IWAA to offer a way out for Cameroonian women

Patience Awazi making dreams come alive

Patience Awazi making dreams come alive

Ms. Patience Awazi recently returned home from the USA. When we caught up with her at her Meta Quarter residence for a chat, she revealed that her prime mission home is to spread the tentacles of her organization- The International Women’s Achievement Alliance (IWAA), that aims at promoting and empowering women all over the world. Ms. Awazi firmly believes that if the human resources and potentials of our women are harnessed in a positive way and their ideas nurtured, Cameroon can emerge as the next Silicon Valley. She spoke to Charles Kebua and Abongwa Fozo in Bamenda.

What is the name of your organization?

The international women’s achievement Alliance

What is the aim behind this organization?

Its empowering the women all over the world, taking one country at a time, and this is what I have been doing in California and I have a lot of women from all over the world in my organization and I want to put the physical branch right here in Cameroon.

Why Cameroon?

This is my home country and I know the challenges that women have been facing and I believe it is only natural for me to come back here and give back to my home country.

What are you bringing that is different from what has been existing here?

I believe the first thing is the mind set, changing the mind set, letting them know they have the power in their hands to make a difference in their lives because  a lot of women think they just have to have funding from abroad, money from somewhere, but a lot of people have the resources right here. They just need a little more push, a vision, encourage them to look at the vision and the purpose in order for them to achieve their dreams and that the power is in their minds, is not in someplace else.

 Can this vision empower the rural women?

I believe so. The rural woman is a woman and she has her brains. Just because most of them haven’t been to school doesn’t mean that they don’t think, doesn’t mean that they are not intelligent, they may not be academically trained but they still have some intelligence and they have crafts and different things they can work with, some have natural resources like palm nuts and other things and we could encourage them to use what they have to make a better living for themselves and their family.

What drives you, what motives you?

I have always love business; my passion is business and making a difference in other people’s lives, So I have encourage myself in so many things, doing a lot of vacations just to have the skills necessary to help someone else and I think that is my background, it's the business background that I have and that is what I want to impact the world with, for people to be self reliant.

Do you intend to expand this vision beyond Cameroon?

Well, Cameroon as I said earlier is just the beginning in Africa but I already have people in my organization online in Africa. I have a member of my board right here in Cameroon and so we will   go to different countries, the physical entity is going to go to other countries not just Cameroon. While in America I have been communicating with other women from different countries.

It is widely believed that when someone comes from abroad he comes with a lot of money, are you coming with money to promote this vision?

I am happy you asked that. I want to change the mind set.  The mental slavery that the people in the third world have, I want these women to realize that money doesn’t always have to come from the Diaspora, I want to change their thinking, I want them to realize the power is in their hands to do whatever they want to do and the money would came. So we are going to train them,  stimulate their brains, their thinking and we are going to encourage them to look at the resources they have around them that they have been under looking in order for them to make a better living for themselves and their families.

What does it take to be a member of IWAA?

My organization targets primarily business women, aspiring business women and professional women. All you have to do is to register and then we would take it from there. We would do an assessment and see what you need and we have mentors to help train you in whatever your challenge is.

How can interested women get in touch with you?

I just came in now, we have a website, www.theiwaa.com they can go online and register and within the next few days I would have a physical presence here where they can go and register since I realize a lot of the women here have not been going online and that is going to change. I want to show them what social media is all about and what it means to expand their thinking, connect them to other women around the world and even around the country that can help them and enlighten them.

How can this vision benefit the women here in the long term?

I believe they are going to benefit a whole lot because I am coming with a different thinking. I am going to empower them in such a way that they would empower the other generation coming, I don’t have to be there in front of everybody, when I empower one woman I expect her to empower the other one and it goes down the line.

Any contact number?

The contact number they can reach right now is 51722751.

Any appeal?

My appeal to the women of Cameroon is; please go online at www.theiwaa.com or call the number 51722751. Also I am appealing to the business community to support this endeavour because this is a different touch to the women. It’s not bringing money to the women, it is changing their thinking. And also I am going to be encouraging the young people who had finished university and have nothing going on for them. I am also encouraging those who have creative minds, the Steve Jobs, the Bill Gates of Cameroon, we are creating an environment for you to come and challenge yourself and come up with a service or a product that the world would say whoa there is a Silicon Valley in Cameroon.

You concentrate so much on the women, what about the men folk, should there not be a man behind every successful woman?

You are right, that is why I have the incubator. The Incubator is going to be part of the centre for women. After coming to Cameroon I realize that so many young minds are wasting in the bars, just roaming in the streets doing nothing. I want to encourage those young minds that finished university, or maybe they just have a great idea and want to develop it. We want them to come to the centre and show us what they can do. We want the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates to come from Cameroon.

Why are the youths coming in on the back seat in your vision?

Well because my first passion has always been to empower women and that is what I am trying to do. But when I came and saw the need for the creative minds just wasting, and I am a creative person and I would go crazy if I never had the opportunities that I have had in life. So I am deciding, I am going to create this opportunity. I am not giving them money, I am challenging them. Yes the money would come later on if they create a product that an investor can say “whoa I think I want to pay for this, I think I want to partner with this person so that we can create an empire” so that is when I started thinking it is important that I have some young minds who really want to do more than just going to school to learn geography or history, I mean there are thousands of them I don’t even know what they are going to do with them.

This is a place to come and challenge yourself, not what your dad said you should go and learn in school. This is what you want to prove to the world that you can do.

And any last word?

 What I want to say is if you can dream it, we can make it happen. I would make sure it happens.

Interview conducted by Charles Kebua and Abongwa Fozo

contact IWAA at www.theiwaa.com

IWAA members California USA

IWAA members California USA

 

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