In this blog post, Priscilla and Zibah reflect on the highlights, achievements and lessons learnt from some of our work at AFFIRM this year.
At the start of the year, after extensive discussions, we decided to set up a calendar and document each decision, activity and event that would be made throughout the year. We were convinced that during this year-end reflection, we would be amazed and encouraged by how effective this strategy was. This is because, although we achieved many things in 2021, we discovered with a little more effort, the story will be different. And we were right!
Furthermore, Zibah’s keyword for the year 2022 was: INTENTIONAL. This guiding word was first acquired from Priscilla, who subsequently claimed it back for… guess who? Yep… AFFIRM!
Our intention was to support young people to empower themselves, focusing on girls and women in African countries, through training programmes, webinars and personal development sessions.
With this in mind, we were able to reach and interact with youths in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda. Below is a few of this year’s achievements:
International Women’s Day (IWD)
In March, we had our first major event on the theme: Tackling Gender Bias for Equity and Sustainability on African Campuses. It was a webinar by female students for their peers in African tertiary institutions, and featured speakers who had broken campus stereotypes as dictated by societal roles. The discussions included ways in which female students can be more involved in political activities, from departmental to the Student Union Government roles. Improvement strategies were pondered on, for example, working with male allies, and Catch Them Young – starting from Freshers Week to educate female students on their rights and responsibilities.
Following the IWD event, we compiled a mailing list which enabled us to send relevant links, resources and information about other planned activities. If you would like to receive these details, do get in touch here (please include your telephone number) OR sign up below for future blog posts straight into your email inbox.
Personal Development Workshops
Interestingly, the combination of further interactions from the IWD event and the uncertainty of another lengthy industrial action by Nigeria’s Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), led to this online series on personal development. Workshops were held once a month between May and October, covering topics such as: Finding Yourself, Values & Goals, Building Your Tribe, Taking Charge with Confidence, and Bringing out the Best Version of You. In addition to the workshops, participants were offered one-to-one mentoring sessions with Zibah towards their self-development journey.
Subsequently in November, we had the chance to meet with some of the participants in Lagos, Nigeria. This meet-up provided a fun space for getting to know each other and was filled with much laughter, sharing of stories, taking of selfies, forward planning for next year, and of course, food!
AFFIRM Shero series
We identified some women that (in our opinion) are living a ‘heroine’ lifestyle – that is, defining success on their own terms, pushing forward in their areas of specialization, and living authentic lives despite its highs and lows. So, as part of this blog, we decided to start a series that aims to celebrate these women as they graciously share their stories. We hope that they will encourage young people to learn, grow and believe in themselves. Enjoy our first AFFIRM Shero piece on ‘Aging Gracefully’ by Ramatu Umar Bako; and watch this space for others in the new year.
International Day of the Girl (IDG)
For IDG this year, we took the opportunity to interview two girls about their lived experiences and aspirations. Her Time, Her Rights, Her Future documents their responses and emphasises the reasons why every girl child needs to be protected and empowered. If you are a parent/guardian, family member or neighbour of girls, please read and act on it.
Social Media Platforms
Oh yes, we were also intentional and consistent about posting content on our social media pages! We aimed for biweekly posts on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter. Our content was selective, ranging from opinion pieces, news insights, quotes on personal development, life skills experiences, to job, training and scholarship opportunities.
“AFFIRM fulfilled 85% of her plans due to the discipline and efficiency of her members (staff and participants). On Facebook alone, we had a total of 74 posts in twelve months. More was shared across our other platforms. The planning and organising paid off!”(Priscilla)
Dear Friend and Reader, if you don’t want to miss out on quality content, here’s what to do:
– pick your preferred social media platform from the above links,
– click to follow, add us, or join our community,
– check out our page often,
– engage with and share our posts (including this blog post!).
Your valued input will also reach more young people who can identify with our goals and objectives, and in turn, enable AFFIRM to support their own life skills and development.
Finally, what are we grateful for?
Priscilla: I am grateful that I was able to stretch myself more this year and reflect on my person. Putting myself out there is usually the hardest so I believe this year I really took a leap from that, even though I still have a way to go. That’s growth so…I’m happy about that… Also, for picking up my old skills like crocheting.
Zibah: Old skills? Honestly, Priscilla really has fantastic crocheting skills and I can’t wait to publish something about her new (business) venture!!!
“Talking about ventures, I am grateful for the opportunity to lead a 9-month Young Entrepreneurs project. Whilst it was a lot of hard work, it also gave me much fulfilment and direction. Looking ahead to 2023, this is an opportunity that will be opening up to more young female entrepreneurs across Africa.”
If you, or anyone you know, would like to benefit from this new opportunity, please contact me right now.
So, back to you… How did we do this year? We’d love to have your thoughts and comments below.