COMMINIQUE OF THE 8TH EDITION OF THE AFRICAN WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP ORGANIZATION CONFERENCE HELD FROM THE 22ND – 26TH OF MARCH, 2016 JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
AWLO conferences have always been phenomenal, impactful, inspiring and intriguing amongst other benefits. However, this South African conference has been the most powerful. Resonating with this year’s Conference theme,’ We’ve got the Power’, each speaker, listener and participant has called to our deepest being. We have, at this conference, been called out to look into ourselves, detect the power within us, understand it and put it to use.
The conference began with an opening prayer said by the AWLO Akwa Ibom State coordinator, Mrs. Maria- Stella Mkpong. The Founder Mr. Elisha Attai welcomed delegates to South Africa and restated AWLO’s mission of offering the opportunity of aligning African women all over the world with experienced and dedicated professionals and entrepreneurs in all fields of endeavors
H.E. Janet Magufuli, First Lady of the United Republic of Tanzania, speaking through H.E. Dr. Asha- Rose Migiro, Former Deputy Secretary – General of the United Nations delivered the keynote address wherein she recognized and appreciated AWLO for providing a veritable platform where people meet to contribute to global actions aimed at improving the political, economic and social status of women in Africa and the world over.
The Conference Session for day one was opened with a powerful presentation by Mrs. Louisa Akaiso, who spoke on the topic,’ The Leading Woman’ and urged women to use their influence to impact people who stand shoulder to shoulder with them and most importantly those people who stand behind them. She emphasized on the need to keep a positive image and introduced us to keep the ABC of achieving this, ABC being Appearance, Behaviour and Communication.
The next presentation was by Theola Lambert on the topic, ‘A Nobody doing Something’. She took members through her life experiences and recounted her victory over adversities. She posited how honesty, trustworthiness, dedication, determination, tenacity, loyalty, hardwork and the resolve not to compromise her principles were key to her achieving her potentials. She entreated women to remain driven and motivated, to stick to their goals and when they attain same to give back 100 fold of what they were blessed with.
Her presentation was followed by that of Dr. Violet Arene, who spoke on the ‘Foundation of Leadership and Power for Young Women’, wherein she called on AWLO to restrategize and train young women with a view of making them into women with forceful personalities. This can be achieved by sensitizing them and making them become aware of who they are, by boosting their confidence and making them overcome timidity. She called into our deep to achieve excellence in all we do as excellence expels discrimination.
Day one came to a powerful close with the presentation of Dr. Mathews Phosa, a man who recognizes and knows he was born of a woman and has much respect for and desire for women to reclaim their space as leaders and create those synergies that turns a lack of political will into an unstoppable momentum.
Adrienne Westman began day 2 with a presentation on the topic ‘Lead, Inspire, Empower’. She led women into the wonders of turning our fears into fuel and the need for them to remain relentless and focused so as to become successful in their various businesses. She encouraged women to walk in their own paths and to change their orientation from being product focused to being people focused.
The Conference session ended with a panel discussion with Dr. Dorien Maraire, Mrs. Louisa Akaiso, Rosemary Jairo, Theola Lambert and Emem Daniel who spoke and discussed issues that affected or tend to limit women from reaching their desired goals.
At the end of all discussions, we resolved and agreed on the following:
- To educate and train our young girls so as to sustain women powers be it in politics, decision – making, economic and social activities knowing that education is the key to attaining excellence.
- To restratagize on how best to work with our different governments to ensure we lift our communities from poverty and ensure better livelihood for them.
- The need to invest in entrepreneurial skills for women by providing micro and macro financing of their businesses.
- The need to explore how our Constitutions and other legal frameworks can be effective tools in bringing the desired change in the status and role of women thereby consolidating the gains of women development in the Continent.
- The need to use the power of unity to advance women’s agenda
- The need never to compromise our feminity, principles and or our womanhood in the face of adversity and other cultural, social or economic barriers.
- The need to know and understand that power, strength, courage, perseverance and complete feminity can and do go hand in hand.
- The need for women to fight their different battles on their own terms.
- The need for women leader to be aware of the fact that their conduct and their success or failure as leaders would be the measure by which generations of women would be gauged and treated by men.
- The need to understand and accept that transformation, growth, and development require the very powerful synergy that is released when women and men unite in common purpose as equals.
- The need for women to hold up themselves as courageous examples of steadfast leadership, committed to genuine growth and transformation in our societies
- The need for African women to rise up and beget a legacy worthy of emulation by the next generation of Africans.
- The need for women to foster the synergies of alliance between male and female to shape the destiny of our continent and bringing about the genuine rising of Africa.
- The need for African women not to allow themselves to be drawn back into subservience but to demonstrate and assert that they are equal when it comes to the requirements of leadership which requirements include: strength, courage, commitment, dignity, honesty amongst others.
- The need for women to combine their God given ability by blending their soft/hard power in reaching their goals. That is to say being confident, assertive but not losing sight and maintaining your feminism
- The need for women to invest in God
- The need for women to decide to make a difference to do something about that decision, to work with people who are making a difference and at the time when making the difference matters.
- The need for women to live intentionally, develop their self worth, take steps to close the gap and be unapologetic about being themselves and positively move from being just good enough to being great and passing on the power to the next generation of women.
- The need to know and understand that ethics and morals will always succeed even in the business environment.
- And the need for AWLO to practice leadership at all levels even if it takes more time, energy and finances.