I live in San Francisco, USA where I work as at the Global Fund for Women as Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa. I oversee funding that goes to support courageous women’s rights organisations across Africa who are challenging the status quo. My job also involves bringing the organisations that we fund together to share strategies, ideas and information, and to link them to other donors.
As a feminist I am committed to deconstruction of power paradigms that limit women’s voice, agency, opportunities, and participation. I work toward this goal and continuously raise awareness of inequalities that manifest themselves in relationships, structures and processes. I believe in the intrinsic potential and ability of each person and commit my time to supporting a movement of social transformation where women and girls are valued and heard and are viable actors in society.
We must keep confronting renewed voices of “can’t”, “shouldn’t” and “why”, increased intolerance for human rights, and superficial attempts at prioritising women’s rights through the masked strategies of gender mainstreaming and creation of gender bodies that have no real power or resources. We have to completely reverse the focus on territorial and military security, and redirect it towards human security. We must confront the gross impunity on violence of all forms, but especially sexual violence in conflict zones, and the failure of society to socialise boys in such a way that they treat girls with respect.
In my own life I have committed myself to supporting the dreams and initiatives of sister friends and colleagues. I have defended and helped facilitate spaces for dialogue and frank discussion and questions and for networking. I have also promoted the inclusion and participation of women that are usually not at the decision-making table, and pushed for class and regional diversity in the women’s movement. In the work that I do I see it as imperative to raising visibility around sexual violence and the need to address it. The need to do this has become even more urgent in light of the terrifying violence that we know women suffer in conflict situations, including in my home country.
As a movement and as individual activists we need to remember to celebrate the beauty of life and our achievements, however small. I am moved by every success, every triumph of another human being, every act of kindness, and every time someone gets up to try again after a fall. I am inspired by people who have the courage to speak the truth, treat others with respect, and who don’t take “no” for an answer. Another, kinder, more equal world is possible!