Extraordinary Voices: Zuriel Oduwole, World’s youngest filmmaker, Girl-Child Empowerment Advocate, Child Philanthropist and Peace Ambassador 

Zuriel Oduwole was born in 2002, in Los Angeles, U.S to Nigerian father, Ademola Oduwole and a Mauritian mother, Patricia Oduwole. Zuriel is the eldest of four children, Azaliah, Arielle and Ismachiah Oduwole. She was home-schooled by her parents from age three. She is prominently described as ‘a child-philanthropist who is making great strides in an adult world’.

[Tweet “Zuriel Oduwole is prominently described as ‘a child-philanthropist who is making great strides in an adult world’.”]

She made her first film at age 9 when she entered the National Day competition for her school in California with a documentary film about Africa titled ‘The Ghana Revolution’. She requested and was granted her first presidential interviews; she met with two former presidents of Ghana: Jerry Rawlings and John Kufuor. This event marked her debut into girls education advocacy.

[Tweet “In 2013, Zuriel was bestowed the honorary Ambassador title for the largest foundation in East Africa by the First Lady”]

In October, 2013, she was invited to Tanzania, and bestowed the honorary Ambassador title for the largest foundation in East Africa by the First Lady, Mrs. Salma Kikwete. This was in recognition of her advocacy work for the Girl Child.

In 2013, after the release of her documentary film titled The 1963 OAU Formation, Zuriel was profiled in Forbes Magazine. Making her the youngest person to be featured on Forbes. In the same year, she made the New African Magazine’s list of “100 Most Influential People in Africa”.

In November 2014, at age 12, Zuriel carves a place for herself in history as the world’s youngest filmmaker to have self-produced and self-edited a documentary film titled ‘A Promising Africa’ and have it screened in 5 countries. On April 21st of the same year, she is honored as the Most Powerful 11 year old in the world by New York Business Insider in their list of the ‘World’s Most Powerful Person at Every Age’.

In February, 2015, she joins Fed Reserve Chairwoman, Janet Yellen and President of General Motors, Mary Barra, on Elle Magazine’s annual list of ’33 Women Who Changed the World’.

At the 2016 edition of the “New African Women Awards”, Zuriel wins the award for the “Woman on the Rise” category.

In August, 2016, at age 14, Zuriel makes Forbes Afrique’s annual list of 100 Most Influential Women. Conde Nast, the American global media and magazine giant, featured Zuriel as part of their Black History Month edition annual celebrations, as one of Americas future leaders to watch, for their February 2017 Teen Vogue.

[Tweet “UNICEF Nigeria reports that about 60 per cent of out-of-school children are girls. Mostly, for the reason of low perception of the value of girls’ education.”]

An Avowed Girl-Child Advocate

UNICEF NIGERIA reports that Nigeria still has 10.5 million out-of-school children – the world’s highest number. Sixty per cent of those children are in northern Nigeria. About 60 per cent of out-of-school children are girls. Many of those who do enroll drop out early. Low perceptions of the value of education for girls and early marriages are among the reasons. Some northern states have laws requiring education of girls and prohibiting their withdrawal from school. Girls’ primary school attendance has been improving, but this has not been the case for girls from the poorest household. In North-eastern Nigeria, conflict has deprived many children of access to education. Teachers have been killed and schools burned down or closed for security reasons.

Zuriel champions the Girl-Child education advocacy. She has initiated talks with no fewer than 24 African Presidents and Prime Ministers about creating policies that favour Girl-Child education till they reach the age of consent and can make decisions for their future rather than be barraged into early marriages or saddled with diseases or end up pregnant.
Zuriel believes that “Africa and the youth can change the world. I really believe it more now, that if someone wants to do something, no one can stop them, unless they did not really want to do it before”.

The former U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry calls her a ‘powerful Global Force’ for Girls Education and Women’s development.

Her campaign for the education of girls began in 2011 with emphasis on taking more rural girls off the street and into schools and giving girls from the poorest homes a future better than what they would have had without education. She tells the African stories through her documentaries. Through her ‘Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up’ initiative, Zuriel hopes to empower young girls and rebrand the image of Africa.

She Leads with her DUSUSU Foundation

In December 2015, she formally launched her “Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up” Foundation aimed at building partnerships with corporation and individuals, to develop the education capabilities of children, most especially the girl child, across the globe.

