All protocols duly observed
Ladies and Gentlemen
This year’s International Youth Day is peculiar because it is happening at a point in time when the world is recovering itself from the global shock of the coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, the theme “The Role of Youths in Promoting Peace and Nation-building through Entrepreneurship and Innovative Leadership” cannot be more timely and relevant because, without the impact of the youth, this global recovery process cannot be effective. Also, without the impact and contribution of the entrepreneur, the economies of nations cannot regain their momentum and return to their glory days.
Certainly, without the promotion of global peace, the world’s religious, racial and economic crises may not witness stability. At this very point, it becomes increasingly clear, the words of Aristide Briand, that the world should “Draw back the rifles, draw back the machine guns, draw back the cannons – trust in conciliation, in arbitration, in peace! …A country grows in history not only because of the heroism of its troops on the field of battle, it grows also when it turns to justice and to right for the conservation of its interests.”
The solutions and resolutions at this time rest with the global youth community. This is the critical moment when the world holds the contributions of youth sacred to education, the economy, politics, and business, and as their sign period of maturity, when the physical forces begin to flag, and equally sacred to ease and agreeable relaxation. For the AWLO youth, we recognize that it is only natural that old people would have to go at some point. That is what age does. But the problem is that there are too many youths who are too impatient to wait for time to have its course.
Therefore, it is my most candid advice and admonition that the AWLO youth shine as a beaming example in the context of global peace-building, nation, and world-building through their contributions to national, regional, and global peace, economy, and politics by developing their entrepreneurial skills and business acumen.
As you celebrate and commemorate the 2021 International Day of the Youth, I implore you to keep these words in mind and make them your compass for navigating your path into the future that approaches. Congratulations for making it through. The very level of energy and resilience that brought you this far will take you farther. See you all at the top!
Long live AWLO!
Long live AWLO Youth Council!Long live our world!
Dr. Elisha AttaiFounder/Global President of AWLO
The Organisers at UNICAF
Eminent Special Guests of Honour
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
I begin by acknowledging the honour that it is for me to deliver this Keynote address to the UNICAF and AWLO network, spread across different continents of the globe. Indeed, it has been a rather long time of journeying on this path as far as creating educational opportunities is concerned. If you ask me, I would say that it has been challenging but worth it. Many, including men and women, have had the privilege of equal opportunities to access higher education wherever their countries or continents are on the globe.
That is the very substance that leaders are made of – challenges! As the American business executive, Raymond W. Smith, has rightly observed ‘Administrators are cheap and easy to find and cheap to keep. Leaders – risk takers: they are in very short supply. And ones with vision are pure gold.’
Certainly, it should be no surprise that, on this global occasion, one begins on the note of leadership and gender equity. It interests me to state that the African Women in Leadership Organisation, which I founded and have represented for the past thirteen years, is one that hinged upon a vision of leadership, especially the vision to support women and the female folk at large whatever their areas of endeavour.
Notably, the 2021 International Women’s Day, in the wisdom of the United Nations, is themed ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’. The immediate implication of this is that the world recognizes the functional and strategic place, placements and roles of women in driving the wheels of social engineering in different spheres of work across the globe.
The advent of the novel coronavirus pandemic more than a year ago, no doubts, took the global world by storm. Global public health systems came under the weight of an unprecedented outbreak of a viral infection of a far-reaching impact. According to a report and statistics, women have been at the forefront of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, risking their lives to save others. Indeed, this global crisis has shown that many decision-making bodies, including those established specifically to manage the pandemic, have not adequately reflected a gender balance between women and men.
Today, women are said to account for 70% of the health and social care workforce and deliver care to around 5 billion people. Nonetheless, they remain largely segregated into lower-status and lower-paid jobs and are still under-represented in leadership and decision-making processes. 70% of executive directors of global health organizations are men and only 5% are women in low-income and middle-income countries. Additionally, women health workers are regularly subjected to discrimination, abuse and harassment, a situation that has worsened with COVID-19.
