Commonwealth Women’s Forum

Posted by Jay in Travel on April 26th, 2018

Commonwealth Women’s Forum

I had the opportunity and pleasure to attend the Commonwealth Women’s Forum. This was only the second time that there had been a Women’s Forum. The first one was in Malta two years prior. The different Commonwealth forums focus on a certain topic, Women, Business, People, and Youth Forums. Various members of society communicate their needs and worries with Heads of Commonwealth States. I was a bit trepidatious about attending something like this. It was a case of full blown Impostor Syndrome, feeling as though I didn’t belong in such an environment. But I had to make sure to quieten that voice, and focused on my reason for being there. I plan to advocate for the needs of disabled youths and disabled women in Nigeria. That was all the qualifier that I needed to remind myself of, to get my head straight.

Age is a Non-Factor

Throughout the three days of the Commonwealth Forum’s, I had the chance to listen to and learn from many young people. They were each playing their part in changing their small part of the world for the better. One such young person was 15 year old Peace Ayo (above), who is a Nigerian native advocating for equal right to education. She gave a powerful and moving speech on stage, calling on her own personal experiences. It really brought it home for me that had I not come to the UK, I would need people like Peace. I would need someone to fight for my shot at an education. Because let’s keep it all the way 100, many places around the world would not see the value in educating a disabled girl.

Networking

Throughout the Commonwealth Forums, myself and Mrs Alexander have been able to network with new people and organisations. Since the ending of the Forums, we already have a meeting on the books, and are looking for creative ways to collaborate. It would be a damn near impossible task to try and fix the world of all its ills by yourself. So why not have a great community around you that is striving towards the same goal! While some collaborations/partnerships may not materialise into something straight away, it’s nice having people you know you can call on.

Undeniable Passion

Every delegate of the Commonwealth Forums attended with a clear goal and agenda on their mind. It was thrilling to see how passionately they were being fought for. From the need for more women in politics , to ensuring the rights of those within the LGBTQ+ community in the Commonwealth. While it is a daunting task, and one that can at times mean going toe to toe with your respective government, the will of the people is undeniable. The work is being done on the ground, and at higher levels, all we need is the political will.

Fun Times

It was not all work and no play during the Forums, as there was a welcoming party on the Monday evening. Music was provided by a UK choir, and Ellie Goulding. While HRH Prince William gave a speech about the Commonwealth. It was nice to talk to other delegates from around the Commonwealth and find out what cause brought them over to London. Plus, there was an abundance of food to be had, including gorgeous chocolate from Ghana. What’s not to love?

A New Path for Jay?

Working with Mrs Alexander (above) as part of Star Children Initiative and Every Woman Matters UK has enabled me to do more. For a while now, I have been wanting to expand my repertoire to include more than “travel blogging”. Being able to attend the Commonwealth Women’s Forum allowed me to open my eyes and see what was actually possible down this path. Throughout my travels, I have always been conscious of how privileged I am to be able to do so. But it really shouldn’t be because of where I grew up, that I am afforded this chance. While nothing is set in stone, I would like to do more work fighting for others like me. Who knows, maybe in the future I could be up on one of those stages or on a panel!

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about Jayon UPDATE: As of 25/09/2015 Nigeria has been removed from the WHO's Polio Endemic List! Having been born in Nigeria, I hail from one of three countries where polio is still unfortunately endemic, the other two being Pakistan and Afghanistan. I had contracted the poliovirus before my ...Read More

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