Meet Didi Morake: How her passion and creativity is decreasing youth unemployment in South Africa

didi morake

This is the last part of “Inside Global Citizen”, a limited series. 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.

Didi Morake had a lucrative career in the corporate banking industry. After completing her Masters in Strategic Marketing from the Wits Business School, Didi landed a position working as the Customer Value Proposition Designer for Youth at ABSA Bank.

 

Didi’s position at ABSA allowed her to pursue her passion for helping the youth. However, when she heard about Global Citizen, she saw a whole new world of possibilities for making a difference.

 

Resonating deeply with the organization’s goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030, Didi took the leap and left the corporate world. Didi Morake now works as the Senior Manager for Strategic Partnerships where she spearheads the Global Citizen Fellowship Program powered by BeyGOOD.

 

Morake believes that she is now doing the work she was always meant to do.

 

“Growing up, I always thought I was going to be a doctor. I was always that one friend that was there for others – to pick them up when they fell. I thought being a pediatrician was befitting to me and my personality. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that it wasn’t about the title, it was about the purpose – which I had at heart – helping young people.”
Didi Morake

On Creating Sustainable Programs to Tackle Unemployment

 

Unemployment in South Africa is staggeringly high, especially among young people. According to Trading Economics, South Africa’s unemployment rate rose to 30.1% in the first quarter of 2020 from 29.1% in the previous period. It was the highest jobless rate on record since quarterly data became available in 2008.

 

Whilst this might seem like a crippling challenge to some, Didi and her team are doing something about it. “Young people are the future, and with the right access to skills and training opportunities, everyone can achieve their full potential. This is exactly why the Global Citizen Fellowship powered by BeyGOOD exists,” says Morake. 

By working together through the fellowship program, the partnership offers young people an opportunity of a lifetime. Designed to empower young people with work experience, the program is not only supporting the vision of a South Africa that nurtures its youth.

 

The Global Citizen Fellowship is also equipping young people with the skills they need to play a role in social justice, helping their communities achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and amplifying causes that they believe in.

 

Take how the program is structured for example. It has multiple phases designed to offer each of the 10 fellows a fully immersive experience. The program covers subjects such as leadership, advocacy, international development, and global citizenship.

 

“Fellows will also have the opportunity to take part in a series of masterclasses given by industry leaders. The program also features educational field trips designed to help fellows develop into value-centred, community-driven leaders,” Didi added.

 

Didi added,“The past cohort were learning about using digital technology to drive social change; how storytelling can help spark cultural shifts; and the role of innovation in an ever-changing world.”

 

“ I think our youth are really passionate, and they’re very hungry to be heard, especially the females. What I pray for is that they keep that consistency to ensure that when they get to the top, they are bringing in other sisters into the workforce.” — Didi Morake

Cathy From Limpopo: A Rewarding Success Story

“I remember Cathy from Limpopo, who has her blog called Millennial Mirror, a platform born out of the need to create a space for young people to share their experiences. She came in with a very analytical brain since she had a background in Mathematics and Information Systems. It was so beautiful to see her discover her creative side by the end of the fellowship and become more in touch with it.” 

“Now Cathy hopes to one day be able to use technology to find solutions for society’s pressing issues and tackle injustices,” Morake added. This is Didi’s why — helping young people reach their full potential. This success story is one example in which Didi finds her work rewarding and helping her fulfil her purpose. 

Thrive: Didi’s Call to Women in 2020

2020 has been an especially tough year in youth development and employment for women. While the situation is not all grim, Didi comments that in her work, she continues to find herself asking one major question — ‘where are the women?’

According to Didi, there are a lot of spaces women still need to occupy. This is why Didi’s mandate to all women this year is — thrive.

“Thrive in what it is that keeps you up at night. Thrive in your personal and spiritual relationships. Awaken to who you are and unleash your potential.” — Didi Morake

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

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.

“You Don’t Have All The Answers!” Meet Catyna Designs Founder, Celestina Utoro,

What do you do after losing everything in a fire? How do you start to put your life together again? Celestina Utoro had to think about this after she experienced a fire outbreak in March 2019. “I was watching all my property burn and I could not do a thing about it. Everything we had got lost in that fire,” Celestina says. Still, perseverance and gratitude are rich in her voice, “I am grateful I am alive today. If I hadn’t woken up when I did, the story may have been different.”

