Former Mauritius President to speak at MMF Women Forum

-By Funmi Falobi-

Former President of Mauritius, Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim will deliver the keynote paper at the Murtala Muhammed Foundation (MMF) 2018 Women in Development Enterprise Across African Program and Power Lunch in Lagos next week.

The MMF Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode in a signed statement, said the event was in furtherance of its core vision to improve the living conditions of Africans by contributing to reduction of poverty and limitation of conflict, while promoting self-reliance and self-fulfilment.

Muhammed-Oyebode hinted that this year’s edition with the Theme: ‘Smart Economics: Empowering Women in a Changing World,’ will have as the guest speaker Her Excellency, Prof. (Mrs.)  Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the immediate past president of the Republic of Mauritius (2015-2018)


According to her, “Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is the first woman elected President of the Republic of Mauritius and an accomplished scientist, an entrepreneur and a sustainable development expert. Prof. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim is listed by Forbes as one of the most powerful women in the world.”

Also, the Women’s Power Lunch, she said “will attract the attendance of a cross generational audience of women leaders and influencers from all walks of life including government, the private sector, civil society, academia/students, media and the arts.

“So long as there is a continued reluctance to embrace the idea of female authority figures of women in power and leadership, and the gender gap remains as it is, sustainable development may continue to elude us on this continent. Can you imagine how the narrative on Africa would change if women are given their rightful place at the table? This is why the women who have broken these barriers are such powerful and compelling heroines.”

The event, which holds between July 18-19 2018, MMF CEO added, “will address pertinent developmental issues relating to African women and afford the women opportunities to expand their business through networking, partnership, sharing of ideas and exhibitions thereby empowering Nigerian women entrepreneurs for effective, critical and pride of place the economic independence of Africa, thus preparing them for principal roles in the political management of the future of the continent.

“The Women’s Power Lunch is fast becoming a prominent feature in the annual calendar of women’s events in Africa in an ambiance that stimulates robust engagements, rich discussions and networking opportunities.”

The statement recalled that the first edition of the Women’s Power Lunch featured Her Excellency, Mrs Gracia Machel Mandela DBE, the former first lady of South Africa and Mozambique, as Keynote Speaker. While the second featured the former President of Malawi, Her Excellency, Joyce Banda.

U.S supporting Nigerian women mentoring programme

-By Funmi Falobi-

 The United States has reiterated its commitment to advocating for and including women in the workplace both in the United States and abroad.

 Speaking at a mentoring workshop held in Lagos with the theme “Transforming the Future:  Women Mentoring Women in the Workplace,” United States Consul General, John Bray said the programme of structured mentoring was created by the Department of State’s Human Resource bureau to address a number of challenges. Bray who noted he had served as a mentee and mentor during his time in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Department of State said, “Like many of you at your companies, the Department of State was looking for a way to retain its best employees and develop future leaders. 

  “We recognised that we needed to take steps to ensure that our leadership was both ethnically and gender diverse.  And equally important, we wanted to provide a mechanism for knowledge sharing between older and younger employees.  The starting point for addressing these issues was a structured mentoring program.”

 He recalled that the first female diplomat was hired in the 1920s but she had to resign when she married stressing that the “marriage rule” was not abolished until the late 1970s.

 “When I joined the Department, the State Department workforce was 27 percent, most of these people doing clerical work.  It is now 40 percent, but still not the 50 percent we are committed to achieving. The number of female diplomats has remained steady at 30 percent for the past decade. 

“The percentage of senior positions held by women at the State Department is at an all-time high – 30 percent. Through structured mentoring programs run by Executive Women at State and our Human Resources bureau we are working to increase the number of women in line with our goal of having a workforce that reflects the makeup of U.S. society.

 “To support women internationally, we established the office of Global Women’s affairs in 1995. We have identified assisting women to achieve senior positions in both the private and public sector as a priority. One of the many programs that we have includes the Global Women’s Mentoring program. I know that a number of Nigerian women have participated in this program, a collaboration between Fortune and the Department of State, as well as TechWomen and other programs,” he said.

 Addressing the participants, Public Affairs Officer, Darcy Zotter, said that to have a successful mentoring, the mentor must build relationship with the mentee, ask questions and create mentoring agreement.

“You must be able to define your relationship, build rapport and trust, and identify what you want to achieve through mentoring,” she said.

 A participant and a media practitioner, Mrs. Funke Treasure-Durodola, Assistant Director, Programmes, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, Lagos Operations said a lot still need to be done on mentoring in the Nigerian media industry.

“For every organization there should be a mentoring programme. This is what they should do. It has to be well established, backed by the management.

“In media, we should do more of structured mentoring. Many veterans perhaps did not think of mentoring others. We need it especially women. Men have a way of tapping into mentoring than women. We need more women in management,” she said.

DFID holds DEEPEN programme on improving education quality

-By Funmi Falobi-

In order to improve the quality of education of children from low income households in Lagos, the Developing Effective Private Education Nigeria (DEEPEN) programme has brought together top government officials and stakeholders in education to a roundtable discuss. The event, which was a DEEPEN end of Programme Dissemination, held at Abeokuta, Ogun State, and was attended by top government officials and other stakeholders in education – Commissioners of Education, Budget and Planning, Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers, Directors, CSOs and Private Sector stakeholders in the South-West region of Nigeria.

In his speech, the team leader of the DEEPEN programme, Dr. Gboyega Ilusanya emphasised on the need to address the challenge of improving education quality. “Given the rising importance of private education, the learnings of DEEPEN will help to set the agenda and structure for the intervention of states and development partners in education.”


Participants at the DEEPEN end of Programme Dissemination event


The DEEPEN programme, which is a DFID UKAid-funded programme managed by Cambridge Education, a member of Mott MacDonald UK, was established to improve the quality of education in private schools, especially those serving children from low-income households in Lagos.

 The DEEPEN programme has, without doubt, recorded numerous successes in its attempt to establish a vibrant and dynamic market for private education in Lagos as more than 277, 000 children from across 2,500 schools have directly benefitted from DEEPEN’s interventions.

 Using a market-development approach, the DEEPEN programme continues the progress from the Education Sector Support Programme in Nigeria (ESSPIN), with a particular focus on improving learning outcomes of children from low-income families.

“We believe this is a good opportunity for stakeholders to learn and better understand how to effectively manage the phenomenon of private education, particularly in schools serving children from low-income households”