The Female Ambassadorial Core
COUTURE Africa|6th Anniversary Edition

COUTURE Africa magazine had the honour and pleasure of sitting with and celebrating female diplomats living, working and enjoying Kenya. We spoke to them about their travels, their thoughts on women empowerment and the future of women in Africa in the lovely setting of the Lord Errol restaurant in Runda. The day-long affair had these leading ladies start their day with a light brunch, a beauty session with Lancôme Paris and a chance to have a fashion moment with Lisa Christoffersen, Deepa Dosaja, Lucy Rao and Carole Kinoti.

Jackline Mukami

AMBASSADOR DR. PINDI CHANA

Tanzanian Ambassador to Kenya

I have been in Kenya for the past two years and what I have come to love about the country is the culture; Kenyan people are very welcoming and hospitable. Being a member of the East African Community, communication has also been easy for me considering we all use the same language – Swahili. I really appreciate this fact. I also love that we all have similar food and the fact that our culture is not that different, for example we have the Maasai people both in Kenya and Tanzania.

I am a strong believer of women empowerment, which means showing women, who occupy almost 51% of the population that we really need to focus and prioritize on our development. This is the group that needs to have a strong representation and focus on socio-economic matters and activities, which is why we say that if you want to empower a nation, you empower the woman. And even as we plan and budget for our nations, our budgets should be gender sensitive. We have to make sure that we allocate enough funds to reduce maternal mortality as well as empower women economically.

As a woman in leadership – being an ambassador and a lawyer by profession – my number one priority is to guide other women to better understand their rights and how they can go about accomplishing whatever they are after. I also strive to create awareness for women and capacity building for our community.

I strongly believe than women in Africa are on the rise. Take Tanzania for instance, we now have a female Vice President. We also have women occupying the position of Head of States in other countries around the continent such as Liberia and the Former Malawian leader. We are also very much engaged in many pledges such as environmental preservation and waste management. These are projects under UNEP and UN Habitat which you will find women spearheading and taking the initiative. Women really are on the rise; they now know their rights and privileges, and they can achieve anything they want provided that they have access to good quality education. That is why we have free education so that the girl child can have access to free education. I wish to see women take up more top positions in other fields too.

AMBASSADOR ELIZABETH TAYLOR

Columbian Ambassador to Kenya

I have been in Kenya for about three years now and I truly believe that Kenya is one of the most wonderful places one can live in. Coming to Kenya felt like coming home - everything felt similar to what we have back in Columbia. I love everything about the country, with nature being my first love. Nature here is very beautiful. I have background in environmental management and that says a lot about my love for nature and wildlife. I also came to love the people, their dances and the African sunsets.

Speaking on women empowerment, I believe it is all about making sure women feel confident enough in themselves and what they have. We also have to make sure we contribute to the agenda by recognizing the positive aspects women have and this means encouraging women especially in education and career development. I believe that education is one of the most important assets that a woman can possess, as it will eventually open many doors for her.

I have worked with and focus on people a lot. I believe in empowering others, helping them achieve their goals and training them in all aspects to help them advance. Beside this, my husband and I have been involved in a personal project that supports and sponsors education for a couple of kids in Kenya. I am very happy doing my regular job as a diplomat, but I also engage a lot with the social aspect.

I believe women in Africa are on the rise. For instance, what I have found here in Kenya (as well as other countries that I have served as an ambassador including Rwanda and Ethiopia) is that a lot of their women are empowered. We now even have a female President in Ethiopia. I think that things are changing and that development for the woman and everyone in Africa is moving at a quicker pace than before. We live in a more globalized world and people are now exposed to different opportunities, cultures and societies around the world, making interaction across cultures much easier.

AMBASSADOR JULIA PATAKI

Romanian Ambassador to Kenya

I have been in Kenya for the last six years. To be frank, I experienced a completely different culture when I came to Kenya. The way of life and the surroundings was totally different from what I was used to. This is because Kenya gave me colours. I started to like the beautiful colour palette and the interesting architectural combinations the country has. The second thing that Kenya gave me was African Art, which I discovered thanks to Lisa Christoffersen. Art here is so unique and natural but unfortunately disappearing since it is not promoted in a way to preserve it. I therefore started to collect paintings from different artists with different styles. I am really into preserving traditions, cultures and customs - these are the three things I am taking with me and I would like to promote after I am done with my term.

Women empowerment is a top priority for me. Since I finished law school, I have been involved in promoting and preserving human rights. I have always strived to develop women and I have participated in a lot of activities that support women’s rights. I believe that without women society would not develop sustainably. It is very clear that we cannot live without women’s creativity to propel us ahead.

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