A Message of Appreciation to Dr. Olutoyin Oyelade, and the entire Management & Staff of the Black Advisory Hub and Casa Foundation Canada

A VOTE OF THANKS by Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido, on behalf of the participants of Entrepreneur Exchange (EE31), and Cohort 4 of the Black Advisory Hub’s Business Accelerator Program.

I’ve never met her, and yet she has been so impactful in my life and in the lives of so many women and youth in Canada, especially blacks and minority groups. A loving shout out to Dr. Olutoyin Oyelade! Wherever you are, may God continue to bless and guide you!

I had shared this post on Twitter on July 24, 2021.

It is not everyday that you get to finally meet a mentor that has inspired and empowered you from afar! I was truly honored to meet Dr. Olutoyin earlier today, and it is such a pleasure to give this vote of thanks as the Valedictorian, on behalf of the participants of Entrepreneur Exchange (EE31), and Cohort 4 of the Black Advisory Hub’s Accelerator Program).

Some of my fellow participants succinctly captured the collective impact of the BAH Business Accelerator program on their lives and businesses.

Keda Edwards Pierre:

“This program is nothing short of transformative. The amount of conscientious effort, time and resources invested into the cohorts by the BAH team and all of the fabulous guest speakers & collaborators – in an inclusive, diverse and empowering environment – is tremendous, well appreciated and has guided me and my business to new heights. Thank you!”

Petra Grant:

“This is an Excellent Program. I have learnt so much in the past 2 months that has been life changing for my business and me. The facilitators are so knowledgeable and full of expertise. I am honored to be a part of BAH.”

Over the course of fourteen weeks, we networked and learned important skills to better start, pivot, manage, and/or scale our businesses. The transformative programs equipped all us as BIPOC Entrepreneurs.

Some of the things that I loved most about the BAH program was the core message from Dr. Olutoyin on the power of having the right growth mindset to build bankable, viable & sustainable enterprises regardless of the challenges we may face as racialized entrepreneurs. And the need for clarity about our vision, values, mission, purpose and partners… During the high immersion and experiential 3-day pitch boot camp, we were all equipped with pragmatic tips, tools, strategies and resources to speak confidently and with expertise about our various businesses/organizations. What an experience!

Once again, a huge thanks to Dr. Olutoyin Oyelade, and the CASA Foundation/BAH Team – Esther Olatunji, Vidhya Jayakumar, Mathy Kandasamy and many others including the alumni from previous cohorts.

We salute the Faculty and Guest Speakers such as the dynamic Cheryl Bedard, Jeffrey Edwards, Prof Odoi Yemoh, Chioma Ogbudimkpa etc., for co-creating a safe and empowering space for us to be vulnerable, ask questions, share, learn, and improve our personal, business and professional skills. We appreciate that the BAH team, faculty and guest speakers were accessible, representative, culturally informed, knowledgeable, always empathetic and encouraging! We also extend our appreciation to the funders, donors and partners like the Federal Government of Canada, TD Bank, FACE Coalition (The Federation of African Canadian Economics),…for making these programs possible. We also thank all the distinguished guests gathered today to celebrate our graduation on such a pivotal day – AFRICA DAY 2023! Thank you Thandiwe Florence Fadane, the Consul General of South Africa in Canada, Latanya Monteith Housen, Regional Manager, Black Community Business Development at TD Bank, Mr. Emmanuel Duodu, President, Ghanaian Canadian Association, Prof. Nancy Adossi, Advisor, Casa Foundation and Researcher UNHCR, Christelle Francois, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs & Strategic Partnerships, SFC

Thank you to all our family and friends for your support and understanding throughout this process. And to my wonderful fellow graduates, congratulations again on completing the program! Thank you for enriching our collective learning by generously sharing your wealth of knowledge, skills and lived experiences. This is just the beginning! Let’s continue to soar with purpose, build successful businesses and transform our lives. It is very exciting and humbling to realize that we are now all part of the BAH Alumni network and by extension, the global CASA Foundation Community!

I highly recommended the Black Advisory Hub Business Accelerator program to any BIPOC founder or entrepreneur who is reading, watching or listening. My message is simple, ‘go for it, register; join the next cohort, it will transform your life and business!’ Carpe diem! Daalu! Ese! Nagode! Merci! Thank you!


More about the Black Advisory Hub (BAH):

Black Advisory Hub (BAH) promotes the integration and socio-economic inclusion of Black People. It is Powered by #CasaFoundation for International Development (a Canadian Non-Profit-Organization), and Funded by the Federal Government of Canada. Follow @blackadvisoryhub on Instagram to apply for the next cohort of the Business Accelerator Program.

Congratulations to all the winners of Casa Foundation’s Black Advisory Hub (BAH) Business Accelerator Program Pitch Contest! Whole Woman Network (WWN), is excited and honored to be one of the winning organizations. We would like to extend a special thank you to TD Bank for sponsoring the winning prizes.

#CelebratingWomenWhoDare! History of Mother’s Day in North America (The Story of Three Remarkable Women).

Beyond the commercialization of Mother’s Day in North America, here’s a peek into the history & intentions of its remarkable founder(s)

History is fascinating, and the history of women who shaped history in their own way, even more so. History has a way of giving a nuanced context to seemingly isolated (contemporary) issues.

This post was inspired by an interesting and insightful conversation, a long while ago, on the Facebook wall of Marianne Williamson (www.facebook.com/williamsonmarianne), based on a post she made on her wall titled: “The original Mother’s Day idea was for women to gather from all over the world to take a stand against war.”

[Other sources for the post below are http://www.plough.com and wikipedia].

The History of Mother’s Day Celebration in America:

In summary, social activist, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis founded the American celebration of its version of Mother’s Day in 1858. It initially started as a call for health sanitation.

A few years later in 1870,  Poet and Activist, Julia Ward Howe, who was herself inspired by Ann Jarvis, wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation as a call to Peace.

After the death of Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis, her daughter Anna Marie Jarvis embarked on a mission to make Mother’s Day an officially recognized holiday in the United States.

The Fascinating Back-story of 3 Phenomenal Women!

Image  below: Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis and her daughter, Anna Marie Jarvis

  1. Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis

The history of Mother’s Day in America begins with a remarkable woman named Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis. She bore between eleven and thirteen children over the course of seventeen years. Of these children, only four survived to adulthood.

The others died of diseases such as the measles, typhoid fever, and diphtheria epidemics common in Appalachian communities in Taylor County. These losses inspired Jarvis to take action to help her community combat childhood diseases and unsanitary conditions.

Mrs. Jarvis was a dynamic woman who saw needs in her community and found ways to meet them. In 1858, while pregnant with her sixth child, Jarvis began Mothers’ Day Work Clubs in 5 surrounding the towns to improve health and sanitary conditions. She and other area women joined a growing public health movement in the United States.

Jarvis’ clubs sought to provide assistance and education to families in order to reduce disease and infant mortality. These clubs raised money to buy medicine and to hire women to work in families where the mother suffered from tuberculosis or other health problems. They developed programs to inspect milk long before there were state requirements.

Club members visited households to educate mothers and their families about improving sanitation and overall health. The clubs benefited from the advice of Jarvis’ brother, Dr. James Reeves, who was known for his work in the typhoid fever epidemics in northwestern Virginia.

During the American Civil War (1861-1865), sentiment in western Virginia was sharply divided between north and south. In 1863, this culminated when the western part of the state broke away from Virginia and formed the new state of West Virginia, which was loyal to the Union. Western Virginia became the location of some of the first conflicts of the Civil War. Jarvis’ Mothers’ Day Work Clubs altered their mission to meet the changing demands brought about by war.

Ann Jarvis urged the clubs to declare neutrality and to provide aid to both Confederate and Union soldiers. Jarvis illustrated her resolve to remain neutral and aid both sides by refusing to support a proposed division of the Methodist Church into a northern and southern branch.

Additionally, she reportedly offered a lone prayer for Thornsbury Bailey Brown the first Union soldier killed by a Confederate in the area, when others refused. Under her guidance, the clubs fed and clothed soldiers from both sides who were stationed in the area.

When typhoid fever and measles broke out in the military camps, Jarvis and her club members nursed the suffering soldiers from both sides at the request of a commander.

Jarvis’ efforts to keep the community together continued after the Civil War ended. After the fighting concluded, public officials seeking ways to eliminate post-war strife called on Jarvis to help.

She and her club members planned a “Mothers Friendship Day” for soldiers from both sides and their families at the Taylor County Courthouse in Prunty town to help the healing process. Despite threats of violence, Jarvis successfully staged the event in 1868.

She shared with the veterans a message of unity and reconciliation. Bands played “Dixie” and the “Star Spangled Banner” and the event ended with everyone, north and south, joining together to sing “Auld Lang Syne.” This effective and emotional event reduced many to tears. It showed the community that old animosities were destructive and must end.

2. Julia Ward Howe

Julia Ward Howe – an abolitionist, Activist, poet and author, best remembered as the poet who wrote “Battle Hymn of the Republic” – worked to establish a Mother’s Peace Day.

Howe dedicated the celebration to the eradication of war, and organized festivities in Boston for years. A proclamation she wrote in 1870, which explains, in her own words, the goals of the original holiday.

Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies, our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, disarm! The sword is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonour nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them then solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each learning after his own time, the sacred impress, not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

3. Anna  Marie Jarvis (The Daughter of Ann Marie Jeeves Jarvis)

On the first anniversary of Ann Marie Jeeves Jarvis’ death, her daughter, Anna Jarvis met with friends and announced plans for a memorial service remembering her mother for the next year. In May 1907, a private service was held in honour of Ann Jarvis. The following year, in 1908, Anna Jarvis organized the first official observance of Mother’s Day, coming near the anniversary of her mother’s death.

Andrews Methodist Church, where Ann Reeves Jarvis taught Sunday School for 25 years, held the first public service on the morning of May 10, 1908. Anna Jarvis did not attend the service, but sent a donation of 500 white carnations for all of those in attendance. In the afternoon, 15,000 people attended another service that Anna Jarvis organized in Philadelphia, held at the Wanamaker Store Auditorium.

In the years following the initial ceremonies, Anna Jarvis’ new holiday gained recognition in many states and spread to a number of foreign countries. Anna Jarvis also embarked on a mission to make Mother’s Day an officially recognized holiday in the United States.

She succeeded when, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional resolution officially making the second Sunday in May the national Mother’s Day and calling for Americans to recognize it by displaying the flag by proclaiming it a national holiday and in his own words : “a public expression of our love and reverence for all mothers.”


2023 Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 14. Here’s wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day! (P.S: Everyday should be Mother’s day).

