This week at the Washington D.C. Google headquarters I will be attending ONE’s 2014 AYA Summit . Co-hosted by ONE Girls & Women and Google the AYA Summit is an exciting opportunity to meet some of the amazing speakers and attendees, as well as catch up with friends and colleagues. It is always inspiring to be in an environment surrounded by change-makers approaching the world we live in with optimistic problem solving and ideas.
The word AYA is an African Adinkra symbol from Ghana for fern that represents endurance, resourcefulness and growth. A beautiful symbol for the AYA Summit that will highlight the progress and challenges that girls and women face in developing countries. In the fight to eliminate extreme poverty improving the lives of girls and women is essential.
When girls and women are given the necessary education and tools, they can be change-makers within their families and communities. Through a series of talks, panels, visuals, and demonstrations, the summit will explore what it means to be born female in Africa, and what we, working together with our African partners, can do to make sure that all girls and women reach their potential. The summit will bring together leaders from the non-profit, government, private sector and celebrity arenas.- ONE Girls & Women
The AYA Summit keynote speaker is Nicholas Kristof, who just released a new book co-authored by his wife Sheryl WuDunn titled A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity. When companies hire women they are more likely than men to re-invest their earnings back into their children, families, and communities. We will hear from companies providing opportunities to women that can enable them to lift their families out of the cycle of poverty. While on an International Reporting Project trip to Ethiopia this past summer I had the opportunity to visit a partner factory of FashionABLE , whose CEO Barrett Ward will be speaking on a panel at the summit. It was an impactful experience to meet some of the women in person who are now able to support their families in a dignified way after having been trained to create the gorgeous scarves produced by FashionABLE.
The GAVI Alliance is a public-private partnership focused on saving children’s lives and protecting people’s health by increasing access to immunization in poor countries. Vaccines have been one of the most effective tools in fighting extreme poverty and the Tweet to Shot panel will share the importance of the incredible work that GAVI does around the globe. We will also hear from the World Bank on energy poverty, and the ways in which access to electricity empowers women in developing countries.
These are just a few of the topics that will be covered at the summit and I look forward to learning and collaborating this week with others as passionate as I am about making the world a better place. I can’t wait to share my takeaway over the next few days. You can also follow along at the #AYASummit hashtag to see what’s going on.