I come from a beautiful country in West Africa called Togo. Part of my childhood was spent with my family in Gabon, Central Africa. I also spent some time in Benin and Ghana, countries neighboring Togo.
When we lived in Gabon, we used to travel back to Togo regularly for holidays and that experience made me develop a passion for traveling. I also enjoyed visiting my grandparents in the countryside. It was a delight waking up early in the morning to go to the river to fetch water for my grandmother. Beautiful memories!
I am the first born of five sisters and from an early age, my father made me understand the importance of being a role model for my sisters. He used to tell me, “whatever you do, your sisters will follow in your footsteps, so always set the right example.”
I have a fond memory of my father preparing me for the puberty phase of my life. Before experiencing my first menstruation around the age of 11, my father told me about changes that occur during the puberty phase, made sure I had a menstruation pad in my school bag and described what to do in case I see my first period at school. It was not until I started working on Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health issues that I understood the importance of the preparation I benefitted from. Puberty is an important phase in both girls’ and boys’ lives, but for many African children, the experience is traumatic because of the lack of knowledge.
I trained as a translator but my life took a different turn when I was given the opportunity to work with Save the Children Sweden in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, after my university studies. At Save the Children, I discovered, for the first time, the concept of child rights. I never knew children had rights in Africa.
Seeing my interest in learning more about promoting child rights in Africa, Save the Children trained me on the job. I was sent to Mali to spend two weeks with a local organization called Centre Djoliba to learn from their work on preventing harmful traditional practices with a focus on female genital mutilation. The experience completely transformed me into a strong advocate for African children’s rights.
After working for ten years with Save the Children, I resigned to settle with my family in Liberia, where I embarked on a consultancy career. I discovered GFC in September 2019 as part of my search for new consultancy opportunities. I was extremely thrilled to finally come across an international child rights organization that truly believes in empowering local actors to drive their own development plans.
Let me start with the most satisfying part. I come to GFC with many years of extensive hands-on experience acquired from working with local and international organizations. What excites me about GFC is the fact that the organization does not have the traditional donor approach where the focus is on satisfying donor requirements. GFC allows local, grassroots actors to be the agents of their own development. As an African, this gives me the opportunity not just to implement a project for GFC but to support local organizations to develop innovative ideas and strategies to address the root causes of problems that are preventing girls and boys from enjoying their human rights.
Now the most challenging part of my work will be changing the mind-set that local organizations have about donors. Unfortunately, many local organizations are used to implementing projects for donors and have limited understanding of the value of strategic partnerships in which they have a negotiating power. I am, however, confident that through this project, which focuses on ending violence against women and girls as is funded by the NoVo Foundation, our locally led partners will see the value of taking the driving seat.
GFC’s work is important because it gives power back to locally led organizations. It is one of those rare international organizations that believes in supporting community-based organizations and civil society in general to bring about long lasting change, because sustainable development cannot take place without a strong civil society, including community-based organizations.
Wow! We often assume that all children play with toys around the world but it is not always the case. I don’t remember having any specific favorite toy. However I do remember that my father bought me a radio cassette walkman in the 90’s and it was the best gift ever!
President of a nation! Now as an adult, I have understood that presidency is all about making the world around you a better place.
Raw meat in Ethiopia!
One of my biggest pet peeves is poor customer service.
The ability to transform some rural parts of Africa into a Disneyland for the little girls and boys to enjoy their childhood to the fullest.
Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.
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