AFFIRM Woman year-end and… Pause!

by Priscilla Taiwo

The year 2023 was a very intentional one for us at AFFIRM Woman. Goals, plans, and ideas were penned down. Our year screamed “welfarism”! And we worked HARD. At the beginning of the year, we had a lot of plans and now, we can say we outdid ourselves.

But what we did not see coming was the number of people that came together to make each of our events and activities a resounding success. No matter the role, everyone’s contribution counted. Although we celebrated our Volunteers specially in the last blog post, this one is to acknowledge and thank every single one who contributed to AFFIRM Woman’s growth this year.

While AFFIRM specialises primarily in women’s personal development, our programmes stretched beyond this area.

Our key events for this year were:

  • An International Women’s Day (IWD) webinar held on 4th March, where we focused on the theme of Ensuring Equitable Practices for Women in Communities and Workplaces. The two-hour session addressed what Equity stood for…Fairness. Even as equality claims that we’re all the same, equity acknowledges our individual differences and abilities and asks that we all be given a chance accordingly. The session was moderated by Phebean Taiwo with guests, Oluwatobiloba Udoh, a mental health advocate, and Precious Ajimoti, a voice-over artiste.
  • Next up was the Entrepreneurship & Welfare Research commissioned by the University of Bristol, UK. This project comprised of 13 young women who were either students or recent graduates from Nigerian tertiary institutions. The research process gathered insights into the welfare of these participants as they engaged in different business ventures. It ran for four consecutive weeks between on 20th May and 10th June.
  • The International Female Students Conference (IFSC) on the theme of Our Welfare Matters happened on 16th September at the Dominican University, Ibadan, Nigeria. It was literally the highlight of our year! Conference planning started way back in November 2022 and most of us took on roles we had never experienced before. From the consistent pre-event publicity, to arranging a venue for the event, feeding, seeking funds and sponsorships, inviting esteemed speakers, printing IFSC materials, recruiting volunteers, organising individualised gift bags, arranging accommodation and transportation for delegates… all in a city that was new and unfamiliar. Many times we felt discouraged and tempted to give up, but in the end, it was well worth the stress as it all played out beautifully.
Some delegates at IFSC 2023
  • A webinar focusing on Mental Health and Stress Challenges amongst University students – where our host, Rose Nwako discussed extensively with guest speaker Dr. Angelica Uwaezuoke, on topics that most would shy away from. During this event on 18th November, Dr. Angelica dropped many nuggets that we should all be aware of and practise, while attendees shared their own personal experiences. The consensus is that issues of mental wellness and ill health need to be discussed more openly.
Areas for improvement

This year, we also had numerous challenges such as:

  • A need to have more people on board who are truly interested in impact-making collaborations or simply supporting women and young people in society. We would have valued people who don’t just leave for the next thing, but who can grow with us; as well as those who can “walk the talk”.
  • Our social media channels could have benefitted from some revamping. We could have produced more creative and youth-friendly content so we can entertain, educate, and actually meet the needs of our target audiences.

So, 2023 was truly a wholesome year for us at AFFIRM Woman. We had new experiences, formed new memories, and loved each other through it all. And perhaps it’s time we looked at how we are faring and stop pushing so hard all the time.

On that note… we have decided to press ‘PAUSE’. In 2024, we intend to step back, review, pray, reflect, and refresh before taking any next steps. During this break, all our social media channels will remain open but not active. Please feel free to check out our history and enjoy a few trips down memory lane.

So, 2024 is the year to revive and thrive!

I am particularly grateful to Priscilla Taiwo and Reina Lasisi who I have worked alongside in the last few years – these two young women have taught me a whole lot, held me accountable on so many fronts and been a huge encouragement.

I also appreciate all the wise counsel and support received from members of the AFFIRM Woman Advisory Board – Ame Owuna, Ade Omoloja, Ramatu Umar Bako and Ifeoma Elenitoba-Johnson.

To YOU reading this, in what way have you been part of the AFFIRM Woman Community at any point since inception in 2008? Whether as a participant, sponsor, consultant, beneficiary, guest speaker, volunteer, trainer, moral supporter, coach, event host(ess), Shero, funder, delegate, adviser, collaborator, supplier, associate, and as an all-round lovely human being, I sincerely THANK YOU for your valuable contributions.

This is the last blog post for 2023. I hope that you get some time to rest and rejuvenate during the holidays. Here’s wishing you and yours a Happy Christmas and a fulfilling year ahead!