As we have observed, women have made landmark contributions in different fields of endeavors during the global coronavirus pandemic. These evidently include women in leadership, whether in public or corporate governance; in business, trading and micro-enterprises; in agriculture, women have contributed to securing food production and distribution both in rural and urban environments; and in the healthcare frontline they have served actively as nurses, physicians, paramedics, and as pharmaceutical scientists. Still, in the course of the global outbreak, women in ICT have made significant contributions as web and business developers, providing interventions in the fintech sub-sector. Indeed, women have made active impact in the entertainment industry in spite of the obvious difficulties, and in other fields such as teaching and learning, research and development and, of course, in the media sector women have served as gatekeepers, watchers and custodians of normative standards, while contributing to social evolution as necessitated by the global pandemic.
Women have also played key roles at every level of the food industry, where there is a strong gendered vertical division of labour. Most women occupy low-revenue jobs while men work on higher paid management jobs. And with schools closed down, even with both parents working from home, it is the women who are largely dealing with their children’s care, education and house chores, in parallel with their other paid job.
It is therefore timely indeed that the United Nations has chosen to broach the question of the need to ‘Achieve an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World’. There is no questioning that this move for a new debate and conversation on gender equity has been long overdue and women are more deserving of an equitable world today more than ever before. Needless to say, women continue to suffer low pay at jobs they are as equally qualified to do as their male counterparts. They are often seen to suffer stigmatization as they undertake unskilled jobs that succeed to glue together the human societies during the pandemic.
Truly, if only one critical lesson should be learned from the COVID-19 crisis, it would be that women are crucial to quench the world’s population vital needs: health, food security and caring. That is why women’s organizations on the frontline of the response should be represented in decision-making bodies. It is thus instructive to encourage the UniCaf network to also continue to make it a super mantra and a point of commitment to remain at the vanguard of championing this social idea. This is because, as the American educationalist and writer, Warren Bennis, once noted, ‘Managers have their eyes on the bottom line; leaders have their eyes on the horizon.’ This is exactly the point at which the UniCaf network must continually position itself – that is, having its eyes on the horizon of social and gender change and prospecting for a world of gender balance beginning in the field of education.
African Women in Leadership Organisation always has a tasty dish to serve. On Thursday August 14, 2018, another mouth-watery leadership training was held, and this one was a richer moment served on a platter. It was a great time with a woman who is a master of leadership and self-development; Dr. Violet Arene. She is a Certified ‘Stephen Covey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ Trainer, an author of 17 books, a coach and mentor on several platforms and a high achiever who believes that people can attain a great level of leadership and maximize their full potentials. This particular meeting was about self-discovery and discipline, and she did an amazing work by practically taking everyone’s attention and mind to what discipline entails. Everything she mentioned during the training was not something one can hurriedly forget.
[Tweet “In your journey of leadership, you are either your enemy or your asset”]
Dr. Arene enlightened the house that the road to self-discovery is often very smooth but very few drive their wheels down it, and that self-discovery is like the first baby-step to self-leadership. It is a self-leadership prerequisite. In her words, “in your journey of leadership, you are either your enemy or your asset”. It only takes discipline and patience to know who you are, because you cannot do that in a hurry.
The air was filled with so much excitement. Every example and explanation Dr. Arene the facilitator gave was illuminating, practical and quite relatable. One of the attendees at the end of the meeting said “the class was very educational, the facilitator was humorous and she passed across the message of self-leadership and emotional intelligence efficiently and I saw it in a new light”
She went further to tell us that self- regulation thrives on the anatomies of discipline which she broke down to include; food, recreation, work, health and emotions or temperament. These anatomies do not just end here, there is more to it as they were further broken down. In other words, it is when you have gained mastery over these aspects, then you are on your way to really knowing who you are and to effectively leading yourself.
It became more interesting when she illustrated on a projector the anatomy of emotional hijacking, explaining to us the power of our amygdala and our thalamus. The amygdala is the part of our brain that controls our emotions, and times when we find ourselves doing several things which we later regret, we can blame it on our amygdala. While our thalamus on the other hand causes reason behind our actions. In other words, it prompts us to first think before acting. That was the peak of it and it was good to learn practically how to not let your emotions rule over you but rather, you should put it under submission to you and in your control.
