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The Rockefeller Foundation Appoints Two African Female Leaders to Board of Trustees

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Ndidi O. Nwuneli

NEW YORK, Nov. 21, 2019- The Rockefeller Foundation announced today the appointment of two new members to its Board of Trustees: Dr. Agnes Binagwaho and Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli. They will began their tenure as Trustees on November 21st, 2019.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Agnes and Ndidi to our Board of Trustees. As the Foundation works to lift up the most vulnerable people in communities around the world, their deep global development expertise and longstanding commitment to improving lives will be invaluable to the organization,” said Board Chair Richard D. Parsons.

“Agnes and Ndidi have demonstrated and been recognized for their dedication and leadership in global health and agriculture, respectively, which are core areas of the Foundation’s work. I know I speak for the entire Board in saying we are thrilled to welcome them to The Rockefeller Foundation.”

“I feel extremely fortunate to have Agnes and Ndidi join our Board of Trustees.  Agnes has helped change the national health landscape as a member of the government of Rwanda, and is an important leader in the field of global health,” said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation. “Ndidi has worked with the public and private sectors to champion solutions that have improved the lives of vulnerable people in Nigeria and around the world.

Their deep personal commitment and extensive experience will make them invaluable to our efforts to advance The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world.”

Dr. Binagwaho has served as Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity, an initiative of Partners In Health, since 2017.  From 2002-2016, she served the Rwandan Health Sector in high-level government positions, first as the Executive Secretary of Rwanda’s National AIDS Control Commission, then as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, and later spent five years as the Minister of Health. 

She is also a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a Professor of the Practice of Global Health Delivery at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda, and an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. She completed her MD in General Medicine at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles and her MA in Pediatrics at the Universite de Bretagne Occidentale.

“I have long admired the work of The Rockefeller Foundation and I am delighted to join the Board of Trustees. The Foundation’s work advancing new frontiers, especially with respect to health and science, continues to touch the lives of so many around the world, and I look forward to helping support the advancement of that work,” said Dr. Agnes Binagwaho.

Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli is a Co-Founder of Sahel Consulting: Agriculture & Nutrition Ltd. and serves as its managing partner helping shape agriculture strategy and policy and implementing large-scale, innovative programs in West Africa in partnership with the public, private and nonprofit sectors. With more than 23 years of experience in international development, Ms. Nwuneli was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, received a National Honour (Member of the Federal Republic) from the Nigerian Government and was listed as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women In Africa by Forbes.

Also Read: Interview With Oyetola Oduyemi On The END Fund, Impact Philanthropy And Sustainability in Africa

Ms. Nwuneli is also the co-founder of AACE Foods, a social enterprise that processes nutritious food made from the best of West Africa’s cereals, herbs, pulses and spices.  She is the founder of LEAP Africa, which works across Africa inspiring, empowering and equipping the next generation of dynamic, principled and innovative young leaders. Ms. Nwuneli received her MBA from Harvard Business School, and her undergraduate degree with honors in Multinational and Strategic Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“The Rockefeller Foundation’s efforts to scale innovations that help meet the needs of the most vulnerable communities around the world are just as important now as they were when the Foundation was founded. I am honored to join the Board of Trustees to support the Foundation as it continues to build on its legacy of leveraging data, technology and innovation to improve the well-being of humanity,” said Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli.

About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation advances new frontiers of science, data, and innovation to solve global challenges related to health, food, power, and economic mobility. As a science-driven philanthropy focused on building collaborative relationships with partners and grantees, The Rockefeller Foundation seeks to inspire and foster large-scale human impact that promotes the well-being of humanity throughout the world by identifying and accelerating breakthrough solutions, ideas, and conversations. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

SOURCE The Rockefeller Foundation

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NGOs - SDGs

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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NGOs - SDGs

IWD 2024: Dr. Omolaraeni Olaosebikan Calls For More Gender Inclusion

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Dr. Omolaraeni Olaosebikan, Group Chief Executive Officer, McEnies Global Communications has joined other women of note to commemorate the annual International Women’s Day (IWD) marked every calendar year of March 8 across the globe.

The owner of the upwardly wholly company with vast expertise and competency in integrated marketing communications services called on women folk to break the bias against them and find their path even as she advised them to push for merit driven results in every areas of their endeavors.

Omolara, a woman with records of excellence in providing top-notch solutions to big and medium firms across all sectors and industry shared her perspectives in commemorating the 2024 International Women’s Day which came with the theme, ‘Inspire inclusion’.

