Saturday, December 25, 2010

Lessons from a Radio Competition

What a great start to the new year (from December 1, I'm already living in the new year)! I entered a radio competition on Thursday on Smooth FM for free memberships to a gym. My current gym subscription ends in January and I have been thinking about whether to renew or go somewhere else.

After answering a ridiculously easy question, I knew that the winner would be selected randomly from a pool of people who got the right answer.

So much for that, I thought. Afterall some people seem to have all the luck with raffle draws and the such; and some (like myself) hardly do.

So it was a huge surprise to get a call today from the station saying that I had been shortlisted for the prize and to stay glued to the station, as the winner would be announced in 5 minutes.

That was excitement enough for me, but then as the minutes ticked by, I started to think that maybe the joy would end there.

Until my phone rang and it was the station again!! And then I was on air screaming like an unsophisticated loon. I had won a free membership to Eko Sauna - I don't know how long for as the line was crackling and of course I had to turn down my radio volume. But it doesn't really matter. It's exciting to win something, especially when it's an unexpected win. And, best of all, it meets a need that I have now. It's perhaps silly to take so much away from winning a radio competition, but it makes me feel that when we truly desire something and are open enough to go after it (in this case, entering the competition), something wonderful could happen.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) on the Lack of Women in Leadership Positions

Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) talks about why there are so few women in leadership psoitions and what needs to be done to address the situation.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Options of a Woman

Thanks, O, for the link to this beautiful article by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie that neatly captures the dilemma of the modern Nigerian woman. Or rather the modern Nigerian woman who is frustrated by the pervasive system of gender inequality that typically relegates her several places behind her menfolk.

Do you react angrily to every attempt to 'put you in your place' or do you demurely defer to others?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

MUSON Jazz Festival

Imole Africa

It’s was a wonderfully artsy weekend for me. There was so much for me to feed my senses on.

First off, there were 2 big jazz events taking place this week: the Lagos Jazz Series and the MUSON Jazz Festival.

I would have loved to attend both, but there’s only so much time so I opted for the MUSON Jazz Festival. I had heard of none of the acts, but that was no deterrent to me. Together with a friend we went to take in the best of the scene.

The evening started off with Yemi Sax playing the national anthem. Then OluJazz, a saxophonist, covered some popular songs including hits by Asa and TuFace.

My friend asked me if that was jazz, which made me wonder what makes music jazz. Obviously, I believe I know what jazz sounds like and can quite confidently pull it out of a line-up of close affiliates.

However, I remember when the lounge Jazz Sessions was open in Lagos. For the few months that it was in operation it drew huge crows – especially considering the deplorable state of that stretch of Ozumba Mbadiwe Way at the time. The name of the lounge would suggest that the music played there was jazz. However, what I heard whenever I was there were live covers of popular songs, which made me wonder if it’s jazz when the music is played by a live band. (Obviously I know this is not true, but it feels sometimes like that’s a big criterion around here). But I digress.

OluJazz did a great job warming-up the audience and so I felt quite indignant on his behalf when the MC for the evening kept calling him “YemiJazz.”

Pure and Simple

The guitar duo, Pure and Simple, were up next and I was endeared to them almost immediately, because they both appeared nervous. Their playing was fantastic and their “short” pieces were actually not, but rather lengthy but accomplished renditions.

There were a lot of artistes on the line-up and I guess all the acts must have been given a time limit, so I wondered about the need for the MC to move onto the stage and almost drag some of the acts off the stage. It was quite distracting to see him wandering amidst the playing artistes and it did not make for a very dignified exit for many of the acts. However, it did keep things moving along quite nicely without that prolonged wait period that you often get at concerts with multiple artistes as they move their staff on and off the stage.

Mike Osadolo was a musician whom I recognized from my church and from an evening at Motherland. He confidently took charge of the audience with his dynamic playing.

I couldn’t really describe Imole Africa’s music well enough, except to say that it sounded simultaneously deeply Yoruba and avant guard. I especially loved the first piece they played, which sounded like claps of thunder set to music.

Biodun & Batik

Then came Biodun & Batik, which was probably my favourite act of the evening. It was amazing, but somehow I loved all the songs they played. Biodun is the band leader and Batik is the band and together they played both covers and original compositions. I felt I had to run out and buy their CD (alas I wasn’t able to, but I have a birthday coming up so that’s a gift idea. ☺).

Herbert Kunle Ajayi (HKA) was maybe my next favourite act. Both he and B&B played what sounded the most like traditional jazz, but with a freshness that kept them from sounding boring.

Ayinke Martins

There was a lot of anticipation built-up for the final two acts of the evening: Ayinke Martins and Lekan Babalola. Ayinke Martins was the big jazz vocalist of the night and had a voice like velvet; while Lekan Babalola had the biggest band of the night with correspondingly majestic melodies. Unfortunately, I could not stay until the end of the concert. At 11.30pm, Lekan Babalola was outlining his repertoire and it sounded like he planned on being there until 1am. I had an early start the next morning and regretfully took my leave.

It was an extremely satisfying evening for the humble sum of N2,000, however the program notes showed that due to the difficulty in raising money for the event, it very nearly didn’t take place. I felt sad about that, because the big companies appear to be stumbling over themselves to sponsor comedy and reality shows. So kudos go to the companies who did support the jazz festival. I look forward to next year being even better.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Omenka Gallery presents: Reconstruction in Reverse

Omenka Gallery presents Reconstruction in Reverse, a photographic exhibition.

Reconstruction in Reverse is an exciting and challenging exhibition analyzing the role and impact each individual Nigerian has on our collective identity as a nation and how we define ourselves in an increasingly contemporary world.

RECONSTRUCTION in REVERSE or deconstruction brings together portraits of the famous, infamous and non famous, but just as important! The intimacy of portraiture will enable the audience to gain an increased perspective and understanding on issues relating to self discovery and awareness.

The exhibition employs deconstruction as a strategy of critical analysis and seeks to challenge the displaced and misinterpreted Nigerian identity forced on us by addressing commonly held social stereotyping and assumptions. In constructing the photographic identities of the subject many of the portraits on view are taken in various environments and situations which provide a graphic beauty and simplicity as well as a distinctive narrative content in the theatricality of human action.

The exhibition will feature thirteen of Nigeria’s prominent contemporary photographers including Adolphus Okpara, Ebikware Okiy, Isaac Emokpae, Jide Adeniyi-Jones, Jide Alakija, Kelechi Amadi-Obi, Lolade Cameron-Cole, Mudi Yahaya, Nnamdi Ijiomah, Tam Fiofori, TY Bello, Uche James-Iroha and Yetunde Ayeni-Babaeko.

Exhibition started on November 6 and ends on November 12 at Omenka Gallery, 24, Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos. RSVP: +234 (0)803.312.9276, (0)808.366.1101

Monday, November 01, 2010

Apply: Davis Scholars Program (U.S.) for JSS 3 - SSS 1 students

The Emma Willard School for girls in the United States and the Shelby Cullom Davis family have established a program to attract highly motivated, potential future leaders.

