Hailing from Port Harcourt in the Giant of Africa (Nigeria), Iweobi Prisca Ogonna, is among Africa’s most outstanding impact-driven young leaders who’re determined to work towards a more equitable and inclusive future for all. A social entrepreneur from the northern Niger state’s town of Minna, she has created something for every African woman born out of 7 years of experience in skills training, volunteerism, and offering other community development services. Having graduated with Bachelor in Technology degree in chemistry from the Federal University of Technology, Miss Ogonna is using her background in STEM to help women and girls with education and socio-economic inclusion in line with the United Nations’ SDGs.
In an exclusive interview with spikedmedia.co.zw reporter Modester Kamupinda, Ms. Ogonna brings reveals her world of empowerment in practice and talks about her debut journal ‘The Untold Stories of African Women’ ISSN 2955-0351. The journal chronicles the lives of diverse African women famed locally, regionally, and internationally for having risen above cultural, traditional, and religious norms that still subjugate African women.
Q: Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am Iweobi Prisca Ogonna from Nigeria, a photographer, cinematographer, graphic designer, UI and UX, web designer, and content creator. I graduated from the Federal University of Technology in Minna, Niger State in 2018. I am passionate about women’s and girls’ education and inclusion in leadership positions and decision-making bodies. I am the CEO and Managing Director at Pristine Production Company Services Limited (PPC Service Limited), Northwest Regional Coordinator of YALI RLC Alumni Nigeria at YALI Regional Leadership Center West Africa, and the Executive Administrator at United Pan Africanist Movement.
Q: Can you tell us about PPC Service Limited and what inspired you to start the initiative?
I founded PPC Service Limited, a skill acquisition, and empowerment initiative in 2019 to provide training in both digital and non-digital skills. We have trained and empowered more than 1500 women in rural communities, and orphanage homes in Northern Nigeria to be self-reliant service providers, and create income opportunities for them.
We know that our work with women and girls reduces the rate of gender-based violence, prostitution, and other common social crimes here such as money rituals. I was inspired by my mum, the women I have lived with especially. I grew up seeing women who want the best for themselves and their children yet have no encouragement, information, or inspiration to live it up with regard to cultural, traditional, and religious norms that subjugated women.
Q: What projects have you worked on?
We have renovated the oldest chemistry laboratory in northern Nigeria, a project which earned me the State Governor’s award for the best community service and humanitarian of the year 2020. We also go around secondary schools conducting educational programs called “Activation of SDGs” among students, families, and religious bodies.
And of course, my most recent project as the convener and the founder of the ‘Untold Stories of African Women’ is the quarterly international journal published by ABU Zaria press. The journal will be highlighting and identify the profile, resources, tools, challenges, and achievements of notable women in Africa who are doing great or have done so great in their different sectors. These sectors include climate, leadership, business, sports, and advocacy. The Untold Stories of African Women is available for purchase on Amazon.
Q: What will be the tangible impacts of the journal on the Nigerian community, and Africa in general?
I have seen women with great potential to change the world, bring solutions to world-pressing issues, and women who are determined, zealous, and bold. Yet they languish in pain and frustration, forced to live a life outside of their destinies due to a lack of education, information, inspiration, empowerment, and above all lack of resources and role models.
I was eager to proffer a solution, a lasting one to this problem. The journal is to inspire, educate, entertain, inform and empower the next generation of phenomenal African Women. It is to serve as a handbook to every woman and girl in Africa. Educating them also on the history of African Women leaders in the pre and post-colonial era, the journey of Women’s Rights and where we are today, and cultural norms influencing African women. With the journal translated into 20 African languages, we expect it to be accessible and get to the grassroots women and girls. The journal’s first publication features 50 notable and diverse women of African descent from 20 countries, 70% of whom I personally interviewed.
Q: How can people get the journal or learn more about the work your organization is involved in?
The journal is available on Amazon at the following links:
Follow ‘The Untold Stories of Africa’ on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/untoldstoriesofafrica
I am on Facebook as Prisca Oggona at https://www.facebook.com/prisca.ogonna.5
Q: Concluding thoughts: What is the message you leave with readers?
Dear African women and girls, I understand you have dreams and ideas. Ideas that can transform your community and champion development in Africa. Hello African girl, yes!! I am referring to you. I can see how unsure you feel about your dreams of becoming the girl you have always wanted to be—living your dreams of becoming a successful African woman and reaching the top of your career or profession, becoming a renowned African changer maker. The ‘Untold Stories of African Women’ is that parcel that will help, entertain, educate, inform and inspire you in validating your dreams of becoming the transformational leader and change-maker you have always wanted. In this journal, you will find stories of phenomenal and notable women in Africa, who have similar challenges, or even more, however, still find their way to the top. Also, in this journal, you will find their profile, the resources they used, the challenges they had and how they were able to overcome these challenges, and their achievements, recommendations, and all that you need to become a transformational leader and African change maker.