Breaking Barriers: 2023 Annual Conference of Women’s Economic Council of Canada

“The Women’s Economic Council is excited to announce that we are hosting an annual conference – Breaking Barriers: Promoting Inclusive BIPOC Leadership and Economic Development – where we will bringing together an amazing group of experts, leaders, and advocates from all over the country to dive deep into the challenges and opportunities facing BIPOC leadership and economic empowerment.” (Source: Women’s Economic Council Website)

(Source: The Canadian Worker Co-op Federation Website)

The Canadian Worker Co-op Federation is participating in the Women’s Economic Council’s (WEC) May 2023 Conference entitled “Breaking Barriers: Promoting Inclusive BIPOC Leadership and Economic Empowerment”. This theme aligns well with our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Business Conversion Project, as it focuses on engaging more members of Equity-Denied Groups (EDGs) i.e. BIPOC, women, youth etc. into the Social Entrepreneurship space. Representatives from CWCF were invited to present at this free, EDG focused online event.  

Presenters Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido and Janielle Maxwell will share their insights on “ The Need, the History, and the Legacy of Social Purpose”. This will involve an overview of CWCF’s JEDI Business Conversion Project (including its objectives, initiatives and events) and a discussion on why a JEDI centered approach to Social Purpose Organizations (SPOs) and the Canadian employment realm- is needed for true transformational change. 

Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido will tackle themes such as the cultural affinity of EDGs to SPOs, challenges faced by EDGs in traditional realms and in business conversions, and how business conversions to SPOs can benefit marginalized groups. With a focus on women, she will also share insights on how mutual aid and co-operative economics have uplifted women facing domestic violence, financial trauma and abuse. Juliet will share from the perspective of 2 organizations of which she is a co-founder, Black Women Professional Worker Co-op and Whole Woman Network (which is in the process of converting to a non-share co-operative).

Janielle will touch on the challenges various members of EDGs face in the workplace and financial spaces, and the subsequent need for reform. She will also discuss the JEDI Business Conversion Project, as it is situated to help combat such struggles EDGs experience in many traditional business realms. The session will last for ~ 1 hour and will conclude with a Question & Answer period.

Register for this free online event: https://womenseconomiccouncil.ca/conference-register/ 

Africana Feminist Political Economy Symposium

2023 Africana Feminist Economics Symposium holds on May 25th, 2023. Send an email to RSVP: info@andriabarrett.com. Join the #DISE Collective and The Banker Ladies Council of Canada in this transformative and thought-provoking event. To read more about the Banker Ladies, see this article by Natalie Holmes: Strengthening the Black Social Economy and watch the documentary, Banker Ladies by filmmaker and director Esery Mondesir.

#Nwanyibuife #CelebratingWomenWhoDare! Diana Barikor, Co-founder & COO – Whole Woman Network

From all of us in the Whole Woman Network community, we wish a hearty congratulations to Diana Barikor, our one of our phenomenal founding members, on receieving the Enterprise Excellence Award! The award will be presented at the Remarkable Mothers Award (RMA) Gala, and the theme for 2023 is tagged “Celebrating the Indefatigable Spirit of Womanhood.”

More about Diana Barikor:

Diana is a Social Entrepreneur, Community Advocate, and Social Impact Investor with a passion for empowering under-represented and equity-denied women and youth, with resources to transform their sociocultural and economic realities.

She has a Master’s degree in Adult Education and Community development from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, Canada. 

Diana is the Founder of MOBERI Services, and the Co-founder of Whole Woman Network Global (WWN), a Social Enterprise that delivers experiential Leadership, Entrepreneurial and Financial Literacy Programs to vulnerable, under-served Canadian Women and Youth, with a focus on Blacks (all people of African descent), new Immigrants, and other marginalized groups.

She is the co-host of the WWN Black Social Economy podcast/webinar series – Building Community Wealth with Real Estate and ROSCA+ (Rotating Savings and Credit Association).

Over the past three decades, her background and professional experiences span environmental sustainability advocacy, social enterprise, and community development. She has coached and mentored women to rebuild their lives and communities.

Her philanthropy extends beyond Canada, to the education and training of women and girls in Nigeria through low-interest loans, business development grants, scholarships, and funding WASH projects, Menstrual Health & Hygiene programs that improve the well-being of families and communities.

She is a feminist and proud mother of three wonderful and compassionate children; Monale, Baribefii and Rita. She loves traveling, gardening, reading, and meeting people of different cultures.

The 2023 edition of the Remarkable Mothers Award (RMA) Gala holds on Sunday, May 7. See poster below for details. Once again, congratulations to Whole Woman network’s own, Diana Barikor!

WWN’s Marketplace Solutions Is Now On FAIRE!

When we conceived the idea for Whole Woman Network's Marketplace Solutions, we wanted to make sure we integrated it with platforms that offered the best possible options for our B2B customers. At one of the trainings for entrepreneurs by the #torontoboardoftrade someone had mentioned FAIRE and we checked them out. A perfect fit! Looking forward to serving our many members and clients! #wholesale #ecommerce #marketplace #online #sales #marketing #coops #cooperativemarketplacesolutions #communitycommerce #ecommercesolutions


"Welcome to Faire

Congratulations—you’ve taken the first step to start selling in the world’s largest online marketplace for independent wholesale!

How does Faire empower brands?

We generate new sales.

We help brands accelerate their sales by pairing them with the most compatible independent retailers who individually are hard to find but collectively are a strong sales channel.

We streamline your wholesale operations.

Historically, as the number of B2B partners increases, so do the costs for brands. Faire grows your wholesale business with minimal overhead by providing you access to risk-free transactions, simplified shipping and returns, and customer insights."

Well & Wealthy Webinar Series: MENOPAUSE – The Elephant in the Room

Join in on Friday, April 21, 2023 for a free webinar on Menopause and living a life of optimum health, happiness, wealth, wholeness and well-being!

Here’s the registration link: https://forms.gle/E6qXLyQD6Ai2dcBe9

Also see:

Oprah Winfrey Reveals the Menopause Symptom Her Doctors Missed: ‘I Never Had a Hot Flash’

The lifestyle mogul is on a mission to normalize the change.

(By KAYLA BLANTON PUBLISHED: APR 7, 2023. Culled from https://www.prevention.com)


A Happy, Glorious & Blessed Easter to All!

From all of us at Whole Woman Network, we wish our Christian Community and all who are celebrating, a very Happy, Glorious and Blessed Easter Celebration.

May the Cross be symbolic of Hope, Happiness, Courage, Compassion, Commitment, Consistency, Rebirth, Restoration, Glory and Grace in our lives, families & communities. 

#FreedomDay #Easter #Ressurection #EasterWeekend #Love

WEOC National Loan Program – Up to $50,000 offered through PARO

Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada is proud to deliver the WEOC National Loan Program, which will support women and non-binary entrepreneurs as they start, scale, grow and maintain their businesses.

It takes a different approach to setting you up for continued growth and success by providing robust wrap-around services to guide you through the process.

Visit PARO WEBSITE to learn more!

Whole Woman Network is a member of the PARO Women’s Enterprise Centre and PARO Peer-to-Peer Lending Circle. #SisterhoodSolidarity

Interested in learning more about joining the Whole Woman Network Peer-to-Peer Lending & Support Circle? Or our unique and innovative ROSCA+ model for building sustainable personal and community wealth? Or our culturally informed Financial Literacy & Resilience programs? Or our experiential and transformative Leadership & Communication certification programs?

Contact us: wholewomannetworkinc@gmail.com or attend an information session.

Happy International Women’s Day 2023!

#Nwanyibuife #HappyWomensDay! #EmbraceEquity

1. “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” —Toni Morrison

2. “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” — Maya Angelou

3. “Women are the real architects of society.” — Harriet Beecher Stowe

4. “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”—Michelle Obama

5. “The best protection any woman can have… is courage.” — Elizabeth Cady Stanton

6. “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.” —Charles Malik

7. “A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.” — Diane Mariechild

8. “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” — Hillary Clinton

9. “A Woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself” — Maya Angelou

10. “The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.” — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

#Nwanyibuife Happy International Women’s Day! #EmbraceEquity

Who Are the Banker Ladies of Canada?

Culled From The Toronto Star (accessed on February 22, 2023 at 6:05 pm EST)

Responsible Investing Podcast shines a spotlight on #ROSCA – Rotating Savings and Credit Association as a stellar example of a social finance model.

Guest: Andria Barrett of the Banker Ladies Council of Canada

Topic: Who are the Banker Ladies of Canada?

Click Here to Listen. and subscribe at Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favourite podcasts.

Guest: Andria Barrett

Canada’s institutional banking system has been traditionally difficult to navigate for new immigrants to the country, leading many to utilize an informal, women-led savings collective based on the principle of mutual aid. Known as a “partner” in Jamaican culture, a “susu” in the Ghanaian community or a “hagbad” in Somali, a rotating savings and credit association (ROSCA) fosters a sense of community in many immigrant groups and opens doors to funding frequently not available elsewhere.

In this episode of Responsible Investing for a Sustainable Economy,” host Tim Nash speaks with Andria Barrett, a consultant and speaker at The Diversity Agency, and former president of the Canadian Black Chamber of Commerce, about how ROSCAs work and why they’re spreading beyond immigrant networks. More information at The ROSCA Federation.

Learn more about ROSCAs Here.

P8 Series by the OCA | From Principle to Practice: Breaking Down Barriers – Lessons for a More Inclusive Economy

Join the Ontario Cooperative Association (OCA) on February 22nd, 2023 for the P8 Series – From Principle to Practice: Breaking Down Barriers – Lessons for a More Inclusive Economy

An exploration of some of the key systemic barriers that exist for under-represented groups wanting to develop, or currently operating a co-operative, as well as barriers to ownership, membership, employment, accessibility and leadership, followed by a discussion on how we can collectively overcome them through practices and policies that will make our businesses and the co-operative sector more inclusive. (1.5 hours). Guest speakers include Esther Enylou, Executive Director of the Women’s Multicultural Resource and Counselling Centre, and Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido, Director and Co-Founder of the Black Women’s Professional Worker Co-operative

Click Here to Register to attend this event.

The Origins of Cooperative Economics – A Black History Month Event on February 8, 2023 #ROSCAS

Join us on February 8 at 8:00 pm EST!



 Moderated by: Dr. Caroline Shenaz Hossein, University of Toronto


 Andria Barrett, The Banker Ladies Council 

 Mabinty Bangura, The Banker Ladies Council 

 Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido, Black Women Professional Worker Co-op/Whole Woman Network

 Jonah Chininga, Co-founder, WOVEO (Formerly ‘The Miq’) 

 Registration: https://tinyurl.com/2fdvyy7u

iSERVE2050 – Leadership. Advocacy. Volunteerism. Sustainable Communities.

Leadership ◙ Advocacy ◙ Sustainable Communities ◙ Volunteerism

“Every generation must recognize and embrace the task it is peculiarly designed by history and by providence to perform.”

– Chinua Achebe

[There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, 2012].

Are You Ready, Able and Willing to SERVE?

iSERVE2050  →  iGWEBUIKE! South East Renaissance Volunteer Experience
[An Experiential Leadership Training and Advocacy Platform]

Re·​nais·​sance|\ˌre-nə-ˈsän(t)s; a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity – [A REBIRTH, REVIVAL, AWAKENING, RENEWAL]


An African Success Story!