At the ceremony to commemorate the 11th annual festival of Mauritius, Zuriel attends as the special guest and as one of the judges for the film competition. There she seizes the opportunity and educates 150 underprivileged children on basic film making skills.

In February, 2016, Zuriel’s first 101 film class workshop held in, Windhoek, Namibia. By March, 2016, she launched her film making 101 Initiative for youths in Windhoek, Namibia, and in Lagos, Nigeria in June 2016; teaching some of Africa’s poorest children basic film making skills, so they have practical skills they can use in gainful or self-employment, as young adults.

A student from her first ‘Film Making 101’ class series workshop in February, 2016, Anna Kanola, becomes the first of Zuriel’s student to create and produce her first documentary 9 months later. On the 6th of December, 2016, Anna Kanola from Northern Namibia, is honored by Zuriel and presented with some film production equipment and a check for $1000 to encourage her future film making projects.

She was honored with an Award and Citation for her global work in the area of Education Development and Girls Equality advocacy by the city of Pachuca, in Hidalgo.

The Goodwill Ambassador

Earlier in September 2015, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, Zuriel demonstrates an early flair for foreign politics when she launched a peace mediation initiative between Guyana and Venezuela, over the disputed Esquabos Oil territory, for which Venezuela was preparing to invade her smaller neighbour.

In September, 2016, at the 71st United Nations [UN] General Assembly events in New York, Zuriel speaks on how the effects of climate change is significantly affecting the education of children in the Pacific Island region. Shannon meets with Prime Minister of Samoa, H. E.  Tuilaepa Malielegaoi and the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, H. E. Enele Sopoaga. She was invited to meet the new Jamaica Prime Minister H. E. Andrew Holness, to understand how Global Warming is affecting countries in the Caribbean.

In October 2016, she met with her 23rd World Leader, the President of Malta Her first venture Louisa Prevalent, to share her ideas on building a network of female world leaders to tackle the issue of “out of school children”, especially Girls from around the world.

She was made a Goodwill Ambassador by the Founder of the Rainbow Book Club at the UNESCO World Book Capital Port Harcourt in 2014.

Le Devoir, describes her as a future Larry King, because of her ability to meet with Political Leaders and discuss critical and pertinent global issues that affect children and youth development.

Unrelenting in her strides to align World Leaders with thoughts and acts of peace and goodwill, Zuriel is an inspiration to children and adults alike.

Asma Khalifa is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Zuriel Oduwole.


Extraordinary Voices: Asma Khalifa, Libyan Amazigh Women’s Rights and Peace Activist and Researcher  

Asma Khalifa was born in the coastal town of Zuwara, one of the most culturally distinct towns and is of Amazigh (Berber) origins. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law and a Master’s in Peace and Conflict Studies. She was born at a time when political corruption, human rights violation, unemployment, poverty and sectarianism were at its highest point in Libya. She witnesses the discrimination against the non-Arab Libyans, the violation of the human rights of her people and the sexual harassment of Libyan women during the period of Gaddafi’s regime.

Because Libya’s de facto leader Gaddafi considered the Amazigh a threat to his vision for a United Arab nation, he placed a ban on them. It became illegal to teach Tamazight in schools, illegal to give children Tamazight names or speak Tamazight in public.
“I can’t remember how many times my cousin was arrested for singing Amazigh songs in public.” says Asma Khalifa
But when push turned to shove, Khalifa lends her voice and becomes a human rights activist.
“… all we hear is words, even in the draft constitution there’s no mention of the Amazigh, and then people say things like you should just be grateful that the constitution doesn’t say we’re a Libyan Arab Republic.” She observes.

[Tweet “On 25th May, 2016, Khalifa was awarded the Luxembourg Peace Prize”]

On 25th May, 2016, Khalifa was awarded the Luxembourg Peace Prize by the Schengen Peace Foundation as the Outstanding Youth Peace Maker. The Luxembourg Peace Prize is a recognition of Khalifa’s contributions in the world as a key player to support peace-building, promoting peace and conflict resolution!

[Tweet “In 2017, Asma Khalifa was named one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans by the Africa Youth Awards”]

In 2017, she was named one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans by the Africa Youth Awards. Khalifa earned her title owing to her bravery in the fight against the sexual harassment of women during Gaddafi’s reign, for her non-violent way of protesting for the rights of women in Africa and inspiring young people.

