West African nations, WHO, FAO meet over food safety, antimicrobial resistance


Featured NewsiNews By Olugbenga ADANIKIN On Jun 25, 2019

Representative of FAO Country Director, Suffyan Koroma and other dignitaries during the AMR Assessment Regional Conference held in Abuja Photo Credit: Olugbenga Adanikin The ICIR

WEST African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and others on Tuesday met in Abuja, over issues regarding food safety caused by abusive Antimicrobial usage (AMU) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The event which had in attendance representatives from the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE), West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the European Union (EU) and other development partners was organised by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to collectively design mitigation measures and better strategic approaches to increase awareness on AMR and related threats.

Speaking at the workshop, Suffyan Koroma, FAO Country Representative described AMR as global threat to human and animal health, capable of endangering modern human and veterinary medicines.

He said aside from undermining the efficacy of both human and animal medicines, the abuse of antibiotics also destroys the environment.

“The fact that human and veterinary health, food and feed production systems and agro-ecological environments all contribute to and are affected by AMR, is an indication that a crisis of this magnitude requires an effective one health approach involving coordination among national and international sectors and actors to curb its occurrence and impacts,” says Koroma.

In April, the WHO shared a report of the United Nations Interagency Coordination Group (IACG) on Antimicrobial Resistance where the group reported that drug-resistant diseases could cause 10 million deaths annually by 2050 and destroy the economy.

It states further that at least 700, 000 people die each year due to drug-resistant diseases.

“We are at a critical point in the fight to protect some of our most essential medicines,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and Co-Chair of the IACG earlier stated at the report release. “This report makes concrete recommendations that could save thousands of lives every year.”

“The report’s recommendations recognize that antimicrobials are critical to safeguarding food production, safety and trade, as well as human and animal health, and it clearly promotes responsible use across sectors,” José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) also stated in the report. “Countries can foster sustainable food systems and farming practices that reduce the risk of antimicrobial resistance by working together to promote viable alternatives to antimicrobial use, as laid out in the report’s recommendations.”

However, in order to address the problem, the FAO stated that it already rolled out an action plan, titled “Supporting the food and agriculture sectors in implementing the Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance to minimize the impact of antimicrobial resistance.”

It includes developing the capacity of AMR surveillance, monitoring and its use in food, agriculture, animal and human context; strengthen governance on antimicrobial use and promote good practices in food and agriculture, human and animal systems and prudent use of antimicrobials.

Koroma further advised participants from the West African countries to discourage their citizens from abusing antimicrobials including pest residues in agricultural products for human consumption.

Omotayo Hamzat, the WHO Focal Persons on AMR said addressing the menace would require concerted efforts of multiple stakeholders.

However, he applauded the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for linking all government institutions and development partners to develop a national action plan to mitigate the effects of AMR in the country.

Other representatives are officials from the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Developments

Over 2million children, caregivers in need of psycho-social services in Nigeria’s North East- Save the Children


Featured NewsiNews By YEKEEN Akinwale On Jun 25, 2019

On the Panel are Ibrahim Oloriegbe; Hamzat Lawal; Nkiru Osisioma, Parmanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Education; Milen Kidane, Chief Protocol UNICEF and Favour Purity, Girl Champion Speaker FCT Children Parliament. Photo Credit: Save the Children

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailShare to SMSSMSShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MoreMore

MORE than two million girls, boys and caregivers are in need of psycho-social support services due to severe distress, hardship and displacement in North East Nigeria.

A new report by the Save the Children, ” Families Torn Apart: Protecting and Caring for Children Separated from their families by the conflict in North East Nigeria,” indicated that 770,000 children and care givers remain at risk of injury and loss of life from explosive remnants of war.

The report, one of the three unveiled in Abuja on Tuesday by Save the Children to mark its centenary anniversary quoted Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) as saying that there were 2.2million school-aged children and teachers in the North East who need immediate education emergency support.

Noting that education is a key concern in the conflict of North East, the report revealed that 867 schools primarily in Borno State are still non-functional mainly due to inaccessibility as a result of insecurity.

“The conflict has exposed children to different forms of violence making them vulnerable to abuse, violence, neglect, and exploitation,” it said.

“Violence continues to cause death, injury, forced displacement, abduction and conflict related psychological distress.”

Save the Children in the report said child protection concerns for unaccompanied and separated children in Borno State are vast, noting that the government, UN agencies and local as well as international humanitarian aid organisations are having to work in extremely difficult circumstances to address these concerns.