An integrated, borderless Ala-Igbo that is advanced economically, technologically, educationally, and fair to all, irrespective of gender, disability, economic and social strata; retaining and attracting outstanding Ndi-Igbo and citizens from Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world.


Empowering ONE Million Youth as SERVANT-LEADERS to TRANSFORM ALA-IGBO, one sustainable community at a time (A Nation of Leaders).


“The trouble with Nigeria is simply a failure of leadership…The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.” – Chinua Achebe

According to the UN, in the next 3 decades, the population of Nigeria will double, making us the third most populous nation by 2050. Nigeria, like many Nations in Africa, is plagued by challenges such as corruption, nepotism, incompetence, weak institutions, etc., and has a dearth of visionary political leadership. This has led to its inability to unlock and harness its vast human and natural resource.

iSERVE2050 is a Transformational and Experiential Leadership Training Platform, focused primarily on narrowing the leadership gap, in an organic and sustainable approach; fusing our traditional distributed, diffused, egalitarian leadership model, and contemporary ethos of democracy.

We believe that it is time to build a Nation anchored on Human Capital Development; by intentionally mentoring and building capacity of a new generation of ethical, exemplary, competent, creative, visionary, transformational and innovative thought leaders.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” – An African Proverb

An investment in human capital development, via quality, inclusive, equitable, affordable, accessible, relatable, adaptive, outcome -& character-based EDUCATION (Formal and Informal). Also incorporating STEM, pre-existing comparative advantages, strengths, and indigenous knowledge in – imu ahia business incubation model; Soft Power – Liberal Arts & Humanities, Sports, Entertainment, Literary Arts; Igbo core VALUES (spirit of unity, community, enterprise, adventure, global, creativity, inclusivity, equity, and innovation).

Thus, an iSERVE2050 Servant-Leader embodies these ethos: #OfuObi #iGWEBUIKE #NwanyiBuIfe #IgbaMbo #OluAka #ImuAhia #Akon’Uche, #OnyeAghanaNwanneya, #Njem #Nzuko #Nkuzi #Mmuta).

“You must not wait to be elected into office, before you begin to serve. Begin to serve every where you are; in the home, community, school, university, work, hospital, church, market, society, nation and among many other places.”
―Lailah Gifty Akita

Happy Holidays! A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to All

To our phenomenal community – members, staff, volunteers, board, partners, clients, vendors, attendees of our programs, and all our supporters/donors across the globe, we wish you a safe, happy and wonderful holiday season as you celebrate with your loved ones!  Merry Christmas, happy Kwanzaa and Happy Hanukkah…!

As we celebrate Christmas (December 25), let us be inspired by the story of the birth of Christ, and reflect on the true meaning of humility, sacrifice, rebirth, hope, love and faith in our lives and communities.

As we celebrate Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1), let us reflect on the 7 principles of Kwanzaa as espoused by Maulana Karenga, which represent African communal philosophy and heritage, and a celebration of our diverse and unique cultures, communities and families. (Learn more about the seven principles of Kwanzaa).

As we look forward to the new year, let us also use this period as an opportunity to re-examine and re-imagine our collective and individual histories, lived experiences and realities, and rededicate our lives to service to family, community and country. Let us continue to grow and learn as we navigate our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious spaces with a lens of justice, empathy, inclusion and equity, in a fast evolving, inter-connected and complex world.

May 2023 and beyond be everything we all hope for!

Once again, we appreciate your participation and support, and look forward to more celebrations and co-creation in the new year. Thank you!


#Poetry4ChangeAfrica | iSERVE2050 Creativity Prize, administered by Crater Library & Publishers

About iSERVE2050 Creativity Quarterly Prize (September – December, 2022 Edition).

Democracy is recognized and accepted to be the most civilized form of government because it is based on certain principles and values. Since Nigeria achieved its independence, its democracy has gone through interruptions and challenges. This has had a profound impact on the quality of leadership and followership.

Democratic principles can only be sustained if the citizens are aware of citizenship values and espouse them. Citizens have the power, influence, and responsibility to make decisions that affect them most especially when electing public officers. However, we can only achieve this when we make a deliberate effort to own governance and contribute to it. This we can attain if we understand, accept, and promote citizen and cultural values that inspire social change that is sustainable, judicious, and transparent.

This need for awareness raising and sensitization on citizen and cultural values has been recognized and it has inspired the creation of the iSERVE2050 Creativity Prize, in partnership with Poetry4ChangeAfrica and Crater Library & Publishers.

Aims and Objectives

The main objective of the competition is to conscientize Nigerian/African youths on important citizenship and leadership values, rights, and responsibilities through creativity.

The Specific Objectives Include:

  • Educating masses on citizenship and cultural values crucial to individual, community and national progress.
  • Increase civic participation in politics and governance.
  • Increase visibility of creators and their works.
  • Encourage and support creativity.

About the Prize

The competition, although social media based, is broken down into two phases to enable creators to increase visibility of their work, promote citizen and cultural value via content creation and hashtag.

Categories of Prizes

The prize is divided into three categories. They are:

(1) Digital Art

(2) Prose (Creative Non-Fiction) and/or Poetry

(3) Video: Spoken Word and Monologue

Duration and Frequency of Prize Events

The contests for the iSERVE2050 Creativity Prize will take place quarterly.


The theme for the competition will be decided annually with quarterly sub-themes for each prize.


The competition is only open to Nigerians who are at least 18 years old, resident in Nigeria, and who possess a Nigerian Permanent Voters Card.


The winning entry in each category will receive a cash prize of N50,000. While the 1st runner up and 2nd runner up of each categories gets N30,000 and N20,000 respectively. The winners shall be announced at a prize giving ceremony held virtually.


The intellectual property rights of the creator reside with the creator. However, by participating in this competition, creators

grant iServe2050 the right to post, advertise, and publish their entries on social media platforms.


The entries will be submitted in any of the following languages: English, Igbo, and Pidgin English. Videos recorded in Igbo and pidgin will have subtitles

Prize Administrator: Crater Library & Publishers

Dr. Caroline Shenaz: Re-imagining Microfinance using Black Feminist Theory and Intersectionality…

Recommended Book – Politicized Microfinance: Money, Power, and Violence in the Black Americas
By Caroline Shenaz Hossein

About Microfinance – Source: kiva.org:

It’s Time to Make Way for the Banker Ladies

Culled from https://www.utsc.utoronto.ca/alumni/its-time-make-way-banker-ladies.

Screengrabs from the Banker Ladies documentary, feat. headshots of Ginelle, Mabinty, and Aisha, three Black banker ladies
Ginelle, Mabinty, and Aisha, three Banker Ladies

Bolstered by a gift from Co-operators, a group of Black women cooperators is spearheading the adoption of communal lending systems to bring racialized Canadian immigrants out of poverty by establishing a Banker Ladies Council.

Have you heard of ROSCAs? If you’re an immigrant, chances are you have, perhaps by another name—an Ayuuto, a partner, a Hagbad, a Chit fund, or a Susu.
If you haven’t, Prof. Caroline Shenaz Hossein, Associate Professor of Global Development at the University of Toronto Scarborough and Interim-Director of the Institute for Inclusive Economies and Sustainable Livelihoods, is working to change that through her project “Building Inclusive Economies.”

In a ROSCA, or a Rotating Savings and Credit Association, a group of people pool small amounts of money periodically, and each member gets to take the collected pot on a rotating basis. ROSCAs are informal systems based entirely on trust, reciprocity and shared accountability. Members then use these funds to fulfil personal goals, ranging from the down payment of a house or a car to funding their kids’ education. Goals they would otherwise be unable to meet without financial support.

Prof. Caroline Shenaz Hossein
Prof. Caroline Shenaz Hossein

In Toronto, a community of Black women is playing this critical role of facilitating ROSCAs among diasporic communities as a pathway to financial independence. They call themselves the Banker Ladies. The Banker Ladies have first-hand lived experiences with systemic barriers in the Canadian banking system that keep Black and racialized women from fully participating in society.

They are now using their expertise to empower other Black and racialized immigrant women who lack access to formal financial institutions such as banks and credit unions to find financial security and improved quality of life through communal support that relies on mutual cooperation and shared resources.

Prof. Hossein’s project investigates this systematic exclusion of Black populations from the mainstream Canadian narrative of economic progress while documenting the success of ROSCAs that exist around the world. At its core, her project aims to get the Banker Ladies, who often face severe harassment and vilification while working tirelessly to sustain these cooperative business systems in Canada, the credit they deserve for their efforts to bring economic stability to the communities they serve.

“Throughout the pandemic, we heralded women working in minimum wage jobs in our grocery stores and as personal support workers as the “sheroes” of the pandemic. But we don’t recognize when they are pioneers in what inclusive economics could look like,” shares Prof. Hossein.

In her endeavour to get the labour of these women recognized, Prof. Hossein has found a kindred spirit in Co-operators, a multi-line insurance and financial services co-operative, who have supported her research through a significant gift.

“Prof. Hossein’s work is uncovering the ways in which cooperators are working to meet unmet needs in our communities. It is this alignment of values and the commitment to supporting greater economic opportunities that brought us together, and contributes to Co-operators’ purpose of financial security for Canadians and our communities,” says Shawna Peddle, Associate Vice-President, Citizenship, Co-operators.

The donation enabled the Banker Ladies Council to convene two meetings this year to share their experiences of operating ROSCAs in Toronto and to discuss ways to get them the legitimacy they deserve to end the erasure and stigma associated with them in Canada.

“Co-operators has given us the resources to expand knowledge and create spaces to have conversations with women who are often not seen in the economic system, who will now be a co-creator of what a recognized ROSCA system would look like in the Canadian context,” elaborates Prof. Hossein.

The Co-operators gift also funded this one-minute video explainer on the Black Social Economy, for which Prof. Hossein collaborated with Kindea Labs, a Canadian-owned small business. Its purpose is to educate the Canadian public and policymakers on the importance of collectivity in business and society.

When talking about the motivation behind her efforts to bring public awareness to ROSCAs, Prof. Hossein explains, “When people migrate to Canada, along with their food and cultural affinities, they bring their know-how about financial systems that are crucial to people who feel they can’t participate in the formal banking system. So, the Banker Ladies are bringing their own contributions to the cultural mosaic we have here in Canada.”

Through the work they’re doing, the Banker Ladies are setting set an example of what prioritizing people over profit can achieve, especially in the face of adversity. And through their gift, Co-operators is helping to shine a light on the Banker Ladies and the possibility of a system that celebrates their work and allows them to thrive.


Dr. Caroline Shenaz Hossein is an Associate Professor of Global Development at the University of Toronto Scarborough and cross-appointed to the graduate program of Political Science at the University of Toronto, and Founder of Diverse Solidarity Economies (DISE) Collective. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Africana Development and Feminist Political Economy. Read more about it here

About Co-operators

Co-operators is a leading Canadian financial services co-operative, offering multi-line insurance and investment products, services, and personalized advice to help Canadians build their financial strength and security. The company has more than $61.5 billion in assets under administration. Co-operators has been providing trusted guidance to Canadians for the past 76 years. The organization is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. Achieving carbon neutral equivalency in 2020, the organization is committed to net-zero emissions in its operations and investments by 2040, and 2050, respectively. Co-operators is also ranked as a Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada and is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Kincentric. For more information, please visit www.cooperators.ca

Watch this short documentary on The Banker Ladies of Toronto

Read more ROSCAs in Canada.

