Fikemi Aiyepeku. Rutendo Njawaya. Tania Twinoburyo. These are but a few names behind the Administration department of ALAMAU 2019. But what is most interesting about their team is that it is fully comprised of females. For our Women: the Hands that Hold Africa’s Future series, we caught up with three of the members to ask them what it means to be a female in this day and age.
1) Tell us about what you do and what you love most about your job.
I am the Director of Administration for ALAMAU. I administer fluid communication between the ALAMAU 2019 team and the schools/ delegates. I also adequately prepare the team to receive the right calibre of delegates and advisors when they arrive through logistics e.g. through efficient transportation systems. I also aim to ensure that the number of prospective schools for the conference is larger and more diverse than the previous conferences.
My favourite part of my job is learning how critically pay attention to detail. My job requires knowing a lot of information from a lot of different people and schools, as well as tracking this information. This attention to detail is key and I love what I am learning through it.
2) How do you think the roles women play are diversifying in the world?
The role of women is breaking out of the stereotypical “homely” one and this is so important in diversifying the world because women have so much potential, strength, and influence that without them, the world will not be where it is today. Women being able to step out and take leadership positions by the horn, not to mention succeeding at it, clearly proves that women and the path they advocate for – unity, peace and progress – could and should be the future.
3) Your favourite hobbies?
I enjoy watching Trevor Noah, listening to smooth jazz and catching up with friends when I’m not sleeping, reading trivia or watching movies.
1) Tell us what your role is and what you love about it.
I am Rutendo Munetsitsi Charmaine Njawaya and I am the Associate Director of Administration. My job is to find and recruit talented and deserving students from all over the world to come to the ALAMAU conference.
2) How does it feel to be in an all-female team and what lessons have you learnt?
I don’t think that the fact that we’re all females affects any aspect of our work. But I do believe that it is more of who we are as individuals. There are a lot of camaraderies that make meetings a whole lot more bearable. They have also taught me to be more compassionate, not afraid to ask for help and not embarrassed to admit that I can’t do something.
3) A place you want to travel to in the near future?
I would LOVE to go to Bali. It’s gorgeous and I feel so connected to it. I must have lived there in my previous life.
1) What challenges have you faced in your role and how did you overcome them?
Getting people to read and respond to our emails was definitely a challenge. We use MailChimp to send out all emails to our prospective delegates. Through this software, I am able to see who is opening our emails and what buttons they are pressing (called their click rate). We were sitting on a 45% click rate and I wanted to raise it to least 75%. I then had to think of new and innovative ways to get people to click and respond to our emails. I started making the email subjects more catchy, adding interesting quotes and pictures of our conference to get people to open our emails. And I must say, it worked well. Calling schools directly also helped us increase the click and open rates of our emails.
2) This month’s theme is “Women: the Hands that Hold Africa’s Future.” What does this mean to you and how would you like to make this a reality for Africans?
Living in a patriarchal society has resulted in women working harder than anyone else to get to where they need to. Women are constantly looked down on, yet people do not really understand the power that women hold. Women are not only the hands that hold Africa’s future but the power that builds generations. It was the Liberian women that liberated their country from the oppressive and subjugative rule of their ruthless former President. They also elected Africa’s first female leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, creating a milestone for women in leadership for our continent. Women have the power to do anything they set their mind to do. Therefore, empowerment of women begins by ending the comparison of women and men. We need to stop saying if men can do it, so can women. A woman does not need a man to quantify her worth: she is good enough. We need to look at women and remind them of their strength they have. This, I believe, is what you can do to empower yourself and all the women in the African continent.
3) Tell us something no-one knows about you but you would like the readers to know.
When I was 10 years old, my parents took me for vocal lessons but I still cannot sing till this day.
And there you have it. These young women are among the many women who are changing the face of gender roles not only on the African continent but in the world at large.
This marks the end of our series for this month. If you have anything to share on what you think it means to be a woman in this day and age, feel free to comment below!
Stay tuned for more updates and do follow us on our social media pages in the meantime!
FACEBOOK- AFRICAN LEADERSHIP ACADEMY MODEL AFRICAN UNION
Written by Katai Mutale, Director of Press Corps for ALAMAU 2019