from Houston. 

You have to modify your budget according to your location, lifestyle, and personal needs. Should you be budgeting for a gym membership when you work out at home right now? 

You do not have your day planned

Budget mistakes, Tamar Braxton

“What is the connection between planning my day and budgeting my expenses?” You may be wondering. 

Planning your day helps you recall those activities that will eventually require you to spend. Create a daily plan around work, chores, cooking, and transport and see if that impacts your budgeting.

Your budget is set in stone

Ah, this one. I’ve been guilty of this too many times to count. I would piously create the most frugal budget known to man and then wonder why I was so miserable after. See babe, budgeting like every other planning endeavour, ought to make your life simpler. Create a realistic budget that factors in enjoyment. That aspect of your life is hella essential too!

The danger of creating a frugal budget is that at 2 AM one day, you may snap and treat yourself to natural hair products you don’t even need. At the beginning of each month,  add a treat to your budget- a book you want to read, fancy skincare stuff, bralettes, etc. Pick one thing and treat yo self!

Budgeting like every other planning endeavour, ought to make your life simpler. Create a realistic budget that factors in enjoyment. That aspect of your life is hella essential too. Click To Tweet

You have not adjusted your budget in forever

You still have the same budget since last year and you wonder why it is not working for you. If you work from home or you are bored in the house, bored in the house, bored, I am guessing that certain expenses are on pause while others (like grocery expenses) are being incurred. 

If this is true for you, then you obviously should not budget the same amount that you did for transportation last year. Evaluate your budget at the beginning of each month to see if it is realistic to your current lifestyle. 

You have barely used it since you created it

This is another common budget mistake you could be making. What is the use of having a budget if you won’t use it?

If you barely use the budget after creating it, consider setting a good ol’ reminder for checking your budget. And girl, when that alarm goes off, make sure you check, okay?


Join our community of young, ambitious African women to step up your budgeting AND money game! 

4 Ways You’re Losing Money Without Realising It

Money is such an inexhaustible topic – we talk about earning it, investing it, spending it, and even sometimes losing it. We’re usually focused on the first three and barely pay any attention to the likely ways we have been losing cash.

Most of us don’t have trust funds waiting for us, so every naira counts. Being on the lookout for money-sucking expenses can go a long way in increasing your disposable income.

I’m going to let you in on things you’re doing too much of or not doing at all that could cost you some dollar bills (or whatever currency you spend).

Tracking your expense schedule, asking for a discount and buying items in bulk can help save up cash and thereby reducing the risk of losing money - @adeyojuwon Click To Tweet

1. Bank Charges

It’s so funny that the banks are starting to do the exact opposite of what they’re meant to be doing- helping people save money.

The Fix

You probably have more than one bank account/debit card. Each account attracts individual maintenance costs.

A simple solution to ridiculous bank charges is trying as much as possible to have one savings account and one debit card. This will help eliminate charges that may arise from owning multiple accounts.

You can reduce constant cash transactions and erase the need for unnecessary bank fees by having a budget that’s restricted to how much you’ll need for a week.

2. Delay in Paying Off Debts

While taking a loan isn’t a big deal, delaying pay-off is quite a big deal. Especially when it has interest attached to it.

Interest accumulates over time so delaying your debt pay-off inevitably increases the amount you’ll pay eventually. This means you’re gradually losing money.

The Fix

Once you have an inflow of cash probably due to holiday bonus or a salary raise, it is advisable you pay off your debt as soon as possible.

This could give you a little extra to spend on other things and potentially save you a lot in interest payments.

3. Avoiding Negotiation

Another money-draining factor that might not have ranked high on your list is negotiation.

A lot of market vendors on this side of the world rarely quote the actual prices of their products. Most of the time, you’re expected to bargain and beat down the prices a little bit more.

This negotiation rule also applies to the professional world. You’re expected to negotiate your salary and not simply accept what you’re initially offered when you apply for a new job.

According to a paper by Harvard Business School, women are most likely to agree to the first offer on the table and lose money in the process, as well as better chances for career growth. It is time we change the narrative.

The Fix

Weighing other options available to you by knowing what prices other vendors are offering will go a long way when it comes to saving money. This also applies to knowing what other employees earn before you take a new job.

This similarly applies to online stores, when I was buying my new phone, I checked a couple of online and physical stores to get the best price and avoid being overcharged.

Always remember that avoiding negotiation comes with a price!

