The Nobel Women’s Initiative’s Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program was a memorable and enriching experience. During my time in the program, I had the opportunity to share my story with others and to learn about the struggles of my colleagues. Together, we discussed the universal challenges facing women throughout the world, as well as how to combat gender-bias and violence.
For me, the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program was a unique and cross-cultural experience, where I learned how to live with people from diverse backgrounds and how to respect their cultural differences. Through this experience, I came to realize that regardless of skin colour, religious beliefs or sexual orientation, everyone has the potential to make a positive impact on the world around them.
The Sister-to-Sister mentorship program also taught me the importance of building cross-cultural networks and alliance to advance our common goals. In order to take control of the issues confronting women, it is important to develop lobbying skills and to build bridges with officials in positions of power.
Despite the innumerable merits of the program, I would have liked to learn more about organizing and executing grassroots development projects. International campaigns begin with local movements and as such, the importance of community-level organization should have been more emphasized. Nevertheless, the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program has given me the tools I need to become an agent of change in my community. I will share what I learned and continue to organize collective action at home.
In my home country of Liberia, women’s rights are constantly evolving. I must therefore continue to fight for greater gender equality and to focus my efforts on reducing the levels of violence against women, specifically with regards to rape and to underage pregnancy. In the near future I will be leading discussions with local girls, teaching them the value of education and encouraging them to stay in school.
I hope to lead my country by setting an example for girls and women in my country. Through my advocacy, I hope to stimulate important transformations in Liberia and to lend my voice to the women who have been silenced. Above all, I will build on my existing international network to give the poor and marginalized women of my country an international audience. A just and equitable society is possible, but women must band together to fight for our rights. I believe that together we can achieve success.
My time in the Sister-to-Sister mentorship program went by in a flash and it was with incredible sadness that I said farewell to my fellow participants, my inspiring mentors and the whole Nobel Women’s Initiative team.
I miss you all. Until we meet again.
Josephine was one of the Nobel Women’s Initiative Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program participants in 2013. She has just returned home after spending six weeks in Ottawa with our team and two other young women’s rights activists from Guatemala and Myanmar.
Read the Sister-to-Sister Mentorship Program blog to find out more about Josephine and her experience in Canada.