Each year, Forum for Women in Democracy trains young women in alternative and transformative leadership and this year, I had the opportunity to participate in their leadership training. As a young woman and new intern at FOWODE interested in advocacy, activism and gender equality, I viewed the camp as an opportunity to positively influence those around me. Prior to participating in the camp, I did not believe in myself and I always filled myself with negative thoughts. However, all this has come to an end due to the knowledge, encouragement and skills I obtained during the ten day training.
The camp was not only filled with theory lessons but an opportunity to learn practical skills that can help young women start small businesses to sustain and empower themselves and their communities. These lessons included how to make soap, candles and re-usable sanitary towels.
Throughout the camp, I learnt more about feminism and the many women such as Anna Tibaijuka who paved the way for me and other women by advocating for women’s rights at a time when speaking up as a woman was uncommon. Expanding my knowledge on great African woman has made me challenge myself to become a powerful leader who is ready to change the world. I also gained the necessary confidence required to believe in myself and not allow my sex to be used against me.
I was especially inspired by Ethan Mussolini, one of the camp facilitators, who said, “Your past doesn’t determine your future and do not to give up until you achieve something.” This has enabled me to keep focused and work towards achieving my goals. I will use the communication skills and personal development lessons acquired to make a difference in my community by sharing this new information with young women like myself.
Thank you FOWODE for planting a seed of patriotism in me and breaking the bondage of stereotypes that I had.