At this point in Celestina’s life, her major concern is rebuilding and putting necessary structures in place so that her business can blossom, “There are so many things to be done, but first I have to create structure. I have to set a steady foundation. I can’t just sit down and fold my arms. I have to get up and try again.”

Catyna Designs is committed to bringing life into a space with Afrocentric decor items. They are major retailers of original adire window blinds and throw pillows. This article covers Celestina’s business story and valuable lessons from her experience with Catyna Designs.

What is at the heart of Catyna Designs?

I love African culture and heritage, and I feel like it is a signature that we should not let die. A lot goes into local art-making from the grassroots in terms of how they are made, the creativity and the time that is dedicated to it. I noticed that even though their productions are of world-class value, most of the creatives in that line are not equipped with what it takes to promote their work on a global scale. So because of my love for these forms of art, I decided to become an instrument- a vehicle for these artworks. The whole concept of Catyna really is to be a vehicle for these artistic innovations.

Being structured also helps you to identify the weak points in your business. If you do not have a structure in place, you will not really be able to track your progress as you go. Click To Tweet

“I find joy when I am working with a community to produce the adire window blinds. I also see the joy of creation on the faces of the workers. Their joy and hard work motivate me to push for our items to be globally accessible. African cultural pieces deserve that kind of exposure.”

Collaboration is key! Click To Tweet

What you can learn from Celestina’s experience

Collaboration is key! I work a lot with people at the grassroots. Most of them just want to create, they really don’t want to be out there promoting their work. As a result, they are not generating the kind of funds that they need to take care of themselves and their families. So I said to myself, “Why don’t I add value by collaborating with them? Why don’t I create a space where they bring their skill and I bring my expertise?” That way, we can join our gifted hands together to create wealth and success.

Do not underestimate structure: You have to be structured. You can’t do everything at the same time. You can’t be everywhere at once. Being structured also helps you to identify the weak points in your business. If you do not have a structure in place, you will not really be able to track your progress as you go.

You don’t have all the answers: At some point, you have to come to terms with this. You have to accept that you do not have all the answers. When I got to this revelation, it led me to find spaces that can help me grow. You need that support. You need a community that is interested in your growth. 

Continue reading ““You Don’t Have All The Answers!” Meet Catyna Designs Founder, Celestina Utoro,”

“I Learnt Perseverance After My Fire Accident” Meet Eco-friendly Entrepreneur, Chidiebere Nnorom

If there’s one thing Chidiebere Nnorom wants us to know, it is that she’s a typical Igbo girl with a never die attitude, never ever wanting to give up! Even after going through a rough patch, she refused to succumb and found her way back up.

Chidiebere Nnorom is the Co-founder of Paperbag by Ebees. She has a strong passion for the environment, social impact and business.  

Watch this space as Chidiebere is determined to change norms and make waves as an entrepreneur, environmentalist and a young global leader. Scroll down to read more of her story.


What’s your background story?

Before my business grew to the stage it is at now, I went through a lot! I was involved in a fire accident which kept me indoors for a while. I had to stop business operations and lay off staff. It was unbelievable. Imagine being at a point in life where you are clueless about what to do next. Well, that was me then.

It took me almost a year to heal. I couldn’t work or do anything. My savings had been zapped and I kept wondering how I’d scale through. There was a personal instinct to do something, I knew it wasn’t the time to give up but to breakthrough! I needed to turn the light on in my heart and that I did. 

To cut the long story short, the accident was a validation to move on. Months later, I picked up my business and started building up gradually. Next thing I knew, business calls were coming in! People said they saw the paper bag and wanted to order. Some of the paper bags they saw were made way before the accident. The referral rate was massive! I was so elated and grateful I didn’t give up back then.

What ignited the spark to start Paperbag by Ebees?

In 2016, we started off as a food delivery business but one of the problems we faced was the packaging, we just couldn’t find the right packaging. With a background in geography and my love for the environment, we decided to start creating eco-friendly packages.