Benjamin Foot, Save the Children International, Nigeria Country Director, said the organisation would continue to fight for children every single day.

“We will do whatever it takes to make sure they survive, get protection when they are in danger and have the chance to learn because every child should be able to make their mark on their world and help to build better future for us all.”

Foot urged all actors to “renew their commitment and join forces to fight to create a conducive environment for children to learn, be protected and grow up healthy.”

He explained that this can be a reality when proper policies and strategies are in place and are coasted at the national and sub-national level and when families and communities start to treat boys and girls equally.

This, Foot also said would be a reality, when CSO, CBOs, government, and development partners are better coordinated and collaborated to accelerate change for children.

He said the Save the Children welcomed the bold step by the Nigerian government in ratifying the Safe School Declaration that will be instrumental to ensuring that the schools will be safe zones for children to study.

“We hope that a national policy to guide the implementation of the declaration will be in place soon,” Foot said.

Save the Children launched Global Childhood report and Stop the War on Children (SWOC) Flagship report at the event.

Skills That Determine Your Success as a Freelancer


Emma Moran Oct 5, 2018

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I love predictability and familiarity.

So when I started my graphic design business, the number of unknown factors that could affect my success was overwhelming. It pained me to think about sacrificing my stable monthly income, but I had a deep, unrelenting desire to venture out on my own. I knew I had to do it. I had a little bit of a plan, a mixture of fear and excitement, and a heck of a lot of hope.

However, I learned very quickly that my creative skills and portfolio would only get me so far. It didn’t matter if I was the best damn designer in the world — if I wanted to succeed, I needed to run my business like a business and use many of the soft skills I acquired working in an office. As I met other creative business owners who had more experience and knowledge than me, I noticed they mastered each of these five skills at some point. And if they hadn’t, then they hired people who had.

Successful creatives understand the importance of these skills and focus on developing them. Unsuccessful ones tend to dismiss them.

While this list isn’t exhaustive, I have observed creatives literally succeed or fail in business based on their ability to master these skills. The good news is anyone can (and should) learn and practice them. Especially in a creative industry filled with thousands of competitors offering cheap and free work, we need to do everything possible to make sure we stand out.

Here’s how we can.

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

1 | Communication

Professional, effective communication is one of the most important skills I learned working in an office. It’s critical to the success of every project and saves time and money for both the freelancer and client.

Unfortunately, I never wanted to put much effort into learning better communication, especially because it’s not a natural strength of mine. I have always struggled to articulate my thoughts and tell compelling stories, and it felt more comfortable to focus on honing my design skills. Thankfully, my previous supervisors had the foresight to challenge me and force me to grow. They helped me understand that we must strive for excellent communication in every interaction with clients and colleagues.

Now as a business owner, I’ve found that improving my communication skills has a significant impact on more than just time and money. It helps clients feel confident in my professionalism, expertise, and the value of their investment. It also ensures projects continue to make progress as expected.

And perhaps just as important, excellent communication helps me have difficult conversations, understand my clients’ needs, and adapt my style to the nuances of each client relationship. Remember — clients are usually running businesses in other industries which operate differently. Knowing how to communicate in these environments — and with different personalities — helps freelancers build better relationships and establish their value in the minds of their clients.

Cultivating great written and verbal communication will separate business owners from the stereotypical “freelancer.” Instead of coming across as a flighty millennial who wears sweatpants all day, I have established myself as a creative problem-solver and strategic partner.

How to Improve Written Communication

  • Check everything in Grammarly.
  • Learn how to write clearly and effectively using the Hemingway App.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Every email, text, and Slack message can become a tool to practice clarity and professionalism.

Tip: Most people read online content at a 5th grade reading level. The Hemingway App helps me simplify my thoughts so they’re appropriate and engaging as emails, blogs, social media posts, etc.

How to Improve Verbal Communication

  • Get a speech coach.
  • Ask a friend for feedback and/or count filler words.
  • Record sales conversations (with client’s permission) and play it back to identify areas of improvement.
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

2 | Relationship-Building

As an introvert, I know the very real struggle of trying to build relationships even when it’s uncomfortable. But whether we like it or not, who you know matters.

The most successful creative entrepreneurs know how to build amazing relationships, and they don’t just focus on potentially valuable clients. They foster a solid foundation with existing clients and network with everyone, including colleagues. They see every touch point as an opportunity to make a new connection — connections that can lead to referrals, projects, collaborations, partnerships, mentoring, and friendships.

