Inspiring Open: Amplifying the voices of Africa's inspiring women
By Wiki Loves Women
Inspiring Open raises the global visibility of diverse women who are redefining Africa. Be inspired, be challenged, be bold! Brought to you by Wiki Loves Women (a Wiki In Africa project).
Inspiring Open: Amplifying the voices of Africa's inspiring womenJul 18, 2022
"If you're quiet about your pain, your pain will kill you. And someone will say that you enjoyed it, which again takes me to the fact that we must speak. Otherwise, our pain will kill us. Our pain will become a thorn. It will grow into something that we cannot control and we shall die."
Writing is an Act of Activism – Hilda Twongyeirwe
On Inspiring Open podcast this week, our guest is Hilda Twongyeirewe. Hilda describes herself as a feminist and women’s activist, traits she discovered at an early age when she found herself always in trouble defending women being unfairly treated in taxis, markets, classrooms and other public spaces. She is a literary activist and an independent writing development consultant focusing on fiction and social development issues, especially to do with gender. She enjoys working in safe spaces that allow African women the liberty to share their often difficult stories.
As a founding member of FEMRITE, she initiated the Residency for African Women Writers, which is currently one of the most sought-after women’s writing programmes in Africa. Hilda Twongyeirwe is from Uganda and has published creative and non-fiction works in different anthologies and journals. She is a National Medalist whose work in the literature sector has covered programmes in development, advocacy, evaluation and organisational development.
Mulenga Kapwepwe is an award-winning author and playwright. Mukenga’s creativity was encouraged by her father, former vice president of Zambia, Simon Kapwepwe who was an author himself. She began writing her own plays early on in her career with a lack of formal theatre education. Mulenga’s passion is preserving the history and culture of her people.
In 2016, she co-founded the Zambian Museum of women’s history, an initiative to spotlight Zambian women who have contributed to the country’s traditional and contemporary history. She believes African proverbs are life hacks, and so should be preserved and passed on to generations. Mulenga sits on many boards and chairs many art and literary institutions in Zambia. She also owns a football academy for women, some of whom have gone on to play for the Zambian women’s football team.
Prof. Jane-Frances Obiageli Agbu
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Your host is Betty Kankam-Boadu. Inspiring Open from Wiki Loves Women is powered by the Wiki In Africa’s team. Subscribe to be part of the Wikimedia community and understand how Wikipedia and her Sister projects can solve some of our more pressing issues.
Find out more about Inspiring Open here: podcast.wikiloveswomen.org
👀 Watch and 👐 share the intro video: https://youtu.be/mIE4Oyz_TD
Music: High Funk by Crowander (www.crowander.com) CC-BY-NC 4.0.
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Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah
Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah – Inviting Pleasure into Your Life
Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah is an advocate for African women’s sexuality and sexual pleasure. She is a writer working across genres, including creative nonfiction, short stories and essays. She is the author of The Sex Lives of African Women, a book which celebrates African women’s journey towards sexual liberation. Nana is the co-founder of Adventures From The Bedrooms Of African Women, an award-winning website, podcast and festival that publishes and creates content that tells stories of African women’s experiences around sex, sexualities and pleasure. Her short stories have been published in It Wasn’t Exactly Love, and The Ports And Other Stories, The Guardian, Open Democracy and Essence have published articles and opinion editorials. Nana is a huge advocate of pleasure and wants everybody to open up to pleasurable experiences.
Where history meets technology: the importance of Heritage and Digital Citizenship
After the 2011 Arab spring in Tunisia, Emna Mizouni and her team realised that there was little to no information about the rich culture and heritage of their country, and that needed fixing.
Emna’s love for technology, history and monuments is what birthed Carthagina, an organisation that works to document Tunisian history and heritage for future generations, as well as promote that rich Tunisian culture worldwide.
She is also the co-founder of Digital Citizenship, an initiative and consultancy for the digital inclusion of women and girls. Emna is an advocate for open culture and open knowledge, a community leader in the Wikimedia Movement globally.
She is well known for her contributions to several international entities focusing on human rights and technology, and we are honoured to have her as a guest on Inspiring Open.
Nana Ama Agyemang Asante
The Price of Speaking Truth to Power – Nana Ama Agyemang Asante
Nana Ama Agyemang Asante was once the most abused female public figure in Ghana. As a journalist covering politics, gender and business, Nana Ama has been speaking truth to power and holding governments accountable for years. She has provided the much-needed feminist perspective on national issues and debates on radio. Even though she loves what she does, her high profile and feminist views have opened her up to incessant abuse and made her one of the most targeted female radio hosts in Ghana. That’s not stopped her from using her platforms to fight for the oppressed. Nana Ama is a fellow at the Reuters Institute of Journalism at the University of Oxford and the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC. Her most recent work was the Ghanaian Women Expert project, which tracked the number of women experts interviewed in Ghanaian media.
Administrative Justice as a Tool for Change – Helen Turvey
This week on Inspiring Open we have Helen Turvey – CEO of the Shuttleworth Foundation, a small social investor that provides funding to dynamic leaders who are leading social change. Helen vacationed in South Africa and, like many others, fell in love with the country and its people. This love affair led to her working with the Shuttleworth Foundation for two decades.
She has a truly internationalist perspective and has developed the Foundation from a South African residential programme to one that encompasses dozens of lifelong fellows from the West to the Middle East. Helen has moved the Foundation from traditional funding methods towards a fellowship model of co-investment and collaboration with potential leaders of change. Her 20 years of experience working with international NGOs and agencies has given Helen a deep-rooted understanding of where philanthropy goes wrong and how it needs to change. She is a big advocate of openness and administrative justice as integral tools to democratise philanthropy and improve education and economies everywhere in the world.
