Immaculate Ajiambo, a native of Mariakani, Kilifi County eloquently describes herself as a storyteller, editor of an online magazine and a social change ambassador. As a founding executive of Mwangaza magazine, Immaculate champions female voices and issues in media by ensuring participation of women in telling their stories and using female writers to ensure that women, young and old are not left behind. While starting off as a volunteer had its own set of ups and downs, she maintains that patience and passion are the most important values to possess if one truly wants to make a difference in their communities.
In an effort to pass the baton to future youth advocates, she is a part of the Tumaini Young Mothers Association in Kaloleni Constituency where she empowers teen mothers to change the negative perception society often has about them through telling their compelling stories. Moreover, she runs a mentorship and book club for young women to develop their writing skills while demystifying myths on menstrual hygiene and gender notions on both women and men. Immaculate believes that men are an integral part of the fight for gender equality and hopes to have as many male allies as possible.
In 2018, Immaculate worked with the Creative Enterprise Programme (CEP), Uganda a programme that brings creatives together and trains them on how to start and build their enterprises, organized by the British Council in partnership with Nesta (the UK’S Innovation Foundation). The British Council taps into the youth’s ideas to ensure that the ideas are invested in and well-crafted for the market. She has taken it upon herself to work with young women and girls of her community in applying to the CEP and other entrepreneurial and leadership programs. However, the greatest challenges in her work is inadequate finances and negative perceptions by the community of the work she does.
Nevertheless, she is optimistic that such negative attitudes and perceptions can be changed. She hopes to start social entrepreneurship academies in Malindi and Kilifi in the future to empower youth in her community to tap into their creative skills. In addition, she dreams of expanding Mwangaza Daima Media to South Sudan and Ethiopia to reach more women and empower them to tell their stories and fight for gender equality. Indeed, a future where there is a uniform message for the sexual empowerment of women and all women are their sisters’ keepers is what she envisions.
Immaculate believes that there is great opportunity for female leaders in media and leadership to deal with harmful practices such as femicide, in STEM and storytelling. Women are brilliant, resilient and present; all they have to do is take up and own their space in society. She is inspired by her mother, the uniqueness of each individual and the desire to be her most authentic self. She insists, “It is not about doing grandeur things. That one little thing has the potential to have an extraordinary impact and reach many people.”
Her feminist icon of choice is Sarah Agbor, African Union Commissioner of Human Resources and Technology, because of her courage and confidence and whose words Immaculate insists are to live by. Immaculate believes that the International Women’s Day represents an opportunity for the celebration of women, the efforts taken so far and those to be taken in future to achieve gender equality.