Dr. Arene taught that as humans our three basic emotions are; either glad, mad or sad. She also said that bad temperament is a self-sabotage. So we must understand our emotions, and not stop at this alone, but being able to balance our emotional and thinking brain. She also said that discipline gives trust, good leadership and a level head. And when you have mastered the art of discipline and what exactly you should be a master to, that is when you become aware of who you are. That is self-discovery and it is the prerequisite of self-leadership.
The meeting was thrilling and refreshing. At the end of the meeting, everyone had something to say about how much they learnt, how they could relate to every example mentioned by the facilitator and how that they looked forward to putting to work everything they learnt and to future meetings.
‘There is a kind of strength that is almost frightening in [all] women. It’s as if a steel rod runs right through the head down to the feet.’ -Maya Angelou
It is not a new thing that often times women are undermined when it comes to the sphere of leadership. But women have always been in leadership positions- whether as nurturers, decision makers and multi-taskers. It is only sad that society equates and constraints women with limiting words that do not go beyond the title of ‘wife’ and ‘mother’ and therefore do not capture the overall greatness of women. But, one thing that is certain is that women have always been in the shoes of leadership.
Going back in time to the Judeo-Christian creation story of man and woman. The woman was seen as taking charge and making decisions and even taking responsibility for the husband.
Even up to the life changing efforts of Mary Slessor in Africa, to the scientific input of women like Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn, the noteworthy works of women can be felt in the world.
Even up till today books are being written, media outlets are weighing in by hosting forums and producing special reports, and affinity groups in the workplace are engaging and leaning in about the leadership deposit in the woman. What is this about?
LEADERSHIP IS NO GENES
It has become quite obvious that leadership is not gender specific and qualities of leaders are not genetically inherited.
Vince Lombardi said; ” Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”
WOMEN ARE NOT NEW TO LEADERSHIP
Female influence cannot be denied throughout history. Women have been voices. From Sojourner Truth, to Queen Elizabeth I, Cleopatra VII, Rosa Parks, Mary Slessor, Wangari Maathai, Mary Seacole, Indira Gandhi, Oprah Winfrey, Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton.
These women have lit up the world from their little corners. Who can deny the ripple effect of the simple act by Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat and how it begun a revolution. There are countless of instance that point to the outstanding leadership of women.
Perhaps the relatively small number of women executives in our organizations breeds the perception of women in leadership as twenty-first century concept of bossiness and misogyny whereas records show the indelible impact made by women. In reality leadership is not by virtue of position but impact.
WOMEN HAVE CAPACITY TO FUNCTION AT ALL FRONTS
Women possess the innate capacity to function on many fronts. At the boardroom, as wife, and mother, and they also advocate well for peace. Some women define having all this as the balance of a successful career and a successful family life. Women can obviously multi-task.
This multi-tasking ability has made them to effectively and efficiently lead in their careers and at the same time take charge of their personal and family life.
Women like Michelle Obama, and Hilary Clinton have proven that women can succeed at juggling career and nurturing family.
That balance is a personal choice because the dynamics of the workplace will have an impact on one’s personal life. How women manage it well to become successful at both makes them effective at multi-tasking.
WOMEN HAVE COMPETENCIES
Research has shown that leadership is about competencies, not necessarily about wearing a traditional Leadership hat at the office alone, but at all relevant situations.
Competencies such as demonstrating communication and social skills, utilizing creativity and innovation, problem solving, demonstrating judgment and team leadership, resourcefulness among others.
Even women within the home, as leadership is not just leading in the boardroom but the embodiment of who you are, and a reflection of self-leadership.
So, if this is the case, why do we not have more women leaders? The answer is not only in possessing these competencies but in bringing them to bear in the workplace and in relevant situations.
THE TAKEAWAY FOR WOMEN IS OWN YOUR COMPETENCIES
The take-away for women in leadership is to walk in their truth. If you are great at strategy or leading teams, networking or analysis, own it.
Represent your skills and competencies. The diversity of experiences, perspective and values that women bring to executive decision-making, yields competitive advantage and creative team dynamics. So, for women, leading can be easy if you do what you have honed.