4. Subscriptions

Technology comes at a cost. There is a cost attached to watching an endless stream of movies and listening to your favourite music. There’s a long list of other subscriptions- magazines & newsletters, fitness groups, diet plans and a whole lot more.

It’s easy to forget what you’re subscribed to when payments are done automatically.

The Fix

You should only subscribe to plans you use regularly. This will help you avoid wasting money on plans you don’t get the most from.

Certain subscriptions can be done with a group of people to save money on the total cost.

Other significant ways you might be losing money includes wasting food, cancelling your Uber or Taxify rides, and impulsive spending.


 Interested in contributing for She Leads Africa? Click here.

How to find a mentor online- without leaving your house!

Since Covid-19, we’ve all been in search of new ways to do things from the comfort of our couches. Figuring out how to find a mentor online can be a bit challenging because successful people are usually booked and busy but it’s very doable!

When you’re looking to find a mentor online, sending a bunch of emails or LinkedIn messages requesting that they take you under their wings may not be the best way to go. If you’re looking to have someone to mentor you, they probably get tons of similar requests every day. You’ll need a strategy that helps you stand out. 

Here are some hacks to help you find a mentor online and possibly a friend for life: 

Find relevant people

find a mentor

If you haven’t already, make a list of people in your field who inspire you. You can then boil it down to 3-5 people. When you have your list, make sure you find out as much about these people as you can. To find a mentor, you can also use the LinkedIn Career Advice feature, a great tool for finding new mentors. 

Make yourself visible

The next step is to make sure your LinkedIn is popping with your work experience and accomplishments. The CEO of a company is not very likely to reply to a message from an account with no bio and 5 connections. Apart from LinkedIn, you want to make sure your presence on social media is clean and reflects who you are in the best way possible.

Hit them up!

find a mentor

Now it’s time to send a message to your mentor. Don’t say who you are and then go on to ask for them to mentor you. What you want to do is show that you respect the work they’ve done and talk about how this has also impacted your own life, you can then go ahead to ask if they can help with a specific area of your career.

Once you do this, don’t forget to give a reasonable time for a reply, preferably a week. Make it easy for them to contact you by providing your contact information.

What can you do for them?

Don’t forget that mentors are people too so what you want to do is gain their friendship. One of the best ways to get a mentor is to build a personal connection.

Volunteer to help them with a project, help out with a cause they’re passionate about or offer to help with some research. You can even interview or write an article about them – this is a great way to get to know who they are and connect with them in the process.

Why your business strategy needs to include women by design – Beatrice Cornacchia, SVP Marketing & Comms, Mastercard (MEA)

Beatrice Cornacchia is Mastercard’s Head of Marketing and Communication for the Middle East and Africa and the creative force leading the company’s brand strategy across the region’s 69 markets.

In this op-ed, she shares her expert opinion on the benefits of a woman-centric approach to business strategy.


As a marketer, I appreciate when creativity meets great insights and data to deliver an approach that achieves its objectives. As a woman, I also especially love seeing these kinds of successful activities share commentary on the way our world interacts with women, or shed essential light on how much of our world was designed without women in mind.

From Ariel’s powerful #ShareTheLoad campaign to Dove’s inclusivity campaigns, there are some fantastic examples of brands actively shifting the conversation to include women and expand on their contributions to the world we live in. But it’s not just about recognizing changing times or joining a social impact drive, it’s about much more than that.

There is a clear business rationale for brands that adapt their business strategies to include women by design. – Beatrice Cornacchia, SVP Mastercard MEA Click To Tweet

By incorporating the diverse perspectives that women bring, championing female role models as ambassadors, designing fit-for-purpose products that meet women’s needs, and creating content that encourages women to pursue their passions, brands can effectively tap into the spending power and influence of women.

Take sportswear apparel for example.

We took note when Nike put the spotlight on tennis star Serena Williams through its ‘Dream Crazier’ ad encouraging women to dream big and aired a TV spot calling for acceptance and respect, featuring the tenacious South African Olympic 800-meter champion Caster Semenya. These are just some of the prominent and provocative content from multiple brands that put women at the center of the conversation. The sports industry clearly understands the business growth opportunity that exists when we incorporate the true – not imagined – perspectives of women.

By drawing attention to the strength, unique shapes, and differentiated athleticism of women, and showcasing real role models in better designed active-wear clothing, the women’s sports apparel industry has done just that – tapped into a significant consumer base: women. How significant? According to the ‘African Women’ Ipsos Study, women represent the most significant consumer base — 89% of African women are the decision-makers or co-decisionmakers for household purchases.

