– WK Communications Officer
The month of March is Women’s Month and on Monday 8 March we have International Women’s Day – a day used by people across the world to recognize and celebrate the achievement of women as well as raise awareness about the numerous challenges faced by women on a daily basis.
Indisputably, throughout the African continent women remain at the bottom of the social hierarchy, with poor access to land, credit, health and education among other things. It is important that we use such moments to reflect and confront social injustice against women; social ills do not cease to exist when we choose to remain silent about them, but they get addressed when we tackle them head-on.
International Women’s Day therefore provides us with an opportunity to have a genuine conversation around women’s rights and social injustice. This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge and as Waterford Kamhlaba we ChooseToChallenge and join the rest of the world in celebrating women’s achievement, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality.
We do this for two main reasons: we are an institution that was established to use education as a force to unite people and address social problems; we remain dedicated to social justice and making positive change in Africa and the world. Secondly, our historic mission is to lay the foundation for our students to become responsible citizens who have the skills, knowledge and sense of purpose to provide leadership in both Africa and the world.
We therefore have this deep-seated conviction that we cannot raise responsible leaders for the African continent and the world if we do not make a deliberate effort to raise consciousness on social challenges including issues around women’s rights and justice. That is why we are more fulfilled each time our students stand up and take action towards achieving positive change. The Brave Girl initiative by WK students is one of many ways through which our students make a contribution to women empowerment.
Dedicated to empowering women, Brave Girl is about the organizing of a fun camp for 50 girls. These special young women are selected from high schools around Mbabane in Eswatini, and over the course of the week-long camp, get together to discover, experience, and feel what it means to be Brave Girls, ready to take on the world as confident, strong women. By the time the girls leave the camp they are ready to break stereotypes and fearlessly reach out for their dreams. That is what our students choose – they #ChooseToChallenge and empower other young girls to reach their full potential!
Together with the rest of the world we believe that we can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
JOIN US ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10, AS WE DISCUSS HOW OUR ALUMNA #CHOOSETOCHALLEGE.
Zanele graduated from Waterford Kamhlaba in 2002. She continued to pursue her BA in Psychology and Sociology at UNISA as well as certificates in civic leadership, child development, and psychology of mentorship from various institutions. She currently serves as the National Director At Women And Law In Southern Africa, Eswatini. She is also the founder at Women Working Together. Zanele’s key career moments revolve around civic leadership and “steering the ship of a small but big organiziation.
Dimpho is a PhD student in Engineering Education, based in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and the Troost Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering, at the University of Toronto, Canada. Her research interests include engineering culture and identity, engineering careers in the public sector, and ethics, equity and social justice in STEM. Dimpho received a Bachelor of Applied Science (BASc) in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto and a Master of Science (MSc) in Management, specializing in Operations Management, from the University of Bath, United Kingdom. She has worked as a project manager in process engineering at a prominent Canadian financial institution, and prior to commencing her PhD, she worked as a Senior Implementation Analyst in cancer services in the provincial government of Ontario. Her career vision is to be a driving force for efforts to diversify engineering and challenge some of the dominant ways of thinking that might restrict diverse engineers with different viewpoints and varying career path interests.
Olawunmi graduated from WK in 2009 and is committed to using her strengths, love, and courage in service of freeing others and herself from the limitations of poverty, inequality, and outdated restrictions on imagination. As a global development professional, she is passionate about improving public sector performance and increasing the economic and political participation of vulnerable populations in developing countries. She currently consults for the World Bank’s Social Protection and Jobs Unit, helping to inform the design of cash transfer programs. Olawunmi began her global development career as a policy associate for the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) for Africa and has previously consulted for the World Bank’s Fiscal Policy and Sustainable Growth Unit, its Governance Global Practice, and Two Rabbits, an education NGO in Cameroon. She holds a Master of Science in Global Human Development from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Bard College.
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