I know many people who find this part easy. The natural people-person enjoys and thrives off networking and collaborating. Yet even for those blessed with the gift of small talk, it’s still important to be intentional. Build rapport strategically and remember to stay professional.

Good word of mouth spreads. You never know when you’ll land a project because of an old relationship. But remember — bad word of mouth spreads faster. Burning bridges just isn’t worth it. Learning how to keep a relationship (even when you’re rejecting a project) and mastering the art of conflict resolution will lead to huge long term benefits as a freelancer.

How to Build Better Relationships

  • Practice making small connections with people throughout the day.
  • Write thank-you cards (business or personal).
  • Follow up with an old connection.
  • Go to a local networking event and talk to five new people.
Photo by Dose Media on Unsplash

3 | Strategic Thinking

Learning how to think strategically improves business and client relationships tremendously. This one practice has the power to transform an unsure freelancer into a successful, creative business owner.

My ability to think strategically radically changed the way I viewed myself, my business, and my clients’ needs.

Strategic thinking means envisioning the future and planning accordingly — beyond the next few months or year. It includes anticipating trends, understanding the deeper mission, and asking thought-provoking questions about the future.

For example, I become more than “just a freelance graphic designer” when I take my clients through a brand strategy session that uncovers their core beliefs and casts a vision for implementing a new visual identity.

The same is true for myself. When I take a few hours per month to revisit my long term business goals, make adjustments, and decide what I’m going to do to reach my sales numbers six months from now, I’m thinking strategically and treating my business like the business it actually is.

How to Practice Thinking Strategically:

  • Spend 10 minutes each morning envisioning the future 5 years from now.
  • Block off one hour each week for working on business strategy.
  • Listen to an inspiring podcast about business or leadership (one of my favorites is EntreLeadership).
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

4 | Time Management

One of the most frustrating and best lessons I’ve learned as a designer is this — how one manages time can make or break a business.

With multiple projects, clients, and deadlines, I realized my profitability literally depends on my ability to manage time well. Unlike most middle-level employees, freelancers must intentionally balance their time spent on clients and in their own business.

And, not insignificantly, I learned I also have to take care of myself and keep my sanity.

This is nearly impossible to do if I have poor time management skills.

It really comes down to mastering my self — self-motivation, self-discipline, self-management, self-care.

Improving my time management saves me money, increases my profits, and skyrockets the value I give to clients as I solve their problems better, faster.

How to Improve Time Management:

  • Plan the next day during the afternoon/evening before.
  • Do the most important task first (i.e. don’t check email or social media).
  • Use an online timer to help you focus on one action for 30–60 minutes, then take a quick break and start the timer again.

Tip: Check out the Pomodoro technique if time-blocking is a new concept. This article is great for learning the basics and gives guidance on how to start.

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

5 | Budgeting

I love talking honestly about money because it’s one of the biggest causes of anxiety for freelancers. Usually I’m talking about sales, but this time I want to chat about the basics — budgeting.

Our habits in personal finance become glaringly obvious when we look at our money habits in our businesses.

How we budget and spend money affects every aspect of our businesses — knowing which clients to accept, staying profitable, paying ourselves, pricing our products and services, making business decisions, investing in ourselves, etc. Managing our money wisely is the only way to ensure we’re successful.

A business can bring in tons of cash and still fail if its owners don’t know how to use money well.

How to Start Budgeting Properly

  • Learn the basics and get a budgeting app, like EveryDollar (what I use).
  • Separate business and personal bank accounts.
  • Budget for the business separately.
  • Practice in every aspect of life — including personally.

Five Love Languages And Why they Matter.


Dina Al-Mahdy

If you spend any time around couples, you might have heard the phrase “love language” come up.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, there are five love languages—five ways that people speak and understand emotional love.

Some partners may say their love language is acts of service when they talk about their partner’s help around the house. It might sound like general couple’s talk, but it’s actually from a famous relationship book: The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman.

The idea is simple: break down the different ways in which people communicate with their partners, so we can finally take the mystery out of what our significant other really wants and expects from us.

So, what exactly are these languages he speaks of?

According to Dr. Chapman, there are five universal ways that all people express and interpret love. Through his more than 30 years of couples counseling, Dr. Chapman has noticed specific patterns in the way partners communicate—and it turns out that most of the population expresses and interprets love in the same five ways, according to his observations.

These expressions and interpretations are his famous five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch.

