uafthe writer in a green sweater with other OPED participants

If you had asked me a couple of years ago whether I saw myself being involved in Oped and writing for change , I would have said NO and probably laughed at you because at that point I didn’t see my life going in that direction; yes I wrote for fun but didn’t see myself as a ‘writer/author for change’. However, having stepped out in obedience and applied for the 2016 OPED training organized by Urgent action fund in Nairobi Kenya,I had the honor and privilege of being surrounded by thirty truly amazing women (from different spheres of life,journalists,authors,feminists,activists,human rights defenders to mention but a few), ranging in age from 20-50 and coming from all over the African continent. Young women from Egypt,Kenya,Uganda,Zambia,Zimbabwe,Malawi,Nigeria,Botswana,Burundi,Mozambique amongst other countries were brought together for a one week convention because they had one thing in common,they write for change. I felt like I was part of a movement (aka the Op-Ed Project) which has truly gained momentum. The training courses included the concepts and principles of writing stories aimed at creating change.The training set out to raise young women’s voices  through their writing in order to build their confidence, knowledge and skills so that they could bring about changes in their lives and in their communities(there was a lot to learn on how to speak out, voice our opinions, form arguments and negotiate solutions through our future OPED pieces). The training was able to comprehensively address the broadening of representation and participation of  women writers in the media and in other main stream platforms.we aired concerns and views and created action plans to tackle particular problems.

Key factors

  • Women were encouraged to become ‘experts’ (leaders), demonstrating their ability to accept and carry out expert roles.
  • The focus of the training, on writing to change the world, was of great relevance to the young  women;
  • Thought leadership,mattering,connection,knowledge.

 

“The Op-Ed Project training changed my life forever because it taught me how to use our writing/stories to influence change.It also taught me how to recognize my own expertise and then share my voice with others.I emerged with the sense that I both could and should participate in the nation’s ongoing discussion on its op-ed pages.” Gloria FARUG