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Inspired by Mrs. Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili’s powerful remarks in May about women in Africa as “the continent’s most visible secret weapon for accelerating the development process,” Vital Voices staff convene today in Lagos, Nigeria, for a week of technical and capacity-building support to the Nigerian based non-profit organization Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ). 

Through a partnership with Vital Voices, WIMBIZ is participating in a four-year Supporting Public Advocacy and Regional Competitiveness program (SPARC) which aims to increase women’s economic engagement in the labor force and entrepreneurship, creating a more enabling environment for women’s economic engagement and poverty alleviation throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. 

While in Lagos, the Africa team will conduct advocacy training for WIMBIZ staff and Board members who will drive campaign goals and objectives and manage stakeholders and beneficiaries who stand to benefit from the campaign’s success. Communications training will also be provided to WIMBIZ staff on presentation delivery, optimizing media presence and practical tools for monitoring and evaluation.

Through the SPARC campaign, WIMBIZ is working to achieve gender parity on Boards and on senior management positions of public companies and state-owned enterprises in Nigeria. Members believe this will enable decision makers to create policies that foster a women-friendly business environment in Nigeria, improve the lives of women, and increase their economic contribution to national growth and development.

More on WIMBIZ:  Spotlight on two leading entrepreneurs leading change in Nigeria      

Adeola Azeez (right)

Mrs. Adeola Azeez is the current president of WIMBIZ. She is a longtime correspondent banker and serves as the deputy county representative/deputy managing director of Deutsche Bank, Nigeria. Involved in WIMBIZ for many years, she has contributed to successful programs that fulfill its mission –To be a catalyst that elevates the status and influence of women and their contribution to nation building.

Funmi Roberts

Mrs. Funmi Roberts is a lifelong advocate for women’s empowerment, current Board Member of WIMBIZ, and partner at Funmi Roberts & Co. (FRC), a Nigerian based commercial law firm. As an advocate of Nigeria’s Supreme Court for the past 29 years, Funmi has worked as a registered mediator and arbitrator. She represented Nigeria at the African Union’s Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDA) that addressed the areas of peace, stability, development and cooperation between African countries.

Follow @celenagreen and @klepillez this week for updates on their trip to Lagos, Nigeria as they work with WIMBIZ to support their SPARC campaign.

Read the first.and final posts.