FASHION DESIGNER OF THE YEAR 2016
Yiga is a second generation Fashion Designer founded in 2008. Yiga, the label inspired by her name Oyeyiga fuses culture with couture for the savvy woman that makes fashion a way of life – ‘from dawn to dusk’. Oyeyiga knew workrooms as far back as she was child sitting under the cutting table in the back streets of Soho London to running errands in Balogun, Lagos-Nigeria during her teenage years. My mum took me on that journey. However, the conception of Yiga come about decades later when an established Nigerian Fashion House had to create a garments for her in her absence and the only way of getting an accurate measurement was to send one of Oyeyiga’s garments which she had created. The designer was impressed and encouraged me to develop my skills. That was when I decided to take up the challenge of 3 years of formal education in garment construction. Yiga creates ready-to-wear elegant stylish concepts, blending ethnic bold prints with delicately crafted fabric. In 2011, Yiga unveiled the Alluring Wraps collection, it was combination of the African print and the manipulation of delicate shear fabric. In addition, on request Yiga creates made-to-measure garments to celebrate the woman and moulding her designs to compliment women without compromising the artful craftsmanship of tailoring. 2016 will see Yiga’s clients rock and roll in the most delicate stitched cloth ‘from dawn to dusk’.
Toyin Seweje is an International Award-winning, multi-talented, creative and innovative jewellery and fashion accessories designer. She is gentle by nature and is also a wife, mother and an entrepreneur based in the United Kingdom. Toyin is the Creative Director and Chief Executive Officer of the following brands, Marcel of London and Lecram Lecram. She is an extremely creative Designer with over 12 years extensive experience and skills. She is well known for her classy and elegant designs, and has the flare for designing both bold and intricate show stopping jewellery and fashion accessories. Toyin’s unique eyes for designing, excellent attention to details and workmanship are seen in her creations, which have set her apart. Testimonials from clients and customers states that ‘’Toyin’s designs and products bring great satisfaction, joy, ooze elegance and beautifies like artwork’’. Over the years she has won numerous awards for her creativity and fashion business. Some of her awards are:
International Award from the European Federation of Black Women Business Owners (EFBWBO) Network – presented by UKTI
- British Female Inventors and Innovators Recognition Award Presented by BFII.
- Nominated for the Pan-African Award in Ghana
- Gathering of Africans Best Award
- European Union Inventors and Innovative Recognition Award in Reykjavik, Iceland.
In 2013, she was appointed an Ambassador for the Global Women Inventors and Innovators by the founder of GWIIN, Dr (Mrs) Bola Olabisi.
MAKE-UP ARTIST OF THE YEAR 2016
Mercy Kudakwashe is an International Makeup Expert with over 10 years experience who specialises in On – Location Bridal and Beauty Makeup. I am from Zimbabwe and am now based in Ireland. I have always loved anything to do with beauty from a young age, I even remember coming up with different names for my Beauty salon at age 14! I studied Marketing but still dreamt of becoming a makeup artist some day.
I professionally trained in Fashion, Photography, Film and Television Makeup as well as Special Effects. After graduating with an Advanced Diploma in Makeup Artistry I was Assistant Counter Manager for Lancome Cosmetics for one and a half years. During that period I continued to expand my knowledge in beauty and obtained a CIBTAC Diploma in AestheticTreatments, a Lancome Paris Makeup Expert Diploma, and a Gel and Acrylic Nail Diploma. I am an Eyelash Extention Artist and also trained to be a certified HD Brows Stylist.
I continued to be blessed and worked my way up to becoming the 1st Black Studio Manager for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics in the Uk and Ireland for 7 years .I educated myself as I perfected my craft and God bestowed the privilege to attend Master Classes and receive extra training from Bobbi Brown herself in London, a hands on experience not many have had!
Working for two of the top ” Go to” brands in the Beauty Industry gave me creative makeup skills and extensive knowledge which allowed me to have the confidence to set up my own Makeup Studio Miss Mercy Makeup Artistry.
BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE YEAR 2016
With over 15 years’ experience providing comprehensive HR and Employment consultancy service to meet the needs of various Local Authority designated Council Department in England and Nigeria, adhering to an HR culture which is results oriented, customer focused and forward looking. Folayemi Olaitan has consulted on HR/Recruitment matters for over 35 Local Authority Councils in the United Kingdom. I Facilitate business process re-engineering, restructuring and reorganisations including advice on out-sourcing and TUPE issues.
I am the CEO of an established HR/Employment Consultancy in the UK (started May 2005) and Nigeria, this consultancy supplies all Contract and Temporary Staff for Over 35 Local Government Authorities with a turnover of over £4 million a year. The company is called 1st Choice Recruitment & Training Ltd – A vibrant and successful organisation with excellent staff.
My role is to contribute to the strategic direction of 1st Choice Recruitment & Training Ltd, Create and develop a consistently high performing Recruitment & Consultancy Division. I am Responsible for developing the business model, securing new business and leading on delivery. Accountable for delivering annual profit targets for Interim Management, Executive Recruitment, Consultancy and 1st Choice Recruitment & Training Ltd jobs, as well as championing the highest standards of client services across all business strands.
CAREER WOMAN OF THE YEAR 2016
Rashida Abdulai is a Senior Associate and Solicitor-Advocate within the Hogan Lovells International Arbitration practice; acting for multinational companies on complex, high-value international business disputes across a range of industry sectors including energy and natural resources, telecommunications, consumer goods, and banking and financial services. Of mixed African and Caribbean descent, Rashida has a natural affinity for Africa and the role of law in economic growth and development. Rashida is a key member of Hogan Lovells’ Africa practice and has represented multinational companies in disputes arising from their operations across the continent. Her work has given her the opportunity to visit and connect with fellow lawyers in over 15 African countries to date. She regularly publishes articles on important legal developments and issues of interest to businesses operating in Africa and has contributed to texts on dispute resolution and enforcement in developing markets, some examples of which are enclosed. Rashida has participated as a speaker and panellist at a number of legal and business forums both locally and internationally, including most recently the East Africa International Arbitration Conference, held in Nairobi in July 2014 and in Tanzania in April 2015.
Rashida is committed to supporting arbitration in Africa as an efficient mechanism for resolving commercial disputes, improving the business environment, and bolstering investor confidence in the region. As a result, she been appointed to the Africa Users Groups of the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Arbitration Centre Taskforce, which consists of 8 Eastern Africa member states and is working towards establishing an international arbitration centre in Djibouti focused on resolving business disputes in the region. Rashida is also a supporter of the Kigali International Arbitration Centre in Rwanda and the Lagos Court of Arbitration in Nigeria among other arbitral institution in the region. Rashida sits on the working committees of International Lawyers for Africa (ILFA.org.uk) and the Sierra Leone UK Pro Bono Network, non-profit organisations which work to build legal excellence and foster sustainable development across Africa.
MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER OF THE YEAR 2016
Jacqueline Onalo has been called upon to speak on numerous occassions. She was Master of ceremonies at the House of Commons private reception for British African Development Awards (BRAAD) on 10 December 2015 hosted by Pauline Latham MP.
She was also the keynote speaker, workshop designer and facilitator at the annual North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) “Celebrating the Milestones” Conference. Lead panellist on leadership and culture at BRAAD conference in October 2015. Jacqueline was a motivational speaker in August 2015 at the Kenyan High Commission when a Youth Leadership, Mentorship and Networking Programme was announced.
She was the first keynote speaker and delivered a talk on questioning at the University of Roehampton’s January 2016 Leadership Programme. Feedback from the session: “The students really loved the session, and a number of them commented on their end of day assessments that they felt they had learned how to ask effective questions and relate their style of questioning to the situation they’re in.
She delivered the keynote speech at the start of the Common Purpose Navigator Course in May 2015 where she delivered her insights on personal leadership and the importance of emotional and cultural intelligence. This received excellent reviews with Jacqueline being described as “inspirational” and “how does she do it all?” This led to further invitation to speak in January 2016.