Thanks to the awareness that makes girls to be given equal opportunities as the male child, so they can shine on time.
Here, is to the strength, perseverance, grit, tenacity, and wit- that the woman continues to bring to the table.
When the word ‘nurture’ comes to mind, words like cultivate, growth, development and not ‘women’ come to mind. Many times, women are termed nurturers; a term meant to relegate them to just raising a home-front. But in fact, nurturing is a key leadership skill.
According to John Maxwell nurturing is a Leadership Attribute. This important ingredient is a factor in determining how you can ‘influence’ as a leader. Since it turns out women are great at these (as you have all concluded), then we should make a case for them in Leadership.
Let’s Change the Narrative
Being Nurturers has been a known disadvantage for a longtime now; that women are occupied with raising a home-front and consequently are not able to match the effectiveness of men at the workplace.
Many times, women who have aced at the work are seen as over-ambitious or had to not show the family-side of them. Women have had to prove the point to Superiors…to be promoted.
Questions like ‘Can a woman have it all?’ have arisen. And the phrase ‘We women have to work twice as hard’ is embraced. I don’t think driving women to the wall makes a case for them in leadership.
Yes women can have it all. In fact being a natural at nurturing is an added advantage, as there are many takeaways from it, and we must make the most of this transferable skill.
What Does Nurturing Entail
Taking Responsibility for Something
Nurturing is a show of responsibility. Beyond the act of ‘raising’, it is filling a real need.
It takes ‘taking responsibility’, to nurture. Be it an individual, the future, a brilliant idea. Not only for personal benefits. Many people fail to take responsibility, because they are consumed by personal benefits.
Many Years ago Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for a white person in the bus. The impact of her actions didn’t just trigger a 381-day Montgomery bus boycott, but a ripple effect forever. It raised concerns on racial segregation and many years later things are a lot better.
She didn’t stand up only for herself, but for many generations coming after her. She has changed a narrative, by taking responsibility for the change she wanted to see.
Showing Dedication by Being Sold Out
Leadership means being ‘sold out’. And as in nurturing roles, it requires being deliberate, and out-rightly invested.
As a leader you are being entrusted with teams, projects, ideas, and you must be deliberate in nurturing it to attend its fullest potential.
This is usually required during motherhood. To nurture a fetus to adulthood; to be a significant part of someone’s growth journey, nurse their talents and ambitions, and to raise them. To get the best of what is being nurtured, there has to be maximum dedication.
In leadership, nurturing is required to harness the potential, and grow the people we are leading. Also, leaders can influence people they are dedicated to.
Tara Fela-Durotoye once narrated how. “A team member lost their child early hours of the morning and I was the first he called”. As a leader, a show of dedication is that you are invested in your team members’ well-being, and in return earn their trust.
Not just with people, everything we do. They become a reflection of how much we are dedicated to making it work. They are either up to full potential or not.
[Tweet “Not just that Rome wasn’t built in a day…a brick was laid ‘every day’.”]
Being Patient to get the best out of a Something
Patience is a skill needed even in nurturing our personal growth. To be masters and leaders of our journey, we have to be given to patience. It’s not just that Rome wasn’t built in a day, it is that a brick was laid ‘every day’.
Jim Kwik narrates how he had a brain injury that didn’t leave him the same. He grew up with learning difficulties, and literally had to throw away his dreams.
At some point, he found succor in stories like Einstein’s who was this genius that was dyslexic. He was also really fascinated by the super heroes; X-Men and the fact that the school of superheroes (in X-Men) was in his neighborhood.
Jim turned his life around by learning how to master his own brain to make it work for him and is now sharing his learning techniques to help people who are slow at learning to learn fast.
One of the most important lessons from his story was that he had to be patient, to nurture himself, to get the best of himself. Interestingly, he eventually had his encounter with the school of superheroes when the Chairman of 20th Century Fox later invited him to the set of X-Men.
He says “A super-hero for me is somebody who is on the path of discovering and developing their superpowers; their strengths, their unique ability, their unique talent…”
We are Masters in our own uniqueness. Leaders are people who are patient with themselves, and with others, to unravel their full potential. Like Einstein; it takes one thousand times to discover a light bulb.