For the 2011-2012 year, the Davis family has arranged to provide two $20,000 scholarships to qualified international candidates. Grants are needs based and, if a student qualifies, she may be eligible for financial assistance up to an additional $25,000. Students may be enrolled in the 10th and 11th grades (equivalent to SSS 1 and SSS 2).

Upon graduation from Emma Willard School, Davis Scholars are eligible for continued scholarship support at any of the 89 Davis United World Scholars colleges and universities in the United States.

Emma Willard is one of the U.S' preeminent girls' schools, grades 9-12 (JSS 3 - SSS 3), fostering in each young woman a love of learning, the habits of an intellectual life, and the character, moral strength, and qualities of leadership to serve and shape her world.

Find out more about the Emma Willard School: Contact Jeffrey Pilgrim, the director of admissions ( for more information.

Ghana Internet and Mobiles Entrepreneurs Forum‏

The PearlRichards Foundation and the University of Ghana Business School, Ghana , are organizing a one day forum on Internet and mobile entrepreneurship in Ghana. The forum seeks to showcase the innovative use of new media – internet and mobiles – by entrepreneurs to address the socio-economic and development challenges in Ghana. This year’s theme is Building Ghana through Internet Enterprises and Mobile Innovations.

The forum has two interrelated objectives, namely:
1. To offer participants an opportunity to share, discuss and learn from individual career experiences and profiles of Ghanaian Internet and Mobile entrepreneurs.
2. To educate participants on how to use Internet and mobile resources and applications to support and promote their creative ventures.

The forum will take place on November 5, 2010 at the University of Ghana Business School. GIMEF 2010 will encourage open minds, critical thinking, self-examination, creativity, and sharing ideas.

Technology entrepreneurs presenting at the forum include: Excelle Ghana, Silky Productions, Mobile Content Ghana, Txt Ghana, Funeralsinghana and Esoko Ghana. Visit TESS Africa, to read more.

The forum is a pre-conference towards the Africa Internet and Mobile Entrepreneurs Conference in Uganda, December 10 ( GIMEF and AFRIEC are both events organized by the Technology Entrepreneurs Seminar Series (TESS Africa TESS aims at inspiring African Youth and Graduates into Technology Entrepreneurship and it is supported by the PearlRichards Foundation (, PC Tech Magazine ( and Uganda Telecom.

We look forward to your participation.

Richard Boateng, PhD and Longe Olumide, PhD
Forum Conveners

Click here to read online.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Group by Mary McCarthy

I finished reading Mary McCarthy’s The Group over the weekend and I have to say that it is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time to come.

It follows eight graduates of the exclusive American college for women – Vassar – as they find their places in life. Except for the fact that The Group is set in the 1930s (and written in the ‘60s), you could almost be mistaken into thinking that it is set in modern day New York, which just goes to show that the issues that women face has changed very little (careers, relationships, marriage).

Kay, Dottie, Pokey, Polly, Libby, Priss, Lakey and Helen are very different women and although most of them share a solid friendship with the others, some relationships are rather more tenuous and their very existence speaks more to university’s ability to bring together people from very different economic and social classes, who might not otherwise meet or become friends.

The book doesn’t pull any punches at all and deals quite frankly with issues of sex, marriage, infidelity, motherhood, ambition, rape, mental illness, death and even sexual orientation. It might seem too much for one book, but with each chapter focusing on aspects of each woman’s life, it never feels overwhelming or less than believable, because you get pulled into the character’s life and worldview.

The book starts off with Kay’s wedding and ends seven years later at a funeral and during that time, the friends have matured and lost some of their post-college shiny-eyed idealism. In her foreword, Candace Bushnell writes: “As Vassar graduates, the women of The Group believe they will change the world. What they discover is that not only can they not change the world, but their survival still depends on their acceptance of being ‘the second sex.’” To put it concisely – reality bites!

I liked this book because it explored many issues that are dominant in my life – and every other woman. I also enjoyed it, because I could see myself in one or more of the characters (I identified most with Polly).

It wasn’t a quick read for me, because it was dense with description, which did not lend itself to reading within the odd 10 or 15 minutes that I could snatch during my days and nights. Rather, The Group is the type of book that you want to devote a few hours to, settled in a comfortable chair.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Whip My Hair Mash-up

There seem to be no end to the number of hair-related videos in the news this week. This one is a mash-up of Sesame Street's "I Love My Hair" and Willow Smith's "I Whip My Hair."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Strategic Bloggers Meeting

A roundtable discussion was organised yesterday (coordinated by Adeolu Akinyemi and sponsored by MTN Nigeria). The objective was ultimately to "develop a framework for the Nigerian blogging industry." To this end, a selection of Nigerian bloggers - myself included - were invited to share their experiences, especially related to income generation (adverts and content marketing).

This was the first time I had heard bloggers referred to as an "industry." Before yesterday, I had thought of us as a loose group of people who happened to share one activity in common - blogging. So, the use of the word "industry" obviously connotes "making money", which appears to distinguish the professional blogger from the hobbyist.

Our discussions yesterday showed how this grouping by blogging intent is not even a clear demarcation as most bloggers who are now making money from their blogs started off as casual bloggers.

Anyway, I digress.

The discussions touched on the difficulty in selling online marketing to corporate Nigeria; the majority of whom tend to be more comfortable with more traditional forms of advertising.

I don't make any sort of money from my blog, so while I shared some of my thoughts, the experience for me was very much a peek into the possibilities. A few weeks ago - or was that only last week(?) - I realised how much more I want to do with this blog. Well, after yesterday my brain was ringing with thoughts of "To infinity and beyond!"

Read Web Trends for a more detailed write-up.

Tales of Lionesses: Reflections on African Feminism

As the 3rd edition of the African Feminist Forum opens, founding member Jessica Horn reflects on where feminism fits in our narrative of African experience.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I Love My Hair: An Ode to Natural Hair

This video has been making the rounds on the natural hair blogs in the last couple of weeks.

In it, a little Muppet girl (of African descent) sings a love song to her hair. She talks about all the different ways she can style her car.

"I Love My Hair" debuted on the Oct. 4 episode of Sesame Street. It was posted on the show's YouTube page — and since then the video has been shared the world over.

On NPR, Joey Mazzarino, the head writer of Sesame Street, is also a Muppeteer who wrote the song for his daughter. Mazzarino is Italian. He and his wife adopted their 5-year-old daughter, Segi, from Ethiopia when she was a year old. Listen to the interview here.

In the interview, Mazzarino references how the Chris Rock documentary Good Hair brought to his attention the pressures that black women face to wear their hair in straighter styles.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Keeping Up with the Jones

My newest TV love is Keeping Up with the Jones, the BET reality show.

The show follows Tracey Ferguson, the editor in chief of Jones magazine, a Houston-based shopping guide for women.

I stumbled on it quite by accident, as I hardly ever watch BET. However, I was almost instantly hooked after the first episode I watched. The series follows Tracey as she seeks to build-up the Jones brand and expand the reach of the magazine. In the first episode I watched, we see her moving into her new office space after years of working our of her home. One of her staff is not terribly excited about the office space as it's on the small side. That staff had a stinky attitude and I think eventually Tracey fired her or she left.