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In a statement credited to her on Friday and made available to newsmen, Dr Omolaraeni said:

“Every year on 8 March, International Women’s Day is celebrated to commemorate and honour women’s accomplishments, raise awareness about gender disparities and discrimination, as well as promote global support for women, as a woman I am truly proud to be part of this auspicious day.

“It is however impressive to know that 2024 International Women’s Day comes in line with the global movement for women’s rights, equality, justice, poverty, sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women and I must commend stakeholders for the well thought out theme for the year which is, ‘Inspire inclusion.’

“It is my prayer and hope that this will be made actionable through the introduction of right legal frameworks, polices and robust legislation from the states and National Assemblies so that women will have their place of pride in the scheme of things.

“There are records to show that women have suffered many gender-related challenges therefore more efforts need to be put in place to break the jinx of gender inequality, intergenerational cycle of poverty, particularly for disadvantaged women and girl children etc. Women must also come together in one voice and change the narrative so that the society can be better for it and the time is now. Omolara said.

Speaking further the marketing communication consultant stated, “I jointly celebrate every strong woman out there including myself! You are stronger than you ever imagine, never renege to ‘Inspire inclusion’ in every sphere of life, don’t give room for limitations, we are great and we shall fulfill our purpose and destiny, we are above discrimination and limitations.

“Let’s “Inspire Inclusion” by fostering understanding and appreciation for women’s inclusion. Together, we can create a world where women feel a deep sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment.

“Let’s inspire others to recognize and value the importance of inclusion for women, as this paves the way for a brighter future for all. Embrace the spirit of unity and empowerment, and let’s work collectively to build a more inclusive world for women.

“Let’s aspire to inspire, crave inclusion, and be included.

“Happy International Women’s Day!” The statement concluded.

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Corporate Citizenship

Nkuzi Stem Shines a Light on International Day of Women and Girls in Science

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Nkuzi Stem Initiative

In a world driven by technological advancements, ensuring inclusivity and diverse perspectives within STEM fields is no longer optional, it’s essential. Recognizing this critical need, the Grundfos Foundation and Rector Cares Foundation joined forces to launch the groundbreaking “Nkuzi Stem” initiative, meaning “Learn” in Igbo.

More than just a program, Nkuzi Stem serves as a beacon of hope for aspiring young minds, particularly girls aged 15-20 from diverse backgrounds. This innovative education initiative aims to bridge the gap in tech diversity, paving the way for a brighter, more inclusive future. Through Nkuzi Stem, students embark on a fascinating journey into the world of STEM, equipped with the support, mentorship, and resources they need to thrive.

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A core objective of Nkuzi Stem is to dismantle the notion that gender limits potential in technology and computer science. Through workshops, seminars, and hands-on experiences, the initiative empowers young talents, regardless of gender, to excel in the STEM field. By providing coding boot camps, scholarships, and networking opportunities, Nkuzi Stem is poised to revolutionise STEM education in Nigeria.

Last year’s launch at the Federal Government Girls College, Lejja Enugu, marked the beginning of a transformative journey for the students. As pioneers of Nkuzi Stem, they gain access to a wealth of programs and resources designed to nurture their passion for STEM.

At the recent International Day of Women and Girls in Science event, Onyedikachi Erete, founder of Rector Cares Foundation, passionately emphasised the importance of diversity in technology. “Diversity isn’t just about fairness, it’s about unlocking the full potential of the tech industry. Nkuzi Stem recognises this, nurturing a generation of innovators who will bring fresh perspectives and drive progress for all,” he stated. “Seeing beyond limitations, Nkuzi Stem dismantles the walls of exclusion in tech. Our goal is to empower diverse talents and cultivate a tech landscape that truly reflects the richness of our communities.”

Nkuzi Stem aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5, aiming for gender equality. The initiative serves as a model for similar programs worldwide, fostering a global movement for girls in STEM.

Nkuzi Stem transcends simply offering opportunities; it reshapes the future of the tech industry by fostering diversity and inclusion. By unlocking the potential of a new generation of female innovators, the initiative promises to bring fresh perspectives and ideas to the world of technology, ultimately benefiting society at large.

As we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science, let us applaud initiatives like Nkuzi Stem that are paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable future in STEM. Together, let us continue to support and empower girls and women in their journey towards excellence in science and technology.

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