Afiavi Caca (Calista) Akibode

Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow, Class of 2021-22

  • Home country: Togo
  • College and degree: Masters Degree in Project Management, African Institute of Administration and Business Studies; Master Degree in Economics Development, High School of Management and Business administration; SYIB-ILO Certification
  • Current career: Technical Advisor in entrepreneurship in charge of the development of small scale companies at National Agency of Employment 
  • Specialization: Entrepreneurship, agribusiness, small scale companies development
  • Emailaca95 [at] (aca95[at]cornell[dot]edu)

What is the most memorable or impactful experience of your career so far? 

My most impactful experience was the organization and launch of the first edition of "Women Entrepreneurship Brunch Day," which is a women entrepreneurs promotion event. This event celebrates female entrepreneurship through a framework of sharing between women from various organizations, therefore allowing the networking of women inter-companies, dialogue, and exchange between successful women entrepreneurs. I admire how this event strengthens the dynamism and  professional commitment of young entrepreneurs.

What are the big challenges you want to tackle in your country?

In my country almost 52% of women work in agriculture, but unfortunately their efforts are not visible to the public and most women producers get left behind. So my next challenge is to actively help integrate women in the value chain by promoting women's empowerment in agriculture. I seek to help women develop small scale companies and then help my country to achieve its national development plan which includes gender equity and inclusion, women's empowerment, and women's effective participation in the country's development.

How do you think your Humphrey Fellowship and your time at Cornell will help boost your career?

The Humphrey Fellowship and my time at Cornell will boost my career by helping me on one hand to improve my academic skills in my field of study such as agriculture value chain analysis and development and gender mainstreaming and planing or gender equality. On other hand the fellowship will provide practical professional experiences by working with experts, professionals or organizations that work in the field of agriculture value chain development, gender mainstreaming, and community-based agriculture value chain development with a focus on gender. Also my time at Cornell will allow me to develop my leadership and managerial skills and professional English proficiency through participation in Humphrey seminars, initiatives, or interactions such as community service, conferences and capacity building. 

What does public service mean to you?

Public service is very important for me because is a way to help other people and contribute to community development. I was engaged in several public activities through ROTARACT regarding vulnerable people through awareness campaigns on malaria and mosquitoes distribution. I also worked as a volunteer with General Directorate of Employment in Togo where I conducted and implemented many sensitization activities regarding women and young people on existing employment opportunities

Tell us a fun fact about you. 

I enjoy shopping and discovering new places.

What would be your personal motto? 

Failure is not an option. 

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