When we design products, services, experiences and solutions for women, we need to envision them through the viewpoints of women – Beatrice Cornacchia, SVP Mastercard MEA Click To Tweet

When it comes to products and services, are we meeting the actual needs of women? Do we have insights that can help us incorporate women’s experiences into the design and innovation process? We must consider the functionality and practicalities of women’s interaction. In short, we have to help design and develop a world with both women and men in mind.

To do this, we need women to be part of the design and innovation process, especially in this age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We need to inspire young girls to consider and pursue a career in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) through initiatives like Girls4Tech. As part of this program, Mastercard has committed to reaching one million girls globally by 2025, including thousands in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya.

So, what exactly is the value of a world that includes women by design?

In addition to the humanitarian benefits, it’s a considerable amount. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the World Bank estimates the loss in global wealth from gender inequality at $2.5 trillion. And while five Sub-Saharan countries feature in the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs’ global top 10 countries with the highest number of women entrepreneurs, the IFC says that more than half of SMEs in Sub Saharan Africa with one or more women owners lack access to finance and puts the financing gap at $42 billion. Clearly, there are huge opportunities for finance.

Global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman agrees. It estimates a global revenue opportunity of $700 billion is currently being left on the table by the financial services industry not fully meeting the needs of women consumers.

Think of the increased speed in which we can close the gender gap in terms of financial inclusion if we design better, more helpful digital financial products for women – Beatrice Cornacchia, SVP Mastercard MEA Click To Tweet

As a payment technology leader with global insights, Mastercard has invested significantly in understanding women’s financial priorities, and mapping out those priorities across different life stages. After all, a specific position in time often influences our need for specialised support and ingenious innovations – in sportswear as much as financial solutions. 

Just think of the more than 10,000 female unbanked informal traders, street-side vendors, and township salon owners who can safely accept payments through QR code as a result of Mastercard’s partnership with uKheshe, a financial inclusion platform in South Africa.

Indeed, for the large population of excluded women, financial inclusion is about more than getting access to a bank account. It also means helping level the playing field for the women farmers who are growing Africa’s food, by providing access to buyers, pricing and speedier payments. It’s about hope for the future through financial payment solutions such as Kupaa – which facilitates school fee payments in budgeted amounts – increasing the ability of remote families to keep girls in school.

By making a conscious decision to integrate women’s perspectives into our business, marketing and innovation strategies, more women will benefit from solutions specifically designed for their needs. More companies will see revenues climb. More societies will experience elevated productivity. More economies will grow and thrive. 

After all, a world that works better for women, creates limitless possibilities for us all. 


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This woman-led startup bets it can help African businesses grow faster

As Sub-saharan Africa lags behind in the World Bank’s 2020 ease of doing business report, one woman-led startup thinks it can help entrepreneurs grow their companies in this tough environment.

After years of mentoring startups and running businesses in Ghana and Nigeria, Munachim Chukwuma started IB Consulting in February 2019 to help founders overcome operating challenges she also had to face as a young entrepreneur.

Munachim and her team believe they’ve found the recipe to help African business grow quickly with their innovative and affordable service model.


"Never have a business with NO business structure" #RedFlag – @consultingibobo Click To Tweet

Why Nigerian startups are struggling to grow.

According to experts from Harvard University, startups that want to stand the test of time must learn new ways of operating and behaving. This is difficult for a lot of entrepreneurs because these new ways tend to be completely different from their start-up roots.

Most startups struggle to grow and scale either because they do not know how or lack the proper structure and strategy. This is where we come in.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

IB Consulting believes that African entrepreneurs struggling to grow their businesses must realize they are in a different phase of their business life cycle, and therefore must change.

IB Consulting’s growth recipe for startups.

To help entrepreneurs struggling to scale, Munachim and her partners created a service model that combines strategy consultation, negotiation, and content creation.

IB Consulting bets its 3 service tentpoles are what entrepreneurs need to grow faster despite the difficulty of doing business in Africa.

We decided to focus on strategy consultation, negotiations and content creation as a company because we realized most of the challenges most businesses face in today’s society are tied to those three areas in one way or another.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

In addition to its unique service model, IB Consulting promises clients efficiency, personalization, and great service.

Why you should watch out for IB Consulting.

In less than a year, IB Consulting is proving it is not just all talk. The company reports that since February, it has helped over 10 business owners rebuild their structures and execute action growth plans.

It’s also not just about the money for this company this woman-led company. They have done some pro bono work for new entrepreneurs who could not afford to pay for some of our services.

