Episode 10

Valerie Traore: Founder & Executive Director, Niyel – The Business of Social and Political Advocacy

Valerie wanted to do things differently. She told herself she was young, didn’t have the funds and needed more experience. Passion said no! So she quite her job, sold everything she owned raising $10,000. With that seed money she started Niyel, a campaigns and advocacy firm based in Dakar, Senegal. It’s been 12 years since she took that leap and we explore the journey so far.

Niyel helps organizations, countries and politicians build meaningful campaigns that influence behavior on the social level and policy on the government level. She is also passionate about increasing the participation of women in politics and strengthening voter participation across Africa. She has a radio show/ podcast titled We Need to Talk. She starts by asking her guests what they are in service of. For Valeria, she is in service of all things Africa. What are you in service of?

Valerie’s African Business Story is one dedicated to serving the African continent by increasing engagement and participation to improve the social and political landscape.


Valerie has over fifteen years of professional experience in campaigning and advocacy on a wide range of issues including human rights and rights based programming, development, human security and conflict, politics and international relations.

Valerie has led the development and implementation of advocacy and mobilization strategy for over 20 international organizations. Including Amnesty International, Oxfam and Rockefeller Foundation. She has trained over 500 campaigners and over 1500 volunteers and activists across the continent on advocacy and mobilization. She managed the development, structuring and launch of a political party in Tanzania, managed a presidential campaign in Guinea Bissau, participated in a presidential campaign in Burkina Faso, and trained a movement for participation in a municipal election in Senegal. She also serves as a trustee on the Board of Christian Aid.

Hosts & Guests

Akaego Okoye

Valerie Traore: Founder & Executive Director, Niyel

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