Tuesday, November 27, 2012
What does it really mean? I mean, what does it mean for women to have it all? I don't know why there is a debate around this at all. But I do know that we need a balance between what is and what ought to be. Women empowerment must not leave a backlash on our society. Trying to fill a gap must not create a vacuum on another end. But yes, empowering girls and women is very important. So is empowering boys and men. And yes, I'm not a feminist :-)
I recently stumbled on this poem (below)- it was one of the collections published in "In Days to Come" in 2004. I still remember telling a friend many years ago that I wrote the poem, apologizing in advance because I know I'm one of those women who would leave home :-) But those were just gibberish of a teenage girl, excited about the adventure of youth and adulthood. Looking forward I ask, do I really want to have it all? Can we really have it all? What does it mean to have it all?
Enjoy the poem! Don't bite me!!
Our Women Have Left Home (Inspired by JP Clark's The wives' revolt)
The regular rhythm of pestle
cease to echo in our neighbourhood
the salivating aroma of home-made soup
is now being replaced by imported tin.
There is a reduced rate of new-borns
and the older ones only satisfy themselves
with the warmth the old nannies can offer.
So many changes have taken place
in this little county we call home
Mothers have long been called out
to fight for political seat among our fathers.
Here is the cry from Africa,
our women are leaving home for politics.
They are now seen in old political boots
roaming and parading the streets
and showing off their woman-ego and political ambition
Let politics feel the woman
Let the wold take a new turn
for the woman is about to rule the world
in her motherly nature and gift.
Hurray to womanhood!
Hear the children and fathers cry
our women have left home for politics
who will take care of the woman's role
in their individually appointed home?
Do not fear when you begin to see
men with babies tied behind their backs
and basket laid unceremoniously on their head
walking around the market place
purchasing foodstuff with a rehearsed effort.
Voices are raised...
arguing voices are raised in every home-
you can't trade your motherly duty
for some bag of political rubbish!
Culled from "In Days to Come," page 5-6 (c) Jennifer Ehdiamem 2004.
Either by choice or circumstance, people find themselves relocating from one country to another. So often, we hear jaw-dropping statistics of xyz millions of Africans living and working in North America, with no faces to these stories. But beyond crossing the Atlantic Ocean for greener pasture, how is the situation with Africans crossing borders within the same region or continent, to set up or take-up new business opportunities?
In this new feature, Ethiopia is the center of focus :-) ! With news of how the once poverty ridden country is growing fast to becomeAfrica's lion economy, many people are adjusting their business lens to focus on the country. As BBC Africa once reported,modernity might have brought with it some interesting new job opportunities to Africa's fastest growing non-oil economy.
BUT, how attractive is this country to young professionals from other African countries? I'm excited to chat with Gamu and Chernor, who relocated from two distinct countries to work in Addis Ababa.
The goalof this interview is to share first-hand experience of what it means to work out of another African country. Hopefully, this will inspire more young professionals to seek opportunities within borders :-) and explore the rich work experiences that might exist within the continent. Yup, lets make the trend of relocating to another African country for work more attractive!
Monday, November 26, 2012
»»» You have just started working in your current organization. While applying for the job, you had indicated that you have made enough career changes and now want to settle down. At the interview, you went to great lengths to establish why this was the job and the kind of organization that you were really looking for.
You got the job. Three months into it a headhunter calls you. There is a new multinational in town and they are looking for someone with the same profile as yours. The job pays 50 percent more than what you currently make and according to the man at the other end of the line, it has great professional challenge.
That night you have trouble falling asleep. A lady named temptation visits you.
She whispers into your ear all the things wrong with your current assignment. She reminds you of noncooperation by your new colleagues. She eggs you on by reminding you that you have suggested pathbreaking ideas in short time you have been there, but no one really listens to you in this new organization. She brings up the fact that you felt shafted when, after joining, you found out that some of your colleagues were earning more than you for doing the same job. Why then do you feel this false sense of virtue- as if you owe the organization something for hiring you?
It is not the false virtue, but the false attraction of which one must beware.
The fact of the matter is that you have not paid back your organization for taking a risk in hiring you just three months ago. The fact is that you did not anticipate the amount of effort you would need to make before being accepted by peers and subordinates. The fact is that, to the headhunter, you are just another head to hunt, to make his cut and bonus.
