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Educating Women Is Crucial For Sustainable Development – Olajumoke Ajayi

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March 11, 2019, Lagos, Nigeria – The Managing Director of Asharami Energy, a Sahara Group Upstream Company, Olajumoke Ajayi has urged regional and global stakeholders to invest in the education of women to ensure they are empowered to take on the critical role of nurturing the leaders of tomorrow.

“Education takes off limits and shatters all manner of ceilings women may come across. It is the bedrock for ensuring global sustainable development as everyone goes through the tutelage of women at various cycles of life. At Sahara, we believe that no effort should be spared in providing support for the education of girls and boys; this should be a global campaign that should be embraced by world and business leaders as well as the civil society,” Ajayi told a gathering of gender parity advocates at an event organized by the United Nations Information Centre and United Nations Association of Nigeria to commemorate the 2019 International Women’s Day.

Supported by Sahara Foundation, the event was designed to encourage women and girls to explore career paths in technology and innovation and also build businesses and make strategic investments towards transforming lives and ensuing economic prosperity.

Olajumoke Ajayi - MD, Asharami Energy photographed with participants
Olajumoke Ajayi (middle) – MD, Asharami Energy photographed with participants at the event

The event commenced with the introductory message from the Director of the United Nations Information Centre, Lagos Dr. Ronald Kayanja who encouraged participants toseek innovative ways of using technology to champion women’s rights and participation in governance and business. “We need to find innovative ways of reimagining and rebuilding our nation so that it works for everyone. There are tasks that women and girls perform today that technology and innovation has made easier and we must ensure that they get access to these tools to improve the quality of life for women everywhere,” Dr. Kayanja said.

The keynote speech was given by Dr Joan Agha, the Executive Director of Joan Agha Foundation who urged the participants to look towards using education and digital technology to empower women and girls. ‘’We live in a patriarchy and we must see the rights of women as our common objective to build a prosperous and inclusive world as we move towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.’’

Since inception, Sahara Foundation has implemented its Personal and Corporate Social Responsibilities (PCSR) initiatives in the areas of Health, Education & Capacity Building, Environment and Sustainable Development. Over two million people have benefitted from Sahara Foundation’s projects,  with women and girls accounting for over 50% of the beneficiaries. Some of the initiatives include eye care programmes, scholarships, literacy development programmes, career guidance programmes, water & sanitation programmes.

According to the United Nations, about 740 million women currently make their living in the informal economy with limited access to social protection, public services and infrastructure that could increase their productivity and income security. Also, one in three women are likely to face violence in their lifetimes, yet public services, urban planning and transport systems are rarely planned with women’s safety and mobility in mind.

The event had a panel session which had Adenike Oyetunde, a media and disability advocate, Ifeoma Adibe-Chukwuka, the founder of Omaness Skin Care, Dr. Afanu Belinda, a hospitality consultant, Ambassador Ayo Olukanni, the Director General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Oduwa Ayela-Agboneni founder of Nenis Auto Care to explore how women are using innovation to create wealth and powering the society.

While a little more than a decade remain to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 5 on gender equality, all indications show that at the current pace of change, closing the global gender gap will take a staggering 108 years, and 202 years for economic gender parity.

To meet the needs of women and those most marginalized at the bottom of the pyramid, public services, infrastructure and social protection require innovative platforms to increase the quality and affordability for women users.

– SAHARA GROUP

NGOs - SDGs

Kudoti, South African Recycling Platform recognised as one of the global winners of the Nestlé’s 2021 Creating Shared Value Prize

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Kudoti Co-Founder, Matthieu de Gaudemar (Image: Medium)

Kudoti, South African recycling company, was announced in the top five winners of Nestlé 2021 Creating Shared Value (CSV) Prize, for their innovative recycling impact through technology.

The CSV Prize has been running for over 10 years and has identified multiple initiatives for some of today’s most critical environmental and social issues around the world. This year’s competition, conducted in partnership with the non-profit organization, Ashoka, was entitled ‘How do we create a waste-free future?’,  It aimed to identify and award innovative solutions with a system-change approach and a strong growth potential, or a replicable model for other social, cultural or geographical settings.

Kudoti (meaning trash in Zulu) is changing business perspectives of waste into recovered materials through supply chain solutions.  The company’s digital approach helps track recyclable waste in real-time and matching it to demand. The use of technology improves market conditions for waste materials, which drives up recycling behaviour.

Matthieu de Gaudemar, one of the founders of Johannesburg-based Kudoti, expressed gratitude to Nestlé and Ashoka for this CSV initiative. “Businesses and individuals have a concept of waste as waste, when we should have a concept of waste as a resource.  With new business models, we can change the way that waste is viewed.”

De Gaudemar adds that their platform’s success was collective team effort. “It truly takes everyone to address systemic environmental issues. Through this financial investment and technical resources, we will amplify our impact by scaling up our solution in South Africa.”

