+ Esther Ijewere

Esther Ijewere is an enterprising social activist, youth advocate, columnist, wife, mother of two, author and the Executive Director of Rubies Ink Initiative, a social enterprise outfit devoted to, inter alia, youth advocacy and public relations. An Olabisi Onabanjo University-trained Sociologist and a social advocate, she started the Walk Against Rape (W.A.R.), an initiative which lends a voice to victims of rape and demands justice for perpetrators. In tandem with the W.A.R campaign and in partnership with the Lagos State Ministry of Justice and the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), which the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation endorsed, Rubies Ink Initiative organises rape-sensitising workshops in different secondary schools across Nigeria, tagged College Acquaintance Rape Education (C.A.R.E). Ijewere also is the initiator of Project Capable, a Lagos State Ministry of Education-approved programme which is an annual youth mentoring initiative geared towards creating a ‘can-do’ mentality in secondary school students using celebrities and accomplished individuals to inspire and motivate youngsters to rise to greatness.

Being an emerging young leader, she is the youngest recipient of The Idea Builders Women Mentoring Women Award, winning Mentee of the year 2010 and ‘Women Enterprise Award’ from Vital Voices International and Exxon Mobil. Ijewere also won the ‘Best Use of Advocacy’ award from her alma mater in 2012, for her contribution to fighting and creating awareness on rape. In 2016, she bagged four awards for her Women of Rubies platform, notable among these awards is ‘Young Person of the Year’. She is Fellow of Vital Voices Global Leadership USA, an organisation which Hillary Clinton founded to empower young female change-makers all over the world. She has toured several secondary schools, provided counsel and shared messages of hope for a better life. One of her major interests is advocacy and counseling on issues surrounding women, child sexual abuse, family values and youth empowerment.

Taking the Walk to another level, she released her first book on rape and violence against women, entitled Breaking the Silence, which is a guide to enlightening young women on the knowledge needed to survive sexual situations, while enunciating that every woman was susceptible to sexual assault at some point in her life. ‘Breaking the Silence’ also is a guide for girls and women to know the places to avoid and understand that there is indeed a law to punish perpetrators. So far, it has created an avenue for people to come out without feeling badly or stigmatised for telling their stories.

Ijewere is a columnist with Nigeria’s Guardian Newspaper with her page ('Women of Rubies') used to celebrate exceptional women with inspiring stories; the page is a sequel to her award-winning blog, www.womenofrubies.com, which is fast becoming the one-stop blog for the everyday woman.

+ Florence Naab

Florence Naab is a Lecturer in the School of Nursing (College of Health Sciences) at the University of Ghana. In the recent past, she has taught at Bawku Nurses Training College, 37 Military Nurses Training College and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and served as a General Nurse and Midwife at Bawku Hospital and Trust Hospital in Ghana.

Her areas of teaching interest include research methods, anatomy and physiology, maternal and child health, medical and surgical nursing, child development, obstetrics and gynaecology nursing and paediatric nursing. As an accomplished researcher who has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals, Dr Naab has supervised numerous Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Master of Science (MSc) theses, and Bachelor of Science (BSc) research projects.

Dr Naab’s research is in the area of the psychosocial health problems associated with infertility among men and women. She has investigated the relationship between cultural beliefs and infertility related psychosocial health problems. Currently, she is testing the feasibility and acceptance of a psycho-educational programme to treat depression among women with infertility in Ghana.

Naab was educated at the Bawku, Ghana-based Nurses Training College, Midwifery Training College (Kumasi, Ghana), University of Ghana (where she took a BA in Psychology and an MPhil in Nursing), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison from which she holds a PhD in Nursing (with a minor in Gender and Women's Studies) and completed post-doctoral training.

+ MOJÚBÀOLÚ OLÚFÚNKÉ OKOME

Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome was educated at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, Long Island University and Columbia University in New York. She is a Professor of Political Science at Brooklyn College, City University of New York (CUNY), Leonard and Claire Tow Professor (2015-16), past Women’s Studies Program Director and former Deputy Chair for Graduate Studies in the Department of Political Science at Brooklyn College. She is an International Political Economist whose regional specialisation is on the African continent with Nigeria being her country of focus.

Born in Nigeria, Dr Okome has worked on international development issues as a consultant for clients including the United Nations and Commonwealth. Her teaching interests include a focus on the meanings of inclusive, equitable citizenship in the context of the interplay between globalization, democratization and economic development. Her research interests include: effects of globalization, post-colonialism, and post-modernity on economic and political transformation; gender, democracy and citizenship in Africa and African Diaspora Studies. She has contributed several book chapters to edited books; edits a scholarly peer-reviewed journal, and reviews manuscripts for scholarly publishing presses and peer-reviewed journals. She edited books leading to the publication of the work of 39 scholars in Africa, North America and Europe.

Mojúbàolú’s most recent publications are: two edited books published in 2013 by Palgrave-Macmillan: State Fragility, State Formation, and Human Security in Nigeria; and Contesting the Nigerian State: Civil Society and the Contradictions of Self-Organization; and one book co-edited with Afia Serwaa Zakiya published by Bookbuilders, Ibadan, Nigeria: Women's Political and Legislative Participation in Nigeria: Perspectives From the 2007 Elections. With Olufemi Vaughan, she co-edited two volumes published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2012: Transnational Africa and Globalization and West African Migrations: Pathways into a new Century. She founded and edits Ìrìnkèrindò: a Journal of African Migration, and was co-founder and one of three co-editors from 2000 to Spring 2010 of Jenda: Journal of African Culture and Women Studies. Mojúbàolú co-founded #BringBackOurGirlsNYC to advocate for the rescue of Nigerians abducted by Boko Haram, including 219 of the 276 secondary girls abducted from their boarding school in Chibok, Borno State, on April 14, 2014.

+ Adedayo Oluwakayode Adekson

Adedayo Oluwakayode Adekson founded The African Development Imperative (TADI) in 2016. As its Chief Executive Officer, he oversees and propels TADI's youth-focused initiatives, liaises with other entities for partnership cultivation and maintenance purposes, superintends logistical matters affecting this incipient organization and shares his expertise with other entities. Adekson took an undergraduate degree in International Studies and a masters degree in International Development (with extensive coursework at George Washington University) at American University’s School of International Service. Moreover, he holds masters and doctoral degrees in Political Science from the University of Maryland and is an alumnus of the Nonprofit Management Executive Program at Georgetown University.

In the recent past, Adedayo Oluwakayode Adekson has worked in research, teaching and administrative capacities in North America, Central America and Europe, and undertaken extensive field research in Nigeria. Specifically, he has been affiliated with entities as diverse as the Academy for Educational Development (now christened FHI 360), The World Bank’s Development Research Group, Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland, the United Nations-mandated University for Peace, UNESCO Centre at Ulster University and the Great Lakes Colleges Association/Global Liberal Arts Alliance.

Adekson is the author of several monographs and reviews, with the most seminal being The ‘Civil Society’ Problematique: Deconstructing Civility and Southern Nigeria’s Ethnic Radicalization (London; New York: Routledge, 2003/2012). His interests include, inter alia, the political economy of development, politics of perception and representation, digital divide, capacity building, youth development, education, social entrepreneurship and innovation, civil-military and state-society relations, nexus between security, gender and development, repercussions of state capacity or lack thereof, conflict prevention and management, early warning and action, post-conflict reconstruction, peace-building efforts, rule of law, human rights, and democratization theory and practice.