Five women, one fight!
Let us take action during this #WomensDay!
Footballer and super mum: Rose-Fanny Ngue-Bie
Rose-Fanny has never been afraid of being the only woman in the room. For her, working in a sector dominated by men has been an opportunity to challenge gender roles.
Since a young age, she has juggled football, her favorite sport, with her studies. She has excelled in both. Football was difficult at first, but with years of practice, she became very skilled at the sport and came to enjoy it a great deal.
Rose-Fanny is a former international football player from Gabon. She is also a national coach for the Gabonese Women's Panthers team. She has been through a lot in her life - both good and bad - but she remains positive to this day.
She remembers the 2002 Gabon-Cameroon qualifiers fondly. She was moved to tears when she stepped out and found the Omnisport stadium filled to the brim.
Rose-Fanny tells us that she was able to fulfil her dream of playing football because of the support she got from her family: "My dad was very supportive. He helped me buy all my equipment.”
After her sporting success, her life took a completely different turn. "I had a child with cerebral palsy. She has been bedridden since birth – and now she’s 28. When I first found out, it was very difficult, but my father always supported me," Rose-Fanny tells us.
Rose-Fanny knows all about perseverance. She has continued to play football throughout her life, which has helped her through hard times. On International Women's Day, she wants to remind women that it’s important to remain positive, no matter what happens in life.
The football player enjoys every moment with her daughter: "Life goes on. It doesn't stop because you have a disabled child," she concludes.
A guardian of the forest: Ida Natratilova Oye Obame
Happy birthday Ida!
Ida is blowing out thirty-five candles today, as she celebrates both her birthday and International Women's Day.
The environmentalist came back to Gabon in 2012 after her studies in Tunisia. It was there that she started to work on projects related to the environment and biodiversity. As a result of her work with forest communities, she has become a leader in forest protection in a well known international NGOs. One organization that she works with develops sustainable forestry tools and solutions and is involved in the FSC label on standards and good practice in forestry.
Ida tells us that it is difficult for women to work in the field of forest conservation because it requires physically demanding fieldwork in harsh environments. This can make it hard to find a work/life balance.
However, she feels lucky to work in this field because it allows her to meet local communities, especially women, living in harsh conditions in rural areas.
"It makes you realize how lucky you are to live in comfortable conditions," she says.
Ida was an active participant in One Forest Summit and the One Forest Youth Forum. She shared her experiences in sustainable management and emphasized the role of young people in improving sustainable forest management. She also participated in the development of the youth manifesto and took part in the inter-generational dialogue.
As FSC leader in the One Forest Summit, she was able to put forward proposals to promote sustainable forest management in the Congo Basin.
Her dream is to use a community-based approach to protect local forests, and she is lucky to be able to start fulfilling this dream through her work.
"I can now see the bigger picture. I want to be amongst the country’s decision makers. I want to encourage them to adopt sustainable forest management practices. I want to make sure that communities are continuously consulted and that they actively participate in the different stages of forestry production. I want them to benefit from the revenues obtained from the exploitation of forests," Ida explains enthusiastically.
She hopes that the future holds peace and equality for women, and that they will have the opportunity to live in a world in which they can be financially self-sufficient, achieve their dreams, and provide their children with a wealth of opportunities.
Above all, Ida hopes that in the future, women can access as many professional opportunities as men.
Engoang Grace Manuella has a heart for all children
Grace has made events management her specialty. She started out by doing a degree in management in Gabon and is since become a jill of all trades in the professional world. First, she worked with a communications agency and then in online commerce, which included fashion and beauty. She is now the director of “Be Space”, a communications agency.
Grace Manuella describes herself as a social entrepreneur who is keen to help others. Over the last few years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been committed to supporting young people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds by providing them with training opportunities. The success of the "First Christmas Village", which supports underprivileged children in Owendo, has encouraged her to continue her entrepreneurship efforts to support children.