Dr. Chapman firmly believes that each person has one primary and one secondary love language, and he theorizes that people tend to give love in the way they prefer to receive love. Since we don’t all have the same preferences as our partners when it comes to giving and receiving love, this is how relationships can start to get sticky. But by understanding our partner’s inherent love language, we can start to tear down walls in our romantic lives.

Let’s finally learn what the love languages are.

1. Words of Affirmation

The deepest human need is the need to feel appreciated. Words of affirmation will meet that need in many individuals.

According to Dr. Chapman, this language uses words to affirm other people. For those who prefer the words of affirmation language, hearing “I love you” and other compliments is what they value the most. Words hold real value within this language. Furthermore, negative or insulting comments cut deep—and won’t be easily forgiven.

One way to express love emotionally is to use words that build our partner up. Robin Sharma, one of the world’s top leadership experts, wrote, “Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.” Many couples have never learned the tremendous power of verbally affirming each other.

Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love. They are best expressed in simple, straightforward statements of affirmation, such as:

“You look handsome in that outfit.”
“Do you ever look gorgeous in that dress! Wow!”
“I really like how you’re always on time to pick me up at work.”
“You can always make me laugh.”

2. Quality Time

Time is a precious commodity. We all have multiple demands on our time, yet each of us has the exact same hours in a day. We can make the most of those hours by committing some of them to our spouse.

This language is all about giving the other person your undivided attention. Unlike the words of affirmation language, talk is cheap and being a loved one’s main focus leaves quality-timers feeling satisfied and comforted. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful to these individuals. Being there for them is crucial.

By “quality time,” I mean giving someone your undivided attention. I don’t mean sitting on the couch watching television together. What I mean is sitting on the couch with the TV off, looking at each other, and talking, with devices put away, giving each other your complete attention. It means taking a walk, just the two of you, or going out to eat and looking at each other and talking.

If your mate’s primary love language is quality time, she simply wants to be with you, to spend time with each other.

3. Receiving Gifts

Dr. Chapman says for some people, what makes them feel most loved is to receive a tangible gift. This doesn’t necessarily mean the person is materialistic, but a meaningful or thoughtful present is what makes them feel appreciated.

Almost everything ever written on the subject of love indicates that at the heart of love is the spirit of giving. All five love languages challenge us to give to our spouse. But for some—receiving gifts, visible symbols of love—speaks the loudest.

A gift is something you can hold in your hand and say, “Look, he was thinking of me,” or, “She remembered me.” You must be thinking of someone to give him or her a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought. It doesn’t matter whether it costs money. What is important is that you thought of him or her. And it is not the thought implanted only in the mind that counts but the thought expressed in actually securing the gift and giving it as the expression of love.

If your spouse’s primary love language is receiving gifts, it is possible to become a proficient gift giver. In fact, it is one of the easiest love languages to learn. Now that you have made that discovery, get on with the business of learning your second language.

4. Acts of Service

By acts of service, I mean doing things you know your spouse would like you to do. You seek to please them by serving them, to express your love by doing things for them.

For these people, actions speak louder than words. People who speak the language of service want their partner to recognize that their life is rough and help them out in any way possible. Lending a helping hand shows you really care. People who thrive on this language do not deal well with broken promises—or perceived laziness—and have very little tolerance for people who make more work for them. Basically, if you’re not willing to show your appreciation by doing them a favor, you’re saying you don’t value them.

Consider actions such as cooking a meal, setting a table, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, changing the baby’s diaper, picking up a prescription, keeping the car in operating condition—they are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love.

If your spouse’s love language is acts of service, then “actions speak louder than words.”

5. Physical Touch

Physical touch is also a powerful vehicle for communicating marital love to one’s spouse. For some individuals, physical touch is their primary love language. Without it, they feel unloved. With it, their emotional tank is filled, and they feel secure in their spouse’s love.

To this person, nothing speaks more deeply than appropriate touch. Everyday physical connections, like hand-holding, embracing, or any type of reaffirming physical contact is greatly appreciated. A person who speaks the language of physical touch isn’t necessarily an over-the-top PDA’er, but getting a little touchy-feely does make them feel safe and loved.

We have long known that physical touch is a way of communicating emotional love. Numerous research projects in the area of child development have made that conclusion: babies who are held, stroked, and kissed develop a healthier emotional life than those who are left for long periods of time without physical contact.

Once you discover that physical touch is the primary love language of your spouse, you are limited only by your imagination on ways to express love.

