Q&A with Fiifi Oduro-Nyarkoh, ONE AU Youth Voices finalist

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“A poverty-free world can only be realised by tackling gender inequality and making sure that every young girl can grow in a world without limitations.”

Tell us about yourself?

I am a social entrepreneur and the founder of Girls Without Barriers, a project I started in 2016 with the aim of delivering innovative interventions that focus on removing the barriers that prevent girls in Africa from achieving their full potential and breaking out of poverty. In 2016, I was selected as an Empower Women Champion For Change by the United Nations Women Organization. It was a 6-months volunteer program that gave me the opportunity to work with amazing change makers from different parts of the world and my major motivation for starting Girls Without Barriers. Currently, I run a program called “girls can be anything” – a personal development program I designed with a focus on career development to help girls in junior high schools in Ghana to assess their skills, talents and qualities, consider their aims in life and challenge stereotypes in order to achieve and maximize their potentials. In future, my biggest dream is to transform my project into a system-changing social venture that delivers real and sustainable impacts.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by the stories of amazing change makers around the world. The stories of ordinary people who channel their passion and talents into creating innovative and extraordinary impacts and a better world for the less privileged. Such stories inspire me to work hard, restore my faith in humanity and give me hope for the future.

Why are you passionate about human rights specifically girls’ right and access to education?

I am particularly passionate about girl’s rights and access to education because I believe it is a viable solution to poverty. Currently, 70% of the world’s poorest people are women, yet women make up 70% of the world’s working hours, and earn only 10% of the world’s income. Research from the World Bank and other development agencies has proved that empowering women and girls is a key contributor to economic development yet many women and girls continue to face inequalities that prevent them from breaking out of the vicious cycle of poverty. Our goal for a poverty-free world can only be realised by tackling gender inequality and making sure that every young girl can grow in a world without limitations to their abilities and talents.

Tell us about one woman who inspires you and why she inspired you?

Genevieve Basigha. Photo: supplied by Fiifi Oduro-Nyarkoh

One woman who inspires me is Genevieve Basigha. She is the founder of Research Utilization School for the Deaf (RUSFORD) in Ghana. Genevieve has a speech and hearing disability, a condition she obtained through an accident at an early age. Against a deadly combination of poverty and disability, Genevieve worked hard to build a school for children with speech and hearing impediments to enable them to have a better chance at life. Genevieve’s story inspires me to work hard and not use my limitations in life as an excuse. Even in the face of adversity, her story gives me hope that with perseverance, I can achieve my dreams.

 

What one BIG idea should African leaders adopt to harness the power of girls and transform all our futures? Read our top youth voices’ ideas here.

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