AFFORD News

#DiasporaTransformers: AFFORD interviews PR Superstar Ronke Lawal

This year we celebrated Global Entrepreneurship week  from 12th-18th November 2018 by showcasing the impact of diaspora entrepreneurs on all our social media channels. We hosted a series of Facebook Live roundtable discussions with notable African diaspora entrepreneurs who shared tips on how to maintain a successful diaspora business, you can watch our Facebook Live discussions by clicking here.

We also interviewed a variety of diaspora entrepreneurs including AFFORD Business Club member Ronke Lawal, founder and director of PR agency Ariatu PR. Find out more about Ronke’s journey to establishing Ariatu PR by reading below!

Tell us about your business and the motivations behind starting your business?

Ariatu PR works with a variety of entrepreneurs from the African and Caribbean Diaspora on their public relations, reputation management, crisis management and media relations to gain media coverage for their businesses which tend to be across the luxury FMCG sectors. I became self-employed in 2004, I whilst I was in a standard 9 to 5 management role, a role in which many people my age would have been happy to have stayed in for many years. It was an interesting position with lots of responsibility, however I became a robot, unhappy with what my job was turning me into, I was stressed and would often take that stress home with me. My life lacked dynamism and to some extent purpose. I felt strongly that I was not following my true life’s purpose and so I made a choice to start my own business.

What do you find most rewarding about being an entrepreneur and working in Africa?

There is a sense of freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur, you can create something from nothing and that allows you to be creative in many respects however that is not to lose sight of the fact that all of your clients are in essence your “bosses”. But it can be very rewarding to work with so many dynamic clients particularly across the African diaspora who add a cultural nuance to projects which is unique and refreshing.

What advice would you give to young members of the African diaspora who are interested in starting a business in Africa?

Research, Prepare and have a support network. Many of my clients are members of the diaspora but when I have worked with clients on the continent preparation is key. You cannot go back with the view to change things immediately – that diasporan arrogance must be left at the arrivals gate, be willing to learn and engage with people on the ground and be patient. Great things take time.

What do you think are some of the key barriers in preventing people to starting their own businesses?

Finance is a major barrier and poor financial education, not enough people know where to go for advice on investment and scaling up. A lack of understanding of the importance of investing in PR, marketing, customer research – without even a basic understanding businesses fail before they start. Overall the biggest barrier is fear, too often fear holds people back from taking that first step.

Onyekachi Wambu attends the Africa Philanthropy Network Series in Mauritius

AFFORD’s Executive Director Onyekachi Wambu attended the Africa Philanthropy Network Series in Mauritius from 8th-9th November 2018. The event was organised to create a space for experienced and new philanthropy leaders who want to engage in conversation that would enrich each others’ understanding and practice on African philanthropy by developing and an African-generated and African-owned narrative about different forms and models of philanthropy in Africa.

Onyekachi Wambu attended the second day of the conference and spoke about how we can leverage diaspora time, money and skills for the development of African philanthropy beyond remittances with Amaha Kassa, founder and director of diaspora led organisation based in the USA African Communities Together

Find out more about the event by clicking here. 

 

AFFORD attends the Mixed Migration Conference in Copenhagen

AFFORD’s Deputy Executive Director Stella Opoku- Owusu attended the Mixed Migration conference, hosted by the Danish Refugee Council & Mixed Migration Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark on 9th November 2018. The conference bought together practitioners, policy makers and researchers to address the often-simplified narratives of drivers and aspirations of migration in Europe. Ms Opoku-Owusu was part of a panel focusing on the drivers and aspirations of migration from the perspective of the African diaspora and development. A variety of organisations attended, these included:

Find out more about the event by clicking here.

AFFORD Business Club partner interview with A4ID

The AFFORD Business Club (ABC) are working with great people and organisations who want to join us in supporting members of ABC. A4ID is our partner for all things legal. This month’s interview is with Joe Tan, the Deputy Head of Partnerships & Legal Services at Advocates for International Development (A4ID).

