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ANWBN Webinar: Mitigating the Dangers and Risks for Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs Post COVID-19

In solidarity with all women entrepreneurs on the devastating economic impact of COVID-19 on businesses in Nigeria, the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN) organised a webinar on Mitigating the Dangers and Risks for Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs Post COVID-19. The webinar, organised for the leadership of the network’s over 4 million members across sectors, was attended by the National Executive, Regional Coordinators, Presidents of Member Organisations, and key stakeholders of the National and Global Economy. Conference Resource Persons include, Barbara Langley, Director, Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment (CWEE), Centre for International Enterprise (CIPE), Washington, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mrs Adejoke Adefuliere, represented by Rose Keffas, Dr Uzodinma Adireje and Langdon Morris, World renowned Innovation Consultant and Senior Partner, Innovation Labs,UC, USA.

The event kicked off with a Welcome Address by ANWBN’s National Coordinator, Chief (Mrs) Anita Nana Okuribido, who welcomed everyone to the Webinar, stressing that ANWBN is dedicated to improving the capacity of members in the six geo_political zones of Nigeria especially at the grassroots level, working with the three tiers of government.

The Coalition is also dedicated through a formalised system of private/public dialogue to bring the priority issues of ANWBN to all Stakeholders across boards.

Chief Okuribido also talked about the reviewed Women’s National Business Agenda (WNBA), which she described as ANWBN’s vital tool to stimulate Economic Development for Women Entrepreneurs.

The reviewed priority issues are:

  1. Insecurity insurgency, aptly worsened by the recent devastating Global COVID -19 pandemic.
  2. Inadequate Power supply looking at the Renewable Energy policy.
  3. Dilapidated and poor road network.
  4. Gender inequality at all levels.
  5. Lack of Access to Finance with a focus on a law to establish a woman’s bank to provide loans with a very low single digit interest rate. As well as Financial Inclusion in the private and public sphere.

On COVID-19, ANWBN she informed would organise affordable digital programs and free trainings to help increase their earning power.

ANWBN has over 4 million members with branches across the 774 LGAs in the country and that is the Strength of the Coalition.

She further reiterated that Member organisations are differently endowed and the coalition has become a vital group for development in Nigeria.

Worthy of mentioning is that, ANWBN also blazed the trail  with our Webinar meeting being the first during the pandemic lockdown to deliberate on the WNBA.

1024 Concepts is therefore our vehicle/partner to achieve our post Covid-19 action plans.

To conclude, the NC promised to work hard with all Member Organisations to meet up with the project plan. There is also the need to drive the message of unity since we are not here in the Coalition to compete with each other, but to help one another grow hence the ANWBN slogan states: Work Together – Walk Far.

The first presentation was done by Mrs Rose Keffas, who Represented , Her Excellency Mrs Adejoke Adefuliere, SSP on SDGs from the Presidency.  She spoke extensively on how to mitigate the Covid-19 in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Kefas informed that in September 2015 the  SDGs were adopted and it is hoped that by 2030 many of the Goals would have been achieved. Gender  equality, she informed lies at the centre of the 17 SDGs and targets. It hopes to trigger multiplier effects and with President Buhari’s commitments,  the SDGs are enablers of Gender transformation in Nigeria.

Kefas goes on to trace the cases of COVID -19 from the index case in Lagos (Italian) on 27th February and the measures taken by the Presidential Task Force to curtail its spread, impact and consequences.

Mrs Rose Kefas informed that the SDGs Initiative is a universal call to action and the fact that Nigeria acted quickly in the overall impact  to support implementation. This includes SDG mapping and growth plan which would end this year. It is hoped that our health system would soon be able to cater for the needs of women stressing that they are largely the beneficiaries  of some of the projects.

She added that they are working with the Presidential task Force  and making sure that no one is left behind.
For us in the Presidency the key thing is how our women and youths would not be left behind.

On her part, Barbara Langley, of the Center for Women’s Economic Empowerment (CWEE), from CIPE Washington D.C. Expressed in her opening remarks that, it was great to be with ANWBN Member Organisations and dignitaries on the Webinar. It is a message of unity and we are in this together. She promised to visit Nigeria when the pandemic subsides. But before this , we must ensure that the coalition stays together. We are really at a turning point, that we stand to loose all that we have gained in the past 10, 20 or 30 years back if we do not do the right and appropriate things. The most important thing is to know that you are not alone.  We really must come together and help one another. ANWBN has taught me that when we work together, we work far.

