As part of our International Women's Day series, we chat with Juliette Lampoh, Country Director of UP Ghana, about her career, her passions and being a role model for other women.
Can you start by introducing yourself, and saying what you love most about your job?
I have been the Country Director of UP Ghana for the last five years. What I like most about my job is the opportunity it gives me to be a part of a positive transformation in people’s lives.
Is there anyone who particularly inspires you?
I would say it's more “what” inspires me, not “who”. I am inspired by challenge and the need to succeed. That said, I do admire and am encouraged by women achievers – especially women who go against the odds to do “what is not expected of women”. One such women is Rev Dr Joyce Ayee, a Ghanaian woman and a pacesetter on many fronts – in public service, industry and in Christian ministry.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
For me, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on how far we have come as women, activists and as a community of practitioners, in the pursuit of women’s empowerment. Many challenges still lie ahead but it's inspiring when people of similar convictions come together to push for equity, women’s rights and inclusion.
How would you encourage young women in Ghana to aspire to leadership positions in the international development sector?
I try to be a role model for young women who aspire to leadership positions, particularly in international development. Working in development can be difficult and demanding, and the results can be slow in coming. However, when it is done right, the results are long-lasting and can impact wider society and future generations. There are few things more fulfilling than being a driver of such change in humanity. I want to encourage young women to believe in themselves, to know that there is support out there, and to make their leadership dreams become reality.
More about UP's work:
In June we were delighted to announce our new partnership with Urdd Gobaith Cymru . The Urdd give the young people of Wales a chance to work in countries across Africa, Asia and South America, contributing to a fairer, kinder and more understanding world.
Following this partnership, on the 20th August 2019, a group from the Urdd along with Elinor Snowsill (WRU) will be traveling to Kilifi in Kenya to meet one of United Purpose’s fantastic partners – Moving the Goalposts.
It’s a common criticism of mainstream media, that when a humanitarian disaster strikes, there is intense coverage for a few days – and then the news agenda moves on. But while the stories may disappear from our screens, the demanding work of reconstruction - by individuals, communities, governments and international organisations - goes on for weeks, months and years, long after most journalists and reporters have left. Just over 3 months ago in March, Cyclone Idai, bludgeoned its way through the central parts of Mozambique, causing extreme devastation and widespread flooding in its wake. The UN estimates that 1.7 million Mozambicans lived in the path of the cyclone, which caused irreparable damage and the death of over 600 people.
For many communities along the coastline in Cross River state, Nigeria, the mangrove forest serves as a major source of income, mainly through wood logging for firewood and timber for construction.
However, the forest needs to be protected and sustained so it stays productive for the long term. United Purpose is helping with this. We have created a new project that is helping local communities understand the importance of conservation, understand how to undertake this conversation themselves, and shows them alternatives ways to secure income that is less reliant on the forest.
The Integrated Mangrove Forest Management and Livelihoods in Nigeria project is supporting 15 communities in the mangrove forest in Cross River State (six in Akpabuyo, six in Odukpani and three in Calabar South). The project will ensure community-led, collective action is taken to reverse the loss of habitat and preserve biodiversity, while also sustaining local livelihoods.
Thanks to generous funding from Penny Appeal, United Purpose has launched a new project in North East Brazil with the aim of providing long-term support to women involved in a range of businesses - from food, shellfish and rural tourism, to producing clothes, handicrafts, soaps and detergents.
Earlier this month, the people of the Ikom and Yala areas of Nigeria rolled out the drums to celebrate the achievement of Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, with the aid of United Purpose’s community-Led Health Improvement through Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion in Nigeria (CHISHPIN) project.
In 2016 the opportunity arose for UP to merge with International Inspiration, the London 2012 Olympic/Paralympic legacy organisation and a leader in the field of Sport for Development and Peace. International Inspiration had been championing the use of sport in development, to empower disenfranchised groups, and in public education and behaviour-change programmes, since 2007.
Our staff on the ground in Malawi & Mozambique are working around the clock to support emergency efforts in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. It is undoubtedly one of the southern hemisphere’s worst disasters with floods, landslides and destruction. It’s a race against time to save people. 600,000 have been severely impacted, with hundreds of lives loss and this number rising by the hour. Roads have been destroyed, homes destroyed, livestock & farms flooded. Those who survived now have little or no access to food, water and sanitation, and cholera is a risk in some areas.
Christina Zaluso is a farmer, mother of 3 young children and chief breadwinner since her husband husband has a chronic illness. They live in the Dedza District of Malawi in an area which has faced recurrent dry spells in recent times.
In the past, Christina grew maize to feed the family and earned a small income from selling the surplus. But it wasn’t enough to enable her to buy improved seed or to invest in new technologies. After repeated periods of drought, her crop yields dwindled, leaving the family facing days without food. Christina had to take on cleaning jobs to make ends meet, leaving less time to spend with her family and farm.
Christina told us that it was only after the ASPIRE Revolving Loan Scheme arrived in her village, Ntolo, that things began to improve. On joining the Nachikunga Community Grain Bank, she received a loan of 20 kg of soya beans, together with training in growing the crop, new technologies and how to manage repayments.
For the young women at Moving the Goalposts (MTG) – our Kenya-based partner that promotes gender equality through football – a love of sport is not the only thing that unites them. Speaking with many of the players, their shared ambition to achieve entrepreneurial success is overwhelmingly striking. Nurtured by MTG’s support, many of the players have set up ‘Savings Groups’ to incubate the skills and capital they need to assist them on their business journeys.
Ensuring inclusiveness, equality and empowering people with disabilities are at the heart of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities - marked on December 3rd, 2018. As part of the ASPIRE programme in Malawi, United Purpose is helping to break the cycle of poverty, by increasing resilience and aiming to ensure that no one is left behind. Working closely with local authorities, UP is making sure that individuals like Yohane Kankhulungo receive the targeted support they need.