UoT: 2022 Worlding Feminist Political Economy Lecture Series.

“Freedom can’t be contained within a paradigm that is individualistic.
One can not be free alone: freedom is collective.”
— Dr. Angela Davis

“The 2022 Worlding #Feminist Political Economies was a Blast this year!

@UTSC @UofT students learned about #collective & community driven political economy.

Thank you @OsccoMiraya and @FrancisGrandaB for all of your wonderful work, with #DISE

@AfricanaEconomy.” – @carolinehossein

Truly honored and thankful to be a part of the 2022 Worlding #Feminist Political Economies Lecture series. What an incredible/phenomenal year this has been! A huge thank you to mentors and heart-centric leaders like Prof. Caroline Hossein of the #UniversityofToronto for inspiring so many of us to reimagine the SolidarityEconomy & #BlackSocialEconomy. A lovely shout out to Prof. Michelle Stack of the #UniversityofBritishColumbia…And other thought leaders in this space such Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard and Dr. Keisha Blain. We stand on your shoulders.👊

Deep appreciation also to the amazing teams at #AfricanaEconomy#DISECollective, and of course the masters/phd/post-graduate 🎓 students of #UniversityofToronto @utsc @uoft for their participation, insightful questions, and for joining us in co-creating a space for shared learning about #Collectives#Cooperativism#CommunityDrivenPoliticalEconomy.

And to all the fellow speakers and panelists from across the globe, thank you for sharing your lived experiences, knowledge and wisdoms.” – Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido #WorldingFeminist#SisterhoodSolidarity

“No one’s free until everybody’s free.” – Fannie Lou Hamer #Ubuntu#Nwanyibuife🔥#BlackFeministTheory

FLOW Financial Literacy Workshop – Building Financial Resilience by Empowering Youth, Families and Communities

Did you know that 1 in 4 racialized families lives in poverty in Canada, compared to 1 in 20 non-racialized families? 41% of Chronically Poor immigrants have degrees. (“Chronically Poor” means living below the Low Income Cut-Off, LICO).

The Canadian Government has a 5-year National Financial Literacy Strategy with a mission to create a more accessible, inclusive and effective Financial Literacy ecosystem where every Canadian can build Financial Resilience in an increasingly digital world.

(Source: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, and the Colour of Poverty Fact Sheet).

Join us for a 6-part seminar series on Building Financial Resilience & Sustainable Intergenerational Wealth. This is the introductory seminar, and the 6=part series will kick off in January 2023.

BRN Speaker Series: A conversation with Caroline Hossein & Ebun Joseph

The BRN Speaker Series provides a range of opportunities to network, dive into fascinating research and facilitate conversations with future.

The Black Research Network’s Speaker Series invites the greatest minds from the University of Toronto and beyond to engage in meaningful conversations and inquiries about their recent work and careers.

Topic: The Advancement of Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs) for Sustainable Economic Livelihoods

Join U of T Scarborough’s Caroline Shenaz Hossein and Ebun Joseph, a lecturer of University College Dublin, about the history of feminist political economies in Canada and beyond.

Africana women engage in solidarity economies through a specific form of mutual aid – formally referred to as Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (ROSCAs) – to meet their livelihood needs. These women call themselves the Banker Ladies, and the ROSCAs they run are rooted in equity, mutual aid and self-help.

This conversation will draw on empirical work that involves interviews with hundreds of Black women in five Caribbean countries, Toronto and Montreal, as well as field work in Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria.

Co-sponsored by the McLuhan Centre, U of T Scarborough and the department of political science at the University of Toronto, this event will take place in-person and via live broadcast.

This event will host 20 people in-person and have a live broadcast for an online audience.

Click Here to Register for the Event.

FLOW Financial Literacy Workshop – Understanding Your Financial Environment

Join us for a Financial Literacy Workshop at the United Outreach Share Life Ministries – New Awakening of the Church; Cooperativism and the intersection of Family, Faith, Fellowship and Finance. The location: Unit 12 – 1179 Finch Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 2G1 | Time: 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm EST | Date: 10th of October, 2022

FLOW: Financial Literacy for Women and Youth – WWN partners with YNOT (Youth Now On Track) Services.

Whole Woman Network is happy to announce a collaboration with YNOT Toronto (Youth Now On Track), to deliver a 6-part workshop series on Financial Literacy and Economic Opportunities for Women and Youth.

The introductory workshop was held in August 2022, and the next workshop will be held on Septmember 12, 2022.

The theme for the workshop is:


The workshop will be held at:

CAMINE STEFANO COMMUNITY CENTRE (Unit 128 – 3100 Weston Road North York, Ontario, ON).

TIME: 5.30 pm to 7:00 pm EST

The program is FREE to the general public however participants are encouraged to register on the YNOT website.

FLOW: Financial Literacy for Women and Youth – YNOT (Youth Now On Track) Services.

Whole Woman Network is happy to announce a collaboration with YNOT Toronto (Youth Now On Track), to deliver a 6-part workshop series on culturally-attuned and trauma-informed Financial Literacy and Economic Opportunities for Women and Youth.

This is the introductory workshop and the next series of workshops will be held from Septmember 2022 to February 2023

The theme for the workshop is:


The workshop will be held at:


TIME: 5.30 pm to 7:00 pm EST

The program is FREE to the general public, however participants are encouraged to register on the YNOT website.

Replays of Webinars hosted by World Trade Centre/Toronto Board of Trade.

Did you miss the webinars below? Click here to watch the replays of the webcast here.


Join us for our next webcast, sponsored by @Cisco, where @GrantsOfficeCAN’s Stephanie Cesar and @wwnetworkafrica’s Juliet Ume-Onyido will give tips on how Canadian entrepreneurs can win grant funding to realize their innovative business ideas. Register: https://bit.ly/3b3awEJ

WTC-T is the trade services arm of @TorontoRBOT. As a member of @WTCA, we create unparalleled global access for the Toronto region’s business community. #WTCTO

EnvironFocus Webinars: Gender Equalities in Addressing Climate Change.

Introducing our first speaker for our upcoming webinar: @julietkego of @WWNetworkAfrica.

Juliet ‘Kego is a Social Justice Advocate, an International Speaker-Poet, and Master-Certified Leadership Coach and Trainer.

She is a passionate advocate for women & girls. Register today! Visit EnvironFocus post-event videos.

Pre-event: https://environbuzz.com/gender-equality-methodologies-in-addressing-climate-change/

Post-event: https://environbuzz.com/webinar-recap-gender-equality-methodologies-in-addressing-climate-change/

Lenovo awards $100,000 in grants to BIPOC women and small business owners across Ontario

In November last year, Lenovo announced the extension of its Scale small program for women and Belonging to Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) small business owners in Ontario, in partnership with the Toronto Area Board of Trade (TRBOT).

The two entities yesterday awarded grants to 10 women-owned small businesses and BIPOC across the province. Each recipient received a CA$10,000 grant to enable them to innovate in their business and remain accessible to their community throughout the pandemic. Additionally, Lenovo announces that it will provide educational programs to all TRBOT members to help accelerate their digital adoption. According to recent information from Statistics Canada, small businesses are more likely to have financial constraints in the next 12 months than their larger counterparts.

Grant recipients:

  1. Funding essentials – Ottawa-based professional services firm that helps businesses and organizations navigate revenue-generating options within their industry by assisting them with the documentation required to submit proposals, grants and funding applications.
  2. Flow & Fire – Toronto-based company dedicated to providing conscious consumers with infrared therapy and products to optimize mind, body and spirit.
  3. Studio Atlas: based in Cambridge company which offers in-person, online, live and on-demand interactive yoga classes and therapies, workshops, yoga services, yoga therapy and meditation teacher training.
  4. Shetruth: Wealth management firm based in Milton that aims to foster financial independence for women.
  5. The whole WoMan network: Based in Richmond Hill, a social enterprise providing financial literacy training, leadership and business consulting services to new immigrants, with a focus on African women and youth.
  6. Academy of Choral Music: based in Vaughan A Yamaha Authorized Music Education Center, Chorus Music Academy offers Yamaha’s Music Education System for young beginners, as well as other popular music programs taught by Yamaha Certified Instructors.
  7. Krippit Corporation: Based in Toronto 3D fashion technology company that designs innovative 3D printed high heel protectors.
  8. Living Farm: A subscription wellness company founded by a mom on a mission, located in Toronto.
  9. Emkiro Health Services: EM – KEE – RO is a hybrid Japanese name meaning return to optimum health; crossroads of health and medical services. The company provides professionals and residents of Toronto with medical and paramedical services.
  10. face-drive: A Toronto-based company offers green transportation solutions with a focus on reducing carbon emissions. Drivers can choose between an electric, hybrid or gasoline-powered vehicle.

“As the pandemic continues to affect us all, we recognize that small businesses, and especially minority-owned small businesses, have been hardest hit and need support to survive and thrive,” said Colin McIsaac. , vice president and general manager of Lenovo. Canada. “We hope the funding provided through the grant program with the Toronto Region Chamber of Commerce will provide relief to some of the hardest hit businesses, and we look forward to seeing how these funds will be used to innovate and build for the future. .”

TRBOT noted that it received a total of 203 small business applicants during the two-month application window who met the eligibility criteria. All applications were reviewed by a panel of TRBOT experts and grant recipients were selected based on their ability to demonstrate their company’s equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives and their completion of a or more of TRBOT’s projects. Recovery activation program (RAP)streams, an online support and education program designed to help businesses adapt to a more digital world during and after the pandemic. By focusing on customer attraction, improving supply chain efficiencies, virtual workforce management and cost rationalization, RAP provides a comprehensive toolkit to support the long-term success of Toronto’s small business community.

“The applications we received show a remarkable range of committed and passionate women and BIPOC entrepreneurs,” said Leigh Smout, President of the World Trade Center Toronto. “Each of these grants, which Lenovo has made possible, will enable recipients to grow their business and, therefore, their already significant contributions to our economy and regional communities. We are proud to be associated with Lenovo and these incredible business leaders.

For Business Owners in Ontario, Canada – What is a Digital Transformation Grant?

Digital Main Street (DMS) is a program focused on assisting small businesses with their adoption of technologies. The Digital Transformation Grant (DTG) program will provide funding for training, advisory support, and grants to brick-and-mortar small businesses looking increase their capacity through digital transformation.

The $2500 grant is administered by the Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA), and is not administered by Digital Main Street. Applications will continue to be accepted until October 31, 2021 (or until grant funds are exhausted).

Watch the video below and visit this website for more information: https://digitalmainstreet.ca/

Participant Requirements

A Digital Transformation Grant is open to any business that meets the following requirements:

Continue reading

Join YSpace, York University and Richmond Hill Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC), for an Overview to Canadian Retail Landscape & Channel Strategy!

