My name is Dr. Biniam Woldeselassie, and I am a volunteer for Moremi Initiative for Women's Leadership in Africa. I have been driven to volunteer for this organisation because of its excellent track record in leadership development in Africa. Moremi Initiative works to engage, equip and inspire a new generation of transformational African Women Leaders. It works to bring about sustainable change in the empowerment of women through enhancing their leadership skills. . It has been an honour to be a part of the great institution that is Moremi.
I am a Liberian and for me Moremi represents a True Agent of Change for Young African Women Leaders both in Africa and the African Diaspora.
I am a young advocate who has dedicated her life to lobbying for the inclusion of youths with disabilities to ensure that the Missing Voices are Heard.
Moremi Initiative stands as a shining example to the world of how great a continent Africa is; with its diverse cultural heritage, resources and potential leaders regardless of creed, ethnicity, physical look - with or without disabilities.
I participated as a 2010 MILEAD Fellow of Moremi Initiative. I can honestly say that my experience in the program enhanced my understanding of the importance of my role in leadership and development as a young African woman. I now have a renewed approach, passion and confidence toward my professional and academic pursuits. Having served in leadership capacities already before the fellowship, I never realised that I still suffered from subtle inferiority complex, juxtaposing my capabilities to those of a man. The biggest lesson I received from Moremi Initiative is that I have talents, skills and knowledge that I can equally contribute to society. And that I can go as far as I want toward making that contribution. My limitations are mostly mental. Moremi Initiative does a lot to empower African women to participate socially and politically in their countries, and importantly, to be educated. It is education that enlightens and gives way to opportunities. I continue to support Moremi Initiative in reaching more potential and emerging African women leaders. Women's full participation and leadership in Africa is intrinsically linked as a crucial factor to any developmental success we may seek; and that is Moremi's role - to bring women, necessarily and deservingly, to the table.
I got involved with the Moremi Initiative as a fellow of the organisation in 2010. Was selected amongst 24 other young emerging African women leaders and trained through the organisation's three weeks summer institute.
It was an amazing experience at the institute as i was inspired to place my priorities right and be able to clearly define what is important and expedient in terms of intervention.
Thais inspired me to begin the After school Peer Mentoring project;(www.afterschoolpmp.wordpress.com) a project inspired by the MILEAD institute; the project has inmapced positively in the lives of students through our PREP2GRAD programme(www.prep2grad.wordpress.com)
Before I took part in the Milead fellowship, I often considered statements which alluded to an individual making a difference as more of an exception than a norm, but my experience with Moremi changed all this. Through this life changing experience, I was able to interact with 24 extraordinary women whose life stories portrayed not only courage, resilience and strength but also the passion and the heart that so many of wrongly believe is lacking in the young women today.
During the 3 week leadership training institute in Ghana, we took classes geared at developing our long term career interests and nurturing us as the change makers of today and tomorrow. Our classes revolved around issues pertaining to human rights, gender based violence, female participation in politics as well aspects of marketing and branding not just our social and profit making ventures but ourselves as change makers. We engaged in heated debates, shared our hopes dreams and aspiration for the women of Africa. We were also mentored by outstanding and inspiring women and men who have for long championed the causes of women and young people in Africa. Through this experience each of us fellows were encouraged to start Community projects within our various countries. The Milead fellowship taught me to believe that an individual can indeed make a difference.
I first heard about the moremi initiative from a friend who happens to be a volunteer ,and then subsequently I started reading up on their activities on the web. It feels good to know that there is an organization that is really genuine in its effort to motivate ,mentor and educate the african female youth into becoming women leaders which goes a long way towards eradicating poverty in the society and also preventing these young ladies from turning towards other negative vices in the society and becoming nuisances to their families.
Indeed ,The Moremi Initiative for women leaders is just the type of non profit organization the african society really need at such a time like this.
Etre MILEAD Fellow, c'est plus qu'une simple aventure, etre MILEAD Fellow, c'est croire en la femme, non pas parce que l'on est femme, mais parce que trop longtemps, il n'a pas été donné aux femmes les capacités de se réveiller, de se réaliser et de se penser en tant que partenaires indispensables au développement. Cette expérience avec MOREMI Initiative m'a permis de murir en quelques semaines, au contact de femmes (et d'hommes) fortes, belles et qui veulent prendre activement part au changement social, culturel, économique et politique de notre continent.
