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Sustainability Champion Profile: Dr. Jumoke Kassim

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Dr. Olajumoke Kassim, a Sustainability Consultant, is a horticulturist and a German trained Landscape Architect, from Anhalt University of Applied Sciences, Bernburg, Germany. She holds a B.Sc. degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She has Professional Garden Design training from the Chelsea College of Arts & Design, University of London, UK and has visited over 28 Theme Parks in Europe, USA & United Arab Emirate. She also attended the School of Media & Communication of the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria for various Media courses which include the Advanced Writing & Reporting Skills, Communicating Ideas through TV, Film and Video and Screen Writing for T.V, Film and Video.

She has attended several management courses and webinars on Climate Change Adaptation practices. She recently bagged a Master Class Certificate in Leadership and Business Management from the London Graduate School and got nominated and awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree on Environment & Sustainability Honoris Causa by the Commonwealth University. She is a Fellow of the Occupational Safety and Health Association UK, Nigeria Region (FOSHA) and Fellow, Institute of Management Consultants.(FIMC)

She is the Chief Executive Officer for Naturescape Ltd a horticultural and landscape consulting firm with services ranging from design and implementing of residential & estates gardens and parks, installation of hardscapes and garden furniture, maintenance service and lately training. She is an Alumna of Cherie Blair Foundation and a past Team Member of the UNEP-Finance Initiatives & Green House Gas Protocol Technical Working Group (UNEP-FI GHG TWG) that developed the Green House Gas Reporting Standards for Financial Institutions globally.

She is a past member (2016-2017) of IFLA Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe Award Nomination Committees representing the Africa Region. (IFLA – International Federation of Landscape Architects). She is a member of the TWG for the NESREA Extended Producer Responsibility Implementation Plan for E-Waste in Nigeria. She is also a Fellow of the Women Leaders for the World Program 2017 of the Global Women  Leadership Network-GWLN in California, CA, USA. She is the Country Representative for Village Green Global Inc. a United State based sustainable funding organisation supporting sustainable projects.

She has a dynamic 23-years enviropreneur career, spanning, landscape/ecotourism photography, horticultural & environmental management, projects development and management. Sourcing new projects & clients and sustaining clients’ relationship. Managed and successfully executed Social Projects. Ensuring Government and Corporate bodies’ partnership and retaining same, through engagement of key decision makers. She also manages Naturescape Consulting Ltd, a Consulting Firm with focus on Management Training, Project Management, Business Development Consulting, Partner/Sponsor sourcing and Sustainability Consulting through which Green Business Operation is being promoted.

She taught part –time, Sustainability in Landscape Architecture (MLA Class- Masters in Landscape Architecture) at the Department of Architecture at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. She is also a Landscape and Tourism photographer with an impressive archive of images of some parts of the world and Nigeria; places, people and festivals. She has attended 6 National Tourism Festivals across the 6 geographical zones, and has visited 33 states of 37 in Nigeria and 18 countries in 4 Continents of the World. She is currently a Sub Consultant to Burgeap, on an Ogun State Solid Waste Management Feasibility Study project funded by the EU Delegation through AFD- France Development Agency.

She is a multi-tasking & efficient personality with a track record that demonstrates creativity & self-motivation to achieve both personal and corporate goals. She has the goal to promote sustainable living and business operations; efficient management of energy, water and waste through her photography and sustainability works and future projects to mitigate against climate change negative effects.

She is an Alumna of the Fate Foundation having taken the Emerging Entrepreneur course-EEP Class 10. She is a member of the Lions Apex Club, Lagos, PRO-the National Association of Small & Medium Enterprises-NASME-Lagos Chapter. Member, Horticultural Society of Nigeria, Past President, Abuja Horticultural Society of Nigeria, Member, Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines & Agriculture-NACCIMA-Women’s Wing-NAWORG, Fellow, of the Institute of Management Consultant, West Africa & UK. Member of the Carbon Central Network, Australia, Member, Partnership for Clean Indoor Air, USA/Nigeria, Member, Conservation International, USA. Member, Green House Gas Management Institute, USA, Associate Member- Global Reporting Institute-GRI. Past President, Junior Chamber International, Aso Chapter, Abuja. She is also a Consultant to the Sustainability Policy Group of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group- NESG.