YSpace, York University

YSpace is York University’s innovation hub located in Markham, York Region. It is a Non-profit Organization.

YSPACE – “We partnered with Richmond Hill Economic Development on a #StarterCompanyPlus workshop for CPG & Food entrepreneurs. Join us on Tuesday, September 21st from 10am-12:30pm EST for an Overview to Canadian Retail Landscape and Channel Strategy!

This workshop will provide participants with a detailed overview of the Canadian (Packaged Goods) Retailer Landscape with a focus on key trends shaping the future. Participants will leave with an improved knowledge of the CPG Retail Structure in Canada (Channels and Customers), perspective on the Impact of Covid 19, a better understanding of Online Retail trends (CPG) and some guidance on Route to Market considerations for their business.”

Save your spot! REGISTER: https://lnkd.in/ej6WBbAY


text and logo along with a picture of a person posing for the camera

#LeadershipMatters:  “PROGRESS WITHOUT TEARS” – Dr. M. I. OKPARA’s Address at the Convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, on December 17th, 1962.

Address at the Convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka by Dr. M.I. Okpara, Premier of Eastern Nigeria on December 17th, 1962


Since assuming the Premiership of Eastern Nigeria in December 1959, Dr Michael Iheonukara Okpara, 42, has devoted his whole attention and energy to economic development of his twelve-million-people territory. Building on the rocky foundation of political stability laid by his predecessor, Dr the Right Honourable Nnamdi Azikiwe, who is now Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Federation, Dr Okpara has adopted a statesmanlike attitude and religious zeal to what he considers to be the assignment of the present generation of his country —the economic emancipation of the people. 

In this speech, delivered at the Convocation at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, on 17th December 1962, Dr Okpara sets out in a nutshell the underlying principles of his economic policy which, he sincerely believes, could bring about in Nigeria rapid “Progress Without Tears.


The clearest single fact which has emerged since our Independence on the first of October 1960 is the disparity between our standard of living and that of the more advanced nations. We are all aware of the fact that considerable ground has yet to be covered in the social services, the public utilities and production. Nevertheless, the basic infrastructure has been laid. Even so are still a young and developing country. It has been reckoned that a per capita income of about £170 per annum is the dividing line between the developing nations and the advanced ones. Per capita income in Nigeria on an optimistic estimate is about £30 per annum.

When we remember that in America and Canada it is more than twenty times as high Nigeria, we can see how far removed our way of life must be from theirs. An important point to remember is that our per capita income is about one-sixth of the dividing line per capita income of £170 per year. In the pre-independence period, the importance of this fact was overshadowed by the great exigencies of the day: the winning of the national independence with honour and in peace and unity. This has been the experience of other emergent nations.

The fight for political autonomy has a way of commanding total attention from nation builders, but as soon as this fight is over, these nationalists begin, if they can make necessary mental, reorientation, to think about the economic welfare of the citizens. This re-orientation, then, is the first major re-thinking that must take place. It is not, however an easy change to make, for modes of thought dictated by decades of colonial tutelage are difficult to modify overnight. But there is another reason why it is difficult to make the change: political controversy is far more exciting than the complicated and painful problems of economic development. Up till today, there is not one national daily or weekly devoted to the problems of economic change. The stuff of politics is their sole daily material and fills every column.

A new mental attitude is vital to the rapid growth of the nation and must be stimulated by all people in a position to give leadership. I recall that while I was in India last year, I found out to my astonishment that the average citizen in the street knew basic contents of the Indian five-year development and his own contribution to it.  Many of them would tell you the number of engineers that would be produced and the increase in production in Industry and Agriculture. The contrast between this mental attitude and that of our own people is staggering.

Granted then that this change is possible and is indeed made,  we are confronted with the primary question of our generation: How can we pull level with more advanced nations in the shortest possible time while still retaining our freedom and happiness.

It is my intention to state as concisely as I can what I consider to be the additional effort over and above that envisaged in the Development Plan which this exercise must entail. There can be no doubt that the Six-Year Development Plan is a major step in the right direction.  It is indeed a source of satisfaction to all who took part in formulating it. Its priorities are unexceptionable —Agriculture, Industrialization and Technical Training.

The sections on the two major basic industries of the plan period– The Niger Dam and Iron and Steel Industries–are very satisfactory. Its aim to achieve a capital formation of 15 per cent. of Gross Domestic Product now estimated at £ 1,183.3 million would, if the calculations are correct and hopes realised lead to a growth rate of 4 per cent. for the economy.

Of course we all know that about 50 per cent of the funds required must come from outside Nigeria.  Without this most essential help, the rate of growth envisaged cannot possibly be generated.  This constitutes the first major danger to the plan.  India found out that outside assistance was not always forthcoming in the volume required, nor were recent word trade conditions favourable for earning much needed foreign currency so necessary for planned development.

It is unlikely that Nigeria’s experience would be different. Under such circumstances we would then have to fend for ourselves as best as we could, to the extent that outside assistance falls short of expectations.

Short of curtailing the size of the plan and therefore failing in achieving the all-important growth rate, we must save as a matter of life and death.  An attitude of laissez-faire will no longer do.  If the anticipated foreign capital does not materialize then compulsory savings for all Nigerians must be the order of the day. The next major problem is that of apathy to Agriculture.  It is not enough to specify the priorities in the plan, they must be also adhered to. More than that, the average citizen must show a new interest in this vital sector of the economy.

Modern Agriculture development is the foundation on which industrialization can be based.  It provides raw materials for industry; it is a good consumer of industrial goods like fertilizer and insecticides and power; it provides the food for the growing population; and it also earns, through export crops, the foreign currency so essential to sustained development.

These are self-evident facts, but totally ignored by many citizens especially the elite. How different the picture would be if every educated man had at least five-acre modern farm in the village to serve as a demonstration to the villagers.

There are many spectacular things we can do in this country that would not add to our progress, but rapid economic advance would be impossible if this major change did not take place. Our aim therefore must be that every square inch of land in Nigeria must be utilized for some productive purpose. 

It is perhaps in the field of Industrialization that the greatest vagueness enshrouds all national effort. Here I must say that the implications of the European Common Market are far reaching. Now that we have unanimously and rightly refused to be associate members, we must grapple with the implications without further delay.

For instance, I have never understood why Nigeria should export 41,947 tons of raw cotton in 1961 valued at £9.5 million while importing 177, 684, 000 square yards of textiles valued at £19 million. Why should we continue to import such heavy commodities as cement when limestone abounds in this country?

The only adequate answer to the European Common Market with the obnoxious tariff walls is our manufacturing most of what we import from them. With the best will in the world, this will take time. But a start must be made now by deliberately concentrating on those goods which can be easily manufactured here thereby saving foreign exchange.

I have already mentioned two, but I believe that it is possible to concentrate during this period of the plan on three specific fields covering food, clothing, and shelter. The industries associated with food are salt, sugar, beer, liquors, fisheries and fishing oil seed processing, milk production, etc.  The aim must be to all intents and practical purposes self sufficiency in food.  In clothing we must aim during the plan period at being self-sufficient in all textiles and footwear.

In housing we must aim at being completely self-sufficient in building materials such as cement, aluminum sheets, corrugated iron sheets, furniture, linen, mattresses, sanitary ware, crockery and other household goods like utensils. Unless these minimum targets are set industrialization will lack the direction that it so badly needs today. Nor will there any urgency on the part of private enterprise to establish factories here if it can equally import goods into Nigeria from the factories of Common Market, unless there is a danger to an established market or there is the possibility of quick and very attractive returns on investment. Of course, in trying to mitigate the undesirable effects of the European Common Market, it is customary to recommend a search for new markets. This is sound, but old markets are yet to be completely explored and costly and circuitous channels of trade eliminated. These old markets must therefore not be forgotten.

Thus, the exploration of new and old markets should add to new sources of income. Direct negotiations with the Common Market, which should incidentally proceed now, must never blind us to the only adequate long-term answer that Africa can muster— an African Common Market.

I have heard it said that such an arrangement will be ineffective since Africa produces primary commodities with little or no manufactured goods. But a start is being made already with cement, textiles, beer, ceramics, asbestos sheets, footwear, petroleum products, etc., in many parts of Africa. And others are assembling cars, trucks and bicycles.

There is therefore a basis for a market, not, of course, as developed as the market between Europe and Africa since the produce of one were complementary to the products of the other. In another sense, however, it will be possible for the primary producers of Africa to insist on better prices for their produce.

But perhaps the greatest practical value, apart from the psychological one of African Union, is that Africa’s growing industries will have, backing their output, a vast market of about 250,000, 000 people. This will no doubt be a great stimulus to industrial development and Nigeria should now address herself to the realization of this objective.

In all discussions on Rapid Economic Advance, one always comes up against the bottleneck of the lack of high-level manpower.  My views on the role of universities in the next ten years are conditioned by the fact that the problems facing us can in my belief be most rapidly solved by using the tools of modern science. Indeed, modern science is the main magic of Western civilisation.

If Nigeria were to concentrate on this specific field for a decade, broadening out again later, I believe that the Nation would achieve a major break through in terms of prosperity.  I cannot say honestly that the Nigerian Universities are doing anything of the kind.  It seems obvious to me that where funds are limited as they are in Nigeria, they must be reserved for the most essential sectors of the economy.

In Western Europe and North America they can of course afford to cover the whole gamut of human learning, but I am convinced in my own mind that in this country such a policy would have to await future prosperity.  I am aware that many people usually speak about balanced growth they wish to attack the idea of concentrating largely on science to solve the problem of under-development. But it is precisely to achieve balanced growth eventually that the new emphasis is necessary. At the moment, our educational system in this country pays little or no heed to scientific training. Indeed, many people will agree that if the number of lawyers trained by this country already were scientists and technologists, we would have made a more rapid progress. No one is recommending of course that all arts faculties should be closed. Many of these arts graduates would be required in the educational field and administration.

The point that must be emphasized is that a deliberate policy of over emphasizing science is necessary in all our universities. The longer such a policy is delayed, the later will be the dawn of economic starvation. It amounts to this: that the next one and the half decades in Nigeria must be regarded as a period of economic emergency by the Governments, the citizens, the Universities and all our friends abroad.

Some countries eager to liberate themselves from poverty as quickly as possible have selected the quick sure way of totalitarianism or total war, when enormous sacrifices are taken for granted and forced savings made by all; when all land is commandeered by the state for increased production and when political controversy is reduced to a minimum by the system of a one-party state or coalition Government, and when Universities and industries concentrate on science and technology.

It is said by some experts that under such a system investment can rise to 30 per cent/per annum of gross national product. This is the great temptation that is sweeping all over Africa today.  Is this the short cut to success? Its inherent danger is in the ease with which people under such a system, without adequate safeguards and checks, easily lose their freedom. If this danger can be overcome, then there is every reason to mobilize as in total war all resources of the nation in general assault on poverty.

How can this delicate operation be done?

