AW Women Series : Dunni Richies Helps Young Women Through Leading Ladies Connect

By Onozasi

Above Whispers Women Series is aimed at showcasing women who are crusading for vulnerable men and women in the society. This is a platform for these women to share their journey with other women around the world and inspire them. On this platform, we love to share stories of inspiring  women because we know that women are doing a whole lot in the society.  The purpose of this series is to keep you abreast of the amazing strides that women and young women are doing in Nigeria, Africa and across the World.


This week, our guest is the founder of Leading Ladies Connect International. This is a platform that nurtures young women to be social change agents. Mrs Dunni Richies tells us why she created this platform, the success stories so far and the plan for the years ahead. We hope that this inspires you. Do enjoy the interview.


SHI_2738Mrs Dunni Richies, Founder, Leading Ladies Connect International



AW : Kindly introduce yourself

I am Dunni Riches, A detailed fashion business entrepreneur with a mix of several hard and soft skills in fashion designing and tailoring, also a value added community development worker with a proven record of impactful projects which has birthed several entrepreneurs.

Adept in numerous business startup ideas and strong passion to add value to women entrepreneurs; and contribute to the strengthening of the nation’s economy.

I am from Efon Alaaye in Ekiti State, the Executive Director at Model Wears and Fashion Academy, Ekiti State Executive Director for African’s Young Entrepreneur’s (AYE), and the Founder of Leading Ladies Connect International.

I own a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and Diploma in Entrepreneurship at (EDC). Am happily married to Pastor Lawrence Riches. I currently reside in Ado Ekiti.


AW : What inspired this initiative?

Based on my desire and passion for community Development, with a great zeal for Women’s Capacity building, and having served with several community based organizations with great record of results. Also, considering the rate of women’s social exclusion and low productivity, alongside the effect of most African cultural beliefs about women which relegates their output, with insignificant regards for their capacity and potentials, I got a vision to create a platform for impact and network amidst women. To create opportunity for their expression, build their capacity both for impact and leadership in the society through Entrepreneurship and Leadership capacity building programs.


AW : Do you think that women are allowed to maximize the opportunities around them? 

Opportunities have no gender of its own, so there is no such thing as opportunity for women.  But because of certain fundamental factors most women have limited access to basic life opportunities around them, these factors includes cultural, sentimental and some religious believes. An average African woman is raised to be subjected to all men around them, hereby limiting their freedom of contribution to both family and societal issues. In recent times, education became a common thing among women, so these allowed them to break free from most cultural limitations that cages their expression, but sentiment still makes the percentage of women in leadership position in-considerably low compared to men, for instance, the last general elections in Nigeria witnessed a meagre 4.17 percent of elected women officials. This proofs that most public offices are headed by men with more men dominating other sectors.  Some religions also placed high premium on men, and that in a way puts women in the minority class. These are harmful factors, and its effect has caused a lot of setback in several process of growth for women. So, women are sometimes tied down in the aspect of maximizing opportunities around them


AW : Leading ladies pick women as young as 18, why?

At Leading Ladies Connect International, we believe in the catch them young theory of change. Legally, maturity begins at 18, which means one is free to make decision under the law. Age 18 is a formative age for women, it’s also a crucial time for self-development. Educating girls early enough about the need for capacity development will prepare them for future challenges and life’s responsibilities.


AW : Do you think most mothers prepare their daughters to be social changers?

In the real sense, it is not possible to give what you don’t have. Most mothers are uninformed about the modern day concept of social change as one of the course of life. In their thinking and behaviour, the best way to train a girl child is for her to be good product for a man and not the society.They train them to be good home managers, and not life managers. Most mother’s attention is usually on how to make a girl become a wife and a mother with a lot of training in domestic chores and home management.The kind of mindset they have about social change is “our daddy will do it”, or “our sons will get theirs when they are old”.Most girl child in their upbringing are forced to pay low attention to their potentials, such as gifts and talents, especially when they have a high rate of inborn leadership and development ability. Most mothers tell their daughters things such as “stop behaving like a boy”, “ you are a girl”, “listen to your brother” etc. while these kinds of information gradually form patterns that loads a heavy weight of inferiority complex on their girls, making them to believe that they are no match with boys. So, our mothers have a long way to go to prepare their daughters in the right part of leadership.




AW :Who are your role models?

My role models are Michelle Obama, Rev Funke Felix Adejumo, Rev Olateju Oduwole and Her Excellency Erelu Bisi Fayemi.


AW : What’s your 5 year plan for this initiative?

In the next five years we plan to reach out to over 5,000 women with sustainable intervention programs in the area of leadership capacity building programs, Industrial and Entrepreneurship empowerment and women political participation.


AW : Share your success stories with us.

The leadership of Leading Ladies Connect International has successfully organized programs such as:

“Play your part” a 2-day Voters Education rally and town hall meeting in 2015 to encourage women political participation and advocating for proper security for the lives of women during voting exercise.

In 2017 Leading Ladies Connect International organized a WhatsApp class for teenage girls on building entrepreneurship mindset. Theme “The Entrepreneurship Mindset For Girls”. About 30 young women were reached with basic entrepreneurship/ leadership interventions, with proper monitoring and mentoring. The 30 participants have successfully emerged as  young entrepreneurs today.

April 2018 Leading Ladies Connect International organized her annual women summit “The Ekiti Women Arise” Popularly known as EWA, with over 200 women participants drawn from different sectors of the society. The theme for the year is Transformation, it’s stands as a platform were women were enlightened by other highly successful women in the society as a way to spur them for personal and societal transformation. Notable among the speakers were; Mrs Omotoyosi Omope, Mrs Hellen Oni, Mrs Bimpe Eweje (SMYLNS) among others. The summit is a way of identifying Ekiti women’s need and possible ways/ interventions to meet such needs. The overall objective of this program is to build women’s capacity to contribute immensely to economic development and achieve self-sufficiency.


AW : Give us your social media handles

Facebook& Instagram: Dunni Riches


AW : What would you advice women around the world who want to be like you?

I will like to advise women to get the clarity of their vision, have a great desire for change and strong resistance against limitations in any circumstance they find themselves. Knowing that no good thing comes easily, women should build up their tenacity in all ways possible.

Source: Above Whispers

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