In Nairobi, Kenya, Jacque in her capacity as trustee of Community Development Initiatives UK, Miss Onalo spoke at a stakeholder meeting of local government, NGO and private sector partners. She motivated participants to undertake to contribute land, technical expertise, counselling etc. for DADREG who work to rehabilitate former and current Dandora dumpsite workers. Her ethos of motivational speaking to inspire transformational leadership in motion.
INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN OF THE YEAR 2016
Aya Chebbi is a pan-Africanist from Tunisia. It seemed always throughout my activism very unlikely for a North African to be as pan-African as I am. I have traveled on the African continent for the past five years in search for my African identity. During that journey, I have become obsessed with two things; bridging North Africa with the rest of the continent politically, culturally and economically and bridging the continent with its diaspora. I believe the solution to radically transform the continent lies in a long term vision of looking at Africa as a boundless space and identity, regardless of skin color, ethnicity, language and so on (instead celebrate those as diversity) and not look at it as territorial pieces with boundaries and borders, the same vision is to be projected for people of African descent across the world to connect with the continent. This is also how I advise the United Nations in looking at development in Africa, it’s from local to regional to international, very interconnected and fluid while preserving its peculiarities. This vision set me on my current path of building the largest movement in Africa that connects, empowers and mobilizes communities across Africa and the diaspora. In the movement, we are producing knowledge and solutions from an African perspective, changing the narrative about Africa worldwide, and experimenting different approaches of dialogues and exchange to educate each other about our history and heritage, about our Africanisms. While unpacking this huge vision there are strides of passion I have and I work towards focused areas mainly advocating for women’s rights (as a feminist) and promoting freedoms especially democratic space for civil resistance and freedom of expression (as a blogger).
ROLE MODEL OF THE YEAR 2016
Wambui Njau is Co-Founder of African Women in Europe (AWE) started 8 years ago. Bringing African Women together and encouraging a positive image for Africa and it’s people has been my passion and very encouraging for me to see many responding and taking part, inspiring other African Women in the Diaspora. Over the years AWE has grown to a membership of over 1000+ African Women and a global reach. The women support, encourage and inspire each other while investing both in Europe and in Africa in support of African economic development. We have also had support from mainstream organizations and key individuals from across the spectrum who believe in the importance of African women’s engagement with African economic development and who are excited that we are doing it for ourselves. We organise ourselves virtually throughout the year so that this amazing group of women have a forum through which to network, organize and share experiences through the website and offline. The main event of which I am extremely proud is the annual meeting, held in the main European cities such as the events that have taken place in Rome, Madrid, Paris, Berlin and in 2013 the event was held in London attracting over 350 guests from all over Europe. In June 2015, the event was in Geneva attracting over 370 guests and a great success. The theme of the event was “Leadership and honouring Womens Rights” workshops and seminars conducted by distinguished men and women in their area of expertise. Guests arrive on Friday to Sunday followed by a tour of the city. This year the event will be held in Dusseldorf on the 18th June 2016, the them is “Leadership and Integration for Change”. These meetings have now grown and culminate in our flagship event, the high-profile African Women in Europe Awards, which recognises excellence, now in it’s third year, and for which we have overwhelming support.
African Women in Europe (AWE) mission is to reflect a positive image of an African woman.
EVENTS ORGANISER OF THE YEAR 2016
Internationally celebrated for her ability to bring a unique blend of elegance, style and sophistication into any event; Seyi Olusanya has been a leading figure in the event planning business for over fourteen years. Her zest for life, love, travel and design has made events she has designed and produced original, unique and exclusive.
Her culture of consistent excellence and personalised service means that she has attracted a discerning client base including the crème de la crème of society. As well as building a team of accomplished event planners to help handle every detail, she has established relationships within some of the world’s most prestigious venues in destinations around the world, including Val De Vie Cape Town, Claridges in London, Amwaj Rotana in Dubai, Chateaus in France. Under this brand, she has arranged stunning weddings and events for high net-worth individuals, expresidents and royalty since 2002. She has worked on Corporate events for such notable companies as Main One Cable and Africa Recruit at prestigious and iconic venues such as The House of Commons, Marlborough House, Commonwealth Institute to mention a few.