1. Can you tell us a bit about A4ID and the services you offer?

A4ID is global charity headquartered in London and a presence in Nairobi and New Delhi with a vision of working to ensure that the law and lawyers play a full role in the eradication of global poverty by advancing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Established over 12 years ago in response to the Asian tsunami crisis, it began as a movement of city lawyers who wished to use their skills practically to assist survivors. Since then, A4ID has worked at the intersection of law and international development. Remaining faithful to its humanitarian roots as a lawyer led movement, it is perhaps best known for its brokerage service. This service helps its registered ‘Development Partners’ (largely charities and other non-profit entities and some social enterprises but in more limited circumstances, also intergovernmental organisations and developing country governments, and legal professional bodies) to access pro bono (i.e. free) legal advice and assistance in support of their work. Development Partners approach A4ID with its draft projects which are reviewed and scoped by A4ID lawyers. The projects are placed on a list which is circulated to its network of ‘Legal Partners’ of law firms, barristers chambers, in-house lawyers at corporate organisations and legal academics. Legal Partners then have a week to bid on the projects of interest before the deadline of noon the following Monday. If a project is not picked up that first week, it will be placed back in the list and re-circulated for a second week and allocated on a ‘first come first serve basis’.

Aside from the brokerage service, A4ID provides a range of training programmes and literature. On the one hand, A4ID seek to inform and empower lawyers to get more involved in development issues, while on the other, it seeks to assist its Development Partners in understanding how the law can be used as a tool to advance their own social mission.

A4ID also manages the Rule of Law Expertise UK programme (‘ROLE UK’) funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). This programme provides financial support aimed at improving rule of law environments in developing countries by matching judicial and legal expertise, both private and public sector, with demand in developing countries to improve the policies, organisations and practices of legal and judicial systems.

2. What kind of law firms work with you and why?

Our network of Legal Partners comprise over 50,000 lawyers in more than 123 countries around the world. The majority of Legal Partners are large multinational corporate law firms based either in the UK or the US. We also work with several smaller law firms who are passionate about development and we are always looking for opportunities to build up a network of lawyers in the developing world, who can assist with domestic law advice. In the UK, we also work with some of the leading barristers and in-house lawyers who are among the best in their field of expertise.

We look to partner with lawyers who are willing and keen to offer their skills free of charge to support our Development Partners in need of legal advice and assistance. Quality of service is important to A4ID and we therefore partner with some of the world’s leading law firms, barristers, and in-house lawyers. Legal Partners have also provided This ensures that our Development Partners receive excellent legal advice for free. We monitor the quality of service closely and the overwhelming majority of feedback we receive from our Development Partners is highly positive.

3. What do you look for in organisations that you work with and support?

Our Development Partners come in many sizes and capacities. Some are large global multination enterprises headquartered in a large international city, others are single, start-up entities at the grassroots. The only criterion we demand from our Development Partners is that they must be seeking to further at least one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the developing world. The SDGs are indivisible and interdependent and organisations undertaking work that demonstrate this is something that we get quite excited about at A4ID. In the case of social enterprises, there are more levels of discretion and these organisations tend to be in their start-up phase. Having made profits and distributed dividends is also a significant disqualifying factor.

3rd Diaspora Investment and Policy Forum in Lagos, Nigeria

 

As part of AFFORD’s Diaspora Finance Initiative (DFI), AFFORD’s country partner the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) organised the 3rd Diaspora Investment & Policy Forum on 26 September 2018 in Lagos, Nigeria. Diaspora Investment & Policy Forums are an important part of AFFORD’s work as they provide decision makers, diaspora businesses and regulators with a space to have open dialogue on creating an enabling environment for SMEs.

The forum focused on building successful diaspora businesses in Nigeria through dialogue with business development institutions, local government, regulatory bodies, private sector and other stakeholders. A variety of organisations, businesses and regulatory bodies in Nigeria attended, these included:

The forum was successful in providing diaspora businesses with the opportunity to engage with policy makers and regulatory bodies in Nigeria. Diaspora businesses were able to have open dialogue with regulators on barriers relating to regulation and discuss sustainable solutions.
The next Diaspora Investment & Policy Forums will be led by AFFORD’s country partners in Zimbabwe and Rwanda later this year.

Graphic Design Volunteer Role available

AFFORD is seeking a Graphic Design Volunteer to design content for AFFORD’s website, marketing, branding, and social media campaigns. They will conceptualize, design, and create templates for reports, flyers, presentations, banners.