[Tweet “Nurturing is about transforming nothing into something.”]
It is like planting a seed and believing that it will become a Tree. This becomes the fuel of dedication and patience, because our faith will become our reality eventually.
Linda Ikeji broke grounds for blogging in Nigeria. It hadn’t been popularized at the time. Even when a client reached out to advertise, she had no idea how much to charge.
Linda Ikeji Blog is now the go-to place for gossip in Nigeria, and has become a thriving business, even currently expanding – the fruit of her initial toiling. She says she had to work from home at a time, when she couldn’t afford an office space anymore.
Nurturing is about keeping the faith, rising above the tides, and transforming nothing into something. Faith is about going beyond ideas, and mustering up grit to transform our brainchildren into reality.
The reason for Women’s Leadership
Want to make a case for women in leadership? Then utilize their nurturing potential who are not only able capable of grooming the home front but nurturing careers, ideas, businesses, but because they have invaluable experience from the former.
They have been nurturing the future; a role we have come to stereotype them for. What the society fails to do is deploy the dedication, responsibility, patience, affection and other leadership attributes that they bear as a result of being nurturers.
Dr. Remi Duyile is a Nigerian born and accomplished author, International Speaker, Empowerment Coach, Business & Influence Strategist. She has served at different governmental bodies both in Nigeria and in the United States
Her Work as a Corporate Strategist in USA
Dr. Duyile immigrated to the United States and through hard work and perseverance has climbed the corporate ladder of one of the nation’s most revered banking institutions, Bank of America. It was there that she shattered glass ceilings; being appointed Vice President of Retail, Premier, and Mortgage Banking.
Dr. Duyile served in this role managing over 600 financial portfolios of high net-worth clients for 17 years, until she decided that it was time to step into her true calling of helping others as a serial entrepreneur.
Dr. Remi Duyile as a Humanitarian
Good success is when others benefit from what you do, and stand as testimonials to your good deeds. Dr. Duyile is passionate about seeing others succeed, it’s no doubt she was honored by the Governor of Maryland in the United States of America for her matchless efforts to better humanity. She has made it her life’s purpose to empower others to recognize their own strength and abilities.
Dr. Duyile has since validated her status as a speaker, gaining numerous certifications with The John Maxwell Group, Jim Rohn, and under the mentorship of renowned motivational influencer Les Brown.
As a certified speaker, trainer, and entrepreneur, Dr. Duyile has made ‘others’ the focus of her life and business. In the years since leaving corporate America, she has established various foundations in support of this vision including: her own mortgage company; Premier Mortgage Solutions, an International consulting firm; Image Consulting Group, and a non-profit providing mentorship and financial literacy for women and girls called Legacy Premier Foundation.
Under the umbrella of her companies she has become an Empowerment Mentor, Community Mobilizer, Certified Trainer, as well as an International Key Note speaker.
More About Her Career
Remi Served for five years in Akure, Nigeria as Senior Adviser and International Relations liaison for Diaspora affairs to the Ondo State Governor.
Remi has attended many high-profile events such as dinners at the White House with former US President Barack Obama and congressional events for the community in support of the legislatures.
Remi Duyile’s knowledge and leadership, is sought after and well respected. Given her savoir faire, Dr. Duyile has become a liaison working with various global agencies to connect the continent of Africa with the world. She has spoken throughout Africa, Europe, and extensively within North America (Canada and the US) teaching financial literacy, offering entrepreneurial development, and encouraging millennials to engage in the Diaspora, among other things.
Dr. Remi Duyile is an Author
In her commitment to inspire others, in 2016 Dr. Duyile added the title of author to her ever-expanding list of accomplishments. Her book, Perseverance: Winning Key to Destiny was published in the US and is sold internationally.
She Has it All
While it is quite evident that Dr. Remi Duyile wears many hats, the one that she wears very proudly is being a devoted wife, and mother to three awesome children. Juggling one’s own talents and passions (while uplifting and polishing those of others) is a difficult task for anyone— but Dr. Duyile credits all of her success to God, and the support of her best friend and loving husband of 28 years.
