Skoll World Forum 2016: A Young Leader Reflects
This month, the Skoll World Forum brought together almost 1,000 social entrepreneurs in the historic city of Oxford, UK, to exchange ideas, solutions, and information about some of the most pressing issues of our time.
Among the delegates was Diana N-Peline Kombui, a CAMFED scholar from Ghana supported in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation.
Diana was chosen to participate in the Young Leaders Initiative as a representative of CAMA, CAMFED’s 55,358 strong pan-African alumnae network – young women acting with purpose to help each other and vulnerable girls succeed across sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative was conceived and inspired by CAMFED’s founder and President, Ann Cotton, together with CAMFED Tanzania’s National Director and CAMA member, Lydia Wilbard, who attended the Forum in 2013. The purpose of the program is to ensure that the voices of young social entrepreneurs are heard, their skills developed and ideas shared. The theme of this year’s Forum was ‘fierce compassion’. Diana reports:
My name is Diana N-Peline Kombui. This month I was invited to take part in the Skoll World Forum Young Leaders Initiative in Oxford, UK, as one of ten young social entrepreneurs who came together to share experiences, perspectives and inspirations. We had workshops on networking, ethical decision-making, and personal branding – a very full and rewarding program. I learned a lot.
The young leaders’ program prepared us for the main Skoll Forum, which included a session in which we each gave a presentation about our own journeys as social entrepreneurs. As an active member of CAMA, CAMFED’s alumnae network, I had a lot to share.
“As the only girl in a family of eleven, it was difficult for my parents to support us all financially through school. Despite the challenges, and with the encouragement of my parents and teacher mentor, I persevered.”
I began my presentation by talking about my background, growing up in Lambussie, in the Upper West Region of Ghana. As the only girl in a family of eleven, it was difficult for my parents to support us all financially through school. Despite the challenges, and with the encouragement of my parents and teacher mentor, I persevered. After high school I was keen to go to university, but without funding my situation seemed hopeless. It was at this point that I met CAMFED, and through CAMFED, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program. And then everything changed.
Supported by CAMFED in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, I am now an undergraduate enrolled on a BSc program in Banking and Finance at Central University College in Accra. As a CAMA member, in my free time, I often organize activities to help vulnerable children and young people in my home district. For example, in August, I organized month-long vacation classes for junior high school students in my community, and tutored a small group in mathematics for a fortnight after that.
“It was because someone was there for me all through my school years that I didn’t give up. Many of the girls in my community need someone to talk to, to share their problems with.”
As a tertiary CAMA member, I also mentor a number of girls from my community. I know from personal experience just how important this is. It was because someone was there for me all through my school years that I didn’t give up. Many of the girls in my community need someone to talk to, to share their problems with. I want to give back to them, to let them know that there is hope ahead, so they don’t give up.
The most memorable part of the whole Forum for me was the Skoll Award Ceremony, which honoured and celebrated the achievements of six social entrepreneurs who have achieved great things in their fields: health care, human rights, criminal justice and more. I thought I was doing enough in my community, but hearing from the awardees inspired me to want to do more. I want to pursue a career in finance, but I know that I must not lose sight of my community, where the need is great. That is where I know I can really do something.
I learned so much at the Skoll World Forum and met some amazing people. I want to share the knowledge and skills I have gained with my fellow CAMA members, and then reach out to the young people in my community. I want the girls to know that they too can be leaders, and make a real difference to the lives of others.