In a later episode, Tracey explores a partnership with Source magazine, which would provide a much-needed national distribution link for Jones magazine. Her potential partners share their opinions of the magazine with Tracey including the layout, choice of cover models, size and content. And they basically wanted to change everything.

I can relate to this show on so many levels, even though I don't run a magazine. Many of the issues that Tracey has to deal with on a daily basis are the same that most business owners have to - such as figuring out the best way to bring your dream to life; staying true to your vision in the face of set-backs, criticism and 'helpful' suggestions; managing her staff; taking her organisation to that next level; and most importantly balancing her work and her family life.

Tracey doesn't know it all, but I like that she is clear on what she wants for Jones. She is willing to listen to suggestions, but will draw the line if it appears to take the magazine in the opposite direction of where it needs to go. The same goes with caring for teenage son and daughter, who both have equally clearly-defined plans for their lives.

Sometimes I can feel her brain cells whirring and asking "So what do I do in this situation?" She doesn't always have the answers by the end of each episode, but she's also confident enough to let somethings work themselves out.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Blogging Resolution

When I think about how I have neglected my blog, I become wracked with guilt. Well, not always. Most times I am. I used to be such a dedicated blogger, sometimes blogging several times in 1 day.

Many people I know have moved on from their blogs - sometimes to other social networking tools and sometimes offline.

However, I still spend a lot of time online, though most of that time is dedicated to work. And of course, I have my daily blog reads. I just don't dedicate that much time to my own blog.

Reading Ree's post on Ten Important Things She's Learnt about Blogging, I am struck that I hardly do any one of them consistently - be it writing often, being myself or pushing through my writer's block.

A few moments later, I stumbled upon 101 Cookbooks (I love food blogs, though I don't cook all that often) and discovered that Heidi Swanson, the creator of 101 Cookbooks, was the co-founder of ChickClicks an early online community targeted at young women, which among many things encouraged an interest in technology. The fact that I used to visit this site in 2000 (10 whole years ago) blew me away that I've been hanging out online for so long.

I am really going to try to post more frequently. I really will try...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Uche Eze of Bella Naija on CNN

Young Nigerians are doing big things and Uche Eze of the Bella Naija entertainment and style website is certainly one of them.

As part of CNN's coverage of Nigeria's 50th anniversary, they interviewed and profiled many individuals and organisations who are leading important social and economic changes in the country.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Oprah & Hair

The website has a few links related to hair; not surprising considering how Oprah's changing styles have been one of the things that we have loved to watch over the years.

On the site now, you can see a slideshow of Oprah's styles.

There's also a clip of Solange Knowles talking about her decision to wear her hair naturally.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Swimming - A Love Story

Protea Kuramo Waters poolPhoto Credit: Protea Kuramo Waters

So, how was your long weekend? Mine was fabulous. I intended on reading, watching movies, sleeping and swimming. And I did all of the above.

I love swimming and started swimming when I was about 8 or 9. However, years of barely catching glimpse of a pool (much less dipping into one) left me with very rusty techniques. Or so I think. Some others would beg to disagree. But I know how breathless I am after a lap and how I feel like I am expending so much energy only to crawl from one end of the pool to the other.

So, it was with great joy that I found a flier in my gym for swimming lessons. It's been great! So far, I have learnt that I need to put more power into my breaststroke. On Thursday, I learnt that I'm not kicking my legs enough in my freestyle and need to be more graceful. However, learning what I need to do and being able to do it have been two very different things for me.

So, what have I actually been able to do? Well, I can now swim near the bottom of the pool, which is something that I never could before. Hitherto, my body refused to leave its comfortable proximity to the surface of the water - which for my sake is probably a good thing. I can hold my breathe for longer and so can swim underwater for longer.

The pool is gorgeous too. Not an Olympic-sized pool by any means, but it's the average size for a Lagos pool. It's right by the Atlantic Ocean, which almost (almost, not quite) leaves you feeling that you're about to leap into the wide blue yonder.

I always thought that it would be fun to be part of a regular swimming group, alas it feels like many Nigerians (women especially) do not share this my love. Well, I'm a water-baby and am happy to be reconnected with my love and learning how to do it better.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Bodyworks Fitness Studio

Those who know me know that I am quite the health and fitness nut(!?!)

A few years ago when I moved back, finding a good-quality gym and fitness centre was quite the headache as the options were limited and expensive. Today it's a rather different story. There are several new places to complement the few old faithfuls.

One of such services is Bodyworks Fitness Studio. I love Pilates for it's strengthening and toning benefits, but I could not find it offered anywhere.

Then I heard about Bodyworks and of course I had to check it out immediately. This was October 2006. I spoke to Oyinkan Talabi the founder and CEO of Bodyworks and I started working out with her in her rented facility in Ikoyi.

About 2 year later, Bodyworks moved to its Lekki studio, which is where it can still be found. Classes on offer range from Pilates, Dance Aerobics, Salsa, Hip Hop and TaeBo. There is also a gym and personal training services offered.

Check it out: Bodyworks, 3 Obafemi Anibaba Street (Behind Biscourt Apartments on Admiralty Way), Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.

UPDATE: The building is not sign-posted. If you turned into the road from Admiralty Way (by Ebeano Supermarket), Bodyworks is, I believe, the 3rd building on your right. It's a small creamish-coloured bungalow with a black gate. The building is set-back from the gate with a little parking space in front.

They are open from Monday to Saturday.

Phone: 0806.778.4977

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Apply: Pass-it-on Awards supporting Women in Information Technology

The Anita Borg Systers Pass-It-On (PIO) Awards honor Anita Borg’s desire to create a network of technical women helping one another. The cash awards, funded by donations from the Systers Online Community, are intended as means for women established in technological fields to support women seeking their place in the fields of technology. The program is called “Pass-It-On” because it comes with the moral obligation to “pass on” the benefits gained from the award.

Pass-it-on Award applications are open to any woman over 18 years old in or aspiring to be in the fields of computing. Awards are open to women in all countries and range from $500.00 to $1000.00 USD. Applications covering a wide variety of needs and projects are encouraged, such as:

* Small amount to help with studies, job transfers or other transitions in life.
* A broader project that benefits girls and women.
* Projects that seek to inspire more girls and women to go into the computing field.
* Assistance with educational fees and materials.
* Partial funding source for larger scholarship.
* Mentoring and other supportive groups for women in technology or computing.

Learn more about Pass-it-on awards.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Apply: 2010 Voices of Our Future

Apply for the Voices of Our Future training program. Voices of Our Future is an online training program in Web 2.0, citizen journalism and empowerment for emerging grassroots women leaders. Thirty applicants will be selected to become Correspondents (the title we give to program participants) and take part in the full five-month long program. They will gain the tools and knowledge to amplify their voices and speak to the world; overcome barriers and challenges to achieving their dreams through empowerment coaching; and raise awareness about the real issues they, their families and communities face through opportunities for publication on the World Pulse website, magazine and through partner media organizations.

The deadline for this fabulous opportunity is October 13, 2010.

