Thank you everyone who have been walking with me in this journey!! My friends, colleagues, family, mentors and academics…together we will impact the lives of the African populations. CHANGE STARTS WITH US!!!
What an amazing, inspiring and educative day l had with other 50+ ladies from across Africa on the 15th of November. I would like to say thank you to The Passionate Professional team for organizing such an empowering event. The mentoring walk is an initiative which was started in NEW YORK in 2008 by founder and former CEO of Oxygen Media with an aim to reach out to young female leaders. Over the years, the event has been taking place in a number of countries worldwide. It has impacted thousands and l must say from my very own experience, it is indeed a powerful mentoring tool.
Brought to SA in 2013 by Hema Vallabh (an alumna of the Fortune Global Women’s Mentoring Program), the Mentoring Walk has managed to bring together aspiring young female professionals and well established female leaders so as to impact change in the society.
This year’s WALK, which l was proudly part of, was a fully-packed and intense program that saw me in the company of politicians, activists, life skills coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs and academics. sitting at the same table with the SA Deputy Minister of Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, the CEO of Redefine Human Capital Irisha Luhanga and Naadiya Moosajee (Co-Founder & CEO at WomEng) was not only exciting, but also provided me the chance to share my projects, dreams and passions. Listening to their stories, the journeys they have travelled and their roles as strong females in a society that is still partly patriarchal gave me hope that as young females, we will be able to conquer and bring change to our spheres of influence.
The program also allowed us to do ‘speed dating’ where l managed to interact with more than 10 mentors who were in the house. I got to know Tendai Ratisai: Training and Customer Support Specialist (Zimbabwe), Tamala Chirwa: Founder and CEO of Women’s Leadership Footprint (Malawi/ Kenya), Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams: Deputy Minister of Communications, (South Africa), Wandile Pelwane: Digital Trainer, City of Joburg, Naadiya Moosajee: Co-founder of South African Women in Engineering and Fulufhelo Ramulifho: MD at Careers For A Powerful You who are all Women of integrity. They have been out there representing women and impacting change in the society.
The one on one sessions we had with our mentors made me realise that there is more to life than just getting a job, buying a car and owning a house. My mentor Fulufhelo Ramulifho shared with me how she sacrificed her job so as to start up her NGO. To her, it was a time and moment she needed. She wanted enough time to reach out to the communities and so far, she has even adopted schools where she offers career and life guidance skills to marginalized communities. Her story made me realise that the world can only become a better place if us as a society come together and work towards development. No matter how small, we should take steps towards promoting growth and active citizenship within our sphere of influence.
Also the mentees were young phenomenal women. Although l didn’t get the chance to interact with each and every one of them, I must say I learnt a lot from the few I interacted with. Some are students, some already heading organisations and some in the early stages of their careers. What I loved most was the passion and zeal they have to be not only Africa, but the World’s activists who will put their all to close the gender equality gap as well as eliminate poverty, corruption, war, health problems, technology, climate change and other problems being faced worldwide, particularly by women.
Thank you World Merit (www.worldmerit.org) for giving us the challenge to find mentors!! It is an important tool indeed! I also commend the City of Joburg for putting together everything and partnering with The Passionate Professional. Thank you Monash SA for equipping me with useful knowledge.
##Sailing high##Reaching behind horizons##AWAKEAFRICA##WOMEN EMPOWERMENT## 🙂
##Sailing high##Reaching behind horizons##AWAKEAFRICA##WOMEN EMPOWERMENT## 🙂
These last few Saturdays formed part of my most engaging, fun and extra-ordinarily life equipping moments. Thank you Cannon Collins for introducing me to Steven Zwane, the brain behind YLED.
