Category Archives: Africa

M&E, Technology and Network Outages in Kenya

Workshop participants in Nairobi

This piece originally appeared on the Panopoly Digital Blog

Last week, I was in Nairobi, Kenya with the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and their Kenyan partners from a wide variety of organisations, including civil society organisations and business membership associations from across Kenya. I was delivering a two-day training workshop on monitoring, evaluation and communication, how to use technology for those M&E and advocacy activities, and how to think about digital security.

CIPE strengthens democracy worldwide through private enterprise and market reforms. In Kenya, it works with partners to build policy and regulatory reform and provide services to regional members. Since Kenya’s devolution and decentralisation of government launched in 2013, CIPE’s Kenya partners have been working with their audience at a local level to ensure that local governments are accountable to their citizens.

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Democracy That Delivers Podcast #65: Nikiru Joy Okpala on How Business Associations Empower Women in Nigeria

From Left: podcast guest Nikiru Joy Okpala and guest host Henry LaGue

On this week’s Democracy That Delivers podcast, National Coordinator of the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network, Nikiru Joy Okpala, talks about how she went from being a young lawyer interested in women’s issues to working in the field of business association management. She discusses the importance of economic empowerment for women and the barriers that make it difficult for women in Nigeria to succeed in business. One of those barriers is what she calls the “two-job function” where women have to juggle demands at work with demands at home, such as housekeeping and childcare.

Okpala also discusses the role of women in Nigerian society, the urban/rural split in attitudes, and how education is helping expand what is possible for women in her country. Finally, she talks about how her parents raised her to be an independent and successful woman, including the confidence she gained through debating current affairs with her banker father and his friends.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #52: Lindsey Marchessault on Using Open Data To Ensure Public Money is Spent Honestly, Fairly, and Effectively

Podcast guest Lindsey Marchessault

On this week’s Democracy that Delivers podcast, Lindsey Marchessault from Open Contracting Partnership discusses opening up public contracting through disclosure and data engagement so that public money is spent honestly, fairly, and effectively. Marchessault talks about how this is done and the problems that open contracting is trying to address. She provides interesting examples of projects in countries such as Ukraine and Nigeria, and discusses the different roles played by government, the private sector, and civil society in developing impactful and sustainable change. Marchessault also discusses the kind of support and resources available for those who want to implement open contracting, and gives her advice on the most important first step in any open contracting initiative.

Follow Lindsey on Twitter and learn more about the Open Contracting Partnership.

Want to hear more? Listen to previous podcasts at CIPE.org/podcast.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes to help other listeners find the show.

Democracy that Delivers Podcast #47: Henry LaGue and Abi Stoltzfus on the Draw of International Development

Podcast guests Abi Stoltzfus (left) and Henry LaGue

Podcast guests Abi Stoltzfus (left) and Henry LaGue

This week on the Democracy that Delivers podcast, Ken and Julie sit down with two members of CIPE staff, Program Officer for Africa Henry LaGue and Program Assistant for Middle East and North Africa Abi Stoltzfus to discuss their work at CIPE, how they got interested in international development, and the paths that led them there.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or on your Android device.

Listen to past episodes of our show here.

Like this podcast? Please review us on iTunes to help other listeners find the show.

Supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment through Women’s Chambers of Commerce

Women from the Papua New Guinea Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry participating in a capacity building workshop

Women from the Papua New Guinea Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry participating in a capacity building workshop

Since its creation in 1983, CIPE has been working with business associations, chambers of commerce and economic think tanks around the world to promote institutional reforms and advance economic and political empowerment.

Women business associations are one type of business associations that CIPE has partnered with in order to support the economic empowerment of women. Recognizing the unique role such organizations play, CIPE has focused on strengthening women business associations and thus empowering women to become entrepreneurs and leaders in their local communities and countries.

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Democracy that Delivers Podcast #20: Nyaradzo Mashayamombe on Advocating for Women’s and Girls’ Rights in Zimbabwe

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Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow Nyaradzo Mashayamombe discusses her work as an advocate for women’s and girls’ rights in Zimbabwe and the way women are viewed in society is changing in that country. Mashayamombe talks about the hardships she experienced as a child in rural Zimbabwe and how they drove her to help other girls and women. She also discusses the empowering impact of social media and the current economic situation for women in Zimbabwe.

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Supporting a Technology-Enabled Advocacy Effort for Nigerian Women

panoply

One of the exciting initiatives I’m leading here at CIPE is to support our partners become better equipped with low-cost online or mobile tools that could improve their operations or programs. Our network of partners do tremendous work – whether that’s developing business and leadership skills in young Peruvians from across the country or igniting debates on economic policies in Nepal – often in challenging environments with limited budgets.

Their work would be even more powerful if they had knowledge on latest technology tools that could make their work more efficient – and that’s where my initiative comes in. We assess the technological environment in which our partners operate, and try to understand in what areas they are looking to enhance their capacity. Based on this information, CIPE worked with our technical expertise partner, Panoply Digital, to support the growth of our partners by equipping them with useful technologies that would make their work more productive.

To this end, CIPE and Panoply Digital led a workshop in Lagos back in February.  We trained the Association of Nigerian Women Business Network (ANWBN), a collation of women’s business and professional associations in Nigeria. ANWBN is in midst of preparing to develop a national business agenda, a set of policy reform recommendations to address the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, and they reached out to CIPE to learn tech tools that could add value during this process.

In this month’s Feature Service article, I explain the main takeaways from CIPE’s experience working with ANWBN to improve the coalition members’ ability to lead technology-enabled advocacy efforts for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria. This included:

  • ANWBN operates in a very challenging and frustrating technological environment, including low bandwidth, limited access to connectivity, and frequent power outages
  • All ANWBN members used mobile services and used tem as part of their business communication
  • Because advocacy is the main upcoming activity for ANWBN, the strategies focused on teaching ANWBN members with applicable tools that would feed into its national business agenda process, including data collection, research, and communications

To learn more about the specific tools that were taught, as well as the adoption rate of the tools that were introduced, read the latest Economic Reform Feature Service article.

Maiko Nakagaki is a Program Officer for Global Programs at CIPE.