We asked some of the many YALI Network members who in March made an #Africa4Her pledge to invest in women and girls in their community how they have fulfilled that pledge. Here is Olivier Nathacia’s story.
I have pledged to invest my time, knowledge and the other resources accessible to me to improve and empower the lives of women and girls within my community.
As a young woman residing in South Africa, I noticed that there is a gap regarding support of women’s development and growth. Women are still sidelined, especially those residing in less privileged areas.
I also experienced the challenges that most young women and girls come across, especially in the corporate and business arenas. I realized that women are still severely hampered by discrimination, lack of resources and economic opportunities, limited access to decision-making and gender-based violence.
I volunteered because I want to be that ripple of change that will close the gap and become part of a generation that makes a difference — a generation that changes obscure obstacles within society about women and girls through entrepreneurship, public innovation and leadership.
I have learned that service is important. More especially when you work with the community, you need to know how to serve people, communicate with them, have time for them, show them that you care. Most of all I learned what it means to be disciplined and be a people’s person.
Through volunteering, I learned that leadership is not for the faint-hearted. I have learned what it means to connect and how to build a network that will transform this nation.
Most importantly, I learned that women and girls are strong leaders by nature — they thrive in every situation or circumstance. They vouch for justice, yet they need support in order to achieve whatever they want to accomplish in life. They need a platform to share their knowledge, to network and build each other up.
This experience through #Africa4Her has made me a creative leader and inspired me to continue with the journey I have embarked on.
I can now connect and communicate better. Being amongst women and girls all the time has changed my perception of how women deal and do things from different circumstances of their lives.
Service is important when you work with the community.
On August 28, 2015, we will once again host an event that focuses on young women and girls. The event will be about the importance of exercising and healthy living.
Although it is still hard for me to get all the support I need from government in order to make things happen within my community, I encourage myself to keep going because my passion is assisting young women and girls in every way possible.
More than 1,000 YALI Network members made an #Africa4Her pledge. They represent 47 countries, and 54 percent of them are men. If you made an #Africa4Her pledge and would like to share your story, please email us at YALINetwork@state.gov and use the subject line “#Africa4Her.”