Republic of Kenya
From the desk of
H.E Dr. Ida B. Odinga, M.G.H.
Wife of the Prime Minister
Acceptance speech for The Distinguished African Amazon Award 2012
31st March, 2012
H. E. Joyce Mujuru, Vice President, Republic of Zimbabwe
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Mrs. Furo Giami
PARTNERS & COLLABORATIONS
ECOWAS Female Parliamentarians Association (ECOFEPA)
African Leadership Magazine
Dubai Foundation for Women and Children,
It is with profound gratitude and humility that I receive this coveted Distinguished African Amazon Award 2012. I wish to thank Centre for Economic leadership Development for the recognition.
I am aware that in giving this award, I am following in the footsteps of some of the most gallant heroines and daughters of our great continent-among them, Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Vice President of Gambia Aja Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy.
I am therefore truly humbled that I am walking the footsteps of such great phenomenal women. These women’s personalities and deeds in life have touched and transformed their people and impacted the growth of women in the continent of Africa.
My life and work has been deeply touched by the situation that afflicts the women of our great continent. I have endeavored to make my contribution to the empowerment of the African woman through all the platforms that have presented themselves to me.
During the struggle for Multi-party democracy, I founded The League of Kenya Women Voters. This institution became the voice of reason on issues that mattered to the rights and freedom of Kenyan women. And through the charitable work with victims of Breast Cancer ,The Paraplegic Organization and White Ribbon Alliance, just to mention a few, I have endeavored to enhance awareness of these life threatening situations that many African women find themselves in.
However, one major devotion-pillar of my life has been the attention to the challenges that many African girls face in getting an education that could turn around their fortunes and lives. In the face of widespread poverty that makes it impossible for many of Africa’s young women to go to school, I have come to believe that until Africa’s girls can complete at least 12 years of learning, we will still lag behind the on all aspects of life including health.
Girls’ education is the single most powerful way to encourage smaller, healthier, and better-educated families. It improves women’s own well-being, giving women more voice in marriages and helping women seek health care. It helps women avoid HIV/AIDS and resist violence.
In addition, because female education helps slow population growth while raising the productivity, it promotes faster growth of per capita income. This definitely makes a strong case for investments in girls’ education to be stepped up.
A single year of primary education, one year, correlates with a 10 to 20 percent increase in women’s wages later in life.
An extra year of a woman’s education has been shown to reduce the risk that her children will die in infancy by 5 to 10 percent.
I am also particularly concerned with the plight the disabled girls. With the many wars that Africa has witnessed in the past decade, the number of children with disability has also risen. The number of disabled children in the refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia as well as in some of the camps in West Africa is alarming. Let us pay particular attention to these children. Their education must be incorporated as we develop programmes.
On the behalf of millions of African women, I therefore accept your award, knowing fully-well, that it will contribute to creating new opportunities for my personal devotion to the work of African women.
These women have fought for what they want with every inch of what they have got until they have reached their ultimate goal and success. In accepting this award, permit me therefore to share in the glory, and to dedicate it to those who have walked with me in this journey of life.
It is indeed, an award that I believe also recognizes our collective work as African women who moil and toil in the course of making Africa a better place to live in.
The many women of Kenya and Africa, who have made it possible for me to be recognized and elevated, I salute you. I recognize and I believe with it, comes the continued responsibility as Maya Angelou said, ‘When you learn, teach. When you get, give.’ I want you to know that this award to me means that I will continue to strive to give back to the world what it has given to me, so that I might even be more worthy of tonight’s honor.
I would like to conclude my brief acceptance remarks by reiterating my appreciation for this enviable recognition. These accolades are not an end in themselves nor are they intended to make me complacent.
It is a beginning of a long walk. I have a renewed commitment, dedication and vigor to extricate women and children of Africa out of ignorance, poverty and political exclusion. And I look forward to pursuing this journey with you all as we have always done.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, all of us women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!
And now they are asking to do it.
Thank you and God Bless