A CRUSADER FOR THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN IN LIBYA

Her work in Libya has included improving women’s participation in local government and fighting against gender-based violence.

In 2015, she co-founded the Tamazight Women Movement with the aim to research, report and advocate on Tamazight women issues in Libya and North Africa. Their core values being equality, social justice, and diversity.

SHE MAKES HER PROTEST PEACEFUL AND INFORMATIVE

In early 2010, the civil protests, demonstrations and revolt, resulted in the death and overthrow of Gaddafi. However, the unveiling of Libya’s transitional government causes the Berbers to rise in protest at the under-representation of Libya’s largest ethnic minority, the Amazigh. The Amazigh as a result suspends relations with Libya’s national government and withdraws its representative to the National Transitional Council (NTC).

Khalifa however, isn’t convinced that suspending relations with the National Transitional Council is the best way forward. She says, “I think it’s a bit extreme, they [the Arabs and the Amazigh] should probably sort these things out between each other and not stop talking to each other”.

[Tweet “If I want to see hope in Libya again, I have to work for it – @AsmaKhalifa89”]

A WOMAN OF GOODWILL AND TENACIOUS SPIRIT

Possessing a tenacious spirit, Khalifa hasn’t given up. Now, she travels around Libya to educate people on women’s rights and teach communities methods of nonviolent resistance. Her organization continues to work towards civil progress and good governance in Libya. “If I want to see hope in Libya again, I have to work for it” she says

Asma Khalifa is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Asma Khalifa.


While Doing great work may get you noticed, How can you be Outstanding?

As a Leader, you may already give your best and hope that your efforts are good enough. While good performance is critical in leadership, it may not be enough. People are doing great work as well, but what can make you outstanding?

How can you be memorable? How do you make a lasting impression? What makes you different from others? Here is how to make your efforts stand out.

Innovate and Reinvent

It is important to show creativity and innovation. Leadership is about innovating and reinventing. There lies the opportunity to be outstanding. By making useful contributions and asking intelligent and useful questions, you bring a different perspective to the table. Demonstrate that you can think outside the box. Most importantly, make sure that your creativity and innovation benefits the work.

Have Great Attitude

Be positive and enthusiastic and engage with people ethically. No matter how your day is, it’s important to stay upbeat. Generally, people tend to enjoy working with pleasant, encouraging and constructive people, rather than complaining, negative, and rude people who are not constructive.

Contribute Significantly

Always show up prepared, by doing your homework and gathering relevant resources. Don’t show up complacent. If you are actively engaged in the work process, you will make significant contributions to the team effort. You might also want to voluntarily contribute in addition to your mandatory work load. Do more to be relevant and outstanding.

Build Relationships

Be friendly, and let people get to know you. Have an approachable persona, build relationships and trust. Be dedicated to showing interest in the lives of those you work with. This is an added thing to how you work, and it makes you memorable and likeable. It’s also important to have a mentor who networks you with his or her contacts.  A knowledgeable and connected​ mentor can be a huge resource to help you build relationships and connect you with like-minds in your field. Relationships make you stay relevant.

Communicate Effectively

Many people may be competent professionally, but lack effective communication skills.  As a leader, you have to pay careful attention to how you express yourself not only in writing, but also during face-to-face conversations, and on the phone. In communicating, be confident, respectful and clear. Always strive to be a good listener by paying attention, maintaining polite eye contact, and striving to understand what people are saying (you may ask questions to clarify). Developing good communication skills make you an outstanding leader.

Be Result Oriented

Results have a loud Voice. People pay more attention to what you do than what you say. Put all your efforts into action. Pay attention to the actions and skills required per task. What can you do exceptionally well? Also construct a milestones list. Don’t be complacent or wait to be pushed. Have outstanding work ethic.

If You Don’t Blow your Trumpet, Others Will Make it a Spittoon

In as much as it is not done annoyingly, it is great to promote yourself, and let people know about your outstanding work. Achievements make you stand out and hasten career advancement. Promote yourself. Have a killer elevator pitch. Do you have a great LinkedIn profile? Also ask people to recommend you for your skills. Strive to make a great impression all the time.