Elizabeth's path into the world of intellectual property (IP) began when she unexpectedly landed a job with the BBC in London working with the Global Brands and Licensing Department. She later returned to. her home country Kenya to train to be a lawyer, but still effortlessly gravitated towards IP, specialising in copyright law. She is passionate about intellectual property’s intersection with traditional knowledge, culture and technology. She is currently the Copyright Specialist at Aga Khan University Global, East Africa where she oversees the university copyright matters, intellectual property training and consultation. Elizabeth is also a certified patent agent.
Esra’a El Shafei
When Esra’a El Shafei was a teenager in Bahrain, she saw a migrant being mistreated. The moment was a shift for her, and she felt compelled to do something to help change the plight of migrants in the Gulf. Esra’a has spent her life building platforms for digital advocacy that amplify under-reported and marginalised voices in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work includes Mideast Tunes, a web and mobile application for independent musicians in the MENA region who use music as a tool for social justice advocacy, Ahwaa.org, a discussion tool for Arab LGBTQ+ youth which leverages game mechanics to protect and engage its community, and Migrant-Rights.org, the primary resource on the plight of migrant workers in the Gulf region. Esra’a has shown sheer bravery and resilience when it comes to promoting human rights and we are honoured to have her as a guest on Inspiring Open.
In Episode 6, Betty chats to Islam Elbeiti, a renowned Sudanese cultural curator and bass player. Her journey to music creation began when her auntie gave her a guitar. As one of the few women who plays the bass guitar in Africa, Islam had to defy the odds to prove she belonged in this field. Beyond music, Islam is a member of the Pan-African Innovation for Policy Foundation, supporting start-ups across Africa with process development, research and pushing for reforms in start-up law.
She is a co-founder of the Sudanese Innovative Music Association. Her work has been featured on NPR, Yamaha, CNN, Public Radio International, The Mosaic Rooms, Voice of America, 500 Words Magazine, and Action Music Women.
Angela Lungati's interest in technology started when as a little girl she would play with her father’s computer. Now, that interest has evolved into a passion for building and using appropriate technology tools to impact the lives of marginalised people. She has over 10 years of experience in software development, global community engagement, and non-profit organisational management.
She is the executive director at Ushahidi, a global non-profit tech company that helps communities quickly collect and share information that enables them to raise voices, inform decisions and influence change. Angela sits on the Creative Commons Board of Directors and is also a co-founder of AkiraChix, a non-profit organisation that nurtures generations of women who use technology to develop innovations and solutions for Africa.
Dr. Nkem Osuigwe
In the 4th episode of Inspiring Open, we speak to Dr. Nkem Osuigwe about the future of Africa's libraries.
Dr. Nkem Osuigwe’s first experience of the magic of a library was at the tender age of five, when her mother left her with a local librarian to go to the market during a civil war. The impressions she took away with her that day lasted a lifetime and led her into a career working in libraries and with librarians that span more than 35 years. Nkem strongly believes libraries are more than books, and that the power they hold to impact and tell and preserve the history of communities remains untapped in Africa.
This is the work that she and the team at AfLIA, the African Library, and Information Associations and Institutions are dedicated to equitable access to information and knowledge for all. Nkem wants librarians to go beyond being disseminators of information, to information leaders in their different countries, telling the stories of their communities on a global platform. She’s the chair of the Public Library section of AfLIA.
Episode 3 features open education innovator, Maha Bali. Maha Bali comes from a family of medical doctors but she fancied studying computer science. This was not to last however, as it didn’t gel with personality as an extrovert. She then made the happy option of becoming an educator.
Maha’s love of interacting and connecting with people led her to co-found virtually Connecting a grassroots movement that challenges academic gatekeeping at conferences. She is currently an Associate Professor of Practice at the Centre for Learning and Teaching at the American University in Cairo. She is also the co-facilitator of Equity Unbound, an equity-focused, open, connected intercultural learning curriculum.
Our second podcast features Maryana Iskander. After over half a decade of working with Planned Parenthood as their Chief Operating Officer, she fell in love and made the jump from the United States to the southernmost tip of Africa.
Even though this love affair didn’t last, her love affair with South Africa did, and it ushered her into a career path that saw her working on solving the problems of youth unemployment in Africa, to her current position, leading the Wikimedia Foundation.
Prior to Wikimedia, she spent ten years as the CEO of Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, a non-profit social enterprise focused on building African solutions to tackle the global crisis of youth unemployment. Under her leadership, Harambee received the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2019 for its model to support millions of South African youth with access to learning and earning opportunities.
Maryana has dedicated her career to breaking down systemic barriers to access to opportunity and education. She has a proven track record for scaling complex organizations through collaborative solution-building and community empowerment. She spent more than half a decade as the Chief Operating Officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She was also the Advisor to the President of Rice University, an associate at the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company, and a law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Inspiring Open launches with its very first episode focused on Anie Akpe, the founder of African Women in Tech.
Anie started her business for the same reason many entrepreneurs do – to solve a problem that impacted her firsthand. Through her work as vice president of mortgages and operations, managing a $1.5 billion dollar real estate portfolio which included Loss Mitigation and Mortgage Servicing, Anie realised people asked her a lot of questions about business, but little to none about technology.
It was then that she birthed her idea of teaching African women in the diaspora, and later in Africa, how to leverage technology and business to succeed in the world today.
She has more than 25 years of combined experience in her chosen fields and we are pleased to have her as our guest today.
Inspiring Open teaser
A sample teaser for Inspiring Open