They call it the Green Cape (Capo Verde); we call it the Cape that changed our lives. The seventh month of the year has been known to bring extraordinary occurrences unto people’s lives. The Seneca Falls Convention which preceded the long journey of the suffragist movement and generally the call for equality happened in July 1848. This event changed the history of women activism. In July 2012, the 8th Africa-Europe Youth Training Course organized by the North South Centre of the Council of Europe under the auspices of the African University on Youth and Development in Cape Verde brought together three young African women whose passion for women, society, Africa and humanity was anything but concealable.
One common thing made these three women conspicuous; the projection of their thoughts and the voicing of their dreams. They also found an interest in each other. The reaction of the participants to their stories was not lost to them. At the end of the University, a bond that would see the birth of a platform for women to voice their stories was created.
On 19th November, 2012, after months of soul searching and research, Delphine, Aya and Rose started the Voice of Women Initiative. The main and core essence of the initiative was to collect stories from women and about women all around the globe in a bid to inspire and change lives. They pulled their passion-capital and started a blog where they started posting self-penned stories and those from other people. They then expanded and invested in a website that carried more stories and hosted more contributors. On the 1st of January 2013, Safindah Karl Nkecha, a young talented writer joined the team as its editor and together the VOW Website was launched with the aim of embarking on a mission to identify a special group of young people who could report on issues relating to women and development in their different communities. The focus would be on issues that did not make it to the mainstream media.
The Voice of Women Initiative was conceived as a platform where people from around the world would share their uninhibited or unedited stories of change, challenge and perspective. Having identified the clustering of gender identities and women in particular as either poor, wealthy, widowed, healthy, abused and other qualifiers, VOW-I was to level this field and allow as many people as possible to give their perspectives no matter how unpopular. In essence, VOW-I would break the editorial gate-keeping suffered over the centuries since the advent of the women rights movement.
To realize this mission, the team issued a call for VOW correspondents in June 2013 and received impressive and overwhelmingly moving testimonials out of which 35 exceptional correspondents from Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America were selected.
In August, 2013, VOW was nominated for the “Hero Goody Awards”, an award that recognizes the exceptional contribution of ordinary people doing extra-ordinary things. This was thrilling as well as humbling. It remains a reminder that the course for which VOW was established is noble and worthy of a life-time of sacrifice. Among its key achievements, VOW takes pride in being a partner of the Safe World for Women.
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