To become Outstanding, Trust your Journey

The key is to find what is different about you and capitalize on it. Pay attention to what you do best, what you bring to the table, what is special about you. Be remarkable, memorable and authentic. Be professional and reliable. Be creative, interesting, and show talent. Let what is different about you be visible, work on cultivating that uniqueness and you will be outstanding.


Q & A with Timipre Wolo: I am Never Afraid to Leave my Comfort Zone… and Break New Grounds

I am a graceful, elegant, and purpose-driven woman of faith on a mission to fulfill destiny. I am never afraid to leave my comfort zone, tackle challenges and break new grounds in the quest to live my dreams, and ultimately impact my world.
I am a Lawyer by training, specialized in Oil & Gas Law. I come from Ekowe in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State in the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. I am the MD/CEO of TFN Energy Limited and was recently appointed Chairperson, Ladies in Oil & Gas (LIOG) Nigeria. I Founded the Center for Gender Equality, Education and Empowerment (CGEEE). I served as a member of the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) Legal team; as special Assistant to the Executive Secretary; and subsequently as pioneer head of the PTDF Industry Collaboration Unit. I have become the youngest person to ever serve on the PTDF Management.

[Tweet “”I am always thankful and having no sense of entitlement – @timiprewolo”]

Two habits that keep Timipre Wolo Grounded

The first is Gratitude. I am always thankful and having no sense of entitlement. And the second is being consistent.

One Experience that has Shaped my Leadership Journey?

Losing my Mom at the age of 12 propelled me to take on certain responsibilities at home and life became more about looking out for my siblings and that experience practically helped to shape me into the woman that I am today. Looking out for others and inspiring people to take action naturally became a part of me.

One lesson that other Women in Leadership can Learn from Me

Use whatever power or opportunity you have to lift others up, and stay humble and grounded, no matter what.

[Tweet “I have very few friends because I would rather have one very good pair of shoes, than a dozen broken pairs – @timiprewolo”]

What Type of Association is Crucial for Women in Leadership?

Seek out people who inspire you and challenge you to be better. People you can learn from and those who can look you in the eye and tell you as it is, and not necessarily what you want to hear. Also stay connected to your spiritual parents. For instance, Mommy and Daddy David Abioye have always been a very strong source of inspiration, counsel and encouragement to me over the years. No leader, male or female can possibly climb the ladder of success alone, we all need guidance, counsel and support at one point or the other in our journey through life. It is also important to choose your friends as a leader.

I have very few friends because I would rather have one very good pair of shoes, than a dozen broken pairs. On that note, let me use this medium to give a shout out to my very good friend-turned-sister, Pastor (Mrs.) Joyce Pender and hubby, Pastor GT Pender, for always having my back. Love you guys much.

[Tweet “Never see yourself as a ‘leader’ but as a servant, called to serve – @timiprewolo”]

One Mistake that a Leader Must not Make

Never see yourself as a ‘leader’ but as a servant, called to serve. Never look down on anybody. If anything, treat everyone as equal, including your support staff. We are all equal before our creator.

Are you a woman in leadership and would like to inspire our readers with your story as or do you know any woman in leadership with an inspiring journey? Please share with us via contributor@awlo.org


Extraordinary Voices: Proscovia Alengot – Africa’s Youngest Legislator

Proscovia Alengot Oromait was born on the 1st of January 1993 in Katawaki District, Uganda. She is the second of ten children, a Ugandan politician;where she served as a member of parliament for her district from 2012 -2016.

She is Extraordinary Because:

She set the pace for not just women but young women to realize that you can aspire for greatness even at an early age. We also explore what makes her inspiring.

[Tweet “Proscovia is inspiring because she defied all odds and proved to both young and older women especially young women that age is not a determining factor for leadership”]

 A YOUNG WOMAN IN LEADERSHIP

Proscovia has defied all odds and proved to both young and older women especially young women that age is not a determining factor for leadership. After the death of her father at the young age of 19, Proscovia contested in elections to be a member of parliament for the Usuk County, Katakwi District from 2012-2016 in Uganda and won 54.2% of the vote. She became the youngest member of parliament in Uganda and Africa.