There were a lot of “buts!” That was the year the foreign exchange was high, fuel scarcity and other things kept creeping in. We had to take a step back to think of how we could make it. My team and I carried out some research, tried out different products, monitored what was moving and what wasn’t. Everything was coming up gradually.

Before I knew it, we made it official!

 

What business challenges have you faced and how have those challenges shaped your mindset?

At the early stages, our major challenge was accessing raw materials in Nigeria. It meant having to buy in large quantities and also importing from China. We had other expenses to run the business and couldn’t afford it.

This caused a setback. We had to think of how to make it ourselves. We carried out some research and found alternative ways to come up with the resources. That was when we started the business for real!

Business development was our second challenge, it took us a while to see that the market was ready. We had to try out different products to see if the market will accept us. It was quite hard, to be honest. After a series of experiments and market research, we were able to count a milestone. Finally! We achieved growth.

These experiences really shaped our mindset as a company. To every business owner out there, celebrate your little wins! We count every little effort we make as a win and an opportunity to do better. I’m learning to take joy in the little things, every small success is a validation. I say to myself, “Chidiebere well done!” It tells me that every step I took at the time was worth it.

 

How do you come up with the designs on your paper bags?

I won’t take all the credit, I have a really good team. My own inspiration came from purpose. The point is, if we chase our real purpose there are things we won’t struggle to do. I found my passion, and everything fell into place.

Finding the right people who know what they are doing is key. I also took some time to learn product design. It’s a combination of all these things.

 

What have you learned so far from running this business?

I was in paid employment and transitioning was quite drastic.

Take your time and plan! If you’re transitioning from paid employment to business, have enough money to cover up for your expenses. Make sure that the business can take care of your bills. There is no need to go through stress because you’re an entrepreneur, life can be easy!

ScaleUp Africa Ignites A Global Growth Movement For Black Enterprises

Press Release

ScaleUp Africa organised one of the biggest diaspora targeted entrepreneurship events in August 2020 attracting Entrepreneurs, Business Growth Experts, Investors, Creative Artistes and Innovators from North America, The Caribbean, Europe and across Africa. 

According to Einstein Ntim, the CEO of Global StartUp Ecosystem, main sponsors of ScaleUp Africa’s Festival, ”ScaleUp Africa has truly set the bar for curating an impactful international convening of the entrepreneurship ecosystem. We just witnessed a powerful, well-organised Africa-focused virtual business event and we’re very proud to have been able to sponsor such a historic event.”

With over 40 Virtual Panels, Workshops, Interviews, Presentations and Artiste Performances featuring seasoned experts from a wide range of fields, the Festival put the spotlight on bottom-up Policy Frameworks, Tech, Agriculture and Creative industry opportunities as well as business insights from African music labels, artistes and professionals from around the world. 

On The Role of Corporations: 

African Angel Investment veteran, Tomi Davies of the African Business Angel Network (ABAN) said: ”Corporations must understand that one of the best ways to innovate is to tap into the early stage entrepreneurial ecosystem. This is not to be viewed as old fashioned CSR or Charity. Engaging with and supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem should be viewed as an integral part of Innovation, R&D and overall Strategy.” 

Joe Mensah, former President of the American Chamber of Commerce, Ghana and Country Director of KOSMOS Energy said,”We must all lend a hand to support this effort and encourage more boards to report on entrepreneurship and innovation programmes as part of their Environmental, Social and Governance metrics.”

For Amma Gyampo, the Co-Founder ScaleUp Africa, a women-led entrepreneurship advisory and business support firm based in Accra, Ghana and the conveners of this event, the message is simple: “Let’s build up the trust, systems and partnerships required to grow stronger, profitable, job-creating businesses while delivering on social impact.

“There’s an entire community of entrepreneurial leaders that have built world-class talent, tech and solutions but it’s important to connect them to distribution channel opportunities that governments and corporations hold the keys to. Even investors are innovating to boost the growth and performance prospects of this community. This ecosystem has so much value, data, insights, new business models and potential solutions to offer. We facilitate deeper engagement with corporations, foundations and DFIs to promote the growth of our most cutting edge small businesses.”