Lorsque j'ai vu l'annonce du programme de fellowship, j'ai immédiatement porté ma candidature. Je venais enfin de trouver le programme qui me correspondait. Oui, on m'offrait la chance de pouvoir rencontrer des filles qui voulaient briser les chaines de leur aliénation "invisible" mais réelle, aller par delà les tabous et les interdits, les prescriptions et le patriarchalisme. Oui oser, etre jeune et femme.
J'ai surtout voulu que la francophonie (ou devrais-je dire les filles issues de pays francophones) soient représentées car bien trop souvent, les initiatives relatives au genre et à l'émancipation de la femme sont anglophones.
I am a 2009/ 2010 Moremi Fellow. I attended the summer institute in Ghana and it was a turning point in my life. We had influential women from Africa mentor us and we had seasoned lecturers.
I was able to interact with other emerging young women leaders from across Africa. We collectively saw a greater need for change in Africa and we started these wave of change by being the change we wanted to see in our Communities and Countries.
Each of us embarked on a community change project that has in turn made the lives of people better.
The truth is no one remains the same after an encounter with Moremi, I am forever grateful fr the opportunity.
I came to know about the Moremi Initiative when i was selected to be a Milead Fellow- among 25 extraordinary young african women between the ages of 18-25. The three weeks summer institute held in Ghana in July provided the opportunity to strengthen my leadership capabilities, specialized training workshops and summits on political participation; economic justice, enviroment; women's health and safety/ HIV/AIDS and such other issues that affects the lives of young women.
The organisation is one of the finest and the most proactive and result oriented in the whole of Africa. The focus is on leadership development of emerging young female leaders and this is one of the greatest resource needed by Africa for positive change.
Involvement with the organisation had made my world larger and populated. I have become truly inspired to do my best in the struggle for social justice. I have become truly inspired
As a volunteer at moremi initiative for women leadership,I will like to applaud the work ethics of the entire staff, seeing first hand the passion they had for this great cause made me feel like I needed to do more for my community. Most importantly, when I started volunteering with Moremi, I had little knowledge about the issues faced by women, and also was experiencing some insecurities in my personal life, I am proud to say that by working with Moremi initiative for women's leadership, I am now equipped with so much knowledge and passion for women's issues, the two elements I believe are needed to build a solid foundation for womens advocacy .
Lastly, the staff of Moremi, are the nicest and most accomodating people I have ever come across in life.
moremi initiative is the best women initiative in africa and i believe if given more support will change africa's destiny because time with moremi was the most greatest peroid in our lives as fellowers.
Moremi Initiative brought Light back into my life.
Here's my story: After working for 11years with no visile evidence of advancement, I gave up and decided to be self employed (8years).
With a lot of set backs and uncertanties, I was at the verge of loosing my mind because I felt lost and had not sense of direction: THEN CAME MOREMI INITIATIVE.
I opted as a Volunter: "What has that brought me- Life, Empowerment, Focus, Drive, Power, Strength as a woman with Fulfllment in whatever I set my heart to do.
Moremi Initiative is a 5 Star Organization. Thanks for the Light!
All my life I have lived at the margins and constantly had to fight just to be part of the mainstream; so it is a never-ending marvel that I should have reached any degree of prominence at all. I was born a girl in a clan that placed little value on female children; deriving some comfort from the fact that they could fetch a good bride price if the girls were raised well.
My formative years were a constant struggle to conform to the set standards of a well raised girl child – I simply was not malleable enough because I had a natural affinity towards fairness and justice; so I nursed a deep resentment towards the patriarchal status quo.
With time I discovered that getting better grades than my brothers somehow earned me the right to be treated as an equal – so my quest for fair treatment became a quest for education because I realized that the former was guaranteed (to some extent) by the latter.
Born in a remote town and to a minority tribe, my early years were spent in the rural areas and my first exposure to the city came as a result of my dedicated pursuit for knowledge that my father actively encouraged.
I read voraciously and made the discovery that no one could shut me up if I wrote my thoughts down rather than say them out loud. So I began to express myself through writing.
Education became a symbol of everything I wished the world to be like – a system of meritocracy; of hard work being rewarded and of being judged according to one’s worth rather than being dismissed on the basis of my anatomy.
As I interrogated the cultural values that legitimized the status quo, I challenged long held ideas of what manhood entailed and the places women occupy in society – the seeds of gender activism were sown.
This scrutiny led to an interrogation of the broader issues relating to power relations between men and women. At the age of 19, I channeled this interrogation into a TV script that was later produced and aired by the national broadcaster - ZBH.
At university, my hostility towards the patriarchal establishment was given a shape and form when I encountered feminist literature and did gender studies.