In 2020, the company plans to expand aggressively to reach, help and educate help businesses across Africa.

We intend to grow over the next year of business and reach more people across the continent, as we also reinvent our business and launch more products that can meet the needs of our prospective clients.

Munachim Chukwuma – Founder, Ibobo Consulting

Visit https://iboboconsulting.com/ for more information on how IB Consulting can help your business.


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SHEAMOISTURE SPOTLIGHT ON HEALTHY LIVING QUEEN: LYNDA ODOH – CEO HEALTHIFY AFRICA

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skincare innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

Meet Lynda Odoh

Lynda Odoh-Anikwe is the CEO and founder of Healthify Africa.

She is a Medical Doctor from the University of Nigeria and started Healthify Africa. Healthify Africa is an enterprise that strives to tackle the dietary risk factors for non-communicable diseases.

In the course of her daily interactions with patients, she realized that people were most driven by convenience and availability when making healthy lifestyle choices.

Lynda decided to start a fruit delivery service. She hopes this will create an enabling system for busy urban dwellers, to conveniently meet the World Health Organization’s daily fruit recommendation for a healthy life.

Her vision is to see an African continent where adopting a healthy lifestyle is easy, practical and sustainable.

You can connect with Lynda and her business on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Tell us how you started Healthify Africa.

When I began to practice as a medical doctor, I saw that there were so many instances of non-communicable diseases that could have been avoided by a simple dietary change.

I started Healthify Africa because I wanted to create a solution to the problem of non-communicable diseases. My goal with Healthify Africa is to address dietary risk factors.

I do this by providing a service that helps busy people adopt healthy eating habits. This is done through a simplified system and healthy lifestyle advocacy.

At Healthify Africa our focus is on increasing the consumption of fruits for busy urban dwellers through a delivery platform. By providing affordable fruit boxes, fruit cups, fruit and dip platter to school children, homes and offices, we’re building a healthier Africa one person at a time.

SheaMoisture

What was your motivation for finally starting your business?

For me, it was because I had been in similar situations and I understood the challenges people face in trying to adopt and sustain healthy dietary habits.

I grew up in a health-conscious family and I grew accustomed to having a very healthy diet. However, when I became a young adult and my schedule became tighter especially during my internship, it became extremely difficult to eat the right things.

It was a situation of knowing the right thing to do, but being unable to do it. I knew then that there must be other busy young people like me, men, women and even mothers who wanted their children eating fruits but were pressed for time as I was.

"I realized that just like myself, people were most empowered by convenience and availability rather than just knowledge." – dr_lyndah Click To Tweet

That for me was a huge community need that I passionately wanted to see addressed. So I made the decision to become the change I desired by creating an enabling platform. A platform that supports healthy food choices so as to help myself and others with the same challenge.

What makes your brand stand out?

Healthify Africa is not just another food company, that caters to only satisfying hunger. Instead, my brand is particularly focused on ensuring that everyone has access to the daily consumption of 400g of fruits, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).


The vision is to create a world where healthy eating is most practical and the dietary risks of non-communicable diseases reduced to the barest minimum.

That, as well as our commitment to healthy lifestyle advocacy, has been a huge attraction for our clients because they can see it.

SheaMoisture

What are three things you struggled with when your business kicked off and how did you overcome them?

When I first started my business, a lot of people did not understand what we were trying to do and that equated to zero orders. We had to create a lot of awareness about the health benefits of patronizing our convenience-based service.

Also, through our follow-up and feedback system, we tried to encourage our clients to make referrals and this has continued to help our brand.

Secondly, being a fruit delivery service, food hygiene, presentation and safety during transit were some of my topmost priorities. It was a challenge finding the ideal packaging that met all the criteria and would still fit into our production cost.

I did my online research and eventually was able to find a reliable supplier that we now work with.

SheaMoisture

Finally, it was important that our fruit packs get delivered in a cold temperature range for a great client experience. This was a challenge when we had to deliver long-distance orders. This was an issue because there is currently no thermostat equipped delivery services operating in Abuja where we operate from.

To overcome this, we currently partner with a reliable express delivery service and improvise with ice packs in the chillers for long-distance deliveries. Hopefully, in the near future, we can have our very own thermostat equipped delivery bikes.

How do you stay above the noise in your industry?

We made sure to implement a system of receiving and acting on feedback, from early on in the business so that we know what exactly our clients want and tweak our approach to offer them that.

This has been really helpful in building a business that our clients love and customer retention as well.

Did you have any personal experience that taught you a business lesson?