Learn more:

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Natural Hair Meet Up: Champagne, Cupcakes and Curltalk 2

The second edition of Champagne, Cupcakes and Curltalk organised by Kinky Apothecary took place last week Saturday.

I didn't attend the first one and was quite curious to see what it was all about. Plus, how could I pass up the chance to meet and mingle with other fabulous natural-haired ladies?

I met the lovely Nibi who runs Kinky Apothecary, where you can buy healthy hair products. Nibi has been natural since 1999, which is when I also moved to the nappy side. It was heartening to meet another Nigerian woman who has embraced her natural hair.

The event kicked off proper with a Natural Hair 101 talk by Nibi, in which she gave an intro to the basics of natural hair care, types of products to use, and styling natural hair.

The women in attendance were all at various stages of their natural journeys - from some in transition to longer-term naturals. One interesting observation I made was that most of us did not wear out our own hair, instead opting for some form of hair extensions. Not that there is anything wrong with this, but it showed perhaps how we had yet to fully explore our natural styling options.

I came away from CCC thinking that I need to experiment more with my styling options. I've definitely fallen into a rut with my hair. I also need to stop wearing extensions so often and I definitely need to stop blow drying my hair when I do decide to braid or wear extensions.

I learnt about a new online hair resource: Curly Nikki, which I'm checking out as we speak. I'm excited again about playing with my hair, which I think is one of the benefits of meetings like this.

Nibi said she's thinking of organising a nappy party at the end of the year, where we all wear our hair out. That's definitely something to look forward to.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Water Colour, Pastel & Drawing Exhibition - Omenka Gallery

The Omenka Gallery cordially invites you to a Water Colour, Pastel & Drawing Exhibition 2010.

The exhibition is scheduled as follows:

Date: It opens at 4pm on Saturday, August 14 and runs till Saturday August 21, 2010
Venue: Omenka Gallery, 24, Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos
Time: 10:00am to 6:00pm daily

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Book Review - Thank God I'm Natural: : The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair

Thank God I'm Natural book cover

I’m excited to review the book Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair by Chris-Tia Donaldson.

Let me start off by saying that I have been natural since 1999 and in this decade, I have sought out as much information as I could that would help me better understand and care for my natural hair. I have scoured nappy hair websites, discussion groups and blogs. I have hunted down books about natural hair. I have eagerly picked up magazines featuring natural celebrities or models. In short, I have been an ardent seeker of information.

And in return, I have been rewarded with an abundance of valuable hair care tips, personal stories of journeying down the nappy road, styling and product advice and photos to feast my eyes on.

With all that, my reaction to learning about a new book about natural hair was “What do I need another book for?” However, as it turned out, there was a lot to learn.

Thank God I’m Natural (TGIN) covers key topics like the anatomy of the hair, hair types and texture, products and styling, which you would expect to find in any hair care book. What sets it apart is the highly personal style of this book. It starts of with Chris-Tia’s story of how she journeyed down the natural hair path. After years of struggling to fit in with what she felt was society’s beauty ideal, she eventually finds freedom and happiness in wearing her hair in its natural texture.

From the introduction, she launches into dispelling misconceptions about natural hair, such as natural hair being only workable for women with ‘good’ hair, natural hair being unprofessional, hard, dry, unmanageable and please …… how men are not attracted to women with natural hair (though the last one has some truth for many Nigerian men).

We get a peek at the historical significance of natural hair starting from the era of the North Atlantic slave trade, where African still celebrated the ‘richness and beauty of their natural hair.’ However, this is a speedy overview of the history of natural hair in the United States and for a more in-depth look, you’d probably want to check out “Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America” by Ayanna Byrd and Lori Tharps.

I liked the chapters on transitioning, which explains the process in simple steps, suggests hair styles and even discusses dealing with reactions from friends and family (which earlier books on natural hair often didn’t). One of my favourite parts of the book was Caring for Your Hair, which explains the rudiments of hair care from shampooing, conditioning to the role of diet. This is one of the rare hair care books that recommends specific brands for different hair brands. That was useful to me, though of course, it’s important to note that products work differently on people.

Later on, we learn how to mix up some healthy products in our kitchens, which are both cheap and nourishing for our hair.

The glossary of natural hair terms and the list of resources (websites, books) at the end point readers to sources of additional information and thus makes this book a handy guide for naturals.

The highlight of TGIN for me was undoubtedly the Natural Beware chapter, which walks readers through the ingredient list of typical hair products pointing out which to avoid and which to look out for. Knowing what the various chemicals has long been a source of confusion for me and this chapter explained what to avoid and why. For this alone section, I would buy this book.

Overall, I think that this book gives a fairly good introduction to managing natural hair and where the reader requires more information, the book provides a list of additional resources. As a long-time natural, with a solid collection of natural hair books, there’s very little that would move me to buy another book, however I think TGIN is a useful compendium of hair care, product and styling information. I think for the guide on reading and interpreting product labels alone, this book is worth owning.

It's also worth noting that the TGIN movement goes beyond the book, but also aims to build and support a community of naturals through the blog and Twitter account.

To learn more about the book, visit

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

For Naturals: Champagne, Cupcakes and Curltalk

For the naturals living in Lagos, the Kinky Apothecary is holding the 2nd edition of Champagne, Cupcakes and Curltalk on Saturday, July 31 2010 from 3 to 7PM.

I wasn't at the last event, but apparently it was a great time of sharing tips and advice on how to care for natural hair. This upcoming session promises to be just as good.

Get more details from the Kinky Apothecary blog.

Literature's Newest Star

I read I Do Not Come to You By Chance several months ago and it was the wittiest book I had read in a long while. Here's an interview with the writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani on BellaNaija.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Global Social Benefit Incubator

For those in the California area:


Santa Clara University's Center for Science, Technology, and Society is inviting people to see business plan presentations by its 2010 Global Social Benefit Incubator Entrepreneurs from around the world.

When: Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where: Locatelli Center at Santa Clara University

7:15 - 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. Business Plan Presentations
12:00 - 1:15 p.m. Lunch
1:15 - 6:15 p.m. Business Plan Presentations
6:15 - 7:45 p.m. Reception

The Global Social Benefit Incubator (GSBITM) program at Santa Clara University enables proof of concept social ventures that serve the base of the pyramid to become sustainable at scale. It combines classroom instruction in finance, marketing creation, organizational development, and business planning with case studies, best practices and, most importantly, carefully matched Silicon Valley mentors. The invited entrepreneurs have demonstrated that their innovations can have a significant impact on alleviating poverty and empowering human development in the most adverse circumstances around the world.

In 2010, the STS Center launched a three-year initiative to focus on “Renewable Energy for the Underserved.” This initiative will explore several segments of the clean energy field including off-grid power and light and related value chain organizations such as technology providers. This year, we have 12 social entrepreneurs that are representing the Renewable Energy Sector in the GSBI class of 2010.

At the August 26th summary business plan presentations, you will see how the unique GSBI learning environment contribute to the innovative adaptation of technology and models of social change, in combination with validated business plans, to accelerate the potential for social entrepreneurship to benefit all of humanity.

