The NGDO Harambee has presented its award for the Promotion and Equality of African Women. The award was sponsored by René Furterer This year's edition recognized the work that Franca Ovadje, an economist, has carried out through various training programs for women entrepreneurs that have turned hundreds of women into entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
During the press conference, Ramon Pardo de Santayana, vice-president of the NGOD, described the work of this NGOD, which is convinced that Africa is capable of the same than the rest of the developed countries" and thanked the donors and volunteers from Harambee their dedication and commitment.
Carmen Muiños, from René Furterer, stressed that "Franca is an example for the whole world, not just Africa. Because she develops projects with empathy, leadership and breadth".
I am not an activist, I saw needs and looked for resources.
The award winner, Franca Ovadje, wanted to point out that "It is an inspiration to work for African women" and the award has been a surprise for her since she does not consider herself an "activist, I have simply seen needs in my environment and have looked for resources and people who could provide solutions".
100 million women lack opportunities
Ovadje shared that she never felt discriminated against for being a woman thanks to a completely egalitarian education received in her family, but pointed out that "in Nigeria there are more than 100 million women and most of them have not had these opportunities" and pointed out some aspects in which discrimination for being a woman still persists.
Ovadje has pointed to the cultural patterns that exist in certain parts of Africa as the main obstacle to the development of African women's potential. This is why a key boost in women's education is needed: "Empowering women to believe in themselves can only be achieved through education, because after all, if a male colleague wants to discriminate against you, if you don't let him, he will have a hard time".
Women entrepreneurs face greater difficulties, for example, in dealing with banks and obtaining guarantees. This is decreasing, thanks to the good experience of companies started by women.
Among the projects promoted by this Nigerian economist is a leadership program for students at the University of Lagos, Ibadan and Nigeria through which more than a thousand girls have "discovered themselves and found their voice".
Education, a sine qua non condition
Franca Ovadje has been clear on the basis of the progress of African nations: the possibility of "access to good education" which Ovadje has underlined as the key to development in Africa: "Only a woman who considers herself equal to men can empower her children: men and women. Education is a sine qua non condition for economic, social and political empowerment".
The Tech Power Project
The prize money will go towards a new Tech Power project through which Ovadje wants to promote the education and training of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and help them find professional success in these fields.
Ovadje wanted to dedicate this award to his parents "from whom I learned that the dignity of a person does not depend on what he has but on what he is, a child of God".