She has a productive 13-years membership of the Junior Chamber International-Nigeria, www.jci.cc with membership in 123 countries around the world – A global leadership and entrepreneurship training organization (NGO) for young people below 40 years, which provided a platform to acquire several training & social project management experiences. She was involved in various projects that impacted on the community, through which she garnered practical experiences of Goal Setting & Getting, Community Relations, Corporate Partners Sourcing, Governmental relationship, Team & Time management and Project Financing. Others are Project Management & Evaluation, Media Relationship and Negotiating-to-win skills.

She is a multi-tasking & efficient personality with a track record that demonstrates creativity & self-motivation to achieve both personal and corporate goals. She has the goal to promote sustainable living and business operations; efficient management of energy, water and waste through her works and future projects to mitigate against climate change negative effects and promote sustainable Cities and Communities.

She is the Founding Executive Director of the EarthShield International Foundation, an environmental NGO with the objective of promoting Sustainable business operation & lifestyle, climate adaptation, creation of green parks & green jobs for young people. One of the social climate adaptation project of the EarthShield  International Foundation is the ‘’Sustainable Decent Public Toilet project’’ using all adaptation products, through which she and her Team plans to empower vulnerable women across Nigeria (starting from Lagos and Ogun States) and inspire adaptation to climate change and consequently develop Sustainable Cities and Communities.

She also runs Afrikasim Ventures, an online lifestyle shopping platform to promote African clothing and accessories, ranging from fabrics- Ankara, Adire, Aso-Oke and Safaris, that are made to order -(into ladies Jackets or Dresses and Shirts & Suits for men, and household accessories), leather works- dyed animal skin; leather carpets, rugs, puffs, etc., Coral beads, Pearls, Head-tie, Aso-Oke, Classy beaded Velvet Turbans, Food, Landscape and Tourism Photographs. Varied percentages of proceeds at Afrikasim goes to support the projects of the EarthShield International Foundation.

Hobbies and Interests include Photography, Information acquisition,Networking, Aerobics, Reading, Writing, Traveling, Food, Fashion, Music, Cooking, Dancing, Golf & Mountaineering.

Please see more details about her work at www.linkedin.com/in/jumoke-kassim-63a6131a/

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NGOs - SDGs

Climate Launchpad: Beyond competition, a catalyst for change

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Climate Launchpad Competition 2023 Image.

Despite the success of The Climate Launchpad Competition 2023, Climate Launchpad through the support of Climate-KIC and Irish Aid provided additional support to the participants of the competition through the Post-Climate Launchpad Accelerator. Given that the majority of the participants are early-stage businesses, capacity building is a necessity. The post-competition support is divided into 2, The masterclasses that are being handled by the Climate Launchpad Global team which has participants from over 7 African countries, and The national capacity-building session handled by the Climate LaunchPad Nigeria Team. 

The Masterclass session featured a business-changing session on important modules like funding options & Instruments, Gender and Climate, Communications and Storytelling, Climate Impact etc.  The national capacity-building session focuses on marketing strategies, practical and optimal use of social media and analytics. As an early-stage business in Nigeria, one of the major challenges you face is reaching and communicating with your potential customers at the market entry stage. The modules were selected after feedback from alumni of the competition. 

The modules have been proven to be useful as we have started seeing the tractions of the businesses on social media. Overall, the post-competition support program has been no short of helpful to the businesses. We had 5 active participants from Nigeria who have expressed their gratitude for the post-competition support. Each of them will be given a grant of EUR200 to facilitate their marketing and social media usage.

The National Lead for Climate Launchpad Nigeria, Oluwatosin Ajide affirms the importance of the accelerator program “If we have more competition dedicating their support beyond just the pitching like Climate Launchpad does, We would have more green businesses with solid foundations”. He also thanked the Climate Launchpad central team and the sponsors the Climate-KIC and Irish Aid for their constant support in building the green ecosystem in Nigeria.

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GEANCO Foundation and Archewell Foundation Announce Mental Health Initiative for Nigerian Youth

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The GEANCO Foundation and The Archewell Foundation has announced an expansion of their partnership, currently serving girls and young women across Nigeria with menstrual health products and education, to include mental health resources and training for young men and women. 

This expanded partnership kicked off with its inaugural Mental Health Summit, taking place over two days and serving nearly 200 students in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex and co-Founders of The Archewell Foundation opened the Summit by delivering inspiring remarks to the young people in attendance.

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GEANCO intends to hold summits throughout the country over the next year, providing teenage girls and boys with the information, skills, and coping mechanisms necessary to flourish mentally.