It is with this benchmark that Seyi went on to set up Once Upon A Destination, a luxury events and Lifestyle Management in her beloved country of birth Nigeria in 2013.
She is in demand as a mentor, coach, expert speaker and contributor to various publications around the world.
She has been featured in Genevieve Magazine, Munaluchi Brides, Business Day – Leading Woman, New African Woman Magazine and her work featured in the prestigious Grace Ormonde – Wedding Styles Magazine. She has launched wedding workshops at Harrods in London and speaks at wedding conferences around the world such as the Destination Planners Congress in Mauritius in April 2015, she was invited back after anchoring as Master of Ceremonies and moderating at the inaugural event in Athens, Greece.
In June 2015, Seyi was invited to head the editorial team at Crème de la bride as Editor in Chief.
YOUNG ACHIEVER OF THE YEAR 2016
Kanayo Dike-Oduah is a young woman who is often regarded as a strong pillar of her generation and community. Her academic passion is in Psychology, which she excelled in right from being introduced to the discipline at GCSE through to holding a Bachelor of Science Degree from the UK’s 4th Best university, the University of Surrey. Kanayo now teaches Psychology to 16-19 year olds in an inner London Sixth Form while completing her Masters at the World’s number one university for educational studies, the Institution of Education, UCL.
Kanayo has written a critically acclaimed academic review on a key debate in the field titled: ‘Mental Illness: Demons or Dopamines?’ which received positive acclaim from her peers and lecturers and was highlighted in the University of Surrey’s academic newspaper. Kanayo wrote this paper during her month stay in China, where she worked for Astronaut China in July 2013 and also spent a few days volunteering at a mental institution in Beijing. Kanayo is nicknamed as the ‘globe-trotter’ by her friends and one of her most poignant travels was to Ghana in May 2014, where she went to teach, engage in charity work and host empowering conferences under the charity, STG. One recipient of her charitable efforts had this to say about Kanayo based on the zeal and passion she displayed while raising money for the charity and during her time volunteering: ‘Kanayo is a world improver. She is an incorrigibly benevolent woman and the people around her have their faith restored in humanity, thanks to her selflessness.’
Phoebe Ruguru is currently studying International Relations and Social Anthropology at SOAS, University of London, my main interests have been in raising awareness on various issues through my article-writing platform in Informer East Africa. I have written articles on youth and politics, gender differences in today’s society, religion and corruption, etc.
As an aspiring film maker, so far, I am humbled to have conducted my directing debut for a short film `Saidia’ which went on to win the Best Young Filmmaker’s Award at the Unchosen Modern Day Slavery Awards 2014. The film raises awareness against human trafficking. Since then, I have participated in another short film production as producer for `Intellectual Scum’; a short film which brings together two strangers in a plane to engage in a conversation about why Africa is arguably in a deplorable state, and the role of African leaders within that aspect. The film has received multiple nominations in UK, Spain, America as well as in Africa-Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria and Zanzibar,etc. I am in the process of making a debut feature film as producer, and director for a documentary which honours a Kenyan boxer- Conjestina Achieng. This is a role that is challenging but one I am fascinated with.
COMMUNITY LEADER OF THE YEAR 2016
Ini Usanga is a community activist and human right advocate. She has been called a human rights champion by Amnesty International in Ireland and has made extraordinary contributions in helping develop the lives of children, youths and women affected by poverty, violence and social exclusion by being a voice for them. Her continuous selfless contributions and compassionate effort in making sure victims of abuse are safe and free from every form of abuse is an example of what true community service to humankind is.
Passionate about issues of social justice, equality and fairness, Ini has been actively involved in working with individuals, organizations and Government Agencies including the Department of Justice in Ireland, Amnesty International, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)-Mexico, Red Elephant Foundation-India, Samrakshak Samuha Nepal (SASANE), Amani Children’s Home-Kenya, Mercy Orphanage-Nigeria, National Integrated Development Association (NIDA-Pakistan) and the African Embassies in Ireland.
Ini founded Love and Care for People (LCP) an organisation committed to raising community awareness on different forms of family abuse including Forced Marriage, Child Abuse, Disownment and Poverty. She has supported over 4000 children, women and youths in Ireland and other parts of the world. Ini has raised funds to support over 200 projects in education, health care and rehabilitation for abused and underserved children, youths and women.