YLED is an award winning, innovative and inspirational youth skills and entrepreneurship development initiative that has been operating for a decade now!!! The organisation has managed to raise young people with a positive mindset to impact their societies. Through its strong career and entrepreneurial skill development initiatives which are run on a 28 Saturdays period, they have managed to change the ‘blame it on society/ circumstances’ mentality most young people in the world (particularly in the needy societies) have into innovative, businesses launching and career materialising ideas that contribute to the economic revatilisation, reduction of poverty and youth unemployment. file:///C:/Users/Liz/Downloads/YLED_Abridge%20Profile%20-%20Sep%20and%20Oct%202014%20final.pdf
As l sat and listened to the young minds’ ideas, initiatives and levels of growth, my eyes swelled with tears….YLED has transformed lives!!! They shared their personal stories and from it l noticed the major issues most African societies face that we all need to address. A number of young people are orphans (due to the high death rates following diseases like Cancer and viruses like AIDS which receive little or no medical attention) who have only grandparents, aunts and single mothers to look after them. Many a times they are in child-headed families which leave the whole burden of parenting, financing and support on their shoulders. This has also been an issue associated with child neglect and abandonment by the parents or guardians who are to look after them. There are also issues of tribalism/ racism which affect a number of young people as they grow up and try to work together with their peers. One of the serious issues that l learnt to be the most persisting and causing harm to the society is the issue of GENDER INEQUALITY. Most societies are still believing in the supremacy of patriarchy to the extent that a lot of females are still being left on the periphery of decision-making and their views and needs are still being frequently ignored.
It is because of these issues and some personal experience that l got so excited that YLED run projects that try and eliminate such ideologies in the young YLEDers. One of the programs they run that stimulated my interest in working with YLED is the Young Women Dialogue – ‘Young Women in Dialogue’ which is a women’s development program that is designed to provide a platform for thorough, informed dialogue between young female students and young female professionals on the challenges faced by young women in modern day South Africa and ways in which young women can navigate these challenges. This program is aimed at inspiring young women to look beyond their challenges and make a positive change to their lives and their communities and provide them with the tools to do so. As someone who have been working on gender equality projects, l saw the need for me to also offer my best in creating strong young females who are ready to collaborate in the development of Africa. Just as what Emma Watson said during the launch of HeforShe at the UN 2014 Social Good Summit (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6Wql0MOea0 ) and what Graca Machel articulated
It is clear that we need a world where both men and women collaborate to fight gender inequality. Every citizen should stand up and march towards an equal world.
Last Saturday we were at the St Mary’s orphanage where YLED was giving out toiletries and groceries to the charity home. What a quality time we spent with the kids…..it was an amazing opportunity. The following video highlights the fun we had at the Children’s Home
Service Learning, Community Practice Engaged teaching and learning are the concepts that captured my attention on Thursday, 2 October. Thank you Monash Community engagement team for linking us up with the SAHECEF team. lt never occurred to me that there is more to just teaching and/or learning. There is room for great improvements if we ever want to raise a generation that gives back to the community.
The day started off with a key speech from the Academic President of Monash South Africa Professor Alywn Louw. He highlighted on the importance of engaging students in practical experiences. What l remember most are his words on knowledge….that it is more of a skill that us as a society have to enhance so as to improve social learning and student engagement. Students and youths in the society should be given access to information and if possible 24/7 engagement opportunities. These are urgings that l will continue pondering on as l work with young people in my projects.
Another key speaker who intrigued and inspired me to engage more with my sphere of influence was Dr Antoinette Smith-Tolken. She demonstrated on how important is Engaged Teaching and Learning (ETL) in our day to day learning environments. She highlighted on the processes and actions that we need to integrate in the learning environment which include service learning and community engagement. l remember her saying “What you learn has a relationship with what you give to the community”.
l was actually never fully acquainted with the concept of Service Learning…..not until Prof Nadine Petersen shared a few insights on it that Thursday. She highlighted on the dynamism of communities and the importance of establishing shared concerns so as to better interactions. The three major ideas she emphasized on were 1) competence 2) joint activities 3) tools and experience. From what she shared, l also realised that if there is value shared and if the community have shared practices, support systems (networks, partners) and ideas, the society can have a more engaged community. l urge all learning institutions to value community engagement as a learning tool. Academics should play a facilitating role and give learners an environment that broadens their networks. LET’S BUILD A COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE!!!
Then we had group discussions that were so interactive. We identified and evaluated ways in which we can build a more sustainable community of practice. We discussed on how to collaborate and pull resources together as a community to enhance service learning. We have to build shared agendas and competence.
We had an engaging and interactive day####engagedlearning##servicelearning##communityengagement##sowingseeds!!
