Allure Interview: Shile Ismaila – Vision behind ‘African Mommy’
Shile Ismaila is a digital marketing expert with over eight years of experience.
She is a married mum of one, who created ‘African Mommy;’ a free forum platform, where moms and women of African origin can collaborate, share experiences, create their groups, empower, celebrate, educate and support each other.
The forum also provides information to women, on pregnancy, fitness, growth mindset, parenting, beauty, relationships, African culture and many more, through experts in this field.
In this interview, the United Kingdom-based Nigerian shares her plans and visions for her new project, African Mommy.
What is African Mommy ?
African Mommy is a forum for moms and women of African origin. The platform aims to provide a support network that empowers and celebrates mothers and women for who they are and encourages them to be the best version of themselves. At African Mommy, we laugh together, we cry together and we take life’s journey together. Every woman finds an equal place. Their hopes, dreams and fears matter to us.
Women get the opportunity to connect with our medical practitioners, stay fit with other African moms, get pregnancy tips and be inspired by different African cultures, fashion and food.
Also, there is a chance for women to create their own tribe by starting a group, connect with like-minded women and summon the courage to speak their truth.
How do you intend to achieve all these?
My aim is to communicate this to the world and passionately as possible focusing on the benefits women get from the platform. At the moment we have a website forum, where people can go and find out insightful information on all the areas I mentioned earlier.
African Mommy works with amazing professional contributors in the medical, fitness, parenting, beauty and growth mindset field, who provide us with helpful tips, article and videos in this area.
On the forum, women can log in to share their experiences, while also encouraging others. They share, connect, inform and educate one another, and my aim is to ensure the community thrives and succeeds at it.
What gave birth to such a project?
The first reason I started the project was to make my little contribution to improving maternity mortality. Maternal mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa is still the highest in the world, with low-income countries having 1 in 41 women being affected as reported by Unicef. When I was pregnant, I did a lot of reading and heard lots of stories from people who had experienced this tragedy, through friends and families.
After so much research, it came to light that some of the reasons for these deaths could have easily being avoided and in some cases, if women were equipped with enough information about their pregnancy, this may have helped. It could be something as simple as knowing what they should do at a particular time of the pregnancy, or finding out they have gestational diabetic and knowing how to treat it, and many more.
My husband is a medical doctor, so I thought to combine my digital skills with his medical knowledge, tap into his network to provide helpful information, contribute my own quota to assisting mothers and women in general.
The second reason I created African Mommywas to create a forum community for women with common backgrounds and origin. A place where everyone feels proud and comfortable discussing their heritage and experiences without being judged.
I’m an African living in the diaspora and things from experience, become complicated when discussing my culture with non-Africans.
African Mommy was created as a non-judgmental forum where women and moms of African origin are comfortable speaking about their culture, heritage, relationships, well-being, growth mindset and also get a chance to connect with other moms and women, learn about other cultures and support themselves in their journey to being the best version of themselves.
What happens in a situation where a troubled mom wants to relate with a medical doctor one on one, is there any arrangement for that?
We have medics available online and they would be willing to help. Please note we don’t pay any fees to our medics as they are only volunteering their time, they can only help with providing basic support and for serious cases, the mom would be referred to see her doctor as we don’t have such services for now.
How long has African Mommy been on?
We kicked off in February 2017.
How has the journey been?
Yeah. It’s almost over a year now and it has been as fantastic as it’s been difficult. We have grown from zero to 34,000 following on Instagram worldwide for example. The connection has been so awesome as well. We are rapidly building stronger and supportive African women community globally.
There is this saying that women of these days don’t support themselves, how true is that in a relationship with your vision for African Mommy?
People say that a lot, but I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with the notion because I know people speak about this from their own experience. My take on it is to do what you have to do to support women and that will add one more woman to the list of women supporting women. Be the change you want to see and be that woman making the difference…
You are based in the United Kingdom, how often do you come to Nigeria?
I try to come once a year.
There are women in some rural areas that don’t have access to the internet, some that do don’t even know how to use it, how do you plan to reach out to such people?
These women are also part of our key target audience. They are our priority. What I want to do is to create this platform first and let it stand on its own. Then go round Africa, focusing on the rural areas. Organise road shows, seminars, create awareness, and support them in all they need to know about the different aspect of their lives. If they can’t come to me, I’ll go to them. All these would come when I am rest assured, I can stand on my own financially with the African Mommy platform. This with then is the next phase.
I want to be able to reach out to several women in rural areas, educate them and provide support for some of their basic needs. African Mommy’s main objective is educating, informing, empowering and supporting African women all over the world.
Helping them to be the best version of themselves in the areas of health, career, fitness, relationship, motherhood, parenting, anything and everything that concerns them.