The Gender Equity and Protection Office hosts the inaugural Women's Café

By Lauryn Ojore

March heralds Women's Month, a time when the global community unites to honor the indomitable spirit, resilience, and invaluable contributions of women worldwide. March 25 thus marked a significant moment at the university as the International Women’s Month (IWM) committee hosted the inaugural Women's Cafe event. The Women's Cafe initiative was born out of the recognition of the importance of providing a nurturing space for female students to engage in meaningful conversations. In a world where women's voices are often marginalized or silenced, this platform aims to challenge the status quo by offering a supportive and inclusive environment where every voice is not only heard but valued.

The event featured an impressive lineup of speakers, each bringing a wealth of experience and expertise to the table. Beatrice Gachenge, the Head of Communications for the sub-Saharan region at Novartis, shared insights on navigating growth with a focus on the importance of ambition, belief in oneself, and unwavering commitment. Priscilla Muhiu, the Country Director at MYDAWA, inspired attendees with her journey of leadership and career development with a goal to create positive impact. Diana Sifuna, CEO of the Jonathan Jackson Foundation, emphasized the importance of finding one's voice and embracing opportunities for personal and professional growth.

The audience comprised not only USIU-Africa students but also girls from Garden Estate High School, reflecting the initiative's commitment to inclusivity and reaching out to young women from underprivileged backgrounds. For many of the high school girls, attending an event at a prestigious institution like USIU-Africa was a rare opportunity, one that opened doors to new possibilities and horizons. The Women's Cafe provided them with a glimpse into a world of higher education, professional development, and female empowerment, igniting aspirations and dreams that transcended the limitations of their immediate circumstances. Their presence emphasized the significance of intergenerational dialogue in fostering empowerment and social change. Despite their youth, their voices radiated resilience and determination, instilling hope for a more equitable and inclusive future.

The Women's Cafe event transcended its role as a mere gathering; throughout the event, participants were not only listeners but active contributors to a tapestry of narratives, experiences, and aspirations. Akosa Wambalaba delivered a powerful message, emphasizing the importance of self-perception and inner strength encouraging the audience to believe in themselves wholeheartedly, stressing that self-belief should precede societal expectations. On the other hand, Dr. Fatuma Ali shared insights into the privilege of education, stressing its transformative potential. She urged the audience to recognize the privilege of education as a gateway to opportunity and empowerment. She reassured them that uncertainty about the future is natural but encouraged them to pursue their passions relentlessly, further accentuating the value of living authentically and embracing one's unique experiences as a key to personal growth and fulfilment.

The success of the event would not have been possible without the outstanding work ethic of the IWM committee. Their hard work and dedication were instrumental in making the event a great success. More Importantly, the committee extends gratitude to Dr. Njoki Wamai (a USIU-Africa professor on politics, gender, and international studies) and Ms. Rachael Ngumi (Principal Officer Gender Equity and Protection- USIU-Africa) who provided invaluable support and guidance

As the curtains close on this inaugural event, its impact reverberates far beyond its conclusion. The Women's Cafe stands as a testament to the potential of collective action in championing gender equality and fostering a more inclusive society. It serves as a catalyst for ongoing dialogue, inspiration, and empowerment, paving the way for a brighter future where every woman's voice is heard and valued.

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