First, there should be a review of the constitution which should make provision for a united front Government in which all shades of political opinion will be represented, for a period of not more than fifteen years.  I use the figure fifteen because I am assuming, as we all did in the development plan, that self-sustaining growth will be achieved after the third or fourth plans.

After this period the nation should then return to the luxury of partisan politics. Of course, adequate distribution of powers between the Legislature and the Executive and the Judiciary is an additional safeguard. Inherent in this crash programme is that all land must be mobilized immediately for modern agriculture, crops diversified, and modern implements, machines and fertilizers introduced. All universities must fall into line with this programme and concentrate on the essentials for rapid growth.

The plan also implies that Nigeria will be manufacturing practically all her needs from aeroplanes to pins by end of fifteen years, we all know the weaknesses of an ordinary coalition Government. In point of fact, I have always opposed the suggestion in the past as it was only designed to lessen political bickering and nothing else.

But a United-Front Government as a tool for rapid economic growth such as I have outlined is another matter and should be very closely studied by all. It is quite different from the controversial one-party Government.

The advantage of this approach is that we shall not only continue to develop within a framework of democratic government, but we shall develop rapidly within such a system. Such constitution could have written into it safeguards against totalitarianism, thus ensuring the complete return at the end of the emergency of our beloved partisan politics!

No one who has studied the rate of growth of the totalitarian countries can fail to be impressed by their totalitarian performance, but this is usually achieved at the cost of human suffering and the loss of a good deal of happiness, I have equally had a very close look at India.

This is one shining example where a deliberate effort is being made, as we are making, to develop within a framework of democratic government. Herein lies the great importance of the Indian Experiment.  But such development always relies on massive external aid.  Many people in Nigeria wonder whether we shall be so lucky  in attracting foreign aid in such massive amounts.

They may be right, since the dangers posed by communism next door to India do not exist here, and to that extent the West does not feel the urgency of the Nigerian problem.  But a temporary modification of the Indian experiment by us is possible and can be achieved, provided we are all agreed and determined to the cut the chains that bind Africa to poverty. 

The formula that I recommend may be summarized under six heads:

(a) Mass assault on poverty through greatly increased agricultural production and maximum use of land.

(b)   Rapid Industrialization with fixed targets.

(c)  Raising the battle cry for, and adequate emphasis on, science in all Nigerian Universities

(d)  The conscious projection of an African Common Market and other remedies to the ills of the European Common Market

(e)  The establishment of a United Front Government for a period of fifteen years after appropriate Constitutional Review.

(f)    The maintenance of the Nation’s stability.

It is assumed that we shall, of course, fully use the levers of the Central Bank and the National Economic Council to achieve the first, second, third and fourth objectives.

Perhaps the most controversial suggestion is that of a United-Front Government. This proposal is likely to be of the greatest interest to politicians who would be spared the bitterness of partisan political conflict for at least fifteen years. But I must remind them that this proposal must go along with massive effort in Agriculture, industrialization, science, the realization of an African Common Market and the maintenance of the nation’s security.  Indeed, the idea of a United-Front Government is the one proposal that is incapable of standing alone.

The effort required to put the whole programme across will be great, but its aim will be nothing other than an extension of the lofty aims of development plan — “sacrifices now……. for later prosperity”. It is my earnest hope that the implication of these suggestions will be fully considered by expert committees of the National Economic Council particularly on Agricultural Development, on Industrialization, on Fiscal and Monetary problems, on the contribution of universities and the remedies to the ills of the European Common Market.

Implicit in all my suggestions, of course, is the maintenance of the nation’s security and stability. Economic development is impossible without stability; no pains should therefore be spared in order to guard the nation’s name and stability jealously. I do not wish to dwell at length on our security.

I merely wish to point  to the fact that the recent experiences of India show clearly the need for adequate internal security forces to back a policy of non-alignment. In order not to cripple our economy with too large a security force we might take a leaf from Israel where the armed forces are not only for defence but also for production. Indeed, our battalions here are already famous for launching bailey bridges for the villagers. This idea could be extended in suitable cases to productive farming such as in some kibutsm.

I have said so many controversial things today that I ought to be winding up in order not to forfeit the seasonal Christmas greetings of so many of my friends.  But I offer no apologies for these views, which I honestly hold as the surest and quickest way to rapid Economic Prosperity in Africa without Tears. Ours is a democracy. I therefore do not expect everyone to agree with me that Agriculture is the key to our survival, but I should love any contrary argument to be carefully stated.

My views on Industrialization and fixed targets might not commend themselves to all, but I should love to see any alternative argument. I do not expect Universities to agree on the priorities of science in a developing country. No doubt they would come up with beautiful arguments why they should cover most fields of learning now, but they do not feel the urgency of the problem of immediate economic advance.

As they are likely to have the last word, a partial solution is for the Governments to restrict scholarships to Science, Agriculture, Engineering, Medicine, Veterinary Science and Education. I do not expect, either, that the idea of regarding the next fifteen years as a period of economic emergency will be popular, since this will involve yet, more sacrifices.

No doubt there will be warning voices and fears for our democratic way of life. Let me assure people that only rapid economic advance will safeguard democracy in this country.  And in any case, all such fears will be taken care of by the constitutional review which will spell-out all the checks and balances. I have no doubt in my mind, however, that in the absence of massive external aid, this is the only acceptable alternative to slow crawling growth.

But its implementation will require the highest forms of statesmanship and patriotism if the people are not to gamble away their freedom as in some one-party states.  In a nutshell we must all declare war on poverty and prosecute this war as in an emergency. But in all the campaigns of such a war we must remember that the purpose of the exercise is welfare and happiness of all citizens of Nigeria.

All births are painful processes. The emergence of Nigeria from centuries of under-development to an era of technology is a birth. But a midwife can, through guidance, make a birth less painful than usual. As the nation’s midwives, the leaders of the country, whether in Government, industry or the Universities, must, deliver the baby safely and on time, so that the citizens’ vigil may end with a happy reward.

#CelebratingWomenWhoDare: Olamide Olowe is the Youngest Black Woman to Raise $1 Million #SistersInc

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/11/meet-topicals-skincare-co-founders-olamide-olowe-and-claudia-teng.html

These Gen Z founders just launched a skincare brand from their apartment—it sold out within days

Watch the video interview here: https://www.pscp.tv/w/1vOGwEjjVOVxB

Ahead of their company debut on Friday, August 7, Olamide Olowe and Claudia Teng were running on fumes.

They were hours away from the official launch of their new skincare brand, Topicals, which offers science-backed and clinically tested products for the one in four Americans who experience chronic skin conditions, such as eczema and hyperpigmentation. Their brand, which launched online and in select Nordstrom stores that day, has been years in the making and had to delay its 2020 debut twice.

The first time was in March, when the coronavirus pandemic swept the world and disrupted, among many other things, the Topicals supply chain. Then, just ahead of the brand’s rescheduled launch, came the powerful uprisings against racism and violence following the police killing of George Floyd in May.ADVERTISING

With each national reckoning Olowe, 23, and Teng, 24, have taken the change of plans to make their products and their business even better. Their growing momentum in recent months has led Topicals to secure $2.6 million in funding, the company says, from investors including Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John, entrepreneur and DJ Hannah Bronfman, and the Emmy-nominated leads of the HBO show “Insecure” Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji.

Despite recent setbacks, “we’re really launching at the perfect time,” Olowe tells CNBC Make It. “At this point, [it] feels like a dream.”

Here’s how the two Gen Z founders built their skincare brand despite surmounting challenges posed by the pandemic.

A company built on a change of plans

While Olowe began raising money to launch Topicals two years ago, the origins of the brand take root in her experience growing up with hyperpigmentation and post barbae folliculitis, a type of skin inflammation. Olowe, who is Black, recalls countless appointments with dermatologists who said they didn’t know how to treat her darker skin.

She found a common bond with Teng after meeting through a mutual friend last year. Teng, who is Asian American, also spent her childhood in and out of doctor’s offices seeking treatment for her severe eczema.

In high school, Teng worked as a dermatology clinical research assistant and witnessed the disparity in access to health care for people of color. There were instances, she says, that not a single Black patient was enrolled for clinical trials she worked on, meaning there was no representation to see how certain treatments would work on darker skin.https://www.instagram.com/p/CAny1XLJtjm/embed/captioned/?cr=1&v=7&wp=787&rd=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cnbc.com&rp=%2F2020%2F08%2F11%2Fmeet-topicals-skincare-co-founders-olamide-olowe-and-claudia-teng.html#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A2163%7D

So, in the fall of 2019, the Olowe and Teng decided to forgo their plans to apply to medical school (they were both pre-med in college with dermatology careers in mind) and instead set out to build a skincare line that catered to people like themselves: individuals of varying skin tones and conditions who didn’t want to feel like treating their skin was a source of shame.

Rather than being relegated to pharmacy aisles or doctor’s offices, they wanted to create balms and salves that made treating their skin (in both a literal and figurative sense) an act of self-care, rather than a chore to “fix” their concerns.

“Everyone’s aspiration is to have clear skin,” Olowe says, noting that Teng’s product formulas do, in fact, help minimize the effects of certain conditions. However, on the whole, “we want to take the focus off of having perfect skin and put the onus on making treatment more fun. I’m going to live with this skin condition for my whole life — I don’t want to dread taking care of myself.”

They got to work, with Olowe in Los Angeles and Teng in Palo Alto, initially using FaceTime to do business long-distance. In 2020, the two moved into an L.A. apartment together. Their commitment to customers: “Funner flare-ups ahead.”

A new player in the $5.9 billion skincare market

The U.S. prestige beauty industry generated $18.8 billion in sales during 2019, according to the market research company NPD. Americans spent $5.9 billion on skincare alone last year.

But just like access to health care and dermatology, the beauty industry has its own problems serving people of varying skin tones and textures. Just three years ago, artist and entrepreneur Rihanna challenged the beauty industry’s standards when she launched her eponymous Fenty Beauty, complete with 40 shades of foundation that went well beyond the color range of competitors. Its impact in calling for more inclusivity in beauty has been dubbed the Fenty Effect, and companies in the years since have followed by expanding their makeup lines to cater to more people of color.

What Fenty did for cosmetics, Olowe and Teng want Topicals to do for skincare. Olowe already has start-up skills to draw from. While in college at UCLA, she co-founded beauty brand SheaGIRL, a younger sister line under SheaMoisture, alongside fellow student and former roommate Rechelle Dennis, the daughter of SheaMoisture founder Richelieu Dennis. The skincare brand was sold to Unilever as part of its Sundial Brands acquisition in 2017.

After graduating in 2018, Olowe began building Topicals. As CEO, she found a partner in Teng, who was working in clinical research at Stanford’s Department of Dermatology. Teng now serves as the Topicals chief product officer to develop and test formulas alongside a team of experts, including the head of pediatric dermatology at Stanford.

In order to cater to a customer base with varying skin tones, the founders are reexamining what are considered to be “gold standards” in the beauty industry. For example, Teng points to the use of ingredients like hydroquinone, a depigmenting agent used to lighten and “even” skin tones. However, this ingredient can be damaging to darker skin and has been linked to the permanent death of skin cells in some severe cases. Beyond the medical risk of prolonged or damaging hydroquinone exposure, Teng says that its use in skin-lightening products perpetuates harmful cultural ideals of beauty.

