MY LEADERSHIP DRIVE IS ANCHORED ON EMPOWERING VULNERABLE GIRLS ACHIEVE THEIR DREAMS
Anzoa Phionah Evening, aged 23 is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Education, Literature in English at Gulu University. She hails from Adjumani district in the West Nile Region.
I had a challenging beginning; my dad and mum separated when I was 13 years old, they had 2 children together. I used to stay with mum before but moved to dad because he was the one paying my school fees. He paid my fees up to S.6, second term. Unfortunately, he fell sick in 2018, the situation worsened and he died the same year. The money collected from the funeral is the one they used to pay and complete my S.6 fees. After ‘A’ level, I had no hope of continuing with my studies. I was only left with my brother a peasant, mummy, and other relatives who couldn’t help.
As a result, I started working in computer centre where I earned UGX.80,000/= per month. It was in March 2019, that I heard about the FAWEU and Mastercard foundation Scholarship advert through a friend who was already part of the Programme. I filled in and submitted the forms, fortunately I was considered. I was called to Gulu University for the Extended Orientation Programme (EOP), where we were trained in leadership, believing in yourself, entrepreneurship, financial literacy and confidence building among others.
As a result of the leadership training, I was inspired to join institutional leadership at Gulu University where I am serving as a coordinator (Focal Person) for year 1 student’s cohort 3. In this capacity, I coordinate all student meetings, gatherings/events and collecting information from students and at the same time passing it to them. And because of the leadership experience I gained at Gulu University; I was convinced to vie for the position of Secretary for Women Affairs in my village; as the experience at Gulu University emboldened me. I became brave, confident, strong and learnt a lot.
Today, I go out creating awareness and talking to girls about how to control themselves and making right decisions including the urgent need to end teenage pregnancy, child marriage, avoiding bad peer groups and proper menstrual hygiene management.
I haven’t ended there; I have gone ahead to join national politics. I am currently contesting for the position of the Female Youth District Councilor in Adjumani district. We are 3 contestants and the campaigns are ongoing. Two independent candidates including me and the third candidate is affiliated to the National Resistance Movement (NRM). I am working hard and I am confident that I will win. When I win, I plan to be a role model to all the girls out there and empower them to achieve all their dreams despite of the challenges around them. In addition to creating awareness about sexuality education and life skills as the lack of this is responsible for the increasing cases of teenage pregnancy.
I will also talk to parents to pay much attention to the language they use while communicating with their children i.e., not to insult them, but engage in a friendly manner and counsel them. This is because insulting doesn’t change a child, they instead get used to it.
Besides my leadership growth; through my savings, I have been able to start a business, a goat rearing enterprise and I use proceeds from this to pay school fees for my brother who is now in S.4. FAWE Uganda also taught us about community give back; where I personally practice it by supporting vulnerable and needy children in my community. I am currently helping a 6-year-old girl. She’s from a humble family, not growing normally and stunted for long. I visit her after every fortnight and provide support inform of clothes, shoes, sugar and soap. She is also out of school and together with the grandmother we agreed to enroll her in nursery school.
After completing my course, I plan to return and continue giving back to my community by teaching here. With my experience of community give back, I plan to do much, start a project where we shall pay school fees for needy children and encouraging them to be disciplined. I too plan to enroll for my master’s degree. I appreciate FAWEU and Mastercard foundation for what they have done for me. I am grateful, and pray that they continue supporting and encouraging other vulnerable children and girls to pursue their dreams. In addition, to continuous build our capacity as this makes us stronger.
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