What an amazing, life changing, learning and informative environment l just got exposed to today. Right in New York, the Clinton Global Initiative and Laureate International are hosting a number of re-owned world leaders and young people from across the globe. It seems New York is on fire this week! From the Social Good Summit, to this remarkable march, to the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, New York has its finger on the pulse of change. Take note, world. Big things are coming….
The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) was founded in 2005 by former US president Bill Clinton with the aim of convening global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 180 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 2,900 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.
What made me even more proud is that our very own Monash South Africa student Nyiko Tembi is there to represent not only the institution, but Southern Africa and Africa as a whole. Being a female student, it makes me proud that women are getting a representation and able to stand up to be agents of change to promote African development.
Running with the theme ‘Reimagining Impact’, the whole session is vibrant. Just from listening to the interviews happening during the sessions, l could tell that the globe is producing people who are willing to effectively impact and bring change to the world. Leaders like Nicholas (New York Times journalist) and Minister of Transportation highlighted on the importance of EDUCATION and power of utilizing the social media. They were calling on masses and business men to come in and work together with initiatives that are working on fighting poverty, eliminating the global inequalities and activism. Also, as has been the major talk in the world now, they also alluded to the issues of gender equality, youth activism, entrepreneurship and climate change. It’s a roll call world, let’s work together towards addressing these issues!!!!
From interviews to global Commitment to Action reports…..incredible stuff!! Chelsea Clinton presented 4 amazing projects that have been run and have impacted so many people. The first was from Mexico where initiatives were put in place to cab the energy problem in the nation. As a means to improve the nation’s education system, establishing solar equipment throughout the nation will be a huge step that will enhance learning systems. It is also a means towards addressing climate change. Chelsea also introduced a US based project that have managed to help nearly 18 000 people who were affected by natural disasters. The other initiative that further demonstrated the impact of the Commitment to action program was a design formulated to run projects in Africa (with the help of CGI and Unilever) to improve the sanitation and energy systems. Also her Royal Highness (princess of Bhutan), blew me away. Growing up in a politically unstable environment where initiatives to promote democracy and a lawful nation are at its earliest stages, she managed to erect the first ever Law School in the kingdom. What fascinated me more is that it also recruits more women in order to close the gap that has been widened by the domination of the patriarchal society.
As the program progressed, 3 more people further left me with the need to even do more to change and impact my community….there was Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (finance Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria), Jack Ma ( Executive Chair of the Alibaba Group) and Mary Barra ( General motors CEO).
These three all emphasized on the importance of addressing the issue of climate change and sustainability. They indicated what they have been doing as organisations to promote the growth of renewable energy plants and growth of technology. I also loved their further emphasis on the integration of YOUTH in global governance and world changing initiatives. Jack Ma emphasized “enabling small business to grow is the way to go….INTEGRATING YOUTH IS OUR MAJOR FOCUS!!!” and Ngozi said she is so optimistic about Africa. Her words “we are going to rule the world by 2050…we will be the youngest population and our youth will impact great changes” melted my heart… I AM PART OF THE WORLD CHANGERS THAT WILL TAKE AFRICA TO A DIFFERENT LEVEL!!!!
I also loved the session hosted by Hillary Clinton with World Bank Group Chairman Jim Yong Kim and IBM CEO and President Ginn Rometty.
It was so informative and addressed the issues that are affecting our continent now. We have EBOLA and health care issues seem to be one of the major problems almost every African is facing. Liberia and a number of west-African states have lost huge numbers of people following the spread of the pandemic. They also highlighted on the need to alleviate poverty, to question and research on what can be done to assist the dying and impoverished masses. They further on touched on the issue of gender equality again with Jim stating “ the inclusion of women in the business boosts nations’ GDP” He elaborated that women participation does not only allow women involvement but also “ improves the gender gap as well as quality and quantity of products.” WHAT INSPIRING AND HOPEFUL WORDS!!!
I loved the session and l hope this piece will change your mentality towards world problems##CHANGEMAKERS##CGI2014##@LAUREATECONNECT## Reimagining Impact!!!
I once watched this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=DVg2EJvvlF8 and read these lyrics http://victoriandramaqueen.wordpress.com/2006/07/25/no-wars-will-stop-us-singing/ . As l decided to write this blog, l had them in mind. Imagine a world with no war, no countries, no borders and everybody being a people with Dreams, with something to give. A world at peace and in harmony.