This is an excellent opportunity for an up and coming graphic designer to work on an exciting campaign celebrating successful African Diaspora Entrepreneurs and  develop a portfolio of work for future employment opportunities or establishing one’s self as a graphic designer.

The ideal candidate should have: 

  • In-depth knowledge of Adobe creative suite and in particular Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign
  • Ability to work independently and in partnership with a team
  • Must possess the ability to work towards deadlines
  • Have good graphical skills
  • Self-directed and willing to take initiative
  • Excellent attention to details

Read the full job description and find out how to apply by clicking here.

European Union Aid volunteers training session

CHS Alliance and Danish Refugee Council (DRC) organised a capacity building event for diaspora volunteers and organisations working in the humanitarian sector. AFFORD, as a partner of DEMAC and beneficiary of the European Union Aid Volunteer (EUAV) project managed by DRC assisted in organising the training programme.

The four day programme took place in London from the 11th-14th September 2018 and included training sessions on Understanding Core Humanitarian Standards & Principles, Strengthening Local Capacities, Resource Management, Understanding Complaints Mechanisms, implementing safety policy and an explanation of the European Union Aid Volunteer Certification process. A variety of diaspora led organisations throughout the UK and Europe took part, these included:

AFFORD received extremely positive feedback from attendees and will be facilitating further events and activities over the next six months.

ABC Legal Seminar with Morrison & Foerster LLP

 

The AFFORD Business Club (ABC) has joined with Morrison & Foerster LLP, an international law firm, to provide a free event for businessescharities and social enterprises to give you insight into what you need to know and do legally for your business.

Are you trying to figure out the best structure for your enterprise?

Is tax causing you confusion and frustration?

Are your contracts and agreements with staff and service providers really protecting you?

This seminar will look at these areas and more including:

• Types of business organisation, sole trader, partnership, company, charitable status
• Contracts, formation, effect and enforceability, standard terms and exclusion clauses
• Essentials of relevant employment law
• Tax considerations for entrepreneurs
• Avenues for conflict and dispute resolution
• Intellectual Property
• International trade: Import and Export

This free seminar is a vital session providing information on key legal areas of interest no matter what stage your organisation is at. It will help you identify areas of support that you didn’t know you needed!

This will also be an excellent opportunity for you to meet the team of lawyers who will be providing free one to one sessions for our ABC members. Come and find out about the other benefits and assistance you would receive if you became an AFFORD Business Club (ABC) member .

Date: Thursday 20th September 2018
Location: Morrison and Foerster LLP, 1 Ropemaker St, London, EC2Y 9AW
Time: 17.30 – 20.00

Whether you are a business, a charitable organisation or an entrepreneur, make sure you don’t miss out on this essential legal support opportunity!

The deadline to register is Tuesday 18th September 2018, and please note seats are very limited for this event so please register early to avoid disappointment.

To register for free please click on the link here. 

If you have any questions please contact katharine@afford-uk.org

Onyekachi Wambu on Governance in Africa Conversations Series

AFFORD’s Executive Director, Mr Onyekachi Wambu was interviewed by Ms Rama Salla Dieng in one of the ‘Governance in Africa Conversations’ series. The programmes brings together some of the most important and inspired thinkers, policy makers and experts focusing on issues affecting governance in Africa.

The series is part of the ‘Governance for Development Initiative’ at the Centre of African Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in the United Kingdom, funded by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

Onyekachi Wambu spoke about how governance in Africa is influenced by a colonial model and the various ways in which the diaspora can contribute effectively on the continent. 

Click here to watch Onyekachi’s interview in full. 

We’re Hiring!

Deadline: 7th September 2018 at 12pm 

AFFORD is seeking a Monitoring, Evaluation & Fundraising Assistant to join our team and provide support to our Monitoring, Evaluation & Fundraising Manager. This is an excellent opportunity for someone who is passionate about international development and wants to support the delivery of impactful projects and the measuring of their impact. Successful applicants will provide support to a small team in London and to our Africa-based partners.

The ideal candidate should have:

  • At least two years’ experience working in a relevant fundraising, M&E or project support role
  • A degree in International Development, Economics, International Relations or equivalent;
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, writing and editing skills, with exceptional attention to detail
  • The ability to research data from various sources, to analyse findings and present them clearly;

Read the job description in full and find out how to apply by clicking here. 

Scroll to Top