The Topicals founders also want to reshape what it looks and feels like to use products that treat chronic skin conditions. Don’t expect their branding to have an ultra-white, clinical aesthetic or frowning “before” pictures of people experiencing skin flare-ups. Instead, their first products are encased in bright, colorful packaging that reads more “boutique pop-up” than “dermatologist’s office.”

“The doctor’s office isn’t the only place that people with skin conditions live,” Teng explains. “Treatments don’t have to be focused on the medicinal all the time. People who have skin conditions are multifaceted and live in color.”

Topicals launched to the public with two products: “Like Butter,” a hydrating mask, and “Faded,”  a discoloration-treating gel serum, both of which retail for under $40.

The Topicals line sold out on Nordstrom.com within hours of its launch; on their own site, inventory was snatched up within days.

Third time’s the charm

Olowe wholeheartedly believes that “everything happens for a reason,” including the Topicals twice-delayed launch.

The extra time allowed the duo to ship their very first mass product — an interactive game called “Sun, Skin and Stars” that plays like a mashup between a horoscope reading and a quiz about your personal skin concerns. For every play, the brand donates $1 to Sad Girls Club, an online community that provides mental health services to girls who don’t have access to treatment. The game raised over $10,500 in donations.

A commitment to mental health access is fundamental to the skincare brand, Teng says: People with chronic skin conditions are two to six times more likely to experience anxiety or depression. With this in mind, Topicals donates 1% of profits to various mental health organizations. To prioritize their own mental wellness, both Olowe and Teng sought therapy as they began their business partnership.

After George Floyd’s death in May, Topicals and a collection of beauty brands teamed up with Therapy for Black Girls to help sponsor 150 memberships to their virtual group therapy community. As protests followed in the weeks after, Topicals posted an educational Twitter thread about how to handle skin irritation from tear gas, which was retweeted more than 900 times.

The pair knew, in building their community, how to respond to the current events and what was naturally on the minds of their audience, much like their own.

“We’re both women of color, so we immediately shifted our energy and resources as a company to supporting the movement,” Olowe says.

With all the changes, Olowe and Teng are comfortable moving at rapid speed, meeting the needs of their community at a moment’s notice, even while staring down a once-in-a-generation world event.

The uncertainty “gave us more time to build community and home in on what we wanted to do for customers,” Olowe says. “Now, our customers feel like they have a stake in brand. They built the brand with us.”

Read more here: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/11/meet-topicals-skincare-co-founders-olamide-olowe-and-claudia-teng.html

10 Habits of Happy People (SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN).

(Article Source: https://www.shape-able.com/10-proven-habits-of-happy-people.html)

Happiness is one of those things in life that we’re constantly on the lookout for. We strive to be happy people, but sometimes life can get in the way. Our daily stresses, our different environments and situations we may come across can all impact our ability to be happy. So how do we become a happy person, despite all of our obstacles? Here are 10 scientifically proven habits of happy people.

Apply for the BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program (It closes on August 13, 2021)

Source: https://bmoforwomen.com


BMO, in collaboration with Deloitte, is pleased to present the BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program.

10 Women-Owned Businesses in Canada will each receive a $10,000 grant, and an additional 8 will receive a $2,500 grant for their business.
Sustainability is fundamental to BMO’s Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life. In line with BMO’s commitment to direct capital to achieve positive sustainability impacts, applicants for the 2021 BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program will be evaluated for their contribution to social, environmental and/or economic sustainability outcomes. Applicants are asked to demonstrate how they are creating positive impacts, or minimizing negative impacts, for their customers, communities, employees and/or other stakeholders. Impacts can be generated through an organization’s policies, practices or products, where these advance sustainability objectives such as those of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Is my business eligible to apply?

To be eligible, you must be able to convey how your business is contributing to social, environmental and/or economic sustainability outcomes.

Applicants must also meet all eligibility criteria, including:

The Applicant:

  • is a resident of Canada, and
  • has reached the legal age of majority in their province or territory

The Business:

  • is at least 51% owned or controlled by women or by individual(s) who self-identify as women,
  • is headquartered in Canada with a minimum 50% of revenue tied to business sales done in Canada,
  • is currently active and operating in Canada,
  • is a for-profit business with annual revenues of $10 million CAD or less, and
  • has been in operation selling a product or service for a minimum of 2 years as of January 1, 2021

NOTE: Applicants who received a grant from the BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program in 2020 are not eligible to participate in the 2021 program. For full details on the BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program, please click here for the Official Terms and Conditions.

What information is needed to apply for a grant?

The application itself requires providing basic information about the business owner(s) and the business. Each applicant must answer a series of short questions about the sustainability impacts that have been incorporated into their business. Each applicant must also create a short video and include the URL with their application. (Additional Information for Video Submission)

For further information on the grant program and sustainability, watch our BMO Grant Program Education/Support Webinar below:

When can I apply?

Click here to apply: BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program

Applications are currently being accepted. The last day to submit an application is Friday, August 13, 2021 at 11:59 pm ET.

Once your application is completed, click “Submit Application” and your application will be forwarded to a secure data platform for consideration and review.

See the Official Terms and Conditions for full details about the 2021 Grant Program.

Key Dates:

  • July 26, 2021: Grant application portal is open for submissions
  • August 13, 2021: Grant application portal closes
  • Early September: Semi-finalists will be notified
  • Early October: Finalists will be notified
  • Late October: Grant Recipients will be notified
  • November 19, 2021: 18 Grant Recipients will be announced

ESDC: Apply to become a member of the External Reference Group – Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative.

News release

May 12, 2021              Gatineau, Quebec              Employment and Social Development Canada

“Diversity, inclusion and belonging are a pivotal part of our Canadian identity, which is why our government has pledged to address systemic racism, including barriers faced by Black Canadians, and is taking concrete actions to do so. Today’s launch is another important step in the right direction. I look forward to working with the new members of the External Reference Group as we continue to build capacity for organizations serving Black communities across Canada.” – Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Culled from Employment and Social Development Canada

In Canada, diversity is our strength. That’s why the Government of Canada is building on progress under its Anti-Racism Strategy by demonstrating federal leadership, empowering Black communities, and building awareness and changing attitudes.

Today, the Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, launched a call for applications for the Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative’s (SBCCI) newly created External Reference Group (ERG).

ERG members will support the Initiative’s work to help build capacity within communities by providing strategic advice, expertise and insight on the priorities of Black Canadians.

The group will include up to 15 members of African descent drawn from the not-for-profit, education, public and private sectors. In recognition of the diversity of Canada’s Black communities and to ensure a wide range of perspectives are brought to bear, members will reflect diverse ethno-cultural, gender, regional and linguistic backgrounds. The Government encourages Black Canadians aged 18 and older from across the country to apply, including women and youth. Members will serve two-year terms, with the possibility of extensions by one-year increments.

Apply to become a member of the External Reference Group – Supporting Black Canadian Communities Initiative


Interested individuals are encouraged to apply by May 27, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. PDT, by consulting Canada.ca.

FLOW: Re-evaluating personal finances post Covid-19 pandemic.

Culled from: The Wall Street Journal and accessed on April 17, 2021.

“With 2020 in the rearview mirror, and the end of the pandemic (fingers crossed) in sight, there’s a lot of economic damage to be assessed. But there are also a lot of personal-finance lessons we can learn—lessons that will put us in good stead, whatever the economic future holds.

Lessons about the importance of emergency funds and having different income streams. Lessons about how this time really isn’t different (no matter how much it feels different). Lessons about how personal finance is truly personal. And much more.

These are some of the lessons we heard about when we asked financial advisors and others to reflect on the past year. It was a year, no doubt, that many people would prefer to forget. But before we try to wipe those memories clean, here are some of the things that investors, savers and spenders would do well to remember.”


Prime Minister of Canada Announces Support for Black Entrepreneurs and Business Owners

Every day, Black business owners and entrepreneurs make invaluable contributions to communities across the country, and their success is essential to Canada’s economic recovery and future prosperity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated existing systemic barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized business owners in Canada. While we have made progress in advancing equitable access to support and opportunities, much more needs to be done to better help Black business owners and entrepreneurs, and address anti-Black racism.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced investments of up to nearly $221 million in partnership with Canadian financial institutions – including up to nearly $93 million from the Government of Canada over the next four years – to launch Canada’s first-ever Black Entrepreneurship Program. This program will help thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country recover from this crisis and grow their businesses.

The program will include:

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Clean Technology Hub presents: “NWANYỊ BÙ ÍFÉ” Campaign – Celebrating Unsung, Innovative and Phenomenal Igbo Women


Image8th of March is globally known as the International Women’s Day (IWD); a day designated to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women – past and present. It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights as well as a day for a global call to action demanding gender parity in the role of women in the society. 

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#NwanyiBuIfe #EducateAGirl: Improving Access to Affordable, Equitable & Quality Education (STEM) for Girls, in South Eastern Nigeria.

Globally, new possibilities are being explored to expand the education ecosystem, especially in developing countries, through the use of Technology (Edu-Tech). The interconnectivity of the Internet makes online learning and collaboration seamless and has ushered a new phase of innovations.

New models and apps are being developed to solve local and global problems, and create new value chains. Global Digitalization means that access to data, information, and communication channels are easier, faster, more efficient and effective.

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#LeadershipMatters: Embracing the Gift and Power of Forgiveness

Reflections on a nation that is traumatized, fractured, and in dire need of collective healing and forgiveness.


“To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and discover that the prisoner was you.” – Lewis B. Smedes

Sometimes, people hurt, malign, disappoint us in unconscionably vile, crippling and painful ways. It may be through their words, silence, attitudes, actions, or inactions. And it is often worse when these acts of commission or omission are done by loved ones, those closest to us, and with the greatest powers to inflict the deepest cuts.

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Apply before July 1, 2019: “MIT – SOLVE’s 2019 Global Challenges”

“How can citizens and communities create and improve social inclusion and shared prosperity?”

“How can all children under five develop the critical learning and cognitive skills they need to reach their full potential?”

“Do you have solutions that use innovative technology to improve the quality of life for women and girls?”

These are some of the crowdsourced Solve’s 2019 Global Challenges and they are open for solutions by July 1, 2019. Over $1.5 million in funding is available.  

Visit the website for more details: 2019 SOLVE GLOBAL CHALLENGE

Make the leap and APPLY HERE. Good luck and all the very best to all participants!


Watch some highlights below, from last year – “SOLVE at MIT 2018: The Next Solve Global Challenges”

#Poetry4ChangeAfrica | “Development Is” – By Dike Chukwumerije

“No culture is older than being human; this is the truth, and until we accept it, our nation will struggle on its broken feet. For the same things can bind us that drive us apart. For the wall and the bridge are both in the heart.”
– Dike Chukwumerije

Parts I & II

#FixPublicSchools #EducateAGirl #EducateABoy | History of Education in Nigeria by AfricLearn

To address the gaps in Education and radically reform public schools in Nigeria, it is necessary to study the historical development, the previous and current structure, management, operations, regulatory frameworks, funding models, results, vision, philosophy, and their evolution over the years

“A man who does not know where the rain began to beat him, cannot say where he dried his body.” Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe [Chinụa Achebe]


Source: AfricLearn [“The number one resource platform for all types of digital education textbooks, general books and a provider of scalable and effective education solutions for learning institutions”].