I have pursued gender activism because I believe in social justice, and I joined the women’s movement because I believe in equality.
Living in a patriarchal society; I never ran out of causes to champion - there were despicable customs to contend with - wife inheriting and child brides. There was HIV and women who were raised to believe that a man should sleep with as many women as he likes and she must still perform her nuptial duties.
There was an economic meltdown and women who suffered the brunt of it - turning to sex work and others cross boarder traders who were preyed on by unscrupulous men from boarder to boarder.
In short, I saw injustice everywhere I looked and it was overwhelming because it seemed I didn't know where to start setting the world right (sic) as I had assigned myself the task of doing so.
When I applied for the Moremi Initiative for Women's Leadership - I had no idea what to expect; I only knew that I needed to find a way of reconciling all my various passions, interests and talents so that I would not spread myself so thin.
I was daunted by the prospect of meeting 24 of Africa's most extraordinary emerging young women leaders (as the website kept referring to the Fellows) because I felt that my modest achievements would not suffice to match whatever accomplishments the other ladies had.
The 3-week leadership camp was intense, exciting, exhaustive and for me - it was the highlight of my life. It saddened me that my parents had not lived to share this triumph.
We had intellectually stimulating debates; discussions around the realities and complexities of African states, societies and peoples. It was like watching a puzzle being put together because I could relate to every story and somehow it seemed that we were all viewing the same sky - merely wearing different shades of lenses.
I think one lesson I gained from the Moremi experience is that women's struggles are the same the world over - that we all worry about conforming; about how to balance careers with motherhood; about how to pursue public success without jeopardizing private happiness.
More importantly; I learned from the other Fellows that we are all strong in the broken places - that our struggles make us stronger; that out tragedies give us purpose; that our defeats give us the drive to stand and prove how tenacious we can be.
I had never seen a beach before; never walked by the sea shore and never tasted salt water until I got to Ghana... and I have Moremi to thank for those life long memories.
I had never dreamed that I could have the ear of a former President or sit at the table with Mary Robinson, a female Former President and that what I had to say would be listened to by people I had only seen on TV and read of in the papers. It was like a dream coming true.... and I marveled at how I - a girl from some secluded village, near a remote border town; coming from a minority tribe and having been born with the 'wrong' anatomy should be the same one who stands before Presidents and sits among leaders.
It was overwhelming. Beyond any doubt...Moremi Initiative follows through with its vision: to engage, to inspire and to equip the next generation of African women leaders.
I wish every young woman... at least one chance to experience a Moremi Initiative kind of empowerment - it is life transforming.
Moremi Initiative taught me that I don't need to have money to make a difference - I just need to have the heart.
I received a partial scholarship from Moremi and gained a lot of skills and expertise in contributing to society by using my media skills. I personally feel that such an organisation is important in uplifting the African society because it recognises women as part of nation building. I have learnt about issues that affect both me and women in Africa and got insight on how to make the necessary contribution to uplift my community. Although I am educated, I realised that I don't know that much when it comes to the reality of changing the current status that women are facing.
A lot of funding needs to be put into this organisation because it has a lot of potential and it also needs a lot of media attention.
Moremi is a great organization they seem to understand exactly was is needed to empower the women of today's society , tapping into the very heartbeat of the issues concerning us !
The opportunity to volunteer with Moremi has been tremendous in helping contribute to issues I hold close to my heart. The staff and board members are dedicated to the development of young women. I highly recommend Moremi to other volunteers who are passionate about the development of the continent.
In my experience, girls in Africa grow up as the secondary members in the family. I am not suggesting that they are not loved but rather more often that not, they are not explicitly or implicitly taught to be leaders. I grew up being taught that in order to be successful there were only certain things that you could and should do. Loving me and wanting the best for me, I appreciate my parents numerous efforts for me.
But our girls today need to be taught the lesson that they can do ANYTHING and be successful at it. That they ARE the leaders of today and tomorrow. These lessons are often (sometimes unconsciously) taught to buys.
The Moremi Initiative for Women Leaders is consciously teaching it to girls.
I joined the board of the Moremi Initiative for Women's Leadership in Africa in october 2010.
I was impressed by the extensive work they have done to enhance the status of the African Girl Child.
Through their work, they are gradually changing the African impression that a male child is more valuable than a female one, as girls are being both inspired and empowered to apply their minds in ways that enable them conquer domains previously reserved for menfolk.
The initiative however requires more funding and publicity for their impact to be felt in every country in Africa, which is indeed required to transform the image of the African Woman.