ScaleUp Africa: A New Breed Of Black & African Business Leaders

The Festival attracted over 3000 registered attendees and streaming viewers including active Investors that shared their insights about their current deals in Africa during the Pandemic. In attendance were a number of leaders and influencers from the African creative sector and Black entrepreneurship ecosystems from countries including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Ghana, Nigeria, Mauritius, South Africa, UK, Canada, USA.

Attendees were encouraged to study macro-trends like digitalisation, self-reliant agriculture, tech and industrialisation as a way to boost their chances of growth and sustainable business success.  There was also an emphasis on building profitable businesses from the start and promoting venture investor community building to improve access to funding for Black founders globally.

International venture investors that were present at the event included Maya Horgan Famodu, Eric Osiakwan and Rodney Sampson.

Global brands, affiliates and personalities in attendance were Fuse ODG, Paul C Brunson, Chocolate City, Afropolitan, Ubiquitous Games, RocNation, Afrochella, OHUB, Africa Business Angel Network (ABAN), IFFAC (Roberta Annan), The Adinkra Group, Year of Return, Africa 2.0, The Office of The President of Ghana (Diaspora Affairs), The Tony Elumelu Foundation (Parminder Vir, former CEO) and GUBA (Dentaa Amoateng MBE) among others.

Support organisations like ScaleUp Africa play an important part in the global, African and Diaspora conversation around bridging the racial wealth gap and the need to provide better, longer term support for Black and African Entrepreneurs. 

____________________________________________

Meet Chebet Chikumbu: The Global Citizen trying to solve Africa’s youth development and education crisis

Chebet Chikumbu identifies as Pan-African

“Inside Global Citizen” is a limited series that will run during the month of August. It will 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.

The United Nations estimates that a quarter of the world’s illiterate population lives in sub-Saharan Africa. With the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic further crippling Africa’s already fragile education systems, the challenge to develop the future of Africa remains a daunting task.

At Global Citizen, Chebet Chikumbu is leading an all-women team focused on youth development across Africa to solve this big education and literacy crisis.

CHEBET’S JOURNEY INTO YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Chebet’s passion for seeing growth in Africa started at a very early age. When she was 10 years old, her parents whisked her away from Kenya to boarding school in South Africa where she developed an appreciation for Africa’s diversity. 

While she initially wanted to become an accountant like her father, her goals shifted as she began to learn more about countries across Africa, and noticed the prevailing inequalities that were similar across the board. 

With this new awareness, she found herself leaning more towards humanitarian work than accounting.

young Chebet Chikumbu

Today, Chebet works as the Regional Director for Southern and Eastern Africa at Global Citizen and identifies herself as a Pan-African woman with roots in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe. 

“I have really come to understand our similarities as Africans but also the nuances in a way that has given me a very profound appreciation for what it means to identify with a Nationality like a singular place.” – Chebet Chikumbu.

INSIDE CHEBET’S JOB: SOLVING A MAN-MADE CRISIS

To create sustainable and practical solutions to the problems of youth development and education, Chebet’s team identifies governments and corporations that can support priorities around the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), develop campaign strategies, and mobilize support across sectors.

With her all-star team, Chebet oversees Global Citizen’s campaigns and ensures that commitments made through the Global Citizen platform are delivered and have a real impact on the intended recipients.

“It became clearer to me that a lot of what we see is man made. And, if these are man made problems, it means that there are man made solutions. And if we collectively put our heads and our hands to work, we can come up with the necessary problem solving that is required to address the world’s most pressing problems.” – Chebet Chikumbu. 

BeyGOOD: A SUCCESS STORY IN AFRICAN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Chikumbu has had great successes with her team at Global Citizen. Inspired by Nelson Mandela’s passion for youth development and education, as well as his legacy of empowering future generations, Chebet and her team launched the  Global Citizen Fellowship Program Powered by BeyGOOD.

 

The Global Citizen Fellowship Program Powered by BeyGOOD is equipping young people with the skills they need to play a role in social justice, helping their communities achieve the SDGs, and amplifying causes that they believe in.

Global Citizen Fellowship Program class of 2020

Now, the Fellowship program is kicking off for its second year — with an extraordinary class of 10 young people. Designed to empower young people with work experience, the program is not only supporting the vision of a South Africa that nurtures its youth.

