Held on Saturday the 17th of November 2012
At The NH Harrington Hotel, 5-25, Harrington Gardens, Kensington, SW7 4JW
The “Think Big” Conference was organised by Women4Africa targeting young females between the ages of 10 and 22 to help them [re]capture the vision that is essential for them to lead fulfilled lives.
The conference was well attended with participants including Males and females of all ages and professionals from different sectors (from education, Beauty, Academia health, to the entertainment industry) who had something to contribute to the conference. Equally pertinent to the conference was the speakers (the Big Thinkers) who were carefully selected to contribute their knowledge and share their inspiring life journey to success.
What was most inspiring about the speakers was that they are all ordinary women with extraordinary stories to tell. It was a highly participatory conference with participants partaking through asking great questions and offering powerful solutions.
The keynote speech by the hosts, Sam and Tola Onigbanjo gave a powerful entry-point to the conference. They spoke about their journey into making Women4Africa a reality and the vision to make sure that the efforts of women are highly recognised, as agents of change in their communities. Regardless of their age, class or qualifications. Most importantly for the host, with regards to a conference like this, is to begin now, to build great women of tomorrow by equipping the young girls of today.
Women4Africa Ambassador, Jennifer Ogole made a powerful statement, “As a little girl, people don’t tell you what is coming. As a women, you find out”. This conference could not have come at a better time for young girls, especially to educate them about the possible challenges that they may face in life and equip them with the confidence to overcome.
Dr. Anikpe Oyedeji highlighted how important it is for young girls to dream and most importantly for that dream to be nurtured. Parents have a part to play in positively changing how their children view themselves and encourage them to dream. She described dream in an acronym, “DREAM – Dream, Reach, Enthusiasm, Aim and Motivator (your helper).
Atiti Sosimi also stressed the importance of a helper stating that ‘we need each other to survive’ and that ‘impossible is nothing’. She encourages young girls to do something that is worth writing about and that there is no day to allow ‘mediocrity ‘ in their lives. Also present at the conference, were the Women4Africa award winners who had inspiring stories to share on how they turned their struggles to success.
A section of the conference triggered a very positive discussion amongst participants after the presentation by Steve Murigi who currently works with AMREF in Uganda on maternal mortality. He carefully highlighted that fact that over 200,000 women die in Africa every year because they lack the required healthcare during pregnancy.
However, he reiterates that midwives who manage to help pregnant African women in these tough conditions need to be recognised for their great work. Many participants discussed the need for Africans in general but especially in diaspora to develop the ‘spirit of volunteerism’ to help their continent. Points were also raised on the need for existing African NGOs or organisations to create the right environment for Africans to present the best solution for their continent’s problem.
Global beauty Ambassador Eryca Freemantle , spoke on the power of Inner and outer beauty. She emphasised the importance of beauty to women of colour and how an absence of this confidence could steal the confidence and lower the self esteem of young African girls growing up.
In all, the conference was a success in passing on great knowledge and information useful to participants and an excellent networking hub for all Interested in Specialising in African Women affairs . According some participants, “I task Women4Africa to do this again”, “This is exactly what I need”, “I have been inspired and I feel like I can do great things”. There were plenty of chances to network with great artistic and inspiring performances by BRies and Roucheou Illoyi in the fantastic atmosphere.
The event was sponsored by Arik Air, Marcomms365 and The Voice