A New Appointment to Serve in the Governor’s Cabinet
Presently, she has been appointed as member of the Governor’s Commission on African Affairs in Maryland U.S.A by the Governor of Maryland- Lawren J, Hogan, Jr. Governor of Maryland. The Governor commended her saying “Thank you for making this strong personal and professional commitment to serve the best interest of our citizens”. Here is to four years of remarkable service.
[Tweet “Influence is an… attempt to make positive impact for the benefit of others” – @RemyDuyile]”]
Leading as a woman entails bearing financial burdens, and consequently it entails Financial Independence. What this does is a lot more than just helping to meet expenses. Women are also bearing responsibilities of their families and keeping pace with Men.
In this age of women empowerment, there has been an eye-opener, and women are effectively winning at employment and are working hard to be financially independent. So financial independence is another one to have in the bag, to compete favorably and live your full potential as a woman.
Why is it Important to be Financially Independent?
It is a Woman and A Man’s World
A lot of times I realize it’s a ‘man’s world’, where women are not really able to level up with the men. Finances become a measure of capacity and women must show capacity as well.
In a patriarchal world men may tend to be richer than women, they continue to stand up for themselves , and attain their full potential. Most women may have ambitions such as political ambitions, but cannot pursue it because they are not financially able to sustain such ambitions. For instance, Politics is one of the areas where men have dominated in time past because of their financial capacity.
It is important for women to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their counterparts in any field, especially because they are being judged based on the same criterion as the men.
Take Charge of Your Life
Money is not a luxury, it affords you your needs, and opportunities.
Recently a man ranted on social media about women wanting to be paid for being in a relationship. This was to throw shade on women overly relying on men for their needs. In other words, men are being put in the place of paying women for not necessarily adding value. Well, that is not to say that we should utterly let go of support.
First and foremost, it is very important to be able to offer value to oneself before another person can. Take charge of your life. Financial independence means adding value to your life, being in control, and it invariably affects your self-esteem.
Money will Buy You Confidence
Financial independence doesn’t put anybody in the place of having a say over you, but you. And you can brag on yourself when you don’t depend on anybody for your expenses. It further inspires confidence when others know that you are capable of bringing something to the table.
You are an asset when you are financially independent. It enables you to take responsibility. There will be a tremendous increase in female participation in adding value to the society when there are empowered women in the society. Through paying taxes women will contribute to revenue generation, they’ll be increased productivity too, and they’ll also be able to give back.
The family can also use the huge support of women. With a high inflation rate, It becomes tough when for instance one person has to take care of all the expenses. When there can use the help of a financially stable support, this means a lot to the family. Money empowers women to rise to responsibility.
Final takeaway; Become Empowered by Empowering Yourself
Your value in money is dependent on your earning power. You increase your earning power when you are constantly working on your skills and improving yourself. Once you start earning you have the resources. And there you go; financial independence
Fatoumata Ba is an entrepreneur from Senegal who at the young age of 30 has achieved quite a lot. She is one of AWLO’s extraordinary voices and we gain insightful news about Fatoumata and what impact she has made in Africa.
Fatoumata Ba is the brain behind Jumia Ivory Coast an online retail platform supported by Africa Internet Group. She served as founder and CEO of Jumia Ivory Coast then served as the Managing Director, Jumia Nigeria. But before that, Fatoumata worked at Orange for a year in France and later worked as a Senior Consultant in strategy and innovation in Atos. Fatoumata has from a young age shown a creative and innovative mind. At the age of 9, she hacked her father’s computer, created her first email at 11 and built her first website at 16.
She has a master’s degree in Management, Strategy, Marketing and Finance. She was able to not only start Jumia Ivory Coast but also turn it into a successful venture which started with 13 employees in 2013 to more than 300 in 2015. She was able to turn it into the fastest growing e-commerce site with over 500,000 monthly site visitors and selling over 50,000 products.
