Eyitemi Popo is the founder of Ayiba Magazine, an online magazine with the aim of breaking down stereotypes of Africa by telling stories that exemplify the complexity of African identity. She has been featured in She Leads Africa, named a leading woman by BusinessDay, and is also a Danone Paris ProgramEVE Influencer because of her work amplifying the African female voice in media. Check out our interview with her in which she discusses herself, Ayiba, and her upcoming project–a Girls Trip Tour of Ghana.
If someone were to ask, who is Eyitemi Popo, what would you say?
I would start by saying that I am Nigerian because this explains so much of who and how I am. It has influenced my work ethic and creative outlook. I would also say I’m a feminist. I grew up around strong women and went to an all women’s college in the U.S. That’s where I found my voice and became the person I am today.
What is Ayiba Magazine all about, and how was it formed?
Ayiba Magazine is my attempt at telling the world what I find to be unique and interesting about Africa’s resurgent influence in global affairs. At Ayiba, we use personal narratives to shine a light on social, economic, and cultural issues affecting Africa and its Diaspora.
I created Ayiba back in December 2012, just a few months after I graduated from university. At the time I couldn’t find media outlets that were covering the full diversity of African stories. To date we have featured stories on 35+ African countries and several Diasporas from Colombia to Brazil with the full complexity and nuance the stories deserve.
How was the name, “Ayiba” chosen?
Ayiba is the shortened form of my great-grandmother’s name. I like that it sounds like it could be from many African countries. People rarely guess it is a Nigerian name—even Nigerians.
What was the process of selecting your creative team for Ayiba?
Since creativity has no borders and there are African stories to be told all across the globe, we wanted our team to reflect the diversity we sought to portray through our stories. We’ve had interns and editorial fellows in over 14 countries to date – from Vietnam to Mauritius, South Africa, and the Netherlands. Managing a virtual team can be challenging, but it really has become Ayiba’s strength.
What influenced the conception of the Girls Trip Tour(s)?
After five years of creating content for Africa and its Diaspora, I wanted to engage our readers offline with a unique experience that stayed true to our mission of “chronicling the African Renaissance.”
Ayiba’s readership is majority female. And since I have a passion for showcasing the achievements of young Africans, particularly women, I wanted the experience to cater to that demographic–the Millennial woman. Additionally, I’ve always gotten questions from female readers who wondered where to travel to in Africa after reading our articles. They were excited by the idea of going, but wary of where to start. Travelling alone as a woman anywhere in the world has its challenges, and Africa is no exception. So, Girls Trip was born out of passion, but also a recognized need.
Girls Trip brings women from around Africa, its diaspora, and the world to a specific African destination for a travel experience focused on female empowerment. The experience is curated to support local women-run businesses and empower young girls at female-led or focused initiatives. This year we launch in Ghana and will be mentoring girls at a coding academy there. We are currently running a crowdfunding campaign to support the mentorship program.
How can people help out?
We are crowdfunding to launch our mentorship program for high potential African girls. Our first cohort will be filled by girls at Soronko Academy in Accra. The funds will help them secure fellowships, internships, and jobs in the tech industry once they complete their studies.
How you can help:
- Support the campaign with a contribution. If you can’t afford to give—although no amount is too small—please share with friends.
- Refer participants to join Girls Trip and become a mentor this July in Ghana. Women from all destination are welcome, including women local to Ghana.
- If you know any companies whose Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goals align with our mission, please refer them to firstname.lastname@example.org or ask them to donate https://www.generosity.com/education-fundraising/let-s-empower-female-leaders-across-africa/x/13044449
It is clear that you have made it a point to support women and local African businesses on this trip, why is this of importance to you?
There are many travel experiences available for those seeking to visit the African continent, but not enough that emphasize supporting local businesses. When I lived in Lagos, I witnessed expats who came to Nigeria to only live that #expatLife and patronize Western establishments. I want to integrate travelers with local businesses and people to give them an authentic experience—not just a typical tourist experience that one might expect.
To that end, African women are the engine that runs the continent. I feel that I can definitively say that. When I think local business, I think local women. African women literally carry the continent on their heads, and I want people to appreciate that through this trip.
What do people need to know about the logistics of the trip? How can people get on the list for the Ghana trip?
All information concerning the trip can be found at https://girlstrip.tours/packages/
The dates for the trip are from June 30th to July 8th. The max capacity is 20 people and the list is filling up quickly. The down deposit to hold a spot is $700, and the full amount is $2700 which is inclusive of double occupancy rooms + daily breakfast, tours, excursions, and activities, ground transportation, all listed meals, memories captured by personal photographer and videographer, and a curated Ghanaian artisan swag bag. Highlights of the trip include excursions to: Independence Arch, Kwame Nkrumah Memorial, Kakum National Park, Cape Coast Castle, Open Air Market in Osu, and Elmina Market in boats.
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