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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Eliminate Distractions Pulling you away from your Purpose: By Rita Oluchi Obi

We've all had that moment in life where we've told ourselves over and over again "this time I'm going to get it done!” But as soon as you start working towards that goal or the betterment of yourself, distractions get in the way.
It may be an argument a few days ago with one of your friends or family members, your social media feeds filled with too many imposters or text messages from an annoying old boo refusing to let you move on. You've gone from being extremely ambitious to quickly obsessing over minor matters that are not contributing to your growth at all! 
We have to remain strong and focused ladies! Your experiences and relationships play a significant role in shaping your future. So it's extremely important for us to be careful with who and what we invest our time in.  Below are four ways you can weed out the distractions in your life.

 Recognize what your distractions are

Every time you want to pursue a goal, think of the things that gets in the way. Is it family members constantly nagging you about everything, friends thinking that your life revolves around theirs, on and off relationships with men, or images on social media having you think your life sucks?  Write your distractions down in a journal and develop practical ways for you to avoid each one.   

    Stop entertaining toxic friendships 
  Use more of your free time to participate in activities that will contribute to perfecting your craft

Stop entertaining friendships that aren't pushing you to be better. Surround yourself with individuals who inspire you, bend over backwards for you, and see the potential in you to be greater. It's that simple. If you're friends aren't helping you become the best version of yourself, let them go! Dead weight will weigh you down! But positivity will propel you towards greatness. 

Quit investing so much time in activities that aren't enhancing your life. You have so many goals, yet you're turning up every week, traveling all over the world or looking for the next boo to go on a date with. Do these things in moderation. Indulge in these activities AFTER you've accomplished a major goal on your list. Look at it as a way of rewarding yourself after a period of working extremely hard.  These activities will only bring you joy temporarily. But spending your free time perfecting your craft, improving your business plan, or networking with likeminded individuals will draw you a       step closer to your goal.

  Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize!
When I pursue my goals, I remind myself that I have no time for political correctness or disclaiming every single sentence   so as to not “offend” anyone. I know I have to focus on doing everything possible to become the best version of myself. If that means I have to limit my time with certain people, and even exclude a few more, then that is exactly what I’m going to do. Why? Well, because I've made the goal of fulfilling my purpose my number one priority. 

Are you doing everything within your power to fulfill your goals? Are you devoting time to pursuing your goals? Are you   committed? Have you made any sacrifices? If your answer is no, then your goals are not a priority! This part of your life sets the bar for how high you will go in life? You know hard you've worked mentally, spiritually, and emotionally to get where you currently are in life. So quit allowing temporary distractions to pull you away from permanent success. How will you ever be able to hear God or see your purpose, when your mind’s crowded?

Rita Obi, MPH is the founder of @buildingyou, a consulting business that works with nonprofit startups to develop programs, workshops, and events suitable to their persona, in an effort to secure funding. She has over 7 years of experience providing consulting services and training to nonprofits startups in areas of program planning and fundraising. She has served organizations in New York such as Children's Hospital At Montefiore, New York City Food Policy Center and organizations in Nigeria such as UR4 Africa and Head Start Private School .

Rita is also a humanitarian and entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of the educational nonprofit organization, @korfoundation, , a nonprofit organization that provides social and academic support to students in rural villages of Nigeria and the U.S Marketing Executive Director for @crystalcourtlekki, a luxury hotel in Lekki Phase 1, Lagos, Nigeria.

General instagram page is @oluchi_ob

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Women Advancing Africa Forum by The Grace Mahel Trust

WCA would like to announce an upcoming inspirational and exciting event for women who are change makers, thought leaders and innovators who are a part of the economic and social transformation of their various countries in Africa. 

The Women Advancing Africa Forum will convene in Dars Es Salaam Tanzania from August 10-12th 2017. The event held by the Grace Machel Trust foundation will bring power changing African women from across the continent  with the theme of  'Multiply the Faces and Amplify the Voices' of African women as a force for economic and social transformation.  With themes ranging from women in Agribusiness, the creative industries, women in technology, the event is set to bring over 250 african women across various regions, together to build intergenerational relationships, strategise and share solutions, partner and develop relationships in advancing the economic and social transformation of Africa.