“AfricLearn is a cloud based e-book and digital learning management system solution driven by a vibrant and innovative company which applies cutting edge technology to, e-book content distribution, schools and other education settings. AfricLearn is underpinned by a flexible digital technology which enables e-books and contents to be easily aligned with the requirements of individual readers, teaching establishments and various curriculums.

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#iSERVE2050 #LeadershipMatters | The phenomenal mindset of Africa’s future leaders | Nkosana Mafico | TEDxUQ

Nairobi, Kenya, 2020: The Next Einstein Forum | Here’s a recap of the last edition in Kigali, Rwanda

The third edition of The Next Einstein Forum will be held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2020. Here’s a recap of the last edition held in the lovely, clean and green city of Kigali, in Rwanda. This blog post below, was culled from the Robert Bosch Stiftung Foundation website on January 15, 2019. It was written by Regina Mennig and originally published in April 2018.

The spirit of the Next Einstein Forum

In Kigali, the Next Einstein Forum initiative recently hosted the largest science conference in Africa to date. What does this conference mean to African scientists?

The Special Spirit of the Next Einstein Forum

In Kigali, the Next Einstein Forum initiative recently hosted the largest science conference in Africa to date. What does this conference mean to African scientists?

In Rwanda, in late March 2018, the air was shimmering with heat underneath the cupola of the Convention Centre. Here, Africa’s brightest minds came together to discuss the latest in research, share ideas, and exchange business cards.

About 1,500 people attended the global science conference of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF), including astrophysicists from Ethiopia, biologists from Zimbabwe, and nanotech researchers from Niger, while Nobel prize winners, publishers of leading scientific journals, and presidents of global research institutions mixed with the crowd. At the heart of the conference were the NEF Fellows, a group of outstanding young African scientists who received funding for their research projects…


What sets the largest pan-African science conference to date apart from other conferences around the globe? Maybe that a panel discussion about the gender gap in science and technology was opened with a poem? It was recited by Juliet Kego, an engineer, poet, and activist for the cause of encouraging women to enter STEM professions. “Today I will not bow,” the anaphora of her poem, resonated with the audience in the packed Gasabo plenary hall at the Convention Centre. And when she began to sing Amazing Grace, everyone stood up to join her in singing, and swaying along.

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#Nwanyibuife #CelebratingWomenWhoDARE | The 2018 AWP Network Power List is Here!

Farida Nabourema

#CelebratingWomenWhoDARE! A huge thank you to African Women Power [AWP Network], for celebrating and recognizing forty (40) phenomenal African women with powerful, inspiring, and influential voices. Kudos to all the phenomenal women who were honoured.

And a special salute to honour the resilience, beauty, enterprise, strength and courage of millions of African women across the continent and globe. We celebrate the unsung, and those in under-served and rural communities, who do so much, with so little, to make our society more just, equitable, safe and prosperous for all. And they do it all, with grace and grit, in the face of near impossible odds and barriers. #CelebratingWomenWhoDARE!

Congratulations to one of ours, -Whole WoMan Network’s co-founder, Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido, for making the list.

To see the rest of the women honoured, click the link below:

The 2018 AWP Network Power List

[Culled from African Women Power; on January 3, 2018]


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#iSERVE2050: Congratulations to our contest winners!

As we wrap up the year, once again we wish to celebrate the inaugural winners of 

  • Iheanyi Igboko;  – His entry was about the Monthly Distinguished Speaker Series – Nkata Umu Ibe by Centre For Memories, Enugu, Nigeria
  • Nenye Nwobu;  – Her entry was about her experiences at the stage play “August Meeting”, produced by Raconteur Productions. The play chronicles the lives of the famous Oloko women, after they returned home, following the “Aba Women War.”

Both pieces will be featured on subsequent posts on our blog.

Some of our prizes include best-selling books, cash, and amazing event tickets etc.



#PostcardsFromAlaigbo | #NkataUmuIbe: Jide Ofo -Politics of Conscience & Ideology by Dike Chukwumerije

“No culture is older than being human; this is the truth, and until we accept it, our nation will struggle on its broken feet. For the same things can bind us that drive us apart. For the wall and the bridge are both in the heart.”
– Dike Chukwumerije


The following piece, “The Days of Small Beginnings”, written by Dike Chukwumerije, was culled from Africa Travel News -ATQ


In January 2016, on my way to Nnewi, I stopped to see the Radio Nigeria South East Zonal Director in Enugu. Ken Ike Okere had an idea, to replicate the sort of literary society he had helped nurture in Abuja, and wanted to know if I was game.

And so began a love affair with the Coal City, flying in to attend the monthly Enugu Literary Society meetings, till the whirlwind of MADE IN NIGERIA struck. And, still, Enugu was my 2nd stop. I tell you. Not till Maiduguri, a year later, did I find an audience as embracing as the one I found in 042.

So, in 2017, when I bumped into Patrick Okigbo III in Abuja, and he told me about this thing he was doing in Enugu – this Centre for Memories, conjuring images of ghostly figures striding out of the harmattan mist on a cold December morning – I told him, if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.

And he did – after he’d run a rousing campaign for Osita Chidoka in Anambra, and Nnanna Ude had called to ask me to speak for 10 minutes at the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, and he and Nnanna Ude had started a Guest Speaker Series, ‘Nkata Umu Ibe’, in Enugu – after all this, Patrick Okigbo III called to know if I would be their 4th ‘distinguished speaker’.

Me? True. This is not an easy path to follow, you know? After Professor Okey Ndibe, and Professor Chidi Odinkalu, and Dr. Okey Ikechukwu, and knowing Chief John Nnia Nwodo would be 5th, me?? So, I went first – as every child in troubled times is guided by our culture – to my mother’s hut. And she put a few words in my mouth and said, Speak from the heart.

And then I went to Enugu. To Enugu Sports Club, to be exact, where the history etched into the timber columns and the high ceilings had me staring. You see? Ben Etiaba, Chairman of the Club, gave me the tour himself. Stopping on the way to introduce Stan Okoronkwo, ex-Enugu Rangers from the legendary ‘70s squad, and Professor and Professor Okoronkwo, the pleasant parents of Ndidi Nwuneli. And I thought again – me??

Because there to listen, in a hall quickly filling up, was Dr Joe Nworgu, former Secretary General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo. To his far right was an old friend of my mother’s, and former FRCN boss, Chief Kelvin Ejiofor. And to his immediate left was an old friend of my father’s, and former DG of the National Orientation Agency, Professor Elo Amucheazi.

You see? I am as I am. The jeans I feel most comfortable in, and the shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbows. I am often awkward in Nigerian social circles because I am not great at protocol and so can offend without meaning to. You understand? But Professor Amucheazi sat me close, even before the lecture, and said, ‘I am very proud of you’. And this is the confidence Love gives – to validate first.

So, I went to the lectern, where the speaker stands alone. From there I saw the amazing Igbo poet, Amarachi Atama, who had come from the screening of her latest documentary, ‘Biafuru’ to be present. Further back, Osinayah Prince Agu, who I knew had come all the way from Aba.

From there, I remembered the warnings of Nnanna Udeh and Patrick Okigbo III, to expect an expectant crowd, for the hall had erupted in spontaneous applause when they were told I was coming, how Nnanna then laughed at the look on my face and added, ‘No pressure!’ And so, I gripped the lectern with two hands, took a deep breath – thought of my mother and the grey that charges like smouldering fire through her hair – and began to speak.

“We must, even in the face of excessive provocation, maintain our demand for a more meritocratic society where people are judged not by their tribe or religion but by their competence and ability. Because it is only this that can release the potential of this nation and all of its constituent parts.

That is why Meritocracy is an Ideal worth fighting for. That is why it is an Ideal worth dying for. That is why we cannot give up on it simply because of the odds stacked against it, or because other people are acting differently and succeeding thereby. No. It is in times like these, in the face of frustration and overwhelming resistance, that we must remember proverbs like ‘mberede ka e ji a ma dike’.

Because if apartheid could end in South Africa, if segregation could end in America, then meritocracy is possible in Nigeria. But in the pursuit of that Ideal there will be many days when we will be tempted to give up on our innermost convictions and give in to what is most convenient.

It is on those days that we must remember the weight and import of that hallowed command, ‘Jide Ofo!’ For if we do, if we hold on to our Ideals and refuse to let go no matter what this world does to us, then there is, and will always be, hope for the better parts of our collective humanity.”

This is what I said. And Professor Elo Amucheazi rose to his feet. And Ben Etiaba brought out a fresh bottle of Hennessy, tipped a little to the concrete floor, and said, ‘You have done me great honour’. It is true, I tell you, that there is never a time the truth should not be spoken. But, know this too, every truth has its time to be heard.

So, if your heart stirs consistently in a certain direction, rugged and rough, persevere in what it asks you to say. For, my brother, you can never tell by looking at the turbulence around you in which Times you live. True. This is what we mean when we say, ‘Jide Ofo’. It is how to walk through the darkness…

042. I thank you for the love.

Nkata Umu Ibe – the Monthly distinguished Guest Speaker Series of the Centre for Memories – holds on the First Fridays of every month at Enugu Sports Club, Enugu.

Enugu Literary Society holds its meeting on the 2nd Saturday of every month at Radio House, Enugu.

For did you not know? There is no tsunami that does not begin with a wave.

By Dike Chukwumerije



About the Centre for Memories, Enugu | @cfmemories

The Center for Memories is a repository of the history & culture of Ndigbo, informing and empowering leaders to serve with excellence and integrity, with a vision to be the leading hub for Igbo history, culture, and excellence.

EnvironBuzz MarketPlace – Shop Green!

EnvironBuzz Marketplace is an EnvironFocus Initiative run by Obie Agusiegbe, a member of the WWN Community. She created the online store to promote green vendors and their products. Featured product include LifeStraw Go With 2 – Stage Filtration and the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter shown below. To see more green products visit here.


LifeStraw Go With 2 – Stage Filtration

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WWN™ #ThrowbackThursday |#NwanyiBuIfe #EducateAGirl: Investing in Our Community/Public Schools

WWN Scholarship Recipients

WWN Scholarship Recipients and Co-Founder

In the first picture above are 2 of 5 WWN’s 2015 Scholarship Recipients: Chidinma Ezeudu and Blessing Ochomma of St Kizito Girls’ Secondary School. (Future courses of study: Petroleum and Chemical Engineering Respectively).

And in the second picture, I asked to take a picture with them, because like I told them, based on their passions, academic excellence, leadership skills, sense of humanity and creative abilities, they are sure to achieve greatness in the near future. (And I’d love to be a part of their story)!😀

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