She is an exemplary role model who uses her personal experience of family abuse, child sexual abuse and attempted suicide to inspire and give hope to others with similar experiences in Ireland and abroad.
Ini’s voluntary service and active citizenship have been profoundly appreciated in a variety of settings and this has given her access to working actively with members of different cultures and nationalities in Ireland and abroad.
Due to her active role in making significant and positive impact through participation and engagement in her community in Ireland, she became the very first African to be elected on the Cork County Council-Social Inclusion and Community Policy unit in Cork.
In 2014, Ini organized the 1st seminar on Forced Marriage, Child Sexual Abuse, Honour Based Violence and Reproductive Abuse in Ireland. Through her work, the European Union in Brussels engaged her in a study about Forced Marriage in Ireland and recently, the
Government of Ireland has proposed to introduce a law making forced marriage a crime in Ireland. This is very welcoming news and all thanks to Ini and her team.
HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR 2016
Serving others, particularly on issues of social injustice and poverty is very close to my heart because to me (Marsha Jones), it is a sacred and divine assignment. I draw my inspiration for this from Proverbs 31:8-9(NLT) “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”
I have been involved in supporting Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania working to improve the lives of children and young people. This has included improving school infrastructure, enhancing school feeding programmes particularly in rural schools, improving educational provision for deaf children and tackling poverty for the urban poor living in the slums of Nairobi. Most of my efforts have been channelled independently or through a charity I founded in 2003 Community Development Initiatives – http://www.cdi-uk.org/ Professionally I have been engaged in the development sector for the last 16 years. Currently I lecture at the University of East London specifically on the International Development and NGO Management postgraduate course. This is very rewarding as I have the opportunity to impart my knowledge, experience and skill to prospective development practitioners who want to make a positive difference in the world. More recently I have started working with Compassion UK which is part of a global Christian Child Development International organisation working to release children from poverty all over the world. We currently support just over 1.7 million children and
their families in Africa, Asia and South America. I am truly blessed to have my passion, purpose and profession merged into one through this role. Lastly, I am truly honoured to be sponsoring a child in Haiti. She lives in the mountainous community of Zanglais where there are high levels of poverty among the approximately 7,000 people resident in the area. Sponsoring her has really helped my children understand the value and joy of giving and how such a small commitment can have a significant positive difference for someone else in the world
OUTSTANDING MOTHER OF THE YEAR 2016
All outstanding mothers with unique stories and doing an amazing job in one of the most important roles in this world.
INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR 2016
Dr. Joyce Akumaa Dongotey-Padi (Known in public life as Akumaa Mama Zimbi) is a Ghanaian women’s rights leader, television and radio talk show host, actress, philanthropist, sex educator, relationship expert and marriage counselor committed to enhancing the status of underprivileged women in Ghana and reviving broken marriages.
She is also the Founder and Executive Director of Mama Zimbi Foundation (MZF), a non-governmental organization which seeks to empower and support thousands of widows through its Widows Alliance Network (WANE) project, and also involve in the issues of adolescents (Adolescents Sexual Reproductive Health) which initiated the popular #WearYourDrossNow campaign on the social media.
Her Widows Alliance Network (WANE) project for sustainable economic development of widows which is one of the projects under Mama Zimbi Foundation (MZF) aims at emancipating Ghanaian widows from the social, cultural and economic difficulties brought about by the injustices they face because of their status.