When l came to study at Monash South Africa, l met two guys, one from Rwanda and another one from Burundi. I remember them telling me their life journeys, the environment they grew up exposed to and all the hardships there ever can be. They are both Rwandan genocide survivors and they have seen it all….families being killed, schools closed, hospitals vandalized, women and children being raped and their age mates being turned into child soldiers (some to seek revenge and some being forced to). I remember ever since that semester l vowed to become a Policy Maker. I used to hear such stories in news or seeing it on the internet but getting to hear such stories on a first hand and one on basis really moved me. I really want the world to react to global wars and conflicts. They are real and they affect millions. The moment l am sitting down here writing this blog, hundreds of girls are being raped in Sudan, some other hundreds are dying in Syria and Ukraine, millions of refugees are scattered across the globe, child soldiers are being recruited in the Congo and more and more schools and hospitals are being destroyed. WHY??? IS THERE NOTHING THE WORLD CAN DO?? WHEN WILL WE STOP MAKING MORE AND MORE WEAPONS AND START BUILDING MORE AND MORE SCHOOLS, HOSPITALS, AGRICULTURAL TOOLS OR CLEANING THE OCEANS??
I was reading Kegley & Blanton’s book World Politics the other day (again after 3 years) and l remember a quote they had in there “Global conditions provide constraints and opportunities for international decision making and color the degree to which both an actor’s internal attributes and individual leader preferences can account for the choices made.” It is us as a people who have power to change the order of the world. If the global condition these two authors mention is WAR, then what will young people grow up thinking. What type of decisions would they make when they want to resolve conflicts….LET THERE BE PEACE ACROSS THE WORLD.
As a World Merit Agent of Change and someone who recently got selected as the Young & Dynamic (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Young-Dynamic/708187435918156 ) global ambassor, l believe it is my duty as a young person to educate others, write petitions and fight against the major distracting force to development, growth and success which is WAR and GLOBAL CONFLICT. Wars should not stop us from going to school, accessing health care facilities, growing up with our families and above all smiling. It should not be a normal thing for a 3 or 5 year old to hear sounds of helicopters, machine guns or cries of those suffering. I want this blog to serve as a reference point for our generation and future generations. We should re-examines our own failings and rather than keep on surviving in despair, we should tell the tale of all the screw ups we have made and construct new ideas of promoting PEACE.
Here is a small message from one of my Business Management class to the world:
So this last month l was celebrating Young people. What an amazing, energetic and dynamic generation we are!!! Together with my university (Monash South Africa) MoTV news crew, we managed to run a campaign around campus. We were basically collecting important messages from young people that we want to spread across the world. We want the world to know why young people matter….we want them to understand why Youth are important….l believe we are a generation that shall rise and march upon earth and facilitate change…#wearethefuture###wematter##weowntheworld
One of themes that l am running with this month (together with the World Merit team) is advocacy for global peace. My major area of concern is children’s deprivation from education following global wars and conflicts.
It is time for us as humans to consider atrocities happening across the world. Imagine a world where you can not access education nor stand up for yourself. How would you live if each day you work up you only see guns, bullets, dead bodies and crying population instead of books or laptops. Let\’s all be AWARE and stand for these children\’s rights!!!!
l urge all of us to campaign for peace###global awareness##education for all##youthmatters!!
Last week l highlighted on how having hope and a strong passion can shape the path one chooses to follow. Today l will briefly discuss how beneficial and influential being YOUNG and DYNAMIC can be to one’s future goals.
Yesterday I had the privilege to attend and be part of life-changing discussions on the Young and Dynamic Virtual Fellowship. My sincere gratitude goes to the whole team who organized it and to the founder of course, Mrs. Tsitsi Masiyiwa (one of Africa’s most influential philanthropist). She is mother to more than 40 000 young (and I AM ONE OF THEM:):) people from across Africa (Burundi, Zimbabwe, Lesotho) whom she support financially for them to have access to education. She also runs workshops, Young and Dynamic Virtual Fellowship inclusive,that builds and encourage these young people’s physical and spiritual minds. They learn to be active citizens, to participate on global platforms and to fight for the betterment of their communities. Her organisation, Higherlife Foundation, has raised social entrepreneurs, doctors, activists, policy makers, teachers as well as other philanthropists.
