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Setting the scene for guardian angels

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Anita Kouassigan

During the course of my work relating to Nigeria which spans over 15 years, I realise that there has been (unconsciously) a common theme every time, and that is, I am drawn to work that ultimately results in some kind of social impact. While these ventures were also profitable, in the end, a difference has been made somewhere.

With Minerva Recruitment, I tried my best to close the unemployment gap by getting as many people – especially those at the lower strata of society – and who had almost given up hope of getting a job, into interviews with top companies or brands that were new to Nigeria and starting up. A good example in this case would be Shoprite. I also mentored those who weren’t yet prepared to be considered for an interview and offered them free advice on ways to improve on their CVs, qualifications, skills and credentials.

Next, as Managing Editor of Time Out Nigeria, I worked tirelessly to seek out unknown artists and artisans, owners of small hotels and providers of leisure, entertainment, food and beverage and other hospitality outlets, and those who offered touristic activities to both local and overseas visitors. Those who needed a platform to share their work and passions with the world without having to pay for it (they appeared in our reviews and content-rich and itemised-style features).

Another of my primary aims during my stint as Publisher for this travel magazine was to disabuse the negative views of Nigeria being solely for the business traveller who was prepared to remain in his or her hotel room during their stay, except when they had meetings. Then of course, they should go exploring without a security escort! Those who spent their stay in isolation or in a fortress, without really getting to know what cultural activities, goods and consumption were available to them. We also provided them with safety tips and ultimately Time Out Nigeria put the country on the world map of countries enjoying a license with this international publishing brand, with no other country at the time except South Africa enjoying the same privilege.

That made a huge impact on Nigeria, which became viewed by our readers more positively as a travel destination, and speaking of the social impact in this case, some of those we featured gained some international recognition by international readers who then became interested in their products and services.

Today, with my present projects which require me to work as media campaigner and content writer, I realise that there is a gap in the market when it comes to campaigning for more social impact by businesses and we need to report more about the many ways social impact results can also stem from profitable companies that may otherwise be hidden, and therefore Guardian Angels will soon be born to report on and inspire more of the same.

I am very pleased to share today this idea I conceived during the Christmas break is happening and I will be the First Editor, set it up, then become the Managing Editor after a few editions have been published.

We will be launching this new title on March 29 during Investing In Women’s event in partnership with The Guardian and sections of this new title, which is the first-of-its-kind to be published in Nigeria (including online in digital format) will contain editorial features. Each edition will also contain a special ‘Guardian Angel’ cover story, where we choose either an inspiring individual or legal entity that’s driving social impact during the course of their everyday business.

Just yesterday I watched a video about an initiative conceived by Diamond Bank where N5million would be allocated to 5 women, a competition where women were required to pitch for a chance to win funds. These are the kinds of stories we are looking to share. With Guardian Angels, we are looking to feature and partner with companies, individuals and organisations who are committed to supporting the following areas I am about to list, those wanting to create more awareness about their work.

Our aim is to work with a range of local, regional, and/or and international brands and people. Potential partners can include: Corporate Social Responsibility Champions; Angel Investors; Venture Capitalists and Private Equity Funds contributing to the sustainable development of Africa (from within and outside of Nigeria) who are also interested in Nigeria; Philanthropists; The Foundations of HNWIs & Corporate Foundations and of course those entities that also invest in women’s businesses, though not all have to necessarily be women-centric to be deemed a ‘Guardian Angel’. Any initiative for good will qualify (e.g Health, Children, Education, The Environment) and in each edition we will always also suggest ways we can invest in women more, either in feature or in a message from one of our sponsors.

We are currently offering spaces for aligned advertisers, sponsored content and other bespoke media partnership opportunities, and look forward to hearing from you. Please do request more information and address any suggestions to me at:
anita.kouassigan@guardian.ng and akouassigan@impeccablecollaration.com


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Anita Kouassigan
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