“When people speak of the future, a world of hover crafts or holograSaint-Francis Tohlangms may come to mind. But at Nestlé, we are seeking a more environmentally futuristic landscape. Through these  Awards, we are on a mission to identify and empower market disruptors in the hope of accelerating a waste-free future”, says Saint-Francis Tohlang, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR).

As one of the winners, Kudoti will receive a cash prize of $40 000 and will benefit from Ashoka’s online resources and workshops to explore potential collaboration with Nestlé and a mentoring programme.

“Innovations such as Kudoti not only help reduce waste but also drive consumer behaviour change which is key to achieving a waste free future and takes us closer to a circular economy”, concluded Tohlang.

By Weber Shandwick

 

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Doing Good Work in Africa Marks Its First Anniversary of Supporting Students and Impacting Future Growth in Africa

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Doing Good Work in Africa (DOWA), a non-profit initiative designed to connect students in the United States to African-based entities focused on providing scalable solutions to commonplace challenges, celebrated its first anniversary in April. Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, friends Ola Erogbogbo and Emiola Abass, co-founded a program that generated 400 applications and placed ten students at three partner companies within two months. In just one year, DOWA placed 27 students and conducted seven educational webinars with over 400 attendees from over 17 countries.

“DOWA seeks to provide a path to ‘brain gain’ by attracting US students (African and non-African) to the continent through internships. The premise is that the solution to Africa’s problems must come from within, supported by human and capital investments across the globe.” said Erogbogbo.

DOWA connects students with internship opportunities allowing them to work on socio-economic projects and experience the African culture and corporate environment. Students can take advantage of this unique experience through grants and scholarships funded by some universities. Matching the students with partner companies is accomplished through a rigorous application process, provided at no cost to the students. DOWA’s partner companies and organizations address challenges in healthcare, education, agriculture and champion growth initiatives in technology, artificial intelligence, and power generation in Africa.

“We are proud of our partnership with DOWA – we had two interns work on geospatial AI-powered education technology in low resourced environments. These engaged students’ contributions will help further our goal to raise one million AI talents” said Bayo Adekanmbi, Founder at Data Science Nigeria.

Liam Casey, a Venture Capital Fellow at Funema, said, “My experience has helped narrow down career goals and interests in impact investment and venture capital for emerging markets.”

DOWA is intentional in partnering with organizations that have a shared mission to work on initiatives that further the advancement of Africa. Erogbogbo further said, “DOWA believes that the challenges we face on the continent present opportunities, and thus, connecting students to companies working to address these challenges can result in more effective solutions.”

DOWA was launched with the help of founding supporters that include Scholars in Our Society and Africa (SOSA) at Cornell University and Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM). With over 300% participation growth and thanks to its growing network of partner companies, DOWA for the 2021/2022 internship cycles is projected to provide internship opportunities to 70 students from over 20 schools, including five Ivy League colleges.

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GSMA Report Reveals The Gender Gap In Mobile Internet Use Is Shrinking, Despite The COVID-19 Pandemic

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GSMA Report: An estimated 112 million more women started using mobile internet last year across low- and middle-income countries, despite the onset of COVID-19, according to the fourth annual GSMA Mobile Gender Gap Report published today.

Nevertheless, 234 million fewer women than men access mobile internet. Moreover, the underlying gender gap in mobile ownership persists and is proving difficult to close.

Affordability, lack of literacy and digital skills, and lower awareness of mobile internet are critical and common barriers for women. Structural inequalities in society and discriminative social norms also remain a challenge. Even when women have the same levels of education, income, literacy, and employment as men, they are still less likely to own a mobile phone or use mobile internet.

The report further revealed that a record number of women in South Asia now use mobile internet services, helping shrink the gender gap to 15% from 19% last year in low- and middle-income countries.

The gains in South Asia, which had the most significant gender gap in 2019 with women 50% less likely than men to use mobile internet, masked the stagnation in other regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa. Women in both regions now face a similar gender gap in mobile internet use – 37% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 36% in South Asia.

Women were more likely than men to access the internet exclusively via mobile in almost all markets surveyed. In Kenya, for example, 63% of male internet users said they only used the internet via a mobile device compared to 79% of females. This reliance by women on mobile demonstrates the disproportionate benefit of increasing their access.

“If women are to become equal citizens in a more digital, post-COVID world, closing the mobile gender gap has never been more critical,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, of the GSMA. “I urge policymakers, the private sector and the international community to take note of the important findings laid out in the Mobile Gender Gap Report because only concerted action and collaboration will enable women and their families to reap the full benefits of connectivity.”

The GSMA introduced the Connected Women Commitment Initiative in 2016 to catalyse action to close the mobile gender gap. Mobile operators continued to make commitments during 2020, with 40 mobile operators across Africa, Asia and Latin America making formal commitments to accelerate digital and financial inclusion for women since 2016. These operators have already reached more than 40 million additional women with mobile internet or mobile money services.

The GSMA’s Mobile Gender Gap Report 2021 is available at: https://www.gsma.com/r/gender-gap/ 

Further information on the Connected Women Commitment Initiative can be found at: https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/connected-women/the-commitment/

 

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