The formal definition of sisterhood is the close relationship among women based on shared experiences and a community of women and that is exactly what I found in AWEP. Although I stumbled upon the organization while simply seeking business opportunities, not only was I able to find opportunities that would allow me to grow my business, but also develop strong friendships with like-minded women who are committed to improving themselves and those around them.
My name is Ora Ataguba and I am the founder and CEO of Weave and Co. Gallery, an art gallery that also includes hand woven baskets. When I first interacted with AWEP, I was unimpressed. During the first gathering I attended, I saw many different women doing different things and initially I felt as if I did not belong. The women I met were receptive and encouraging which gave me confidence when I began to doubt myself. Soon I was given the opportunity to meet Mrs. Yemisi Iranloye, the former President of AWEP, who after seeing leadership potential in me, recommended that I attend the International Visitors Leadership Program in the United States. After this program, I truly understood what AWEP was about. I understood that we, women entrepreneurs in Nigeria, are all connected and in order for me to be successful, I needed the women who I purchase my raw materials from to be successful as well. This creates a beautifully interconnected relationship that is celebrated through AWEP. The organization brings us together and we form a network of women who rely on one another. When I decided to become a full-fledged member, I began to see opportunity after opportunity for myself and my business.
Today, my official position in AWEP is Vice-President of the Southwest Region in Nigeria as well as the Project Director of the AWEP Nigeria Green Gold Project. As Vice-President, my role is to coordinate the affairs of the southwest region of Nigeria, manage our relationships with different organizations and bodies, provide a conducive atmosphere for the women to thrive as a unit as well as provide leadership and structure for the region. As for my role with the ANGGP, I have been working closely with the Chief Consultant, Mrs. Aderoba, from the beginning and being part of the entire process has allowed me to have a full understanding of what ANGGP is about. What is unique about my position is that I am based locally and that allows me to fulfill my duties of coordinating the project and making sure we do exactly what we envisioned. My role as Project Director also requires me to manage funds as well as all the different companies and organizations that are working with us. Overall, my experience with the ANGGP has been truly amazing.
Through this organization I was encouraged, inspired, guided, and was able to develop confidence from other women who are part of this sisterhood we call AWEP and through this sisterhood we gain the strength to inspire other women entrepreneurs through avenues like the ANGGP. We are a strong network of women who are committed to female success in the business world. AWEP has taught me the importance of having a network. We have come to understand that it is easier to accomplish a goal when you have a group of dedicated women working together so that all ‘sisterpreneurs’ are able to achieve rather than just one. The AWEP Nigeria Green Gold Project is the perfect example of what we are about and this is just the beginning.