From the observer

Proscovia being sworn in

LEADERSHIP QUALITIES

Proscovia has leadership qualities that make people believe in her enough to elect her. She was termed by her teachers as being determined, organized, creative and respectful. Even when her father was a member of parliament she was his greatest campaigner to the youth. When she openly came out to contest her teacher said; “…. when i heard that she was contesting, i didn’t doubt that she would convince voters.”

Even when she won and faced backlash from older men in the parliament, she still stood tall and didn’t let it scare her. she said in an interview “….I will stand. As Obama said, yes I can. I said, Proscovia, I can”

[Tweet “”It’s just been my dream to become a leader of Uganda. And here I am, the youngest MP, and I’m so proud of what I am.””]

HER BELIEF AND CONFIDENCE IN HERSELF

Her courage and confidence was also a well-known fact amongst family and friends. One of her friends said this about her; “she has a great vision in life. she would say she would be a great lady no matter how many times she failed.” . In an interview with the independent online newspaper she can be quoted  “It’s just been my dream to become a leader in Uganda. And here I am, the youngest MP, and I’m so proud of what I am.”  This courage and confidence is what we believe helped her achieve this great feat of becoming the youngest member of parliament in Africa. She has shown that with determination and courage, you can achieve your dreams

She is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Proscovia Alengot.

 


Extraordinary Voices: Cina Lawson, Togolese Politician and Minister for Posts and Telecommunications.

“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” —G.D. Anderson

[Tweet “Meet Togolese Politician and Tech Madame- @cinalawson“]

Cina Lawson is a Togolese politician and popularly known as the Minister of Posts and Digital Economy for the Republic of Togo. Lawson began her career at the World Bank, where she worked on telecom restructuring projects in developing countries focusing on regulatory reforms from 1998 to 2000.

Facts about Cina Lawson:

 Her Career Path

Cina Lawson is a Togolese politician and Minister of Posts and Digital Economy. She served as a minister consecutively since September 17, 2013 in the second government of Kwesi Ahoomey-Zunu and former Minister of Posts and Telecommunications on May 28, 2010 in the Government of the Prime Minister Minister Gilbert Houngbo, then the first government of Kwesi Ahoomey-Zunu (July 19, 2013).

She was Manager of Corporate Strategy and Business Development for Orange Business Services from 2005 to 2010.

 As a government minister Lawson is currently overseeing the tendering process for a third mobile phone company to operate in Togo.

 Cina Lawson: Awards and Rewards

In March 2012, she was named “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum and ranked among the “20 Most Influential Young Women in Africa” ​​according to Forbes magazine. In May 2013, she was one of the “25 most influential women in business in Africa” ​​according to the journal Jeune Afrique.


She is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Cina Lawson.

 


Extra Ordinary Voices: Perpetual Nkwocha – Coach & Women-Football Icon

Perpetual Nkwocha is a Nigerian professional footballer, coach and most decorated African female footballer. Perpetual Ijeoma Nkwocha was born on the 3rd of January 1976. She took part in all the major African Competitions with the Nigerian female national team including the 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympic Games .

Meet Perpetual Nkwocha

[Tweet “Meet Perpetual Nkwocha, three-time winner of African ‘s Women Top goal scorer”]

Outstanding Career Trail

Perpetual Nkwocha is the coach of Clemensnäs IF with Swedish Women’s Football Division 2. With the Nigeria national team she has participated in seven CAF Women’s Championship editions (2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014), winning five of them (2002, 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2014).

Her Extra ordinary Feats

[Tweet “Perpetual Nkwocha has achieved extraordinary feats!”]

At the 2004 African Women’s Championship, she scored four goals, and set a record by scoring nine overall goals during the tournament. She was named the best player of the tournament.

Nkwocha has also participated in four FIFA Women’s World Cup (2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015), as well as the Olympic tournaments of Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, and Beijing 2008.

An Exceptional Honoree

Nkwocha was voted African Women‘s Footballer of the Year in 2004, 2005, 2010 and 2011 by Confederation of African Football (CAF).She is a also a three-time African Women’s Championship Top goal scorer.

Perpetual Nkwocha Receives the MTN Confederations of African Football (CAF) Women Player of the Year Award

She is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Perpetual Nkwocha.


The Time Is Now

Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world. UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

[Tweet “Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world. -UN Secretary-General, António Guterres”]

International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized, and celebrated for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. 