Through WANE, over 400 widow groupings have been formed in Ghana with membership swelling to over 8,000 nationwide. Each year, MZF brings together about 3,000 widows from across Ghana under one roof for the annual National Widows Alliance Conference (NAWAC). This conference is arguably the biggest gathering of widows in Africa annually.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE YEAR 2016
Dr Bc Esuruoso, is the CEO of SchoolRun Academy Ventures and the publisher of SchoolRun Magazine, (the first indigenous educational quarterly)’. Bc with more than 20 years post qualification experience in early years, childcare and education in the United Kingdom is passionate about sustainable development, access to equitable and qualitative education in Africa. Bc was recognised by the British Prime Minister in March 2001 and was invited to 10, Downing Street to dine with Prime Minister Blair and his wife, Mrs Cherie Blair in recognition of Excellence in Childcare. After her first degree from the University of Lagos, Mrs Akin-Alabi had her Masters’ in Business Administration (MBA) from the Southbank University, London and a PGCE from Roe Hampton Institute, London. She also completed a professional course in Early Years Learning and Education (NNEB, U.K), She is registered with OFSTED in the U.K as a fit person for the care of children aged seven years and under. Bc recorded the highest mark for the United Kingdom NIC Certificate where she recorded a phenomenal mark of 100%. Since 2001, Bc has been working with progressive private schools in Nigeria, as an Education Consultant and Early Year’s Expert to develop good quality provisions. Through her PEEL (Partners for excellence in Education and Learning) Network, which she founded in 2006, Bc has been able to bring about unprecedented collaborations in the Nigerian education sector giving rise to her collaborations with Microsoft to roll out the Microsoft IT Academy in Nigeria. In addition to these, Bc has just been awarded a Honorary Doctorate from the presitigious London Geraduate School. While a member of the Board of the Harrow Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership (EYDCP), Bc took part in the designing of suitability tests, short listing and selection of suitable candidates for the London Borough of Harrow Early Years/ Educational Grants. Bc is currently the School Safety Administrator for Lagos State, a Project initiated by the Lagos State Safety Commission.
INTERNATIONAL AFRICAN WOMAN OF THE YEAR 2016
Both an entrepreneur and an award-winning journalist, Nancy Kacungira is a Tanzanian-born Ugandan who combines a unique set of skills and experiences. Nancy began her media career as a radio presenter while still in University, working her way up from intern to Deputy Program Director by the time she received her first class degree. Nancy thereafter earned her Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies from the University of Leeds, where she graduated with distinction.
In 2010 Nancy and her sister set up Blu Flamingo; a digital media management company that has now grown to service an impressive roster of clients including banks, telecom providers and FMCG corporations in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Since 2014, Blu Flamingo has organised the Uganda Social Media awards every year – a platform that recognises top performers in the industry in order to build and improve knowledge and skill in Uganda’s digital space. Blu Flamingo also prioritises identifying, training and mentoring young people with an interest in digital technologies, equipping them with skills to do freelance work that can earn them a living.
In 2015 Nancy made history when she was announced the winner of the first ever BBC World News Komla Dumor Award, a continent-wide competition aimed at “celebrating African journalism and finding exceptional talent.” During her 3 month tenure at the BBC in London as part of the award, Nancy made significant contributions to a conversation she is entirely passionate about – narratives about Africa. These included a 3-part TV and radio series on migration to Africa that was broadcast to the BBC’s 308 million viewers across the world, a web article on “Telling the African Story” that was shared millions of times on social media, and a well-received TED talk at TEDxEuston on changing the narrative on Africa into a dialogue. Nancy was also selected as a speaker at the 2015 Emerge conference at Oxford University where she contributed to discussions around leveraging mobile technology in Africa.
Nancy made history again in January 2016 when she was selected as a moderator for Uganda’s first ever presidential debate; a crucial political moment in the nation’s quest to deepen democracy. The debate was watched by millions across the region, and its hashtag became only the second Ugandan hashtag to make it to the worldwide Twitter trend list – the first was #Kony2012.
In 2012 Nancy left her part-time job in radio and began her TV career as a news anchor at NTV Uganda. She was selected the following year to host the Uganda chapter of President Obama’s Town Hall with Young African Leaders, which was conducted via satellite in a broadcast that reached millions of people. Nancy joined Kenya’s most authoritative news channel, KTN, as a news anchor in December 2013. Her hallmark has been to pursue and create spaces for conversations about entrepreneurship and leadership, most notably on her weekly television show “Power Talk”, where industry leaders share ideas on seizing business opportunities in Africa and being part of the solutions the continent needs. Nancy is also a US State Department 2013 Professional Fellow, and a 2010 Uganda Young Achievers Award finalist.