The year 2012 was a series of defining moments for the institution and a reawakening of the passion and vision of Women’s University in Africa. The University celebrated its 10th Anniversary on the 17th of September 2012, and in hindsight one can see that all the challenges faced by the University from the date of inception have made the character of this institution come alive. For instance, it is the first University in Zimbabwe to directly target women especially those who are above the age of 25. It is was a novel precedent in Africa ten years ago and this still remains a novelty.
The passion was renewed through the many successes that came to fruition in 2012. The highlight of this success was the University hosting The Sub Forum of the 6th World Women University Presidents/Vice Chancellors Forum. The event was officiated by her Excellency the Vice President of Zimbabwe, Cde Joice Mujuru, an alumnus of the university together with Professor Hu Zhifeng, National Professor of the Communication University of China who officially opened the Sub-Forum. The Sub Forum ran under the theme “Sustainable Development through University Partnerships to Empower Women for Leadership Roles.” The conference had delegates from all over the world, these made up of Women University Presidents, Vice Chancellors, Pro Vice Chancellors, Academics, Diplomats and Politicians. The resolutions were:
1. Create synergies between academic institutions, businesses and governments so that women in Africa can better contribute to the economic development of their country
2. Advocate polices towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly MDG 3 which advocates the promotion of gender equity and empowerment of women by 2015.
3. Create mentorship programmes for young women living with HIV and Aids, with African Chapter of WWUPF spear heading the initiatives.
4. Researching who else needs to be mentored, and in what form does the mentoring take.
These resolutions were in tandem with WUA’s vision of how women’s empowerment can be realised, accepted and understood within Africa for generations to come.
In addition there was a successful series of public lectures at the University mainly the Hope/Fay Public Lecture Series a bi-annual event that celebrates Women’s Day both in Zimbabwe and the United States of America. This lecture series brought renowned international women of excellence that being Elinor Sisilu from South Africa and Mariamme Jamme from Senegal. These lectures inspired the students and stakeholders who attended to become masters of their own destiny and take up the challenge of entrepreneurial commitment and overall empowerment for women.
We created new friends and partners and strengthened internal cohesion through the 30 events hosted by Women’s University in Africa. As a result, we know the future of our institution will forever be safe-guarded by individuals who have similar ambitions to empower women, thus allowing the institution’s mandate to be propelled by others for years to come
The US$3 million grant awarded to the University by Africa Capacity Building Foundation in July 2012, was not just a realisation of this future, but reaffirmation of WUA being on the right path because there are organisations who believe in the University’s vision which is “to be the best university in Africa in the promotion of gender equity in tertiary education”.
WUA took up the motto “Believe. Empower. Achieve”, to encourage stakeholders and students to believe in the WUA vision, help in the empowerment of women because together we can achieve the goal of addressing gender disparity.
In conclusion, as WUA solidifies its presence in tertiary education within Africa, I feel that the progress made by WUA staff and students will be continued above and beyond our expectations for decades to come. 2013 is a year of continued excellence and I thank all current stakeholders for their support. With your continued support I am sure our pursuit for excellence will propel us to greater heights.