It is a day that the searchlight is beamed on women’s resource building, equality issues, and advocacy rights. 

Based on this year’s theme, “International Women’ Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.” – Antonio Guterres

All over the world, we find the girl-child and women homeless, friendless, and powerless. 

They are homeless due to wars; victims of natural disasters, poverty discrimination, fallouts of inheritance claim, domestic and sexual abuse, widowhood rites, trafficking and migration – displaced from their origins. 

They are friendless because of the harmful practices inflicted upon them, by a world that seems too weighed down by the enormity of the problems they face. 

They are powerless, simply because the environment places certain hurdles against them, and society is slow or reluctant in effecting the enabling measures that would place women in the mainstream of decision making and taking. 

Making their way as best they can on the cruel edges of the world; women have stories to tell, changes to make, lives to touch, and dreams to build. 

I believe that the world should partner with women, on this noble cause. 

More than ever, the time is now to keep pressing on the advancements made in correcting the wrongs of the past, in initiating and consolidating changes for the present, and in establishing core values for the future. 

It is not the time to rest on our oars; but with every handshake of acknowledgment, there should be a corresponding double back-slap of encouragement. 

The goals are clearly spelt out in the UN charter, and the targets are achievable. The discourse is focused on women’s rights, equality and justice. 

It is a sad reality of our times that increasing cases of child molestation and abuse, sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women has captured headlines and public awareness, and fueled a rising determination for change.

As we utilize this yearly opportunity to transform this momentum into action, let us also make the resolve to keep our promise. 

We all agree that it is time for change. 

It is time to develop, train and empower all women and the girl-child in all communities, both rural and urban. 

It is time to celebrate the activists who are working tirelessly, relentlessly, most often quietly, to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential. 

It is time to deal with deep-seated gender inequalities, exploitation and discrimination. 

It is the time for empowering women for acquisition, and enhancement of their leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

It is time to put an end to the abduction of our young girls for whatever reasons. Our daughters are not commodities, they are not bargaining chips. They are not merchandise to be traded for by faceless tribal agitators, and certainly not for auction. 

It is time to transform women’s lives everywhere. 

We shall not forget the sacrosanct place of human dignity as the core of our national identity, in shaping, guiding, and effecting our resolve. 

Let us with tact and wisdom, shove aside what clearly no longer serves us. The unfair burdens of culture, the bias of stereotypes, and the unwholesome limitations of tradition.  

The woman deserves, and has earned a place of honor, respect and protection. 

It is time for the needful to be done, for the sake of the future generations.

The girl-child is a blossoming asset for humanity. Let us educate her. Let us protect her.

The time to press for progress is NOW!

 

Written by Uboho Bassey


Extraordinary Voices: Chimamanda Adichie Stands up for Africa and Women

“Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture’’ – Chimamanda Adichie

Meet our 2nd Extraordinary voice: the awe-inspiring Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Chimamanda Adichie is a Nigerian author; writer of novels, short stories and non-fiction. She was born on September 15th, 1977 in Enugu, Nigeria, and attended Drexet University in Philadelphia on scholarship where she earned a degree in communication and political science. She is a feminist, at the forefront of women activism.

[Tweet “When the name Chimamanda is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is her ever famous line ‘we should all be feminists'”]

When the name Chimamanda is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is her ever famous line “we should all be feminists”.  Today we get to look at what makes her extraordinary!

Chimamanda Adichie

CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE THE GREAT STORY TELLER

A lot of people actually forget that Chimamanda is first and foremost a writer. I even know someone who doesn’t know a single book written by her.

Adichie is a great novelist, and also has a number of captivating short stories and essays to her credit. Who can forget the way she portrayed the love shared between ifemelu and Obinna in Americanah, or the fact her TED Talk ‘We Should all be feminists captures astutely the topic of feminism. Let’s not forget how the phrase itself went on to get the attention of Beyonce and has gained so much popularity to become a fashion statement on dresses.

Speaking of internationally acclaimed works, Mrs. Adichie’s writings tend to take a solutions approach to Cultural issues. Her famous book half of a yellow sun also adapted for movie tells the story of the Biafran War, the political climate in Nigeria at the time and the traumatic consequence of war on the igbos.

My personal favourite (I am sure you can tell) is Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions which is a letter from Chimamanda to her friend on how to raise a feminist daughter. These are to mention but a few of her solutions approach through writing to cultural issues.

