Fast forward. My experience in Cape Verde is indescribable. Awesome! The WHO does know how to fete. We were treated like dignitaries throughout the exhibition. I had two wonderful medical students serving as volunteers, Isabel and Fana, courtesy of WHO. Thank you Isabel, thank you, Fana. This made it possible for me to attend some of the sessions of the Forum. On the last day of the Forum, I listened to the founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, Dr Ola Brown. In part, she said: "In Africa, the kind of innovation we need should be home-grown and it has to exponentially decrease the cost of healthcare so that we can start this process of doing more with less". I would not agree more. Our innovation, the African Character Initiation Programme (ACIP) is homegrown: an African programme by Africans for Africans. We reconstruct the indigenous African rite of passage from childhood to adulthood to mentor adolescent boys and girls (11-15 years old) with skills and values for sexual and reproductive health. For life.
I presented the African Character Initiation Programme (ACIP) to the President of Cape Verde, President Jorge Carlos Fonseca together with Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the Regional Director of WHO in the African Region. Both listening carefully. Later I got to kiss on my cheek from the President as we took photos with him at the lobby.
I got to present our ACIP innovation to other policy makers, health partners, other leaders and to my fellow innovators. I continue to network with some of these.
I was probably the oldest innovator. Most innovators were less than 35. I felt like a fossil. There were more male innovators than female innovators. This saddened me because it suggests gender disparity.
I thank the President and the people of Cape Verde, World Health Organization, the Regional Director of WHO in the African Region, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, Chibi Moredreck, Sam Braithwaite who was in charge of innovators’ exhibitions, and all our hosts in Cape Verde. Dr. Moeti, you inspired me. Thank you.