Ummulkheir Ali Gufu, a native of Garbatulla district, Isiolo county is currently a final year student pursuing an undergraduate degree in procurement and contract management at JKUAT, Nakuru Campus. In pursuit of her profession, she has come across diversity in different aspects of life be it human interactions, leadership, religion and employment.
Championing young women’s participation in governance has not been a walk in the park for her, seeing as she comes from a community where women’s education is often given little to no priority. Moreover, the political space in Kenya is male dominated making it difficult for most women, especially the young who are disregarded for their youth. Miss. Ali started out quite young, advocating for gender equality. In recent years, she has made it her mission to lobby for equal distribution of constituency bursary in an attempt to ensure more female students achieve their academic dreams. At school, she vied for student leadership positions and was overwhelmingly elected as the Academic Affairs Secretary where she has done her best to serve humanity and address challenges facing female students.
In an effort to further progressive transformation in young women’s participation in governance, she has made great efforts to nurture and campaign for her fellow female students at school most of whom have won and participated in electing leaders as a campus delegate.
One of the greatest challenges Ummulkheir faces is confidence especially when it comes to speaking up on issues and decision making. There are also financial constraints which often make it difficult to run student affairs.
Miss Ali believes that the future is luminous and as one who is committed to becoming a leader in the corporate world, she is seeking guidance from women who came before her. She also aspires to be a conduit to mentor and uplift those women who come after her in the corporate and governance space. There are lots of emerging opportunities for women in all aspects of society due to the expansions happening.
Her passion for gender equality is driven by a personal need to solve problems within society having experienced some of the inequalities that come along with being a woman in a patriarchal society. Ummulkheir is also inspired by Tiyah Galgalo Ali, with whom she believes she shares the same, the first woman representative in Isiolo county who became the first girl to pursue an education up to A levels in her county. Tiyah also founded the Kenya Women’s Pastoralist Foundation which advocates for admission of girls to universities from marginalized communities.
She says, “Every International Women’s Day represents an opportunity to reflect on the personal and societal milestones taken towards empowerment of women and the fight for gender equality. It is also a perfect time to reflect on the achievements that we women have had throughout history while also celebrating what women are currently doing to empower their fellow women and communities.”