By Walter Wilson Nana
Comfort Daru Nkiri is 22 and endowed with leadership skills. She is enthusiastic about the empowerment and development of the Cameroonian woman and the African woman in general.
Thanks to her proactive attitude, she is now a Moremi Initiative Leadership & Development Fellow. This is a select circle of Africa’s Most Outstanding Emerging Women Leaders.
According to Daru, the Moremi Initiative is about shaping the African woman and making them stakeholders in the growth and development of the continent. “This initiative gives us the opportunity to make Africa what we want it to be, to give Africa the position it is supposed to occupy and make it the lovable place we all wish,” she said.
Daru said the African woman has more to offer than what is said of her; hence the Moremi Initiative has come to support her. “This is the time for African women to come to the fore, take leading positions, help the men and Africa grow,” she mentioned.
She explained that her quest to lead from her days in the primary school to date as a post graduate student in Anthropology, University of Buea, UB, made the difference for her to win the Moremi Initiative Fellowship. “While in UB, I was the best in some brain trust competitions and subsequently taking over the leadership of the UB chapter of Junior Chamber International, JCI. This gave me the opportunity to get involved into a lot of community work and serving as one time Director of the Leadership Academy of UB, where we made students understand that leadership is not getting a position but something that you should merit and show proof of the qualities in you,” she added.
Daru said she will specialise on the need for every African woman to pursue income-generating activities during the three-month sojourn fellowship programme, which opens in July 2013 at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, alongside 27 other fellows from the African continent and beyond,. “We’ve to empower the African woman to come out of her shelves. We’ve to identify income-generating activities for the African woman. Without economic power, the African woman will not evolve as expected. That will be my focus and when I am back to Cameroon; I will endeavour to promote it,” she noted.
While enjoining Cameroonian and African women to break the barrier of stereotypes, Daru advised fellow women to work as a team. “Let the young girls out there join me and let’s build a team. We’re all representing Cameroon and not Daru alone. A collection of ideas will be better than one. Let’s work together and make Cameroon different.”
The 28 Moremi Initiative Fellows were chosen through a highly competitive selection process and criteria based on their outstanding leadership promise, community service accomplishments and commitment to the advancement of women in Africa.
Representing 25 African countries and the Diaspora, the 2013 Fellows epitomize a Pan-African diversity with multi-disciplinary academic, professional and social backgrounds. This new generation of African women leaders are proof that the continent can produce the bold, visionary and inspirational leadership needed to lift Africa to its rightful place on the global stage.
Between the ages of 19 and 25, the 2013 Fellows come from Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Eritrea, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe and two others from the Diaspora – UK and Jamaica.
While in Ghana, the Fellows will cross-examine concepts of leadership in the African context, cultivate the skills and experiences necessary to occupy and excel in leadership positions, gain knowledge on cutting-edge issues critical to African women and their communities as well as get into knowledge building lectures.
Founded in 2004, the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa engages, inspires and equips young women and girls to become the next generation of leading politicians, activists, social entrepreneurs and agents of change – those who can transform institutions that legitimise injustices and discrimination against women.