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.


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.


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”]


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.

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.

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


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.


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”.


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.