Flirting with false attractions makes us lose affection for what is on hand. If you do not have a serious need for the offered job or assignment, do the professional thing and resist the temptress.«««
Culled from "The Professional," by Subroto Bagchi...Chapter 18.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
While recommending a friend for a job once, I was asked how he is... "He is okay," I responded. It was more like an automated response, which was not intended to undermine the skill-set he was bringing to the team.
"He is okay?" the director asked. She was clearly annoyed. "I don't want someone who is okay," she said, emphatically. I was confuse.
She went on to explain why "okay" is never good enough. "Okay is 25%" It is like saying something is just there. It is never a good term to use when describing someone's ability. Especially if it is something or someone of distinct value. It is unacceptable. Okay is offensive. Unprofessional... It is a very weak term. Okay is not good enough.
I thought deeply about her words and consciously tried to explain how my friend was really more than an okay person. Till date I'm still thinking about the kind woman's views even though this event took place some six years ago.
The core lesson I took from that experience is to think deeply about every question before responding. No matter how casual the setting is or how simple the question is in itself. I mean, so often we use vague words like "okay" "nice" "awesome" "fine" etc. to describe people, experience and things without even noticing that these blanket terms have become meaningless... I know, I probably typed up or said one of those words in response earlier today. Automated responses and our minds... :-/ We'll get better sha...
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Friday, November 02, 2012
When President Goodluck Jonathan, during his 52nd independence anniversary speech, said, "In its latest report, Transparency International (TI) noted that Nigeria is the second most improved country in the effort to curb corruption," he was criticized by a lot of activists and groups. This statement was described as false. Nigeria still holds an embarrassing "prominent" 143th position out of the 183 countries in Transparency International's 2011 Corruption Perception Index. The recent dust trailing the leaked report by Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force led by Malam Nuhu Ribadu, the former head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has left some shocked at the audacity of corruption flowing in the oil and gas sector. Perhaps this will re-establish the fact that where wiping out corruption from Nigeria is concern, we are still far behind. This is no child's play.
However, the fight against corruption is not a fight to be left to President Goodluck alone. If we are serious about winning the war and liberating our country and resources from the shackles of fraud and greed in all sectors then we must all stand up to the responsibility and start fighting corruption from the very level that we are. I know, this sounds like a broken record. But the reality is that nothing will change if we do not change anything.
For example, if you drive through the red light and you are stopped by a traffic warden who gives you the option of tipping him or paying xxx amount as a fine for breaking traffic law, instead of bending to the temptation of giving that bribe, why not take the high road? Do things right by paying the fine? It is by refusing to pay bribe that we are able to reduce the gluttony among some public officials. We can apply this common culture at other levels.
In the fight against corruption, we are not as powerless as we think. A lot of innovative tools have been launched to empower individuals take initiative and expose all forms of corruption around them. The advent of technology makes the efforts even sexier.
The Executive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, speaking through his Chief of Staff, Dr Jimmy Imo once stated that "the battle against corruption has become so sophisticated with the advent of modern technology …" How are we as Nigerians taking initiative to leverage on this tool?
The recent launch of AntiCorruption Internet Database (ACID), a multifunctional web repository for all corruption related issues in Nigeria is a first step to ensuring that we are able to rate ourselves as well as our leaders on corruption related issues. How does the website work? The portal http://www.antigraft.org has different strategic tools that everyone can use to report corruption or feel the pulse of corruption in the country. Below are some of the tools you and I can use:
ACID Wiki: A source of information concerning definitions, laws, treaties and strategies concerning corruption.
Asset Declaration: A list of Nigerian politicians and government officials that have declared their assets. The "Report Asset tool" helps user report known asset of political actors and also upload supporting documents.
Bribe Reports: A tool to report corruption cases either from public or government agencies. Also allows for user to upload supporting documents. (Multi-media and textual).
Budget: Monitor Public Projects yourself
View and share Budgetary Infographics
Download budget resources such as actual budget documents and budget monitoring toolkits
WANGONeT's Corruption Calculator: An application which computes the opportunity cost of acts of corruption. It provides contextual comparisons into the actual cost of stolen and misappropriated funds.
Corruption Profile: A list of individuals who have been involved in corruption allegations, cases, and convictions.
National Applaud Ranking: Applauding outstanding individuals who work hard despite the temptation of corruption. Users can nominate and vote for ANY individual they believe is worthy of applaud.
If we, if we all take responsibility and become our own corruption watch by reporting cases from grassroots like our lives depend on it, then maybe, just maybe, corruption will indeed become history, its culture wiped out from every sector in Nigeria.