Each fellow will also have the benefit from personalized mentorship from leaders in entertainment, business, government, and civil society — all aimed at enabling them to realize their potential to become global agents of change.

Chikumbu encouraged young people to apply and engage in the paid, year-long fellowship aligned to one of Global Citizen’s four pillars of activity: creative, campaigns, rewards, and marketing. The next application period would be in 2021. 


ADVICE: HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT MENTOR  

The mentorship program is an aspect of The Global Citizen Fellowship Program powered by BeyGOOD that Chebet is especially proud of. With a career that has spanned over 15 years, she emphasizes that an effective mentor can create an open environment for young African women to express themselves and be heard.

“I can attest to the fact that mentors have really helped me shape my career in my 20s, and especially now in my 30s because I am thinking more broadly around how do I deepen my thought leadership and how do I truly become the light that I want to be and that I want to see in the world.”- Chebet Chikumbu. 

To find the right mentor, Chebet advises that you look for somebody who believes your intentions and is invested in seeing you be great without any strings attached -the key is you have to ask!

SOLVING A CRISIS DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC

The pandemic has not spared Chebet and her team. According to Chikumbu, prior to the pandemic, Africa had been making progress to meet the 17 goals. Now, even those targets where that had almost been hit are under threat of having decades of progress wiped out in a matter of weeks.

“Due to COVID-19, an unprecedented health, economic and social crisis is threatening lives and livelihoods …we know that people of colour are disproportionately affected and we know that on the continent it means that the majority of those people of colour will be young and under the age of 30.” – Chebet Chikumbu. 

The UN says global school closures have kept over 90% of students worldwide – 1.57 billion pupils – out of access to education, and among them, 370 million children are missing out of school meals that they depend on. For those without access to internet and computers at home, remote learning is not an option, meaning almost no education for the duration of the crisis.

In short, if we thought it was real out here, COVID-19 is teaching us things can be a whole lot more real with existing inequalities and injustices. 

THE FUTURE OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION IN AFRICA

While progress might seem daunting, all hope is not lost. Chikumbu and her team are making a collective response to the pandemic, which can serve as a ‘warm-up’ for their preparedness in revamping the progress they had previously made.

“What we are now having to, I suppose, absorb as a shock but beyond that, that’s why we are gathering stakeholders around now to try and think of ways to turn that around and ways to immediately find effective solutions in the spirit of catching up,” says Chikumbu. 

Interested in learning more about Global Citizen? Visit the Global Citizen Twitter Page.

Tell us how COVID-19 is affecting your life

How are you holding up sis?

The past couple of weeks have been a rollercoaster that none of us could have imagined. From having to deal with the anxiety of a disease that’s spreading around the world, to learning how to work remotely and live without social interaction, as well as the uncertainty of the economy.

Life as we know it has changed, and you may find yourself trying to figure out what the next steps are for you, and how best to handle this situation.

Don’t worry girl, we got you! Here at She Leads Africa, our number one priority is helping our tribe of young, ambitious African women get through this period as best as we can.

How? Well, I’m glad you asked. In collaboration with Women Will, we want to help you navigate the new normal. However, we need your help to understand what specific challenges you are facing, so that we can make the right information and tools available to you.

The insights we get from you, will help us develop solutions that address specific problems you’re facing, as well as information to help you thrive during this period.

Click here to fill in the survey!

So if you want to get access to information and tools to help you make the best of the COVID-19 situation, we got you!  Share with us how COVID-19 has affected your life, so that we can help you.

Don’t forget Sis, we are all in this together.

Tell us how we can help you!

MOLPED FEATURE ON SIMI DREY: AWARD WINNING RADIO AND TV HOST

Molped sanitary pad is a product from Hayat Kimya Limited (manufacturers of Molfix diapers), and is a skin-friendly, ultra-soft, sanitary pad, designed to make young girls feel as comfortable, soft, and secure as they feel beside their best friends.

Molped’s breathable layer keeps young women fresh, and it’s skin-friendly, cottony soft layer does not cause irritation. Molped sanitary pad is every girl’s best friend, helping them be more confident, and supporting them through their periods.

Molped has partnered with She Leads Africa to highlight the beauty and importance of valuable female connections. 

