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:
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.
This year’s World AIDS Day, which marked its 30th anniversary on 1 December, aimed to highlight the importance of being HIV-status aware and called for barriers to HIV testing to be removed. In Uganda, United Purpose’s partner organisation, KCA (Keep a Child Alive) and the Alive Medical Services are challenging these barriers; working on the front line in the fight against AIDS, they are supporting people like Harriet and Esther to lead fulfilling lives.
In North West Cameroon, increasing competition for access to land and water continues to create conflict and stir up hostility between cattle herders and crop farmers. But herder Alhadji Hamadam Melam has been at the forefront of an initiative to give peace a chance in his local community of Njah-Etu, in the Momo area.
As part of a wider project to increase Irish potato production in Mozambique, we’ve been working with inmates at Tinonganine Open Prison. This forward-looking collaboration has been a rewarding venture, both for inmates as they transition back into the community, and the community itself.
For many women in rural Ghana, entrepreneurial ambitions are all too regularly crushed by unequal access to banks and investment. Over the last six years, we’ve been supporting groups of women to revolutionise their own ability to kick-start enterprise, by setting up Village Savings groups.
In the village of Boyerbanga in Khulna District, Southwest Bangladesh, the ground is shifting. For Kakon Mollick, a new business opportunity has laid the foundations for more than just greater financial security for him and his family of three.
United Purpose’s (UP) programme in Brazil is campaigning to raise awareness of the power of participation in community organisations. Now in its second year, we’re featuring some of the incredible community group members participating in the campaign to find out how collective action has changed their lives.
In June, our four year Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project in Phalombe district, in the Southern Region of Malawi came to an end. Since the project began, we’ve seen a massive 77% decrease in cases of cholera, diarrhoea and dysentery in the area. In light of this big win, we caught up with Maxwell Chiputula, Manager of the project, to reflect on the successes of our unique Civil Society approach.