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I believe in women empowerment and feminism, but still feel that many women are left out of opportunities. I took part in the VOF program, although I was not successful. I still have the urge to bring more women on the empowerment platform because where I come from in Kenya, more still needs to be done. My vision is to build an organization to mentor young rural women to get involved in opportunities in arts, music, modeling, media, and such fields that are usually deemed “urban.” I also wish to have them trained in public speaking, presentation, and also general etiquette. In our world today, the arts sector presents lots of opportunities, but urban women are the ones who manage to take them. This has become some sort of discrimination amongst women in their own circles. My drive derives from the fact I come from a rural setting, but I've managed through my own efforts to come out and seek opportunities.

I think your idea for mentoring young women is an important and necessary one. In the United States, there is a similar problem with rural women being overlooked and their priorities not always getting addressed. The issues of urban women dominate the focus of most women's groups. I was in Zambia last year and met a lovely woman there (Catherine) who was trying to encourage more urban women to make journeys to rural communities—just that exposure itself was making an impact. It was shocking to me how isolated women in those rural communities were. I think you could start by creating a "tour" of sorts—thereby exposing the groups that are already working to the issues you have identified.

I don't know what VOF is and thus can't speak to that. I also don't know of specific groups in Kenya—besides the work of Wangari Maathai—but I would start with someone like Wangari since she has great visibility and thus the power to leverage even more resources.




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