Barbara goes on to identity Four important things to do:

  1. Policy Advocacy e.g. The Bangladesh example. The women have lots of foodstuff for Ramadan and they use the Chambers e- banking and other facilities to distribute.
  2. Serving as conduit for Corporate Social Responsibility:
    Here she cites the example of restaurants and schools being shut down , while farmers who supply don’t know where to go. So the Chambers of Commerce are buying and selling to the Needy.
  3. Information and giving details:
    Here she talks about increase in police brutality in the market because of the shutdown. The information came and within 24 hours people with the right connections set up hot lines to talk about the brutalities.
  4. Creating New and Innovative Services for Members where Chambers and Associations hire yoga instructors, mental health services, fitness instructors, musicians to provide online services, to take their minds off the stress.

Barbara also identified five objectives to target. They are:

  1. Prepare all CIPE Partners  to have a post COVID analysis. The participation of women in government palliatives in particular.
  2. Connect  Chambers of Commerce, ANWBN  with CIPE Partners in Bangladesh and Nicaragua.
  3. Leverage resources on Gender based violence. The abuse of partners is on the rise. She urged everyone to stay tuned for exciting opportunities in the coming year.

The Deputy National Coordinator, Mrs Modupe Oyekunle who Moderated the Sessions did a recap of Barbara’s Presentation noting that data  collection is something ANWBN would leverage on as well as e- Commerce and digital skill set options, citing the example of primak, which is big but doesn’t have an online presence and recording zero sales.

Iyalode Alaba Lawson, Member ANWBN Board of Trustees, thanked Barbara Langley and mentioned that women were anxious to go back to their businesses. She also cited the importance of digital platforms introductions in schools of which she is involved to keep children busy at this time of the pandemic.

Members of the Coalition  made contributions on the palliative programs they had put in place to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on their members:

  1. Mrs Angela Ajala, President of AWEP, informed that they have scaled up training for members on how to take their business online and if they are online, how they can scale it up and be highly visible.
  2. Mrs Foluke Ademokun of ANWIB took a look at the policy front  and in terms of planning, observed that the voice of Women has been silenced and we are concerned. Women, she added have been sidelined in the food distribution. We are concerned about how this would affect women in the informal sector.
  3. Speaking for NNEW, Mrs Olakitan Wellington, talked about having business training every week for members in different sectors that includes Agriculture and manufacturing.

The Second session was taken by Dr Uzodinmma Adirieje as the Keynote Speaker. He painted a vivid image of the realties  in a post COVID 19 world for businesses, employers and employees.It is therefore a time for innovation, education and survival strategies.Health services he noted are affected, money is not coming in and sickness is knocking on the door. Many are buying on credit and they would pay for it later.There are more things to done  for the economy post COVID era. My recommendation is that we should have equal access for women for the palliatives.
Mrs Mary Hamman, ANWBN appreciated the speaker, Dr Uzodimma Adireje for his contributions.

Member Organisations asked questions and made contributions from their perspective as business owners.

Question and answer session commenced thereafter which led to the third and final session with Mr Langdon Morris giving the pandemic situation and how various businesses can survive in the business world right now through Innovation . He talked about how businesses must change and that the issues are consistent everywhere around the world . He said we should all learn from each other and try out new things differently especially paying attention to the impact of COVID-19 happening the world over.

Mr Morris gave a free download to all Women Entrepreneurs present at the Webinar, of his book and workbook online from www.innovativelabs.com.
This  session also ended with a questions  and answers.

The NC , Chief Mrs Anita Nana  Okunribido thanked  Mr. Langdon Morris for his Innovative speech and enjoined women to change the narrative in Africa.

Coordinated by 1024 Concepts & Digital Network for Women Empowerment., the Moderator along side ‘1024 concepts’ thanked all for a job welldone and promised to organise more webinars for ANWBN in the nearest future.

All excos present thanked everyone for attending and the meeting ended by 6:30pm.

Compiled by:
Mrs Yetunde Oladeinde
ANS ANWBN

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