Join Our International Women’s Day Webinar: ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress’

Self Help AfricaNews

To celebrate International Women’s Day, Self Help Africa will be hosting a webinar focused on this year’s theme – ‘Invest in women: accelerate progress’.

Join us on Thursday 7 March at 1pm (GMT) to hear from our all-women panel – featuring guest contributors from Denmark, The Gambia, Nigeria and Zambia – as they share their unique perspectives, experiences and approaches to supporting other women and their communities.

Women play a crucial role in all the communities Self Help Africa works with across Africa, particularly when it comes to farming and food production. But they often encounter barriers to success – including limited access to information, finance and other resources, as well as the ongoing challenges wrought by climate change.

The work of our guest contributors has never mattered more.

To find out more and to register to attend this year’s hour-long Zoom webinar click on the link here:

Our Speakers include:

Helen Masiye-Mwanza


Helen Masiye-Mwanza is Self Help Africa’s Global Enterprise Advisor.  A private sector development specialist with experience gained in the public, private and international development sectors spanning over 15 years, Helen’s interest lies in the efficacy of frameworks and interventions that support the development of small and medium-sized businesses. 

Helen holds a Bachelors Degree in Law from the University of Sunderland, UK, a postgraduate diploma in performance measurement for Non-Governmental organisations from York St John University, UK and a Master of Business Administration (International Business) from the University of Cumbria, UK. She is also a Public Policy Management Fellow from Virginia Commonwealth University, USA and a recipient of former US President Barak Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders (2015).

Isatou Ceesay

The Gambia

Isatou Ceesay is an activist and environmentalist who has dedicated her life to elevating women’s economic empowerment in The Gambia while protecting the planet.  
Through her leadership of the Women’s Initiative The Gambia (WIG), she encourages the economic empowerment of Gambian women through sustainable, income-generating initiatives focused on conservation and the protection of the environment. The women gain practical skills from WIG that they then use to repurpose waste into products they can sell for income – such as bags and purses, reusable sanitary products and even the manufacture of carbon briquettes from organic waste, which help generate income while conserving local forests and improving public health.  

In 2012, Isatou Ceesay received the International Alliance for the Defense of Women Award. Her story has also been told in Miranda Paul’s book, “One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia”. 

Joy Aderele


Joy Aderele is a development practitioner with over 20 years experience supporting and managing large and complex donor-funded programmes focused on advocating the rights of women and girls. She is currently the Country Director of Self Help Africa in Nigeria. In her previous roles, she worked with the World Bank and Mercy Corps to address inequalities in women’s control over productive assets, jobs, and access to education. 

She holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and she is an alumna of the Harvard Division of Continuing Education, Boston, and Barry University, Miami FL, USA, where she obtained certificates in leadership and community development, respectively. 

Sofie Blakstad


Sofie Blakstad is the CEO of hiveonline, a Scandinavian start-up building decentralised finance for financially excluded smallholders. Prior to founding hiveonline, Sofie has held senior roles in technology development, system architecture, infrastructure delivery and business transformation, having built technology and businesses for eight major international banks in more than 60 countries, with projects worth over USD1bn.  
Sofie has written two books including Fintech Revolution (with Rob Allen) and multiple research papers, delivered 5 core banking systems, multiple payment systems and led transformation of Citigroup’s technology and retail operations. 

Sofie advises international organisations on sustainable applications of blockchain. She is Chair of the Edinburgh Futures Institute FI and Fintech advisory board and holds an MSc in Informatics. Sofie has twice been included in the Innovate Finance’s Women in Fintech Powerlist.