RSVP at the event page or email

For further information call +1.408.551.6027 or email If you have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation, please call the Center or 1-800-735-2929 (TTY-California Relay) at least 48 hours prior to the event.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Video: What is good black hair?

Seen on NaijaBlog: A video on the Guardian website about black women (in the U.K.)'s hair choices.

Natural Hair Section on BellaNaija

BellaNaija has introduced a column on natural hair called The Cotton Crown. It's great to see. I've seen more attention paid to nappy hair over the last year, including an article in Next, a feature in (shock! horror) This Day Style, a section in the UK beauty magazine Black Hair & Beauty (this was quite vast).

I don't believe that this has translated into a wider acceptance of natural hair, although I do see more nappies around. I guess those who have been natural all along feel more comfortable wearing their hair out and those who would never dream of wearing their hair this way still feel the same way.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Betsy in Spite of Herself

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

The words of William Shakespeare as quoted in the book I just finished Betsy in Spite of Herself.

I'm so glad that I stumbled serendipitously on this series last year. How can it be that a book about a young women written just over a century ago can feel so modern? Betsy Ray has ambitions that I did not expect a lady living in the early 20th century to have (not prioritising marriage above her writing career, her disinterest in acquiring domestic skills, her strong desire to see the 'great world' and her wish to live a varied and rich life).

Now this has me turned onto exploring the works of Louisa May Alcott and Jane Austen to read more about women's lives 'back then.' Other recommendations welcome.

And the quote above? Betsy finds out in the most interesting way that it's not worth anything pretending to be anything other than who you really are.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Syster's Pass-it-on Grants for Women in Computing

If you are a woman in computing, who is building-up other women's technical skills and awareness, then you should take a look at the Syster's Pass-it-on grants.

This is an initiative of Systers - the online community of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology.

You can learn more about the grant and see past winners.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

FATE Foundation Programme for Aspiring Women Entrepreneurs

FYI for budding business women.


Fate Foundation in partnership with Citi Foundation presents to you the 2nd batch of the women's programme titled The Leading Female Entrepreneur coming up on the 9th and 10th of August 2010. This program is targeted at aspiring and budding Nigerian women between the ages of 18 -45 that are posed for leadership and entrepreneurship achievement.

The programme will take place in Fate Foundations Lagos office and would run for 2
days. The programme would involve successful and prominent Nigerian entrepreneurs
facilitating, budding and equipping entrepreneurs with the skills, tools, techniques
and necessary networking methods required to maintain successful businesses in the
Nigerian business environment.

Registration for the programme is on and ends on the 4th of August 2010. Registration
fee cost N5000 only. Breakfast, lunch, materials for the program and certificates will be provided.

Interested participants are to download and fill the application form, pay the
registration fee into our Guaranty Trust Bank Account number 201/110752/3/110. The
filled application form attached with a copy of bank teller MUST be sent in hard copy
to our office 1st floor, Lagos State Water Corporation Building, Ijora Lagos or in soft
copy to Please note that any application recieved after the 4th of August will not be considered.

For further inquiries please call Moji on 01-8797074 or send me a mail via Please endeavor to register promptly as we have limited seats for the programme.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Coordinator, Short Entrepreneurial Courses
Fate Foundation

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Unleash the 80s

I LOVED the Unleash the 80s show when it used to come on Silverbird TV. Sadly, it disappeared just after I had become well and truly hooked. my fix for old school music has since been filled by Classic FM, but I just saw the link to the Unleash the 80s website via Linda Ikeji's blog. Here you can listen to old school music ALL DAY LONG!! I'm in 1980s heaven right now. LOL!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thank God I’m Natural!

This is not a review of the book of the same name. I will do that in a later post.

I just watched the much talked about documentary ‘Good Hair’ written and produced by comedian Chris Rock. I know this came out ages ago, but it was good to see it at last after all the interest it had generated – especially among natural-haired women.

"Thank God I’m natural" was all I could think at several points during the movie. In his quest to find out what the term ‘good hair’ means, Chris Rock explores the significance of hair to African-American women, how they are wearing their hair, and what, if anything, makes hair ‘good’ or ‘bad.’

Although he does not advocate wearing one’s hair in any particular way, it was noteworthy to me how the benefits of being natural glimmered through occasionally but strikingly.

For a start, he speaks with a white scientist who explains the effects of sodium hydroxide (a main ingredient of relaxers) on a can of Pepsi. After soaking in the sodium hydroxide for several hours, the body of the can has totally corroded away. When Rock mentions that Black women who relax put this compound in their hair, the scientist asks incredulously, ‘Why would they do that?’

In another scene, we see Rock speaking to a woman who is getting her hair done about the effects of relaxer on her hair. Her complaint about how relaxers burn the scalp and break the hair off is redundant, because we can clearly see that most of her hairline is gone.

That was painful to watch, because I remember those days of retouches so vividly; particularly the accompanying scabs that I’d be gingerly peeling off my scalp for the next week or so.

The documentary goes on to explore weaves as a styling option and Rock visits Chennai in India to see where the hair that constitutes the ubiquitous ‘Indian hair’ weave comes from.

I knew that much of this hair comes from unsuspecting donors, but I had no idea just how ignorant they were about where their hair would eventually end up. Some long locks are given in a religious ceremony either as a sacrifice for a closely held desire or as a thanksgiving for answered prayers. The hair, unbeknown to the donors, is sold to hair factories where it is cleaned and packaged for sale in the West as human hair weaves. In some other cases, we are told by a hair ‘expert’ (aka hair thief), that some locks are snipped off the owners’ heads while they are sleeping in a public place or at the cinema engrossed in the latest Bollywood offering. Imagine waking up to realize that your hair is gone and imagine also the curses the women would rain on whoever stole their hair! I cannot imagine sewing hair with such bad vibes into my hair.

After spending anything from $1,000 on their human hair, many women are unlikely to engage in any activity that would ruin the hair. Understandably so. But I cannot imagine returning to the days of being scared to work out (and sweat out my style), swim, get caught in the rain, enjoy the wind sweeping through my hair or in short most fun physical activities.

In one poignant scene, a group of high school students talk about how “afros are cute and all”, but how they would not take seriously anyone in a professional setting who wore their hair that way. It was sad, because it’s apparent that European ideals are looked upon as the standard of what is professional and stylish. However, what the young women did not consider was that just as with non-natural hair, there are varieties of styling options and yes, some styles do attract more attention than others. What was especially sad was that even the lone student with the afro seemed to agree that her hair was not presentable for a work setting.

I read some reviews of this documentary with the opinion that Chris Rock had the perfect opportunity to make a case for natural hair. Perhaps yes, he did, but I don’t believe that was what this film was about. It was one man’s exploration of African American women and their hair. Also, there is the tendency for the makers’ personal preferences to influence the slant of the film.

I was miffed at how Chris Rock suggested that a man might prefer a woman with natural hair, only because she’d be easier on his pocket. However, I appreciated the attempt to discover what the styling trend was among black women (note: the scene where he tries to sell nappy hair at some hair supply stores. You'd either find the reaction of the store managers hilarious or offensive.) At the same time, he failed to push further to question why straight, silky hair is the gold standard in hair styling. Nonetheless, I thought there was volume spoken in what was left unsaid.

