When a girl knows her worth and value, she takes control of her life, and nothing can deter her.
– Dr. Buumba Malambo, Keynote Speaker
On August 19, 2023, over 350 Zambian girls gathered together for the third annual Be That Girl Conference, themed “The Resilient and Extraordinary Girl”. The girls joined 20 of their mentors and five inspirational female leaders in Lusaka, Zambia, for a remarkable weekend celebrating and promoting their immense potential to drive change in their communities and beyond.
A full description of the conference can be found in the Be That Girl Foundation magazine. Main takeaways from the conference include:
1. Speakers provided girls the chance to envision a positive, successful future for themselves.
Speakers for the conference included:
- Inota Cheta, an economist, financial literacy trainer, and business mentor for girls under the umbrella of her nonprofit organization that supports female entrepreneurs, She Entrepreneur;
- Dr. Prisca Tente, a civil engineer with published research regarding safety controls to protect workers in construction projects;
- Marina Zyambo, an Accountant and Country Manager at Avis Fleet Zambia;
- Thokozile Muwamba, Zambia’s first female fighter pilot; and
- Dr. Buumba Malambo, the youngest serving member of the Ministry of Gender & Child National Coordinating Committee in Zambia and the keynote speaker.
This diverse selection of speakers provided opportunities for the girls to meet successful women in a variety of careers. These women provided real-life examples of financial independence and education, opportunities that the girls can seize as part of the Be That Girl program.
2. Small group sessions provided an opportunity for girls to create lasting friendships.
The weekend conference allowed girls from across the Lusaka area to meet one another and find strength in shared goals and dreams. As one of the girls stated,
“We have found sisters and best friends amongst ourselves.”
The girls were empowered by being with other girls who also dream big. As another girl said,
“It is a great thing to meet and mingle in huge numbers with other girls who want to pursue certain goals and encourage each other to do our best and raise each other when others fall.”
3. Girls were given the chance to give feedback about their experience in the program and share lessons they have learned from their mentors.
Be That Girl conference attendees participated in small group discussions and filled out surveys in order for program administrators to better understand the impact of the Be That Girl program on their lives. From the survey results, we found that before the conference, 67% of girls said they were very confident and 33% of girls were somewhat confident about their ambitions and dreams; after the conference, 100% of the girls were very confident about their ambitions and goals.
In addition, girls shared some of the lessons they learned from their mentors, some of which included: the importance of pursuing goals, especially ones focused on education; the importance of being and remaining focused; believing that everything is achievable; and the ability to aim higher and not limit oneself. We appreciate and thank our mentors for making this possible and for spreading love, hope, and empowerment!
4. We celebrated graduates of the Be That Girl program.
The Be That Girl Conference celebrated eight young women who graduated from the program, all of whom are now either employed or pursuing further education. Graduating from the Be That Girl program means that a young woman has completed a certificate program, technical program, or university education. These young women are an inspiration to the younger girls in the program and are the vanguard of a sweeping wave of female activism, empowerment, and change.
We appreciate and love the participants in the Be That Girl program, and we are excited to see the women that they will become. As one staff member specializing in monitoring and evaluation said,
“[Through the program], they learn that their backgrounds do not speak for their future.”
You can read more about the conference in the Be That Girl Foundation magazine. Thank you to our partner, the Be That Girl Foundation, for making it possible for all girls to live a self-determined life.