You can connect with Simi on Instagram and Twitter.

ABOUT SIMI DREY

Simi Drey is an experienced multi-award-winning Broadcaster who has worked across media platforms in both the United Kingdom and Nigeria. 

With a First Class Degree in Broadcasting and Journalism from the University of Wales, she currently hosts the Saturday and Sunday morning shows on the Beat 99.9FM and on television anchors 53 Extra on African Magic.

Having won the Future Awards Africa for Best OAP (TV and Radio) in 2019, Simi Drey uses her platform to share her passion for entertaining and educating the youth; tomorrow’s leaders.

What does friendship mean to you?

Friendship means family. My friends are people who know me, they know my strengths, they know my weaknesses yet they still love me. 

They have been there for me and always will be at different stages of my life and I will do the same for them.

Can you tell us of a time when any of your girlfriends connected you with a career or business opportunity?

There have been numerous occasions where my girlfriends helped me but the most recent would be Gbemi Olateru Olagbegi who nominated me for the OAP category of the Future Awards Africa. She did this without my knowledge and even when I won, she still didn’t tell me what she had done. Someone else informed me. 

Since then, winning the award has opened so many other doors for me such as being the Nigerian representative of a panel in South Africa, to discuss the role and emancipation of women in African society.

Can you tell us about a time when your friend (s) helped you through a difficult situation in your career?

In the first year of my career, while I was more or less fresh out of university, I did not know anyone in Lagos and I was hardly earning anything. I didn’t feel like I was making progress and I was extremely frustrated. 

During this period, I became friends with Dr Kemi Ezenwanne. She constantly encouraged me and prayed with me. She also helped me get a foot into the modelling industry which eventually brought about enough funds for me to move out of my aunt’s house, and rent my own place. 

Without her, I may not have continued pursuing a media career.

How many women do you have in your power circle, and why did you choose them?

I have three different power circles. One consists of four women including myself, the other consists of three people, myself included and the last, five in total.

I don’t think I chose them to be honest. I think we realised how much we had in common and we just ‘clicked’ as friends. However, they have remained in my power circles because of their loyalty and support throughout the years. When the world saw me as a nobody, they were there. We have grown together and stayed together through stages of our lives; school, employment, marriage, childbirth and even divorce. 

No matter what though, we see the potential in each other and we strive daily to bring it out. One person’s success is a success for the entire group.

How do you think young women can network with other women to achieve career success?

I think now more than ever, networking is much easier especially with social media. There are people I am friends with on Instagram for example that I had forgotten I had never met. 

However, because we talk a lot and exchange ideas, it feels like we know each other inside out. 

Social media networking can start simply by liking or commenting on a person’s picture. Search for someone in a similar industry as yourself or someone who has inspired you along your journey and send them a message. 

Don’t just write ‘hi’ though. Make it personal.

What is your fondest memory of you and your girlfriends, from when you first began your careers?

Before I started working in Nigeria, my friend Deena and I auditioned for the X-Factor. Neither of us made it past the first audition. Along with our friend Sully, we thought we were going to become a successful girl band- Deena and I as the singers and Sully as a rapper. We never released a single together. Our dreams of a girl band were pretty short-lived. 

Fast forward and Sully is now a successful Investment Banker in London, I have become a multi-award winning Broadcaster and although Deena actually continued to pursue a career in music, she now has been booked for shows across Nigeria and the UK and her songs play on mainstream radio stations.


Finally, what advice/tips do you have for young career women, to help them build and maintain valuable relationships with other women?

I think the phrase ‘women don’t support women’ has been one of the most damaging statements for young women.

 I would say first and foremost, do not compete with other women. See them as allies. Celebrate their victories and try to lift them up in ways you can. They will do the same for you. 

Society is difficult for women generally but when we stand together, we have so much power.

#MyGrowthSquad series is powered by Molped (@MolpedNigeria). Connect with them on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.


Sponsored post

Molped Feature on Chidinma Ekile: Award-Winning Musician

Molped sanitary pad is a product from Hayat Kimya Limited (manufacturers of Molfix diapers), and is a skin-friendly, ultra-soft, sanitary pad, designed to make young girls feel as comfortable, soft, and secure as they feel beside their best friends.

