Thursday, October 6, 2011

Proud, is too poor a word ...

Last week I was in Accra, to host the 3rd Annual Conference of Women Aviators in Africa -

Despite a lot of difficulties, the conference was a massive success!

Students came from Ghana, Nigeria & elsewhere ...... professionals flew in from Seattle, USA, Dakar, Senegal & Germany, Ireland & other locations - it was a strong show of support both male & female to get more youngsters into aviation; but particularly female aviators from W.Africa.

Proud, is too poor a word.

There were ladies with us who had got there by bus from Lagos, endured hours of surgery for a disablement I've spoken about before; others who had flown in from South Africa, the USA via Nairobi & other locations to meet us and drive forward the presence of women in the avition industry.

Air Commodore Kwame (Victor) Mamphey, Director General of Ghana Civil Aviation Authority made the keynote speech, well received by all, followed by a strong address by Dr John E Tambi, NEPAD (African Union) trying to demystify the concept of women entering the industry.  Following this Patricia Mawuli made an impact on all present with her story of entering the industry & mentoring the three pilots that followed up with their stories. 

Jessica Cox the 'armless' US pilot confirmed at the very last moment on landing at Kotoka, Accra's burgeoning airport and arrived 20minutes later!  Her speech & presence had a profound effect on everyone there.   To see Jessica meet Lydia Westi who had already spoken during the morning session, watching this young 16 year old Ghanaian pilot with one good arm meet Jessica had me in tears.

Lydia is a student at the AvTech Academy, part of and proving to everyone that if you can dream it, you can believe it, as WAFRIC's President Kajuju Laiboni instills into everyone!  After two days at the Accra conference kindly sponsored by Ghana Civil Aviation at the Fiesta Royale Hotel the third day was an outing for the delegates.

The AvTech Academy hosted the most incredible day at their Kpong Airfield having been an integral part of our logistics & other crazy matters to get this conference on the road.  It had people talking prior to our arrival and now for days afterwards.  One of the delegates forgot it was his birthday due to the love of flight.  Six international delegates were sponsored by to fly with their crew!

A few press reviews: 
The WAFRIC board are so proud of what has been accomplished, to get more young women into aviation, West Africa will be the first WAFRIC chapter with a determined team behind them!
Special thanks have to go to all the ladies in Ghana, Jonathan Porter of, Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, Boeing, Aelex Law Firm, Landover (Nigeria), Charles Sablah of 'Put Jah First' & his walking tours of Nima, Accra!  
Without their support, West African aviation lovers particularly the ladies might not stand a chance of getting their passion across!!!
My only hope is that C.R.E.E.R will get established soon to provide mechanical engineering to youngsters who might want to move into aviation at a later date.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This event and the support behind it only go to prove the potential and economic power that Africa is poised upon. Inspiring stories coming out of West Africa to spur others on the continent to demystify the presence and success of women in aviation. Cheers to WAFRIC!