09 Feb WAAW foundation CEO and President’s 2018 Remark
A NEW CHAPTER FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS
Never in our 10 year history has WAAW Foundation been so well position to deliver lasting impact to millions of girls across Africa. As we celebrate our 10th anniversary this 2017, I feel a deep sense of gratitude to God who inspired the vision and continues to embolden us; and because of the commitment and compassion of all our donors, supporters, team and volunteers we have been able to come this far. I want to say Thank You for your past and future investment in our life changing mission to push to change the narrative of African girls!
I am humbled by your continued support and awed by what we have accomplished. The journey of a thousand miles does indeed start with the first step.
In 2017 in addition to our stable programs of STEM summer camps and College-to-secondary mentor programs, we launched the She Hacks Africa Coding Boot camp in Abuja Nigeria, co-founded by our Program Manager Vanessa Oguamanam. This intensive 4 week camp is aimed at giving African girls real world software development experience and entrepreneurial skills to contribute globally to technology advances and launch technology problems that address real challenges in Africa. The She Hacks Africa program is now well established, currently going to its 4th cohort, and will be a focal point of WAAW Foundation’s efforts over the next few years. Also in 2017 we expanded our Secondary STEM Teacher training aimed at equipping teachers with gender sensitive curriculum and relevant tools to make STEM and computer science education come alive in their classrooms. We believe teachers are the missing link in our pipeline for impacting STEM education in a massive way because beyond parents, they have the most impact on our young population in Africa.
Going forward we have set our targets so much higher. Our 5 year strategic plans involve ways to significantly amplify our impact exponentially by 10x factors. Over the coming years, you will see our programs evolve to aggressively focus on aggregation and consolidation of efforts through strategic partnerships, training of trainers by engaging more with teachers, fellows and volunteers, and equipping more girls to become significant change agents. Our pay it forward model is what enables WAAW Foundation to stretch our resources and scale our impact. Additionally we will expand our sustainability efforts to ensure we continue to provide relevant programs to our core constituents. A huge focus for WAAW is to continue investing in world class training for our staff, thereby equipping them with innovation thinking to move to the next level of bigger and bolder. Finally our future efforts include greater alignment with our Funders and engagement with our Board of Directors.
To this end we are excited to announce that in 2017 we welcomed our new Board Chair Person Mrs Ozzy Isabu Ajibade and our Vice Board Chair Person Mrs Kishau Rogers. We are excited about the new leadership and energy they bring to WAAW Foundation as we chart our course over the next 10 years. In order to continue our expansion and develop the next generation of new leadership, I am also super excited to announce that Mrs Tolu Owajoba Adeyemo will step into her new role as Acting Executive Director, taking over the day to day running of the organization as I transition from my role as Chief Executive to President at WAAW Foundation, focusing more on aligning with the board to develop long term strategy, funding and partnerships.
I would like to express my profound gratitude to those who have stood by us to make this vision a reality. It is because of the countless contributions from so many of you that we have been able to accomplish so much. Our partners, funders, donors and board of directors have continued to believe in our vision. I am particularly grateful for the ever steady leadership and support of our Vice President and Board Secretary Mrs Ebele Agu. Together with our passionate team of smart, talented and dedicated staff, volunteers, mentors and fellows, we have the confidence and a firm foundation on which we are privileged to build on. Congratulations to WAAW Foundation. We are 10 years proud!
As we look to the future, the task before us remains daunting. Technology continues to evolve and Africa continues to grapple with its exploding youth population and major challenges. We are confident that STEM education, technology innovation and female empowerment remain front and center as the most powerful tools to deliver significant change. WAAW Foundation is building a movement committed to our ideals – a world in which every African girl knows her voice and her dreams are valid and she is empowered to contribute to economic growth. While we recognize that our path will be wrought with challenges, we are ready, excited and equal to the task. We will keep pushing until a girl from a remote village in Africa builds the next giant technology company in the world, solving problems for billions globally!
Let us never forget that our lives are inextricably connected. If one girl in Africa is disempowered we all are disempowered. Lighting another’s candle does not diminish our own light. Instead is makes the world brighter and better. We rise and fall together…. But Rise we must!!!
I truly believe that Africa is Rising for Africans and its economic growth and stability is for global benefit. African Women Will Help Solve not only Africa’s Challenges but Global issues through technology engagement and innovation.
Thank you for your support as I invite you to continue to engage, invest, volunteer and advocate for our work. You help shape the future we imagine for Africa and the World!
I wish you courage of convictions, wisdom to know and walk your unique path, the exhilaration of hope and immense love for your life’s journey this 2018 year! Onward Ever
Yours in Service,
Unoma Okorafor, Ph.D.
President & Chief Executive Officer
WAAW Foundation – Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women.