Before I started my business, I had a few unpleasant experiences with logistics. On one occasion, I was to make a trip and I had made an earlier arrangement with a cab driver. However, on the morning of the trip, he was a no show, which made me have to find another one. To cut the long story short, I ended missing the bus I was to get on.

When I began my business, I took that experience with me and created a better delivery structure. I ensure that all delivery arrangements are made on time to avoid communication-related challenges. As a second step, I also make backup plans to ensure that I don’t disappoint my clients.

SheaMoisture

Can you tell us of any impact have you made in your community since you started your business?

As a medical doctor, I am really passionate about helping people live healthier lives and I made sure to infuse this into my business.

Through my brand, I have been able to raise awareness about the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Also, we have encouraged people to sustain a healthy lifestyle by organizing health and fitness challenges.

Most recently, we actively participated in the 2019 global week for action against Non-Communicable diseases. We engaged in a social media awareness campaign (#enoughNCDs #healthifyafrica) and an educational video series with a team of Doctors.

It is of great value to me that my clients are enlightened and empowered to make the right decisions for their health. – dr_lyndah Click To Tweet

Can you share your 2019 goals with us and what you’ve done so far to achieve them?

Since we had already introduced our business, our 2019 goal was to broaden our client base. Our method was to strictly implement feedback from clients. Also, we started building partnerships that will ensure quality product delivery and unforgettable customer experience.

After doing this for some time this year, we have recorded an increase in the number of clients that have requested for our service. This is something we are going to keep doing since it’s bringing positive results.

We believe it has laid a great foundation for more successes with so many growth possibilities ahead and we are optimistic about that.

What are three interesting things about you?

The first is that I love DIY’s. I have actually painted my room from start to finish on two different occasions just for the fun of it. The last is that I love the power bikes but I’m too scared to get one yet.

SheaMoisture

What’s your favorite self-care routine?

I like to get soaked in a warm bath after a stressful day. I simply light my candles and toss in some petals. After that, I take a mental trip to wherever the CALM Meditation App takes me to, preferably the waterside.

How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand on SLA, sponsored by SheaMoisture?

I feel absolutely ecstatic! When I first saw the email from SLA and SheaMoisture, I was so excited. I had to read it over and over again to make sure it was really for me. Thank you so much She Leads Africa and SheaMoisture for this opportunity.

What is one word that should come to people’s minds when they think about your product/ services?

Authentic!

You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


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The Tech and STEM pioneer of Botswana

The goal is to have a national coding competition where all the students will come to Gaborone and showcase their projects. 

Captain Kgomotso Phatsima is best known in Botswana for her pioneering work as one of the few women pilots in the country. Her career began in the military, and she diligently worked her way up to becoming a real force to be reckoned with. 

Captain Phatsima’s work as a pilot and her passion for youth development led her to discover that there were very few girls who were adept at – or even interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects, which are key for the aerodynamics space.

Not only are STEM subjects integral for becoming a pilot, or engaging in the aerospace industry, they are also essential for the development of human capital and the future of business in Botswana, Africa, and the world.

She founded the Dare to Dream Foundation (of which she is the President) in 2008 which deals with the advancement of youth, women and girls in STEM, aviation and aerospace as well as entrepreneurship development, with the intention to get young people interested in STEM-preneurship and the aviation and aerospace business.

Connect with Kgomotso Phatsima and her business on social media.


Why I founded Dare to Dream…

When I was growing up, I never had the chance to sit like this with a pilot or get into an airplane until I had the chance to fly one.

After I qualified as a pilot, I sat down and thought: ‘What can I do to give the upcoming generation – especially those who grew up in a village, like me – an opportunity to do that?’.

I started Dare to Dream to give back to the community and to try and open up their eyes to opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to.

On the ‘barrier’ to girls’ entry into STEM & traditionally ‘female/male-dominated’ subjects…

I will talk about myself and my own experience here.

When I told my parents that I want to fly and be a pilot, my mother said ‘In our time, a girl could never fly a plane. You cannot be a soldier!’

Sometimes it goes back to our upbringing and the culture. A girl must be domestic, and boys also have prescribed activities.

So we separate ourselves from engaging in these things. The same mindset goes on to say that ‘Some things are hard, and are only for men’, like piloting or engineering.

With some of our families, their backgrounds are what can hinder the involvement of girls in certain subjects and limit girls to certain careers.

But as the times and technologies change, and with other women and organizations such as ours showing that it’s possible, there is more of an acceptance that you can be and do anything you want.