In the end, actress Tracie Thoms eloquently summed-up most people’s attitude to natural hair: It is incredible that my decision to wear my hair the way it comes out of my head would be considered revolutionary.

And I totally concur! Women who have made the decision to remain natural really should not be looking to any source – this documentary included – for validation of their hair care choice. Like Tracie Thoms stated, you have to wear your natural hair with conviction, because there is so much pressure on you to relax.

Ultimately though, what it boils down to is that you need to make the decisions that work best for you – whether that’s to remain natural, wear a head-full of weaves or relax your hair.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Finale: Farafine Trust Creative Writing Workshop

The Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop ends with a literary evening on May 29th at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos. Time is 3pm.

The event will be featuring readings by Chika Unigwe, author of The Phoenix; South African writer Niq Mhlongo, author of Dog Eat Dog; Ghanian author and playwright, Ama Ata Aidoo; Caine Prize winner, Bard Fellow and director of the Chinua Achebe Centre for African Writers and Artists, Binyavanga Wainaina and a host of others.

Admission to the event is free.

Ben Enwonwu Foundation: Young Artist of the Year

The Ben Enwonwu Foundation (BEF) cordially invites you to an art competition for children, the Ben Enwonwu Foundation Young Artist of the Year (BEFYART) 2010.

The competition is scheduled as follows:

Date: June 10, 2010

Venue: National Museum, Onikan, Lagos

Time: 11:00am

There will be side attractions including music, cultural performances and comedy.

For more information, visit the BEF website target="_blank",, or call +234(1)7379753 - 5 or +234-8033129276.

Funding Resource for NGOs from Women Thrive Worldwide

A wonderful new funding resource for women-centered groups and organisations:
Women Thrive Worldwide is proud to announce the release of its Fundraising Guide for Women’s Community-Based Organizations. 

We frequently notice that local organizations have difficulty navigating the often complex world of international assistance and fundraising. This guide was written to help bridge that gap.

Outlining the basic concepts of professional fundraising, the guide seeks to assist our community partners through a collaborative process to increase access to effective resources. From practical advice based on years of experience in professional fundraising in the United States to detailed instructions on how to write grant proposals, budgets and reports, the principles and methods we introduce are applicable globally and can be tailored to local environments.

To download the free guide see

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Launch of the Young Feminist Wire / AWID YFA

AWID's Young Feminist Activism program has launched the Young Feminist Wire, an online platform for young women working on gender equality everywhere around the world.

The Wire is a hub of information by, about, and for young feminists: tools and resources, opportunities and calls for participation, news and updates, in addition to collaborative activities. It also features blog posts, interviews, directories, and a registration form that allows you to plug in to a network of young activists and older allies.

Book Event: The BookJam @ Silverbird

The BookJam @ Silverbird is a monthly event that consists of book readings, discussions, musical performances, poetry recitals, book signings and a raffle draw. At each edition of the BookJam you have the chance to meet and discuss with some of our finest writers—and you might win a prize too, if you buy their books.

The BookJam is hosted by A. Igoni Barrett and the Silverbird Lifestyle store.

The 4th edition of the BookJam will hold between 3 to 5 pm on Saturday 22 May 2010 at the Silverbird Lifestyle store, Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The guest writers are:

SADE ADENIRAN is a graduate of the University of Plymouth and also spent time as an exchange student at the University of Massachusetts. She has written various pieces for theatre and her work has been performed at the Lyric, the Bush and the Riverside Studios. She won the “Best First Book Prize” (Africa Region) in the 2008 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for her debut novel Imagine This. She lives and works in London, and is working on her second novel.

CHUMA NWOKOLO is a lawyer and writer. He was writer-in-residence of the Ashmolean Museum and chair of Leys Newspapers, Oxford. He is the publisher of African Writing magazine. He has written short stories, novels and poetry. His story, Diary of a Dead African, was chosen by La Internazionale as one of the 3 best stories worldwide in 2003. He lives in the UK.

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE is the author of Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and The Thing Around Your Neck. Purple Hibiscus won the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best Book) and Half of a Yellow Sun won the 2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. Her latest book, The Thing Around Your Neck, was shortlisted for the 2009 John Llewellyn-Rhys Memorial Prize. She lives between Nigeria and the US.

BINYAVANGA WAINAINA is the founding editor of the literary magazine Kwani?. He won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2002 for his story Discovering Home. He is currently a Director at The Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Granta and National Geographic.


Refreshment provided by: COKE

Admission to the BookJam is free. Members of the audience who purchase books during the event stand a chance to win a special prize in the BookJam raffle draw. Any questions about the BookJam should be emailed to

Monday, May 17, 2010

Program for Technology-Enabled Business Women

A new six-month programme, FEMTECH, is being launched to provide business support services to women who wish to establish and grow their own technology-enabled businesses. The programme is being funded by the Embassy of Finland, South Africa and is being executed in collaboration with the University of Pretoria, South Africa.

This programme is aimed at those who are:
- Existing woman business owners with demonstrated entrepreneurial skills and who are preferably running technology-enabled businesses and wish to grow the business substantially, or who
- Want to introduce an innovative product or service (at least at the concept stage) into an existing business, or who
- Plan to spin out a business from a corporate environment.

Training will take place between July and October and will consist of group-centered learning as well as individual mentoring and coaching.

Twenty applicants will be chosen for the programme. Shortlisted applicants should expect to be interviewed and will be required to present their concepts at the end of June 2010. The Selection Panel’s decision is final and no further communication or correspondence will be entered into.

Deadline for submission: 31 May 2010

Contact Jill Sawers on
or +27 082 214-5915 or Tina James on +27 82 460-7915 for more information.

Book Reading: Sade Adeniran

Following a very successful book reading on Saturday for author Adaobi Nwaubani, publishing house Cassava Republic is organising another one with details below:

Sade Adeniran will be reading at the House of Makeda on Sunday, May 23 at 4:00pm.

When: Sunday, May 23, 2010
Time: 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Where: House of Makeda, 7 Manuwa St, off Keffi St, off Awolowo Road, SW Ikoyi

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Natural Hair Resources

Here are a few natural hair links:

The Kinky Apothecary
is a new website that promotes healthy care for natural hair. Kinky Apothecary also sells products suited for natural hair (no mineral oil and silicone). There's a Facebook page. KO also organises occasional natural hair workshops called Champagne, Cupcakes & Curltalk.

The founder of the Kinky Apothecary, Nibi was recently featured on Black Girl with Long Hair. She talks about her experiences wearing her natural hair in Nigeria. Fellow naturals and regular readers of this blog will already know all about THAT.....

A couple of months ago, Elan conducted a mini Q&A with 3 nappy headed ladies. They talk hair regime and products.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Reading: Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani will be reading from her novel I Do Not Come to You By Chance this weekend at Quintessence.