 For more on the event and to register visit WAA Forum Registration

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Breaking ground for emerging designers: Milan's first Afro Pop Shop Milano

Photo Credit Tatiana Benedetti Fotografa
Well-aware of the rebranding of Africa and lack of inclusion of African designers in Italy, AfroItalians are bringing forth new events to offer fresh multifaceted perspectives about African fashion.  Self described as a journalist and activist, Michelle Ngonmo, CEO of AFRO Fashion Association, and Ruth McCarthy, Vice President and founder of African Fashion Wear, launched the organization in 2015 to create a platform for emerging designers.

Photo Credit Tatiana Benedetti Fotografa

 AFRO Fashion Association hosts various events in the digital and real world emphasizing cultural exchange amongst designers in Italy, as well as to create a point of entry for designers of non-Italian background into the Italian fashion market. From their online Afro fashion week contest to Afro aperitifs to weekly posts about emerging African designers on their Facebook page Afro Milano Fashion Week, the association facilitates community building and professional networking for emerging African designers and those curious to effectively and ethically support craftsmen in African countries. Ngonmo stresses that emerging African designers have very few platforms and opportunities to showcase their work and enter the Italian market. Raised in Ferrara, Italy with Cameroonian origins, Ngonmo has been involved in challenging stereotypes about Africa and Africans abroad while studying her Bachelors in Communications and her Masters German and English Languages at the University of Ferrara and as President of the city’s African Students Association. As an AfroItalian, she hopes that the events coordinated by AFRO Fashion Week provide for growth and networking not only African designers in Italy, but also African designers across Europe and Africa to emerge from local or national markets.
Photo Credit Tatiana Benedetti Fotografa

To gear up for their annual fashion show Afro Fashion Week Milano, this past April they hosted an Afro Pop Up Shop in downtown Milan. In collaboration with AfroItalian Souls, Salambò Association, Nappy Italia, Re-eye Wear and the Municipal of Milan, they invited designers and fashion social entrepreneurs from England, Italy, Morocco, Tanzania, and Kenya to showcase their work to the general public and to selected luxury fashion stakeholders. Labels included Yemzi, Airin Tribal, Anna Ho Design, WaxMax, Miss Rouge, Hipandwaist and MDDesign. Richard Kofi, Dutch painter, illustrator, researcher of African origins, was also invited to the event to explore through art the intersections of “masculinity, backness, coming of age,” and empowerment.  With a schedule of photoshoots, press interviews, and networking appointments, and a room filled with wax prints and West African music, I had the opportunity to speak with some of the designers about their fashion labels, inspirations, and their objectives for participating. One particular designer caught my eye as she creates her own textiles inspired by natural elements.

British-Nigerian oil painter and digital printer Elizabeth-Yemi Akingbade, founded her label Yemzi in 2013 to showcase new African print inspired designs. As a local of London, and her experiences traveling to other European capitals, she describes these cities as “saturated” with wax prints when it comes to African textiles. Encouraged to create her own patterns and designs using her painting and digital printing skills, she began developing her own African inspired prints as way to diversify the perception of what African prints can look like. With a Bachelors degree in Surface Design at the University of Arts London, where she developed her skills in textiles and digital design. Her goals for attending the Pop Up Shop were to receive direct constructive feedback from the general public and potential stakeholders. She brought cotton and silk tops, bottoms and one piece jumpsuits.

Photocredit Yemzi

Ngonmo added not only African designers need more platforms, but also cosmetics for darker skin are hardly available in Italy. AFRO Fashion Association, as well as their collaborating stakeholders, are ready to bring market more African designers and cosmetics for darker skin in Italy. Ngonmo, Maccarthy, and their team are currently preparing for the launch of the Afro Milan Fashion Week this coming September, to highlight designers and cosmetics of various cultures. Feel free to follow their Facebook page AFRO Fashion Association to learn more about their upcoming events and to participate the next time you are in Milan or in their online contests!

 Candice Whitney is currently a Fulbright research grantee based in Bologna, Italy conducting research on how the historical and political processes that shape Italy's contemporary relationship with African countries impacts the promotion of products and business relations amongst African women entrepreneurs in Italy.  Since receiving her Bachelors of Art in Anthropology and Italian cum laude from Mount Holyoke College in 2015 she has lived and worked in Morocco and Italy as a teacher and researcher. As an African American and a traveller, she is curious to understand how  self-identifying Black and African womyn perceive themselves, their surroundings, and their projects. When she's not researching, she is  reading memoirs or essays, cooking up some chickpeas in a spicy sauce, or improving her rollerblading skills. 

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