"For me, the key to success is to care about others, to love them and to support them no matter what. This is why I wanted to expand my agency’s work to help young people fulfil their dreams and give them a sense of direction," Grace tells us. She is not afraid of going out onto the street, finding young people and offering them jobs.
Her greatest achievements over the last 5 years have included supporting more than two hundred young people in finding jobs; training thirty young people; and helping thirty more to achieve their dreams.
Grace believes that her actions have a huge impact. Her journey has not been an easy one: she had a difficult childhood and started working at a very early age. She lacked guidance and support. But nevertheless, she persevered.
Grace now trains vulnerable women to help them become financially independent. Her organization, Gabon Fly Women Entrepreneurship, gives young people skills in coding and digital learning.
Grace believes that the first step towards equality is equity. Alongside other female entrepreneurs, she launched a solidarity movement to explain equality and equity through innovation and new technologies. The purpose of this is to allow women to become independent. Her efforts were recognized outside of Gabon in 2021, when she received the PADEV award for Best Female Leadership.
"My mother once told me: work is your most important relationship. Whatever happens and whatever difficulties you face, your work must come first. That's what I learned and that's what I've done. Of course, I haven’t forgotten three fundamental values: humility, love and, above all else, God." Grace concludes.
Asha Sumputh: A woman with an inspirational career
We can't mention the "One Forest Summit?" without having the name of Asha Sumptuh behind. She was the principal moderator of the global event on forest conservation in Libreville from 1 - 2 March. Many people appreciated her intervention during the presidential debate.
But who is Asha Sumptuh?
Asha is from Mauritius. She studied in a British-based educational system and is fluent in English and French. She also speaks Hindi and Mauritian Creole. Asha is a graduate from the prestigious universities of Cambridge and Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne in the fields of economics and finance. She began her career as a journalist at Canal Plus in France, and she is now an entrepreneur, journalist and producer.
For her, the One Forest Summit was an opportunity to make her voice heard.
"The fact is that there are not enough female leaders in Africa. And I am so proud of all these female activists who came to Gabon to shed light on forest and environment-related problems, and to seek concrete solutions for these issues. I am proud to be part of high-level debates which will decide the future of our planet. It is a way for us to move forward and to find the right solutions, together, for our future,” Asha tells us. She believes that women should not be underestimated: they are actors of change in their communities, and their role in the current African economic climate is very important.
In her daily life as a journalist, in addition to economics and finance, Asha covers different topics including sustainable development, the environment, politics, innovation, education and entrepreneurship.
She is now the principal producer of two strong Tv programs: Business Initiative Africa and Initiative Africa which are broadcasted in 40 European and African countries to support sustainable development in Africa, climate and biodiversity...
"Education is very important, so if I can give women one piece of advice, it’s to study hard. Many girls don’t have the opportunity to go to school – so women should take advantage of all the opportunities they have. If they are educated, they can succeed," says Asha.
Mekame Henry Dorine: a strong willed and powerful leader
"Be independent, be educated, be efficient; be ambitious; and don’t let being a woman limit you!”
These are the words of Mekame Henry Dorine, the founder and director of Enoromi Magazine. The publication explores issues related to the economy and management and promotes strategic government actions.
As a businesswoman and a mother, Dorine juggles her many priorities by being organized. Everything must be planned, including her priorities at work and her family life. She leaves nothing to chance and follows a strict schedule to ensure that she gets everything done.
In short, everything runs like clockwork and Dorine encourages her colleagues to adopt the same strategy. This is how a peaceful family life, and a successful professional career are possible. But in order to succeed, she tells us that you must believe that it is possible.
"My main focus is to be a good mother who knows how to guide and teach her children. But I also want to be successful in my career and I want to make my magazine pan-African. Gender equality is no longer a myth or a slogan. Thank God that women have access to management roles today,” Dorine tells us. She is also the founder and secretary general of Angelys, an NGO which focuses on the rights of young girls and their educational opportunities.