~

Just because you or your partner favors a particular love language doesn’t mean you should stop expressing the other love languages. According to Chapman, even though we tend to favor one language, we still enjoy traits of the others as well.

A willingness to examine and change stereotypes is necessary in order to express love more effectively. Remember, there are no rewards for maintaining stereotypes, but there are tremendous benefits to meeting the emotional needs of your partner.

Mindset Shifts For Organizational Transformation


By Tanmay Vora

Businesses are struggling to keep the pace with rapid rate of change and disruption around. To keep up with the change, businesses try to diversify into newer areas, build products and services to cater to new market needs and innovate. Organizations on their transformation journeys cannot afford to rely only on the technology innovations because innovation is a result of something more deeper – innovation is a result of mindset, behavioral constructs, leadership and culture.

At ThoughtWorks blog, Aaron Sachs and Anupam Kundu have written an excellent post titled “The Unfinished Business of Organizational Transformation” where they outline the mindset shifts required when transforming the organizations to be more adaptable and agile.

The most profound business challenge we face today is how to build organizations that can change as fast as change itself. – Gary Hamel

(HT to Helen Bevan for sharing the post.)

While you can read the full post here (highly recommended), I created a quick sketch note to outline the shifts in our mindset and the need to balance between behavioral constructs to nurture change and enable organizational transformation.

“The goal of the transformation is to allow the organization to collectively define and measure new behavioral constructs that allow the organization to “inspect and adapt”: find the balance between the following opposites enabling it to respond with urgency.”

Tanmay Vora | Mindset Shifts for ORganization Transformation

Appeal Court Gives Nigeria’s President Buhari 5 Days To Respond To Alleged Certificate Fraud


By checkpointcharley on 24. June 2019 • ( 0 )

48th Ecowas extraordinary meeting in  Abuja, Nigeria

The Court of Appeal Abuja division on Monday ordered President Muhammadu Buhari to respond within five days to the appeal filed against his qualification for the 2019 presidential election.

The court also ordered the All Progressives Congress (APC), and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to within five respond to all issues raised on the educational qualification of the president in the election.

Justice Datti Yayaya who issued the order, also directed that Buhari’s counsel, Mr Abdullahi Abubakar, to within the period file necessary processes in relation to the appeal.

The appeal was filed by Agu Kalu, Labaran Ismail and Hassy El-Kuris.

The decision of the appellate court was sequel to a motion on notice filed by counsel to the appellants, Mr Uchenna Ndubuisi.

Ndubuisi prayed the Court of Appeal in the motion to abridge within which Buhari, APC and INEC will join issues with the appellants on the certifcate suit.

Abubakar and Mr Temitayo Lasaki counsel for APC had urged the appellate court in their response to the motion to give them five days to enable them file their respondents’ brief of argument along with other processes so as to set the stage for hearing of the substantive appeal.

Kalu, Ismail and El-Kuris had approached the appellate court to nullify and set aside the Judgment of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court .

The lower court had declined to hear their suit instituted to challenge the educational qualification of President Buhari before the conduct of the 2019 general election.

The appellants in their appeal are asking the appellate court to reverse the judgment of Justice Ahmed Mohammed on the grounds that the processes filed by Buhari and used to strike out their suit were not competent.

While faulting the Judgment of the High Court, which was predicated on the grounds that the suit was statute barred, the appellants claimed that the Federal High Court erred in law and in its decison.

This they said was because they did not challenge the primary election that produced Buhari as candidate of the APC.

They therefore urged the Court of Appeal to assume jurisdiction over the suit and grant all the reliefs sought at the Federal High Court but which were refused.

Among the reliefs were a declaration that Buhari submitted false information regarding his qualification and certifcate to INEC for the purpose of contesting election into the office of the President of Nigeria and that he should be disqualified.

They also prayed for an order of court directing INEC to remove Buhari’s name as a candidate of APC .

Also, an order restraining Buhari from parading himself as a candidate in the 2019 presidential election and also APC from recognizing Buhari as a candidate.

The Federal High Court had on May 2 declined to grant the request of the appellants on the grounds that the suit was not filed within the time allowed by law and therefore sustained the preliminary objection raised by Buhari at the hearing.

But not satisfied, the appellants are now asking the Court of Appeal to grant their reliefs because they are not challenging the primary election of APC as erroneously held by the lower court.

They said they are challenging the qualification of Buhari to stand for the presidential election without demonstrating his educational certificates as required by law.

July 8 was fixed for hearing of the appeal. (NAN )