Molped’s breathable layer keeps young women fresh, and it’s skin-friendly, cottony soft layer does not cause irritation. Molped sanitary pad is every girl’s best friend, helping them be more confident, and supporting them through their periods.

Molped has partnered with She Leads Africa to highlight the beauty and importance of valuable female connections. 

About Chidinma Ekile

Chidinma Ekile is a Nigerian singer and songwriter, popularly known by her stage name Chidinma. She worked as a business promoter in Lagos, prior to auditioning for the third season of Project Fame West Africa, in which she emerged as the winner in 2010.  

Following the release of the music video for her “Emi Ni Baller” single, she became the first female musician to peak at number 1 on the MTV Base Official Naija Top 10 chart.  In 2011, she released her first solo single “Jankoliko” featuring Sound Sultan.   Chidinma, her self-titled debut studio album, was released through the music platform Spinlet.  It was supported by the singles “Jankoliko”, “Carry You Go”, “Kedike” and “Run Dia Mouth”. Chidinma won the “Best Female West African Act” category at the 2012 Kora Awards 

Considered one of the most loved and respected African female artistes, Chidinma is verified across ALL social media platforms. 

A responsible, classy and elegant woman, devoid of scandals, Chidinma has over the years comported herself in a ladylike manner, evolving from the girl next door to becoming a role model and mentor for several young girls across Africa.  Chidinma recently signed an endorsement deal with the premium sanitary towel line, Molped, where she features in all Molped’sTV and radio commercials as the Face of the brand in Nigeria. She released a critically acclaimed joint EP with Africa’s foremost musician, Flavor.  

Chidinma is the founder of Nma Care Foundation, a non-governmental organization set up to cater to visually impaired children.  

You can connect with Chidinma on  Instagram and Twitter.

What does friendship mean to you?

Friendship to me, means identifying the traits and characteristics you favour in people. It means that you accept them for who they are, recognize their flaws and help them improve on themselves.

It also means being there for them as practically as you can.

What advice or tips do you have for women trying to build a professional relationship with mentors?

While learning from your mentor, it’s important that you make sure you never take their time, access and opportunities for granted.  You should recognize and respect their boundaries.

Also, always offer value, because a person’s gifts will make way for them.

What skills or character traits have been most helpful to you in building your career?

I definitely think it is treating the music business as just what it is; which is a business, something akin to a 9 to 5.  I am deliberate about my actions, my team and I plan ahead. We also don’t compromise on our standards or the quality of relationships we cultivate.

What advice do you have for women trying to build a career in the music industry?

As much as I am still learning, I will humbly state that any woman willing to build a career in the entertainment industry, must be ready to work twice as hard as the guys.  Make sure you pay more attention to details and cultivate quality relationships.

Do you think it is important to have a mentor as a young woman trying to grow her career?

Yes.  However, I think that it is important that any woman takes very careful time to evaluate the person she is submitting herself to as a mentee. This is important, in order not to have a misrepresented view of the industry they are working in, and also not be taken undue advantage of.

Since you are the Brand Ambassador of MOLPED, in what ways does the brand remind you about friends/friendship?

Ok I need to actually share this with the world☺. Let’s start with how the features of the product remind me of friendship. It’s not just soft, but cottony soft with no nylon and wide wings and because of these features, it causes no irritation or leakage. 

Those are definitely qualities that I expect of a friend. For them to be soft and comforting, with us having minimal to no friction or fights. I know we might fight at times though, but not all the time you know, and of course she always keeps my business my business.

In addition, the brand promotes friendship and girls being there for each other, and drawing inspiration from each other at all times.

Do you have any words of advice for our Motherland Moguls, trying to be successful like you?

Please ensure you are bringing value to the table. Develop your craft, hone it and guard it like a mother protects her baby.


#MyGrowthSquad series is powered by Molped (@MolpedNigeria). Connect with them on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.


Sponsored Post

Molped Feature on Odunayo Eweniyi: Co-Founder, PiggyVest

Molped sanitary pad is a product from Hayat Kimya Limited (manufacturers of Molfix diapers), and is a skin-friendly, ultra-soft, sanitary pad, designed to make young girls feel as comfortable, soft, and secure as they feel beside their best friends.