Is Africa / Botswana in a good position to keep up with the world’s “breakneck’ speed?

I think so because the demographic dividend of the youth in Africa indicates that young people make up most of Africa at 60 percent.

I think that the whole of Africa is at a good advantage to participate in the technological changes that are taking place right now.

There are a lot of young people who are interested in technology. I also think that Batswana are in a good position to take advantage of what is happening.

We just need to channel the youth in the right direction to take advantage of the technological era, and prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and the businesses of tomorrow, which will be different from the businesses of today.

How Botswana (and Africa) can prepare for ‘The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)’…

In other African countries such as Rwanda, you’ll find that coding and robotics are taught in schools and they are part of the curriculum.

Recently, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa stated that coding will be taught in schools. We in Botswana are a little slower in catching on to these developments.

At Dare to Dream, we partnered with Airbus to sponsor 1,500 students across the country in rural places and trained them in robotics in order to prepare them for 4IR.

We need to channel the youth in the right direction to take advantage of the technological era and prepare them for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) – @KPhatsima Click To Tweet

It was also important that they know that there are careers in the aerospace industry that are STEM-related that they can take advantage of.

We are looking forward to partnering with the Ministry of Education, but there have been some delays, which I hope will be overcome in the future.

Dare to Dream’s most engaged stakeholders…so far…

We have engaged Airbus and also partnered with Botswana Innovation Hub, the University of Botswana and Botswana International University for Science and Technology – BIUST.

BIUST created an initiative to encourage young girls to get into STEM subjects because they realized that the number of girls applying for these subjects was low. They had called 100 girls from Central District schools to participate. 

We form partnerships with organizations with the same mandate as us. For example, Debswana is interested in the 4IR and getting young people engaged in it, so we have partnered with them and they have assisted us to roll out our programs.

We have also done work with Major Blue Air, who own planes. The girls get a chance to get onto the planes, and I fly the children.

It’s not just about STEM, it’s about exposing the girls to new experiences and igniting the passion within them. There are other organizations doing work in the same area, and we are looking forward to also having them on board.

There is something very powerful about collaboration.

We have also recently partnered with EcoNet, who have chosen me to lead the Youth Development Programme in coding and entrepreneurship.

What we are doing differently is that we are teaching the kids how to code and build websites, but also entrepreneurship and leadership skills. We have enrolled the first 500 participants and we are starting in July this year. 

The role Dare to Dream is playing in the conversation (and action!) towards Africa’s readiness for 4IR…

Even though we have trained 1 500 students, we realized that there is a gap with the teachers, and so we are preparing to train teachers in order to fill that gap.

After going around the country and doing work in 40 schools, I realized that the teachers themselves don’t know about 4IR, coding or robotics. Coding isn’t part of our curriculum at the moment; only a few schools have robotics kits, but they don’t know how to use them.

So, then we pulled in Debswana and other sponsors to train the teachers for a week at the University of Botswana. From there, the teachers will go back to their respective schools and train the students.

The goal is to have a national coding competition where all the students will come to Gaborone and showcase their projects. 

How young African women can be a part of The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)…

We want young people to solve African problems using technology – @KPhatsima Click To Tweet

Also, we want to teach them that they can look around for themselves, and identify where the problems are, and create devices and apps to overcome them, and make money out of them.

The fact that we are training teachers and students is a good step because we are pushing them towards appreciating the importance of 4IR and the power of technology in building businesses.


Botswana is one of Africa’s success stories, from one of Africa’s poorest countries to a vibrant, developed, middle-income African state.

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SheaMoisture Spotlight On Award-Winning Midwife: Tolu Adeleke-Aire – CEO ToluTheMidwife

SheaMoisture is the enduring and beautiful legacy of Sofi Tucker. Widowed with five children at 19, Grandma Sofi supported her family by selling handcrafted shea butter soaps and other creations in the village market in Sierra Leone.

Sofi became known as a healer who shared the power of shea and African black soap with families throughout the countryside.

She handed down her recipes to grandson Richelieu Dennis, who founded SheaMoisture and incorporated her wisdom into the brand’s hair and skin care innovations.

SheaMoisture products and collections are formulated with natural, certified organic and fair trade ingredients, with the shea butter ethically-sourced from 15 co-ops in Northern Ghana as part of the company’s purpose-driven Community Commerce business model.

SheaMoisture has partnered with She Leads Africa to support and showcase Nigerian women who support their communities.

About Tolu Adeleke-Aire

Tolu Adeleke-Aire is the CEO and founder of ToluTheMidwife.

