In this interview, we learn about the PAWA Initiative’s objective to overcome gender gaps through digital transformation from Engr. Christiana Onoja, the organization’s founder.
Please share your organization’s origin story.
Partnership for African Women Advancement Initiative is a registered Non-Governmental Organization in Nigeria. PAWA Initiative was founded in 2019 by Engr. Christiana Onoja empowers women and girls and bridges the gender gap by providing access to necessary educative materials, mentorships, and job opportunities and by creating capacity-building programs for a successful career.
The overall goal of this initiative is to support women and young girls with the necessary skills to become successful entrepreneurs leveraging information technology and business.
PAWA Initiative is on a mission to build a community of empowered 4 Million Women and Girls in STEM- Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics by 2030.
PAWA Initiative supports a number of sustainable development goals SDG5 (Equality), SDG 1 (No poverty, SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth), and SDG 17 (Partnership for goals).
What drives your social impact journey?
PAWA Initiative mainly seeks to address the lingering challenge of women and young girls living in extreme poverty in Nigeria. Based on research, it is perceived that the gender gap in entrepreneurship, education, employment, and technology compounds the issue which has left a number of women in Nigeria living in extreme poverty. PAWA Initiative is driven by the need to reduce the poverty rate by creating innovative ways and providing the requisite support in equipping and providing support to women and young girls through business and information technology development
How has your organization been able to catalyze social change?
PAWA Initiative is focused on tackling challenges through creative and innovative programs, providing requisite support in equipping women and young girls.
We have carefully curated programs such as a Spotlight feature for African Women in STEM, Tech mentorships programs for the next generation of Female leaders, Data Analysis programs for Women and Girls transitioning into Tech, a Regular CV Clinic to keep our community members up to date in the job market, STEM advocacy drives, and many more.
We hope to achieve our goals to empower 4 million Women and Girls in STEM by 2030 by doing more programs.
What challenges or nuances have you experienced on the development journey?
PAWA Initiative started operations in 2019 and one of the major issues we have faced since then is funding. As a new initiative, it has been quite difficult for us to get funding and sponsorship. We have also had a few challenges while organizing events, challenges such as documentation issues from program beneficiaries. We are learning from these challenges and finding better ways to improve our operations.
Kindly share your perspectives on creating a strong education sector in Africa
The future of a successful Africa lies in the education of the younger generation. Education in the western world has gone digital compared to Africa, and this has given rise to increased innovations in the western world. To innovate in the education system, one must be thinking of innovations through collaborations and partnerships. Africa needs to harness collaborations and partnerships through digital inclusion to help create a strong education sector
PAWA Initiative is quite invested in promoting inclusive and quality education for women and girls while steering digital transformation and providing necessary support for mentors and teachers.