Fatoumata was able to partner with over 30,000 vendors like Apple, L’Oréal and New Look. She is a member of Jumia Executive Committee. She not only founded Jumia Ivory Coast but is also the brain behind the Rocket Internet. The Rocket internet is the largest, fastest and most successful online venture builder. Rocket internet has built over 100 companies in about 43 countries.
Fatoumata’s successful career hasn’t gone unnoticed. She has been featured by CNN and listed by Forbes in Forbes Africa 30 entrepreneurs Under 30. She has also been awarded Choiseul 100 Africa Economic Leaders of Tomorrow. She is passionate about women’s entrepreneurship & empowerment, as well as tackling health and education issues through technology in Africa.
Fatoumata is an inspiration to young women to realize that you can make global impact even at a young age if only you put your mind and hard work into it.
She is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Fatoumata Ba.
Jacqueline Ntuyabaliwe, born 6th of December, 1978 is a Tanzanian entrepreneur who is paving the way for herself in the furniture industry. She is one of AWLO’s extraordinary voices and we look at how she has been able to create a name for herself in an industry that is thought to be dominated by only men.
Jacqueline Ntuyabaliwe is an interior designer and the founder and principal designer of Molocaho by Amorette, a furniture company that designs and manufactures quality made furniture. Jacqueline highlights how she has always loved designing and creating. She cites how even at a young age, she was always drawing and sketching things;
“I’m a creative at heart. For as long as I can remember, I have had a passion for interior and furniture design, fine art and fashion – and I have been an ardent student of design trends and history. As a kid, I was always drawing and sketching things. It’s one of the things I enjoyed doing the most.”
But of course, she wasn’t always into furniture design and manufacturing. She had a musical career and was also one-time Miss Tanzania. She highlights how when her musical career was at a standstill she decided to move forward and take a step towards her passion. She then eventually went to school in the UK to hone her creative skill.
Jacqueline has always loved furniture and could always been seen sketching furniture. She explains how she believes that an individual’s choice of furniture tells a lot about who that person is;
“I love furniture, maybe it’s because of my work in interior design, but also because I believe a person’s furniture tells a lot about who they are… “
She also talks about how she used to only sketch furniture just for the sake of it and also highlights her husband as her biggest supporter who pushed her to take her creativity more seriously and make something out of it;
“…At first, I would just sketch furniture ideas for the sake of it, but quite often, my husband would see some of my sketches and complement me. He’d say I was wasting a gift. He always asked me to take my artistry more seriously and create a company out of it.”
Her company has been able to make use of traditional craft techniques with a contemporary twist to create innovative and challenging pieces of furniture which are usually simple yet beautiful and profound. Her hopes for Molocaho is to make it a globally known company;
“Our plan is to build a globally-recognizable furniture brand right from Tanzania. It’ll definitely take some time to get there, but we are resolute”
EMPOWERING LOCAL ARTISTS
While she is designing and making furniture, Jacqueline recognizes the need to give back to the society and in this effect, she set up a mentorship program for the artisan community in Tanzania through her interior design company- Amorette. The mentorship program involves exposing the local artists to international workmanship by putting the trainees under the supervision of internationally recognized crafts persons. Its objective is to transfer technology and knowledge to the artists.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL CAUSE
Her company is also geared towards protecting and conserving the environment. Hence, Molocaho’s processes are geared towards reducing consumption and avoiding waste. The company reuses wood from various sources, recycles, and actively supports tree planting initiatives across Tanzania;
[Tweet “At the end of the day, businesses must not only be commercially viable, they must also be socially responsible to the communities in which they do business @JNtuyabaliwe”]
” At the end of the day, businesses must not only be commercially viable, they must also be socially responsible to the communities in which they do business”
Jacqueline isn’t just invested in the go green initiative, she is also the founder of the Dr Ntuyabaliwe foundation which is a charity organization that provides books and set up libraries for local primary schools. Jacqueline is a model of inspiration as she shows you can create and make a name for yourself in an industry that undermines women. As to her company and her future plans for it she says humorously in an interview;
“We’ve only just begun, but we’re going to build this baby into an empire someday. Just watch”
She is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Jacqueline Ntuyabaliwe.