She is an internationally trained, dual-qualified healthcare professional. Tolu is an accomplished senior midwife and nurse. Tolu has over ten years of clinical and management experience.

She completed an MSc in Healthcare Management, after which she worked with the reputable UCL (Department of Nutrition).

Tolu founded ToluTheMidwife to create a holistic experience for families. One that included preparing, supporting and empowering expectant parents as they transition to parenthood. She does this through evidence-based health education.

One parent at a time, Tolu is living her business mantra, “save a mother, save a child, save a community.”

To learn more about Tolu’s business and connect with her, visit her Website, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.

ToluTheMidwife Healthcare Solutions, how did you start?

I started ToluTheMidwife Healthcare Solutions (officially) in 2018. The aim is to prepare, support and empower expectant parents as they transition to parenthood through evidence-based health education.



Birthing a baby is a life-changing experience,and services rendered must offer a holistic approach. – @ToluTheMidwife Click To Tweet

At ToluTheMidwife, we offer Antenatal Classes, Postnatal Classes, exclusive “With Woman” services and Dads Antenatal Classes #DadsAntenatalNg.

Through effective health education, we can influence a positive change in health behaviors. This will drastically reduce Nigeria’s maternal and neonatal mortality rates.

We truly believe that informed and empowered parents will Save a mother, Save a baby and Save a Community.

What was your motivation?

While still working in England, I visited Nigeria often because I always wanted to move back.

So during one of these visits, I read an article about the atrocious maternal and neonatal mortality rates. I instantly became obsessed.

That article made me struggle to understand why so many women die just because they are having a baby. On further research, I noted many women lack basic evidence-based health education.

As a result, I created Tolu the Midwife to fill this gap, with the hopes of saving mothers, babies, and communities.

What makes your brand stand out?

I would say our dads antenatal classes, #DadsAntenatalNg. We are the first to incorporate antenatal classes for dads in Lagos and possibly Nigeria.

Society expects men to understand the beautiful yet challenging changes that happen to women during pregnancy. To support their partners in labor and in the postnatal period.

All that without being taught, educated, informed or even supported.
This is grossly unfair, drives men away and generational patterns are subconsciously repeated.

Our holistic approach covers the transition to parenthood right from conception for both men and women.

Another thing we do is offer our couples, round the clock online maternity support through our exclusive “With Woman” packages.

Couples feel very reassured knowing there is a midwife available to answer all their questions and alleviate any anxiety or refer them to the hospital (if required).

Can you tell us one 1 to 3 things you struggled with as a business owner and how you overcame them?

1. Time management: I had a demanding full-time job and was starting a business in Nigeria.  It was very challenging and I found no matter how hard I tried, the “naija factor” would disrupt my plans.

I am currently working part-time, as this gives me enough time to focus on building ToluTheMidwife and The Maternity Hub (Nigeria). 

I am also able to attend various courses which have been extremely helpful in building my brand.

2. Funding: I was unable to secure a personal space as I had planned and this threw me out of sync. I froze the plans I had for the classes for a while.

However, I am currently leasing spaces as required for my classes (pay-as-you-go) and this is working out really well.

How have you managed to stay above the noise in this industry?

As a brand new start-up, we are trying new and exclusive services such as dads antenatal classes and baby massage classes and evaluating the response we get from our clients.  

We also constantly monitor maternal needs and trends.

Do you have a personal experience that taught you a business lesson?

I didn’t consider the third party factor and it left me devastated at the start of my business. 

As an example, I write the handbooks for the classes and have them updated throughout the year.

I gave the first book to a printer and I didn’t receive them on time for the very first class. It made me upset because when I did receive them, they were not fit for purpose.

So when I updated the books again and sent them to the printer, I monitored every single step to avoid a repeat of what happened before.

It was a really helpful learning experience for me because as a startup, I can’t afford to have a stain on my reputation, so I take all the necessary steps to ensure it doesn’t repeat itself.

What impact have you made on your community since starting this business?

I would say being able to make pregnant couples feel informed and empowered about their pregnancy, birthing options, and postnatal care. Most of them report feeling less anxious and worried because they know we are one call away.

They also ask the midwives and doctors to complete all aspects of their antenatal check-up. The women have their personal antenatal handheld notes, so they keep track of the important numbers in pregnancy.

All in all, I have been able to support more parents and help them become more informed and prepared to welcome their children to the world.

What is your major goal for 2019, and what have you done so far to achieve it?

