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by Bobby Oliseh, at 08:30 am, November 08, 2018, Women

Meet the 22-year-old Ghanaian changemaker who is creating a generation of accomplished African women

Diana Wilson, Founder and CEO of Yielding Accomplished African Women (Yaa W)

A year ago, Diana Wilson, a young, ambitious and incredibly passionate first-generation Ghanaian-American woman created Yielding Accomplished African Women (Yaa W). Yaa W is named after and in the spirit of Yaa Asantewaa, a Ghanaian feminist heroine, Queen mother and warrior.

Yielding Accomplished African Women is Ghana’s first finance and technology accelerator for women with an objective to transform the professional lives of young women across the country.

Yaa W is also redefining women’s power by urging them to take on new challenges and conquer personal goals through #YaaSheWill; a digital storytelling campaign that focuses on inspiring women and men to recover, reimagine, and replace the set narratives and scope of a woman’s capabilities.

The campaign is calling on everyone to use the #YaaSheWill hashtag to contribute, promote, and celebrate women of the world as a direct rebuttal to histories of injustice and the present-day inequity.

Founder and CEO, Diana Wilson, explained the revolution which is pushing women to believe they are the curators of their own destiny.

What was the genesis of the revolution?

Standing there, I could feel generations of my ancestors guiding me and I could see generations of Ghanaian women looking up to me. It was a moment of immense angst yet liberation. I stood in the largest slave castle in West Africa, directly outside of the “Door of No Return,” and I heard a still voice in my spirit mobilize me with these words: Your birth is evident that there is something already done that you have to start. You were born with purpose not to find it! Your purpose will fulfil the dreams of your ancestors and pave the way for a subsequent generation. “What’s lost to the sea, the waves will return”.

President Obama once said “Cape Coast Castle reminds us of the capacity of human beings to commit great evil.” Conversely, it was at that precise site where Christ reminded me of the capacity of human potential.

Why the urgency of now?

Christ orchestrated my beautiful and intricately entwined identity and the oppression that it undertakes, to allow me to craft a new frame of what freedom looks like. It was the very limitations of my existence, being raised by a single mother, being a first generation Ghanaian American, being a low-income student, being a rape survivor that allowed me to perceive and identify with my purpose. Through every wound, I grew in resilience. Every setback formulated an environment that obligated me to learn new and inventive ways to thrive. My trauma became seeds for the vision of this revolution.

At the age of 20, I had a view of the conceptual reality of my purpose. It is not a coincidence that I received it so young. Every vision is time-bound and Christ is illuminating that there is an urgency in our now. As Martin Luther King Jr. effortlessly stated, “Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to work to be co-workers with God. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.”

What is the vision of the revolution?

My vision is to economically empower young African women for the subsequent reinvestment into the socio-economic improvement of communities. As the late Kofi Annan stated, “the most effective development tool is the empowerment of women. “As a result of improving the overall economic productivity of young African women, we can produce political freedom for women, improve the development outcomes for the next generation of women and make institutions and policies more representative.

If development is not engendered, it is endangered. The economic empowerment of women is not just a philosophical dream but determinative of an enhanced existence. Since 2010, gender inequality is costing sub-Saharan Africa on average $US95 billion a year. The United Nations Development Program estimates that a 1 percent increase in gender economic inequality reduces a country’s human development index by 0.75 %. Imagine the amount of socio-economic growth African countries are losing! At current rates, 15 to 20 million well-educated young people will enter into Africa’s labor force annually until 2030. But, on average, African countries only capture 55% of their human capital, compared to the 65% global average. Moreover, there are even lower rates of female economic participation.

Yielding Accomplished African Women is an expertly crafted, innovative and forward-thinking non-profit organization, that serves to economically empower the lives of African women, and in turn, enrich the global financial market. This is achieved by providing them with fundamental skills in finance or technology, mentorship, and leadership development that will lead them to land internships at top finance/tech firms in Africa and around the world.

Moreover, we are building the largest eco-system of finance/technology talent accelerators for females in Africa. Our vision is to have institutes that are equipped with computers, internet access, libraries, incubation hubs and STEM facilitators in every African country. Through these institutes, women will go through our world-class training curriculum, have the resources to explore their interests in finance or technology, grow their capabilities in these fields, and serve as the first point of contact for corporations seeking top female candidates.

How can I join?

We are in a unique moment in history. For centuries, women from all walks of life have defied, persisted and thrived. Our society is on the cusp of a pivotal, inspiring and expansive time in which women can materialize all the aspirations they imagine for themselves. Still today, women all over the world are being silenced, maligned and overlooked. Gender-based biases and beliefs and the detrimental actions that they produce misrepresent, delineate and disrupt the power women have within. But we believe and are declaring, “TIME’S UP!”

Join us as we contribute, promote, and celebrate women of the world. We are making HERSTORY, so join us. Use the #YaaSheWill hashtag and tag us so that we can reshare your post! Tell us what you will do by using the #YaaSheWill and challenge 10 of your friends to do the same! Join the campaign!

Find more detailed information on the campaign and how to support us at http://accomplishedafricanwomen.org.

• Facebook: @YieldingAccomplishedAfricanWomen
• Twitter: @YieldingAccomplishedAfricanWomen
• LinkedIn: @YieldingAccomplishedAfricanWomen

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