Ngozi Oyewole was terrified in early March 2020. She had represented WEConnect International at a Mentoring Walk for International Women’s Day celebration in Lagos State, Nigeria. It was a well-attended event and she addressed a crowd of young, vibrant women, speaking on the need to bridge the gender gap in Nigeria. It was an exciting day and she returned home exhausted but feeling extremely fulfilled. Then things took a drastic turn.
She fell ill, very ill and was unable to go to work as usual. She wondered what was wrong but immediately isolated herself. It was a difficult situation, but eventually she recovered and no, it was not COVID-19, but malaria.
Ngozi was relieved, but she wondered what would have happened if it had been the coronavirus. She thought to herself, “How prepared are we to handle COVID-19 in Nigeria? What products could help reduce the spread of the virus? Masks are not readily available in the market. What can I do to actively respond to COVID-19?”
Ngozi decided to utilize her expertise in the oil and gas safety equipment supply sector to stand against COVID-19. She leveraged her company Noxie Limited, a certified women- owned business and certified with WEConnect International in Nigeria. Within 30 days, Ngozi was able to make available a wide range of affordable COVID-19 response products, including KN95 face masks, PPEs and cleaning solutions.
Ngozi is like many other Nigerian women entrepreneurs that have taken a stand against COVID-19, using their businesses as a platform to support the fight. They have looked beyond the restrictions placed on movement and found a way to channel their capacities to push back the pandemic. They stand against COVID-19 in the best way they can -- .as Nigerian women business owners.