My major goal is to add new services to ToluTheMidwife. This is partially completed but we would love to regularise the frequency of the classes.

We are also working hard to open The Maternity Hub. A one-stop hub for maternity, with services from conception to 6 weeks postpartum.

Can you share with us three interesting facts about yourself?

I am a real foodie and funny too, so you’ll usually catch me chilling and laughing.

Another interesting thing about me is that I prefer a good movie and company, over living it up in the clubs and bars on a Friday night.

How do you feel about this opportunity to promote your brand on SLA sponsored by SheaMoisture?

Absolutely ecstatic. SLA is an awesome platform for amazing African women.

To have our services featured on your sites, sponsored by SheaMoisture is truly an honor.


You can find SheaMoisture products at Youtopia Beauty stores nationwide and on Jumia.


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Why your business may not have access to the funds it needs to scale

Being a financial analyst gave me the opportunity to relate with several entrepreneurs – some of whom I met during my undergraduate days at OAU (of the Greatest Ife!).

They all have one common problem – lack of funds to expand their respective businesses.

Please note that this article is not about me giving you money. However, one of my future goals is to set up a Private Equity firm alongside other partners and invest pooled funds in SMEs across Africa.

Until then, let us just focus on why small businesses are unable to access available funds.

To make this article as captivating as possible, I will assign three consecutive tasks to you and implore you to carry them out. If possible as you complete these tasks and take notes, new ideas may drop on your mind.

Wondering why you haven't gotten the funds you need to boost your business? Read this article… Click To Tweet

Task One – Imagination 

If you are a business owner, or you hope to start a business someday, I want you to picture this, as broad as you can.

[Insert the name of your business or business idea] as something you are proud of, a brand that transcends one country, something your unborn generation will bless you for, a trailblazer in its industry, and all the other good stuff you can possibly picture it to be.

Task Two – Reflection

Assume you are one hundred percent sure that task one will become a reality.

Then reflect on the possible factors (financial or non-financial – for example, regulatory, social, environmental, etc.) that could hinder your reality or drop the level of certainty to a much lower percentage.

That is enough!

Task Three – Reality Check

Ask yourself these few questions, especially if the factor from task two is a financial factor.

However, let me quickly inform you that there are several financial aids or grants, which are exclusively available to SMEs.

You just need to look in the right places and meet the requirements (if any).

Back to the questions…Ask yourself

  • Why am I unable to access the funds required to give my business (or business idea) the boost it deserves?
  • Why do financial institutions, investors (or even friends and family) turn me down when I approach them for funds?

You don’t have to sweat if you have no answers.

A few weeks ago, I carried out research on these questions, with potential investors, business owners, finance practitioners and other informed persons as my respondents. If you are one of them and you are reading this, THANK YOU.

Most of their answers centered on the following:

  1. Lack of integrity: I know this is probably an underrated reason, but 80% of my respondents referenced this. Your lack of integrity could cover these areas:
  • If you divert the money you get to personal matters other than your business.
  • Do you over-promise the potential investors an unrealistic return on investment (ROI)?
  • Do you keep two sets of financial records – one for tax purpose (to evade taxes) and the other for the true picture of the business, and so on? The list is endless.

Most investors have been in the business of financing for long. They would have done their due diligence.

If you give potential investors any reason to doubt your integrity, you can as well wave their financial aid goodbye!

Just so you know, even a devious investor does not want to invest in a dubious person or business.

2. Inability to sell yourself and your business appropriately: This may sound cliché, but it is also a major reason.

If you are unable to convince me to invest in your business, how on Earth do you think I will give you my money on my own volition?

Is your business plan compelling? Or is it over-optimistic? Please note that over-optimism is not a bad trait.

However, this is business, and money is involved, so, you need to prove to the potential investor that you have done your homework or research.

Your business plan should reflect economic realities. Wait a sec! Do you even have a business plan? Read more… Click To Tweet

3. Lack of business management skill or experience: Most of us want to be our own boss – fair enough.

However, if you do not know how to manage a business, if you have not worked under someone before, if you have not undergone any training or if you come off as an incompetent person when it comes to that business and how you talk about it, then you limit your chances of getting funds or capital from potential investors.

A final take-home

You claim you need capital for your business. Fine!

If a potential investor asks how much you need to expand your business to “xyz” level; will you be able to respond with an amount (or a range) on the spot?

As an entrepreneur, you should have an elevator pitch about your business and a summary of what you would do with the money assuming you had immediate access to it.

Do you know why some businesses are not getting the funding they need? Please share with us.