Details below:
When: Saturday, May 15, 2010
Where: Quintessence, Falomo Shopping Centre, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos
Time: 4PM

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Child Marriage: Exploiting the Vulnerable

Senator Yerima is a total disgrace! The marriage of this 50 year old former governor of Zamfara state to a 13 year old Egyptian GIRL is pure pedophilia cloaked in religion. And it illustrates how girls and women from poor backgrounds will always be vulnerable to exploitation from those with money. According to this NEXT article, his latest wife is the daughter of his driver!!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Farafina’s Book Club Program

If you love to read and talk about the books you've read, then perhaps a book club is for you. Find out more about Farafina’s Book Club Program.

Info is also on the Bella Naija website.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Nominate: Anita Borg Change Agent

I was honoured to be nominated for and awarded the Anita Borg Change Agent award last year. Aside from being a huge recognition, it afforded me the opportunity to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing last October in Tucson, Arizona. I highly encourage you all to nominate women who fit the specs (see below).


The Anita Borg Institute is writing women into technical history. Thousands of women throughout the world are leading technology innovation. They often go unnoticed and unrewarded. ABI has created a set of awards to honor these distinguished technical women. I am writing to see whether you might want to nominate someone that you know through your work, or perhaps apply for the award yourself.

The Anita Borg Change Agent Awards honor technical women that live and work outside the United States. They are change agents in their communities – working to attract and support women in technology in their regions in developing countries. Recipients are recognized for their technical leadership and advocacy work.

- The application deadline has been EXTENDED to Friday, May 14, 2010 at 11:59pm EST – Eastern Standard Time.

- For more information see

- To submit a nomination go to

For information on other Anita Borg awards go to The awards celebration will be held September 30, 2010 at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference in Atlanta, GA. The award includes free conference registration and travel expenses.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jazz, Champagne & Shopping

A fashion event to be held at the Daisy Centre, Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island on May 1.

Contact for more information.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Do Not Come to You by Chance - Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

I haven't had much time to do a lot of (no, make that ANY) personal blogging lately. It's not that there's a lack of things to write about, but there is a lack of time. Plus, there are so many other things that I want to do.

One of them is to read more. In the last few months, I've gobbled up an interesting variety of books from the literary to the professional to bubble-gum pop. So, I've read The Executive Director's Guide to Thriving as a Nonprofit Leader, The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver and Big Girl by Danielle Steele.

Now I'm devouring I Do Not Come to You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani (is it me or is there a trend of writers including their middle name in their professional name?) Prior to stumbling upon this book at Quintessence, I did not know anything about this book except that it's written by the Acting Editor of Elan (Next newspaper's style Sunday magazine). So out of admittedly more out of curiousity to see what type of book a fashion editor would write, I bought a copy of the book. This is the latest from the Cassava Republic publishers.

I'm still reading it, but this is an extremely funny book, which tells the story of Kingsley, the eldest child in his family who turns to online fraud aka '419' to take care of his family. I have carried the book everywhere with me since I started it on Friday. Ms. Nwaubani is a very talented writer with an observant eye and a sharp pen. No wonder, the book is raking in a fair share of accolades. Sometimes, these awards really miss the mark, but from what I've read so far, I think I Do Not Come to You By Chance deserves to be noticed.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Call for Proposals: HIV & Violence Against Women

Call for Proposals: HIV Young Leaders Fund

The Fund seeks grant proposals from organizations working to address the needs of young people most-affected by HIV in their communities, including young people living with HIV. Deadline for applications: May 1, 2010.

Read more


Deadline Extended: 3 Calls for Proposals: UNIFEM: "Campaigns to End Violence against Women and Girls", "Working with the Security Sector to End Violence against Women and Girls", and "Working with the Justice Sector to End Violence against Women and Girls"

The knowledge asset on "Campaigns to End Violence Against Women and Girls" (distilled programming guidance, programme examples and case studies) should be tailored to provide practical guidance for the development and implementation of campaigns that address gender-based violence specifically.

The focus of the module "Working with the Security Sector to End Violence against Women and Girls" is to provide 'state-of-the-art' how-to guidance on working with the security sector to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.

The focus of the module "Working with the Justice Sector to End Violence against Women and Girls" is to provide 'state-of-the-art' how-to guidance on working with the justice sector (in particular, the informal justice sector) to implement legislation and human rights standards related to ending violence against women and girls.

Deadline for proposals has been extended to April 23, 2010 and for the knowledge asset to April 27, 2010.

Read more

Monday, April 12, 2010

Exhibition of Paintings & Drawings: Obi Nwaegbe

The Ben Enwonwu Foundation cordially invites you to ‘Tainted Visions’, an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Obi Nwaegbe.

Date: Friday, April 16 (opens at 4PM) - Friday, April 23, 2010

Venue: Omenka Gallery, 24, Ikoyi Crescent, Ikoyi, Lagos

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Celebrities Walk Against Rape

This event, Celebrities Walk Against Rape is sponsored by the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs.

For enquiries, call: 0706.090.7388; 0806.865.3263; 0807.551.7713.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

New Nigerian Web Tools

More Nigerian-developed content on the web. Here are two new ones:

1. Style House Files, Nigerian style website, "aims to be a leader in fashion, style and beauty for fashion insiders, industry professionals and the savvy internet user."

2. Gistcaster, like Twitter and NaijaPulse, this micro-blogging tool "is a social messenger that helps you share and discover what's happening right now, around you."

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I.T Training Opportunities for Nigerian Women

The Women's Technology Empowerment Centre - W.TEC has two information technology training programmes coming up for women in April and May.

1. Information Management 101 is an introductory-level ICT programme. For details:

2. The Young Women's Programme will equip young women to use online tools for learning, leadership and professional development. For details:

Please share widely.

Girls & Technology Links

Two women & technology links:

Technology lifts status for many African women:

This article by Rebecca Wanjiku explores the new work and economic opportunities that information technology has opened up for African women.

Girls Investigate: From Face to Facebook:

This short video produced by Nadia Tareen for Girls Learn International, speaks to teenage North American girls about their social media usage patterns and how it's influenced their lives. The girls talk about social media's potential for activism and offering new ways to stay in touch with their friends. On the other hand, they also share their fears about cyber bullying, protecting themselves adequately in their online interactions and the biggest of all drawbacks - time wasting.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bursary for ICT4D Masters from University of Manchester



The 2010 ICT4D Bursary, worth £6,000, is available exclusively for developing country applicants to the University of Manchester's one-year MSc ICTs for Development degree programme (

Application and eligibility details can be found at:

Details on other funding sources and on part-time employment opportunities while studying in Manchester can be found at:

Richard Heeks
Centre for Development Informatics
University of Manchester, UK

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day: Celebrating Abi Jagun

I'm honoured to participate in the Ada Lovelace Day again this year.

In the spirit of writing about a woman who has inspired me in the technical realm, again I did not have to look very far. Last year I blogged about Dr. Nancy Hafkin, who has written widely about how information & communication technologies (ICTs) can promote and facilitate social and economic development in Africa, particularly for women, and who I have met.

So again, this year I have decided to write about another woman who I am fortunate to know personally. Dr. Abi Jagun is a telecommunications and development researcher - specifically the impact of technology on society, particularly how mobile communications devices affect socio-economic development.