“Youth in Nigeria are critically underserved in terms of mental and menstrual health”, said GEANCO’s CEO Afam Onyema.  “I am deeply grateful to The Duke and Duchess for partnering with us to address this crisis and provide this vulnerable but inspiring young generation with what they need to thrive in body, mind and spirit.”  

A strong stigma also surrounds mental health in Nigeria, which is critically neglected in the country. The World Health Organization estimates that only 3% of the federal government’s health budget goes to mental health, and while up to one-third of Nigerians have mental health challenges, fewer than 500 mental health professionals serve the country’s 200 million plus citizens.  Nigeria’s teens and youth in particular have little to no access to mental health support.

The expanded partnership will also continue the ongoing work to support young girls with menstrual health products and education. An estimated 37 million women and girls in Nigeria experience “period poverty”, meaning they are unable to access or afford menstrual products like pads, tampons, and underwear. Because of the material difficulties caused by period poverty and the deep stigma surrounding menstruation, millions of girls in the country miss school every month, crippling their educational advancement and deepening Nigeria’s already vast levels of gender inequality.

GEANCO Foundation provides critical health care and education services in Nigeria. Its David Oyelowo Leadership Scholarship provides full tuition, medical care, and social and emotional support to young female victims of terrorism and gender inequality in Nigeria.

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Laila Bastati on the importance of diversity in shaping Africa’s future

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Laila Bastati, Chief Commercial Officer, APO Group (Source: APO Group)

As we observe International Women’s Month with the theme of ‘Inspire Inclusion,’ it is essential to contemplate the importance of diversity within organizations and its crucial role in shaping a more equitable and inclusive society. This year’s theme calls on us to inspire others to understand and value women’s inclusion, not just for the benefit of women but for the advancement of the African continent. 

Women across Africa face unique challenges, from cultural barriers to limited access to resources and opportunities. However, despite these difficulties, they continue to defy the odds, breaking barriers, and making significant contributions to their communities and economies. As we recognise such achievements, it’s crucial to underline the importance of promoting the role of women in driving more diverse, competitive, and future-looking workspaces.

“At APO Group, we’re proud of our extremely diverse team of professionals from all over the world. The diversity we see in age, gender, locations, backgrounds, and experience all combines to forge a formidable team that brings the best of APO Group to our clients. In an industry that has achieved, in recent years, a good gender balance, we strive to lead by example, leveraging our platform to advocate for broader gender equality and diversity initiatives, aiming to inspire other organizations to follow suit.” said Laila Bastati, Chief Commercial Officer, APO Group.

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“For us, such diversity reflects a leadership that values and promotes the unique perspectives and contributions of women, at all levels of the organisation. It also clearly demonstrates that we’re an organisation that values inclusivity and equality, and that the different voices and ideas of our team reflect a unique understanding of the African markets in which we operate. The result of being firm proponents of an environment in which all contributions are valued, and where collaboration is part of our culture, is that innovation and creativity come naturally.” Laila Bastati Added.

The importance of embracing diversity

Embracing diversity, especially gender diversity, is essential for any organization aiming to create a balanced, fair, and dynamic working environment.There’s no doubt that for any type of organisation, embracing diverse perspectives and expertise, highlighting achievements and success stories, and advocating for equal opportunities and recognition, are all aspects that contribute to a more equitable and inclusive environment where everyone has the chance to succeed based on merit and talent. 

Successful companies intentionally cultivate diverse leadership at all levels. While this may initially appear coincidental, the process of building diverse teams is a deliberate and strategic endeavour that underscores a commitment to creating spaces where women’s leadership and insights drive innovation and strategic decision-making.

What makes a diverse team?

Firstly, promoting diversity in leadership is crucial. Actively recruiting, developing, and promoting the right female candidates into leadership positions ensures women’s perspectives are represented at the decision-making table. Secondly, reviewing and revising policies to ensure they are gender-neutral and promote equal opportunities for all employees is essential. Thirdly, providing equal access to training, mentorship, and career advancement opportunities, with a particular focus on supporting women, is key.

Additionally, creating a supportive work environment and nurturing a culture of inclusion where all employees feel valued, respected, and supported is paramount. Regularly monitoring and evaluating diversity metrics to track progress and identify areas for improvement is also important. Finally, embracing a culture of work meritocracy where individuals are recognised and rewarded based on their skills, contributions, and performance, rather than on gender, race, or other characteristics, completes the foundation of a diverse team.

In the context of this special period of the year, I urge organizations across Africa to recognize and harness the unique strengths women bring to the table, not only to promote gender equity, but to ensure these organizations will continue to have a place in the workspace of tomorrow.

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