Int’l Women’s Day: US Alumni Association honours outstanding female members

Adeze Ojukwu

United States Government Exchanges Alumni Association(USGEAA) has honoured 12 outstanding female members with recognition awards.

The prestigious programme, which is part of the group’s activities to celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day(IWD), was tagged: ‘Celebrating USGEAA Women Achievers.’

This was contained in a statement, signed by the media coordinator of the initiative and a Hubert Humphrey fellow, Mrs Adeze Ojukwu.

According to Ojukwu, a journalist and publisher of a development magazine www.devcomradar.org, the distinguished personalities, were selected, based on merit.

‘The theme of this year’s edition, was designated as ‘Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,’ to reflect the invaluable contributions  by women, to save lives and curb the pandemic,’ Ojukwu added.

In his congratulatory message, USGEAA President, Dr. Jude Ememe said ‘the successful candidates have a proven record of notable programmes, in line with the association’s  social transformation agenda.’

‘We are delighted that the nominees, have over the years exhibited remarkable passion and commitment towards deploying their profound and diverse knowledge, trainings, skills and competencies towards diverse programmes, aimed at transforming lives and impacting communities.’

‘Cumulatively, these selfless endeavours have indeed bolstered the delivery of essential services and development projects, across the country, particularly in undeserved communities. Therefore, we really appreciate and commend the nominees.’

‘We also acknowledge and hail all ebullient female members of USGEAA, who are diligently, providing assistance and support, through various initiatives across Nigeria,’ the USGEAA leader added.

He described the focus of this year’s IWD commemoration, as ‘germane because it highlighted the mitigating roles played by women during the pandemic,’ noted.

According to him, women across most societies were pivotal in driving social and economic transformations in many communities.

‘The global anniversary has afforded us a veritable  opportunity to celebrate the laudable initiatives championed by distinguished female alumni.’

In Nigeria, the campaign, was widely celebrated with seminars, conferences, workshops and media activities by several women activists and organizations.

The profiles of the awardees are captured below.

Prof. Olayinka Abosede, a Hubert Humphrey fellow, is a retired professor of community health and primary care.

She worked in various top-tier  academic and administrative positions, at University of Lagos, retiring after 47 years of meritorious service.

She also served at the international levels, as  a Nigerian volunteer for Health Information for All (HIFA) and Child Health Information for All (CHIFA).

Prof. Chioma  Agomo, a Fulbright Scholar is a Professor of Law at the University of Lagos. Professor Agomo’s areas of specialisation include labour law and labour relations, gender and the law, with emphasis on gender issues in the workplace, Law of Contract, and Insurance law. She was the first female Dean of the Law Faculty, University of Lagos.

Hussaina  Aboki, an alumnus of Study of the US Institutes(SUSI) and the Programme Officer, African Centre for Education Development(CLEDA), Kaduna State, Nigeria.

She is part of Arewa Girls Forum(AGF), an organization that was created to provide a safe space for young girls to access vocational and life skills as well as Sexual and Reproductive Health(SRH) information in Northern Nigeria, who are often marginalized.

Those that clinched the trophy from the  Carrington Youth Fellowship(CYF) were Anu Adelakun, Raquel Daniel and Francisca Chiedu-Otu.

Adelakun is an award-winning journalist, with The Cable Newspaper and development-focused documentary producer.

Some of her works, many of which have been featured on BBC/CNN have won several awards and triggered reactions from governments and institutions across Nigeria.

Daniel, another CYF recipient, is the founder of Beyond the Classroom Foundation. She works in marginalized communities in Nigeria focusing on education for children and sexual and reproductive health for adolescent girls through Beyond the Classroom Foundation.

Chiedu-Otu is the Director of Charles Development Foundation. In 2015, her organization, partnered with two organizations, namely,  Citizens Connect and CivicTech to boost accountability and transparency in public service, using civic innovation tools for citizens’ engagement were deployed.

The winning team from Mandela Washington Fellowship, were Ndifreke Andrew-Essien, Doris-Jema Onyeador and  Sahabi Dange.

Andrew-Essien is a public health professional a social entrepreneur and owner of FAECARE Foundation.

During the pandemic, the  foundation produced and shared COVID-19 Disability Guidelines to 120 households with Persons With Disabilities(PWDs) in Rivers and Akwa Ibom State.

Dr. Onyeador is an optometrist devoted to providing quality and affordable services to all patients irrespective of class or status.

She is also a social mobilizer and regularly undertakes ventures on poverty alleviation in various communities.

Bar. Dange, a corporate lawyer and community development enthusiast, is deft in supporting female entrepreneurs in the north.

For several years, she has provided critical support emergence and growth of hundreds of female entrepreneurs in the region through, Association of Northern Female Entrepreneurs Program, an organization she established to empower females.

Additionally, the group has provided vital tools for beneficiaries, to earn income and expand their businesses.

The International Visitors’ Leadership Program(IVLP) honorees included Dr. Maymunar Kadri, Rhonda Robinson and Comfort Agboko.

Dr. Kadri  is a dynamic Consultant Neuro- Psychiatrist and a Fellow of the National Post-Graduate Medical College of Nigeria (FMCPsych) with almost 20 years’ experience as a practicing physician.

She is a trained and certified Rational Emotive and Cognitive behavioural therapist from Albert Ellis Institute, New York, USA. She is also a certified Trauma Counsellor and Neurofeedback Practitioner.

She is also a regular radio and television guest psychiatrist and psychotherapist, a newspaper columnist and  motivational speaker.

Robinson is the co-founder and Executive Director of HACEY Health Initiative  and an accomplished development practitioner.

She has over 13 years’ experience and successful track record in developing and implementing high-impact interventions towards solving current developmental challenges and achieving the goal of a healthy and sustainable society.

Her work is centered on tackling Gender-Based Violence(GBV) as well as promoting women empowerment, equal access to health, education and rights of females.

Agboko is the SouthEast Zonal Commander of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons(NAPTIP).

Within three years of her appointment, Enugu  Command investigated over 300 cases and recorded 24 convictions, tripling the total number of convictions ever recorded, since the establishment of the zone in 2006.

Under her watch, over 200 trafficked persons were rescued, rehabilitated and reunited with their various families.

Another Fulbright fellow, Dr. Taofikat  Adesalu, is an  Associate Professor of Botany at University of Lagos and the current Sub-dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos.

Dr. Adesalu’s research focus is on algal ecology, taxonomy, systematics, and biotechnology. She is keen on using microalgal, which are lower green plants, to study the effects of climate change on aquatic ecosystems.

She is also working on tackling  nutritional problems, through these organisms, naturally endowed with vitamins, secondary metabolites, lipids and antioxidants.

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