Molped’s breathable layer keeps young women fresh, and it’s skin-friendly, cottony soft layer does not cause irritation. Molped sanitary pad is every girl’s best friend, helping them be more confident, and supporting them through their periods.

Molped has partnered with She Leads Africa to highlight the beauty and importance of valuable female connections. 

About Odunayo Eweniyi

Odunayo Eweniyi is the co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of PiggyVest. She previously co-founded pushcv.com, one of the largest job sites in Africa with the largest database of pre-screened candidates. She has 5 years’ experience in Business Analysis and Operations and is a First-Class graduate of Computer Engineering, Covenant University, Nigeria.

She was named one of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 Technology in 2019 and one of 30 QuartzAfrica Innovators 2019. She sits on the advisory board of TrainFuture, an education technology company based in Switzerland, as well as the Gender Lens Acceleration Best Practices Initiative, a collaborative effort of Village Capital, US and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WeFi). 

In 2019, she was named SME Entrepreneur of the Year West Africa by The Asian Banker’s Wealth and Society and she is the youngest Nigerian on Forbes Africa list of 20 New Wealth Creators in Africa 2019.

Odunayo was also one of the featured speakers at the World Bank-IMF Annual Meeting in 2019. She is one of Business Day’s Spark 2019 Women to Watch and made the World Women in Fintech Power List for 2017; the YNaija Most Influential People in Technology 2017 and 2018. She is a 2018 Westerwelle Young Entrepreneurs fellow; and she is a recipient of The Future Africa Awards Prize in Technology 2018.

In honour of her work, she was named one of 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria 2019 by Leading Ladies Africa, one of 50 most visible women in Tech by Tech Cabal in 2019. She is also included on the #YTech100 2019 list of the brightest Nigerian technocrats. She is the Her Network Technology Woman of The Year 2019. She was also voted The Most Influential Young Nigerian in Science and Technology 2019.

She works to support the inclusion of women in technology by working with hubs and female-focused networks like For Creative Girls, GreenHouse Labs, She Leads Africa, Itanna etc. She is also the cofounder of the women’s community, Wine and Whine Nigeria.

You can connect with Odunayo on LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

What does friendship mean to you?

Well to me, friendship means mutual understanding and reciprocity. I like to think of all my friendships as safe spaces that are characterized by genuineness, shared values and free of ignorance and discrimination.

Can you tell us of a time when any of your girlfriends connected you with a career or business opportunity?

Yes actually, in a previous life I was a part-time tech journalist and my friend, Dami, connected me with a well-paying, writing gig at an international magazine. I even ended up working there for well over a year.

Is there a time when your friend(s) helped you through a difficult situation in your career?

I have a  young career, so no difficult situations have stood out there, but my friends are constantly helping me out of sticky situations, and outside of work, they always come through for me.

How many women do you have in your power circle, and why did you choose them?

I have five women in my power circle and the thing is, I wouldn’t say I chose them, as much as they accepted me for who I am. As a person with Asperger’s syndrome, I am definitely an acquired taste.

So these five women, who are actually angels really, have moved through life with me with an understanding of who I am and I, them. But in addition to that, we share values, and despite having varied and many different goals, we work towards it together by supporting each other.

How do you think young women can network with other women to achieve career success?

To be honest, I think that would be much the same as they network with anyone else. There’s really no special way to relate with women. I think if you just treat people in general with empathy and respect, then you’re well on your way.

What is your fondest memory of you and your girlfriends, from when you first began your careers?

I actually started having girlfriends, or friends at all, after I started my career. So the memories we built, were built after we all started working and were at many different points in our lives.

Finally, what advice/tips do you have for young career women, to help them build and maintain valuable relationships with other women?

I think this is really general advice to maintain valuable relationships with everyone. It’s this simple, have empathy, have respect and always pay it forward. 

To add a caveat though, I 100% believe that female friendships save lives, so I definitely encourage young women to have specifically female support systems. But just overall, move through the world treating people fairly, whether you want from them or you’re giving to them.

#MyGrowthSquad series is powered by Molped (@MolpedNigeria). Connect with them on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.


Sponsored Post