Amanda Obidike is a daughter and Cornerstone polished after the similitude of a Palace (Psalm 144 vs 12), a lady called to serve and an avid lover of good things.
She is a Nigerian lady from the South-Eastern region who is socially engaged, dynamic and entrepreneurial. She relies on the principles of inclusion, collaboration and shared decision making. Amanda cultivates qualities for young people to thrive through community mobilization and sets long-term commitments that provide supportive connections. This assists young people to develop the needed technical skills to thrive in an ever-changing economy.
Recently, she was given the Positive Impact Award of Athena40: The World Most Innovative Women, 2020; 100 Leading Ladies in Africa, The Technology Rising Stars Award, Michigan, USA and Role Model Finalist in Booking.com Technology Playmakers Awards, for successfully championing diversity for the girl child. She is a Certified professional in STEM Education by the Open University, United Kingdom and Executive Director of the STEMi Makers Africa.
Amanda’s interests are in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Innovation) because she desires to see Africa match world standard pathways and compete on a global level. Countries like the USA, Germany, China, Switzerland, etc invest in Research and STEM. This leads to economic advancement, increase in manufacturing, innovation and equitable distribution of income.
Women are underrepresented and lagging with these future-focused options as this can address poverty and the brain-drain young people suffer. The underrepresentation of women and girls in STEM, high influx of importation and economic independence of production.
Amanda is passionate about STEM because the future growth of Africa as a continent depends on an investment in STEM. Again, it is an aligned system that supports developmental efforts in generating talents needed to become self-reliant, technology problem-solvers and innovators.
STEMi Makers Africa was established in the year 2018 with a diverse Community and existing in over 17 Sub-Saharan Countries in Africa. A Non-Governmental organization that equips young people with STEM emerging tools, real-world problem-solving skills they need to use to excel in STEM lucrative fields and become more experienced for Africa’s Workforce.
Amanda’s work began on a quest to help Africans overcome barriers in education, employment, foster better livelihoods and facilitate inter-state networking; amongst young leaders who desired sustainable change in Education and socio-economic environment.
This led to building a formidable team across over 38 communities in 17 Sub-Saharan countries. Where STEMi Makers Africa addresses regional concerns in education and coordinates national STEM activities. STEMi Makers Africa understands that if Africans are not prepared in STEM and STEM Education is not improved, they will continue to fall in world ranking and will not maintain a global position.
STEMi Makers Africa is building an ecosystem called “Africa By Us, For Us” that will prepare over 300,000 young and diverse talents with future-focused options to match world-standard pathways by 2025.
Amanda shared with us the challenges that she is faced with as a woman in STEM and how she finds ways to address them. One of the challenges she mentions remains the underrepresentation of Women in STEM fields or in STEM Leadership roles. Amanda emphasized how very few women in Africa and so little role models that young girls can look up to and be inspired. This gender divide leaves a lot of room to be desired. To address this challenge, she was able to design a Mentorship program to inspire women and girls in STEM.
The Project “Kuongoza” (means “to Lead” in Swahili language). This program offers a blended learning approach to mentor women and girls aged 15-25. The women and girls are paired to Professional women in STEM and giving them the right experience to work opportunities around the world. Through Project Kuongoza, they have mentored over 95 young girls in Secondary schools and provided career opportunities to 30 women.
Amanda shared with us how the role of patriarchy affects leadership and the place of women. She shared that the rights of women in the socio-political space of Nigeria on the democratic agenda have been a matter of public debate. This has attracted serious concerns by individuals, Academics, Public Analysts and the wider international community as a whole.
Our plight as women, like our counterparts in other parts of developed countries, have been characterized by the lack of adequate representation, lack of access to well-developed education and training systems for women’s leadership in general. Undue dominance of men in the socio-political scheme of things, poverty or lack of money or resources and lopsided political appointments. The general imbalances associated with very unjust treatment of the female citizens in its entirety. This trend has negated the collective interests of human fundamental rights and the rights of equality, freedom and personal dignity of women in society.
To address the women’s question and transform gender relations, there is a need to challenge patriarchy in all its manifestations. Whether it be in domestic production, paid employment, culture and religion, sexuality, male violence and the State; and specifically promote women’s rights.
Any programme(s) introduced should be carefully conceptualized in an innovative, creative and radical manner aimed at eliminating all forms of patriarchy. Then we will be on the right path to overcoming the subordination and oppression of women and bringing about human centered development.
Amanda shared with us her wisdom of wisdom on why women should continue taking up spaces.
Just at the beginning of this year, I made some declarations and said to myself: I am taking and occupying territories this 2020 and going forward.
As women, we should not be afraid to dream, to excel and to succeed. The world does not give us what we want, so we need to take it and one of the ways we can take it is through the place of leadership.
Leadership is about being responsible. How responsible are we to our community? Our family, the girls and women who look up to us? What is that one bold step you need to take in growing in your career, Education or profession but you feel restrained because of socio-cultural perspectives?
I didn’t have everything figured out one time in my life. It was as if I was lost but the moment, I told myself I CANNOT FAIL. I began to set goals and take responsibility in my life.
Let’s go past what we see at the moment (the pandemic, other current situation) and be encouraged.
Be free to Dream,
Be free to Create,
Be free to Think,
Be free to Win,
Be free to Excel and
Be free to Succeed.
The world awaits your manifestation.