It is such a joy to have attended this year’s African women Summit put together by the Coalition of women in Africa for peace and development (COWAP). “COWAP is a women-led initiative to Engage, Educate and Empower. Their projects aim to harness the enormous capacity and goodwill of women in Africa by bringing them under a coalition towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) centred around four thematic areas; Peace and Justice, girl child education, ending hunger and ending poverty.”
The African Women Summit (AWS) is a Pan-African conference that provides a holistic platform to explore the potentials, challenges and opportunities for the development and transformation of women in Africa. 2021 edition held on the 5th and 6th of August 2021 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In attendance both virtually and in-person were dignitaries; Her Excellency Dr Jewel Howard Taylor, Vice president of Liberia, HH Sheikh Majid Rashid Al Mualla, Her Excellency Hajia Maryam Mairo Aminu Tambuwal, wife of Sokoto state governor Nigeria, Hon Dr Fatoumata Jahumpa Ceesay, Former speaker the Gambia, Her Excellency Aisha Bala Mohamed, wife of Bauchi state governor Nigeria and a host of other speakers and special guests of honours.
Some of my highlights from the 2-day event include the opening speech by Her Excellency, Vice president of Liberia when she said and I, quote “Challenges are only stepping stones or slapping stones, you decide which one you believe”. She went ahead to share what we can do to keep our eyes on the goal as African women seeking to make a change and change the narrative of marginalized gender and here are some of the points she mentioned.
- If women are empoered, the SDG 1-7 are in view.
- We are all politicians as women becasue we possess a natrual ability to administrate beginning from our families and we only need to step out to heard.
- We must vote our time, social media pages and pockets to support the gender equality movement.
“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.” ~ Kofi Annan
She ended her speech by saying, IT IS TIME, IT IS JUST, IT IS A MUST.
During the power session with Hawa Charfaray, She talked about knowing your value – Being a ‘Badass’ – using your guts and gumption. When I saw the topic I was eager to know what the content would be and it was worth the anticipation. It is not about what you say but how you’ve trained yourself to show your value. Do we really need empowerment as women? She asked. She stands with the point of view that women do not need empowerment from without but from within. To do this we’ve got to know our value and how to negotiate. We’ve got to be consistent with helping other women when we get to the positions of power. As women, we should not walk alone, we should have support systems even in our male counterparts. Being ‘Badass’ is about knowing where you come from and knowing what makes you different.
Other speakers at the event were
- Prof PLO Lumumba
- Mrs Karima Rhanem
- Halima Buba
- Ms. Sandi Saksena
- Ms Clara Amonia Odu
- Ms. Sandile Keitumetse Nkala
- Dr Satnam Deuchakar
- Ms. Charul Chaturvedi Jaitly
- Ms. Sirra Danso
- Ms. Henzena Lemaletian
- Ms. Z. Josina Machel
- Amarachi Igwe Kalu
- Ms. Hawa Charfaray
- Ahmed Zaid Saeed Al Shemeili
- Ms. Marsha Fry
- Ms. Fauza Beltz
- Amb. Adeshola Helen Onadipe
- Marlene Murphy
- Dr. Engr. Suaad Al Shamsi
- Modupe Omonze
- Pikki Nanda
- Dr. Aasif Ali Siddiqui
I enjoyed all the panel sessions held on both days and I look forward to working and collaborating with some of the amazing women I connected with during the summit. Below are some photos from the event.