A ROLE MODEL AND LEADER

When we consider leaders, we consider Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as one. Here is a woman who is a model of outstanding leadership; changing narratives, initiating movements, and most importantly striving for relevance. She models to me, and other women; attaining your full potential unapologetically. An interesting fact that some people are not aware of is that; she was enrolled at medical school, but eventually dropped out to pursue her passion in writing. There is a lesson to learn from her; which is to always follow your passion, do what you love and watch yourself excel at it.

It is also imperative to highlight her impressive poise, grace, articulation and fluency. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is not scared to express her opinion. One lesson to learn from Chimamanda is to BE BOLD and Stand up for what you believe in. Chimamanda Adichie believes in her African culture and is not ashamed of expressing it.

A recent show of her loyalty to Africa was during an interview in France at a global ideas hosted by the French government. The interviewer asked a question that implied that Africans were not literate. The french interviewer shockingly asked if there were bookshops in Nigeria, and Chimamanda in her reply stood up not just for Nigeria but for the African Continent.

“I think it reflects poorly on French people that you have to ask me that question”. She said. “You’ll be shocked to know that they are, yes… They are read and studied, not just in Nigeria but across the continent of Africa”.

SHE SAYS WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS

People often portray Chimamanda Adichie as a misandrist; someone who encourages women to hate men, as a result of her feminism. However, in being a feminist, she is asking that women be treated in their full humanity. She kicks against gender-defining roles. and advocates that economically, politically and socially, are given equal opportunities for self-development. During her ‘We Should All be Feminists Essay she reminds us of the glaring meaning  of feminist “A person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes” – not necessarily a woman.

Chimamanda Adichie

Chimamanda Adichie is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by 


Extraordinary Voices: Meet Naisula Lesuuda; Kenyan Warrior Princess

In a world of steaming male presence and accomplishments, emerges a defiant and heroic warrior princess; Naisula Lesuuda. She is a direct comparison to the Greek heroic warrior princess Xena. In the case of Naisula, not with sword but with  her voice and heroic deeds.

 

[Tweet “Naisula Lesuuda is like the Greek warrior princess Xena, but not with a Sword – with a Voice”]

Hon. Naisula Lesuuda was born in Samburu on the 30th of April 1984. She worked as a high-profile, national journalist for the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) where she worked as a news anchor, reporter and host of Good Morning Kenya.
Naisula Lesuuda became the youngest serving Kenyan Senator in 2013. She also successfully ran for a parliamentary seat in 2017 to become the first Samburu woman to win a seat, and is currently an elected member of parliament.

Here are Interesting facts about the Kenyan Warrior Princess:

Her interesting approach to peace Advocacy

Naisula Lesuuda is a founding member of the Peace Caravan, an initiative to advocate peace throughout her country by collecting and broadcasting peace-related news, lobbying and visiting conflicting communities.

An Entrepreneur creating opportunities for the Next Generation

The Kenyan warrior princess is also an entrepreneur, who runs a media consultancy firm and works as a trainer and workshop facilitator hereby creating job opportunities and empowering young journalists and aspiring media personals.

Left a job for a fulfilling Cause

Naisula is known for her unmatched activism as she advocates for women’s right in Kenya. She is the founder of Naisula Lesuuda Peace Foundations which advocates for girls’ education, and eradication of female genital mutilation and child marriage.

An Outstanding Honoree

As a way of rewarding her heroic deeds and her work with these organizations led to her becoming the youngest Kenyan woman to win the presidential Order of the Grand Warrior and the International Labour Organisation Wedge Award for Outstanding Professional Woman, in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Her Favorite Quote is about ‘Death’

[Tweet ““death is a reminder that our days are numbered so we must give our best”- @Lesuuda”]

The warrior princess’ favorite quote is “death is a reminder that our days are numbered so we must give our best”

There is no doubt that Naisula Lesuuda’s drive for excellence continues to steer the wheels for matchless state services to the Kenyan populace especially in representing the Samburu county both as a senator, humanitarian, entrepreneur and human right activist.

She is one of the 30 Extraordinary Voices featured in the Women’s Month Series by AWLO. Click on your favorite social media button below to share if you have been inspired by Naisula Lesuuda.


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