She is a freelance researcher, formerly a Research Fellow in the Department of Management Science at the University of Strathclyde Business School. Prior to that, she worked with the Association for Progressive Communications, as Africa Policy officer, and as a lecturer in the Institute for Development Policy Management at the University of Manchester. She got her PhD from the University of Strathclyde, U.K. in 2006 following research into telecommunications and the structure of economic organisations, focusing in particular on the textile sector in Nigeria.

I met Abi several years ago when I lived in Boston. She was in town to attend Harvard Business School's African Business Club annual conference. We hit off and I was impressed by the fact that she was a doctoral student at the time - particularly in a field that I shared an interest. At the time I saw my future in research and possibly academia. Although many of my colleagues at Education Development Center in Newton, MA did not have PhDs, I saw the degree as one way to move more firmly in that direction.

Abi encouraged me to go for it, although she didn't shy away from sharing the challenges of doctoral studies, like the isolation students feel sometimes and the frustration when your work is not gong well. Notwithstanding, she bubbled with enthusiasm for her work, while appearing to have a vest for life outside of school.

So while Abi is not an engineer or a programmer or working in one of the more technical aspects of computing and information technology, like Nancy Hafkin she is educating and informing the world, through her research and writing, about how technology can make our lives better.

Abi is now one of the advisory board members for the Women's Technology Empowerment Centre - W.TEC, which I am personally so thrilled about, and has so generously shared of her time and expertise. Although I have not (yet!) embarked on a PhD, she certainly filled me with encouragement that I could do it. I will think about how it fits in with my life plans, but in the meantime, through W.TEC, research is part of my work now.

Learn more about Ada Lovelace Day:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The March 16th march - Enough is Enough Nigeria

Information of the March 16th "Enough is Enough" march:


March 16 is the date that young Nigerians will march in Abuja to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Time: 11am

Venue: National Assembly, Abuja (We gather at Eagle Square at 11am PROMPT)

1) President Yar’Adua should resume, resign or be removed
2) The promise of 6000megawatts must be fulfilled
3) The 5-month fuel crisis needs to end now.

· From wherever you are in Nigeria, come too Abuja and join the rally – if you book early on many airlines, you get cheaper tickets, and you can return on the same day!

· If you are in Abuja, attend the rally with an average of TEN of your friends/family.

· If you are in any of the neighbouring states - Plateau, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi – attend the rally with an average of FIVE of your friends.

· Get at least FIVE of your friends and family who live or work or school in Abuja to attend the rally.

· Get at least FIVE of your friends and family who live or work of school in neighbouring states – Plateau, Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi – to come to Abuja and join the rally.

· If you cannot attend yourself and you can afford it, sponsor at least one other young person to attend on your behalf. To get more information about how you can do that, call 0702.810.1959 or mail

· On your Facebook (groups and profiles), Twitter, and BBMs, update DAILY with the date and time of the rally, as well as the website until the 16th of March so that people do not forget.

· Join the Facebook group Enough is Enough Nigeria and invite your friends and family to join. Our target is 10000 members by the end of March. We need more people involved!

· Put up information about the rally daily on your website and blogs to sensitise young people so they don’t forget the date, venue and time.

· There are plenty of logistics that we have to deal with – buses, water, legal, media & publicity, crowd control, mobilization, distribution of publicity materials etc – if you have experience or resources in any of this, please call 07028101959 or email to offer your help.

· SUPPORT the rally. There is so much to do in so short a time and we NEED the support of as many young and older people who are fed up with Nigeria’s situation. If you are ready to support, please call 0802.222.6712 or 0702.810.1959 NOW!



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Na My Wedding is a wedding planning and community website. The site contains an extensive wedding directory, a wedding advice section and planning tools to enable prospective couples find wedding vendors, keep track of their wedding plans.

Hits on have sky-rocked in the barely 3 weeks of its existence. With now over 10, 000 registered users and 110 couples in the competition, it’s a furious scramble to the top.

The top ten contestants with the highest votes will be invited to the gala night and launch of, which will take place on April 10 2010. At the gala night, one lucky couple out of the top ten will win the grand prize of a dream wedding valued at over N 4million.

With sign-in options from Facebook, this is a complete and easy-to-use social networking website for couples planning a wedding, hoping to get engaged soon or just crazy about weddings. The popularity of this site also shows that young Nigerians are increasingly digital natives.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Nneka: Live at Jazzhole (March 12)

Photo Credit: Herve All

Nigerian singer Nneka who has gradually been rising to prominence in the global music scene will perform next Friday at Jazzhole.

When: Friday 12th March, 2010
Where: The Jazzhole, 168 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos
Time: Doors open @ 7PM; Performance starts @ 8PM
Cost: N5,000

Tickets are available at The Jazzhole. For more information call 01-895.3498 or 0706.064.8580.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Book Event: The BookJam @ Silverbird

This year has started off with a number scintillating arts events. Here's a new initiative:


Writer A. Igoni Barrett (author of From Caves of Rotten Teeth and convener of the 9 Writers, 4 Cities book tour) will, in collaboration with Silverbird Lifestyle media store, host a monthly series of literary events tagged The BookJam @ Silverbird.

What it is? Book readings and discussion, musical performances

Why it is? To provide literary entertainment for the public, create opportunities for book lovers to meet and discuss with writers and artists, to support the local literary community.

When? Saturday 27 February 2010 (3-5PM)

Where? Silverbird Lifestyle store, Silverbird Galleria, Ahmadu Bello Way, VI, Lagos.

How much? Free

February's guest writers and artistes are:
Kaine Agary, author of Yellow Yellow and winner of the 2008 NLNG-sponsored Nigeria Prize for Literature;
Eghosa Imasuen, author of To Saint Patrick;
Jude Dibia, author of Walking with Shadows and Unbridled and winner of the 2007 NDDC/ANA-sponsored Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Prose.

For more information about the BookJam please send an email to

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition

The University of Texas at Austin and Dell are searching for student social entrepreneurs all over the world to dream up ingenious ideas to change the world. College students worldwide are invited to enter the 2010 Dell Social Innovation Competition for a chance to win $50,000 to turn their ideas into a new business or nonprofit with a mission to change lives for the better.

The deadline to enter is March 1, 2010. Students can submit their
ideas online at

Along with students, citizens worldwide are invited to comment on, vote for and discuss the ideas in the online community forum:

The RGK Center for Philanthropy & Community Service in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin introduced the Social Innovation Competition in 2006, awarding more than $200,000 in
prizes to student social entrepreneurs.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Apply for the 2010 African Women Artisans Training Workshops

Vital Voices welcomes applications and nominations for participation in our African Women Artisans Product & Development Program 2010 Training Workshops with support from the ExxonMobil Foundation.

This workshop will provide women artisan business owners and business leaders with information and expertise in product and export development. Vital Voices will cover all program and travel costs.

The workshop will hold in Lagos,Nigeria from July 19-23, 2010.

Applications are due by Monday, May 3rd, 2010.

Visit the Vital Voices website for more information.