That was just a brief highlight on the power, passion and love behind the Young and Dynamic virtual fellowship. The fellowship, which takes place every Saturday 5pm (GMT+1) on WebEx, is a life transforming and enabling tool for any person who wants to be a global change maker. Every week the program accommodates a panel which discusses global issues. From education to poverty, social entrepreneurship to economy, tribalism to gender equality, climate change and philanthropy. It is a moment where youths are given the platform to air out their views, concerns and solutions to existing global challenges. Apart from these discussions, there is also a privilege to hear the Word of God. There is a segment where we listen to Holy Spirit fed messages that we can apply to our day to day lives.
Yesterday there was a discussion on LEADERSHIP. A young man by the name Moses Machipisa highlighted on what makes up a good leader. He emphasized on the skills and characteristics that would define leadership which l could summarize in these few words VISION, COURAGE, PURPOSE, WILLINGNESS TO LEARN, INNOVATION and SACRIFISE. He advised us to learn and reflect on one of Strive Masiyiwa’s quotes
Mrs Masiyiwa also shared on what it means to be YOUNG and DYNAMIC. She emphasized on the importance of us using this tool (the Virtual Fellowship) to bring youths from across the globe for global collaboration. We are a young people with a purpose, who, if we are driven by love, can make tremendous changes in the existing chaotic world. By being “young and dynamic” we can construct frameworks that would better the lives of others.
What an amazing hour I had yesterday…interacting with like minded people ##globalconnections##I invite you all to join this youth led iniative to create global solutions to global problems ##@YoungAndDynamic##Webex##leadership##success
What a memorable moment l had today. I met and interacted with three young and vibrant youths who are ready to bombard the world with their great entrepreneurial and community engaging ideas. As part of my research (for my Honours dissertation) which is mainly focusing on Youth Development, l have resorted to spending much of my time interacting with as many youths as possible.
Today l was just doing a one on one research to find out what are the youths passionate about. I wanted to observe and understand how many ideas and worthy strong passions lie in the young people of the world. So the three ladies (who are all Monash South Africa students), Yananiso Murimigwa (Zimbabwe), Lelethu Dlabantu(South Africa) and Tarryn Leigh Bowes (South Africa) shared quite some insightful thoughts with me. They all believe in the coming together of youth and the importance of domestication of International Laws that enhance Youth participation in regional, national and global socio-economic/political affairs. They are all planning to run projects that will better their communities.
Yananiso is a Communications and Criminology and Criminal Justice student at Monash who wants to fight crime both in her home country Zimbabwe and South Africa. She plans on starting a project where she will be visiting prisons and rehabilitation centers to understand more about crime (what causes it and how can crime rates be minimized). What l loved most is that she is so passionate to make sure that as many youths are deterred from committing crime. She said she would be happy “if young people would be given platforms and enabling environments to focus on more productive and positive living styles”
One of the ladies, Tarryn, is a writer. She loves documenting stories of young people who are running projects to better communities. Her dream is to share stories of her peers to the international world. She told me that “although she still feels that she is still writing about almost anything, her dream is to write stories and articles on the young African people and market them to the whole world. She wants the youths to be heard, to be represented and to actively participate.” She is currently studying Journalism and Communications.
Lelethu is a strong and hard working 24 year old lady who has all her hopes for African development in the youths. Just like Yananiso, she is also studying Criminology and Criminal Justice as well as Communications. Just through talking with her, l saw the passion she has to improve the learning styles and communication skills of young people in her community. As a public speaker herself, she believes that by running public speaking, carreer guidance and life skills workshops in both primary and high schools, it will better the young minds’ understanding of the world. Her dream is to adopt schoold and advance their communication, learning and debating skills so as to enable their enhanced participation on global platforms. She wants to see “an educated, able and self-confident youth who are not scared to communicate or stand up for their rights especially WOMEN, who have been segregated for far too long especially in the traditional African communities.”
The reason why l shared this is not because l just love writing or only interested in hearing people talk, but because l also have strong faith in the YOUTHS of the world. I believe in global collaboration and active participation of the world’s young population. I only interacted with three today…..HOW MANY MORE ARE OUT THERE WHO ARE LIKE-MINDED?? Let’s do this together. What we need is just HOPE and PASSION !!!!