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The Story behind the Birth of the Voice of Women Initiative

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By AEYCO Team 333 days ago
The Voice of Women Initiative (VOW Initiative) is a women-led initiative empowering women through education, eradicating poverty and exploring the power of the web in sharing a global voice (Advocacy) of women and girls from different parts of the world. VOW Initiative is inspired and promoted by a dynamic and passionate team of young people from different parts of the world making a positive change in the world. It was founded by Aya Chebbi, Delphine Konda and Rose Wachuka, inspired by the ideas and experiences shared in the 8th Africa-Europe Training Course for Youth Organisation, held in the 3rd African University on Youth and Development, São Vicente – Cape Verde(13-20 July 2011). See below what these three women have to say about it.

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.

Delphine Konda spoke passionately about her country Cameroon and the dreams she had for it. She however did not mince her words in the impassioned moment regarding the fact that her country’s leadership needed to put Cameroonian at the heart of its agenda.

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(Konda Delphine)

 

Aya Chebbi spoke about Tunisia’s Revolution of Dignity. She moved the participants by narrating that her life had been spent in voluntary engagements with children, refugees and spreading peace and understanding of the Arab culture.  She put straight many skewed perceptions about the North African region not being part of Africa.  She carried herself as Africa itself. How could this amazing woman be said to belong in a region outside a continent she carried within the deepest echelons of her heart?

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(Aya Chebbi)

 

In the participant introductory session, Rose Wachuka, when asked to state one thing that made her different from the other participants hesitated, looked on and with the ease of a long-time thought indicated that she wanted to be the President of her country. But it wasn’t the way she said it that made it so moving, it is the way her voice carried it with conviction and strength.  To the participants she became, Madam President and she owned it all the while wearing her country’s flag as a pin to her attire.

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(Rose Wachuka)

 

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.

Source: http://vowinitiative.org/2013/11/19/the-story-behind-the-birth-of-the-voice-of-women-initiative-5/