By Emiko Perea
For years, Nyambura Ruhiu-Mboggo observed her mother make milk deliveries to support the family. One day she asked her, “Mother, how much do you make?” A short silence followed before Nyambura realized that her mother couldn’t tell her how much she made in a day, let alone a week, or a year.
This simple but powerful moment with her mom was the inspiration behind Nyambura’s desire to help empower women from Africa. Vice-President of the African Chamber of Commerce of the Pacific Northwest (ACCPNW), Nyambura was inspired to organize a finance-themed workshop after learning about the strides being made to empower women as peacebuilding leaders by Global Peace Foundation (GPF). In order to help the women in the USA's African community start their own businesses and keep track of their finances, her workshop, held under the theme, "Unlocking the Financials for Minority Women," was held on June 29th in Des Moise, Washington.
By equipping women with knowledge, skills, and confidence in various fields, the women’s division of GPF strives to uplift the value of women—daughters, sisters, and mothers—in societies around the world through local partnerships and grassroots projects. Nyambura’s financial workshop was not only an opportunity to provide insights for these women to make educated financial decisions and obtain skills that would help them get jobs; it also empowered them as skilled leaders to bring economic stability and peace to their homes and communities.
“As a woman, we must always feel like we are worthy,” said Nyambura, pointing to the importance of uplifting women’s value as entrepreneurs. According to Nyambura, many women were in the health or food business, not willing to risk going beyond their comfort zones. She asked the participants to question what stopped them from being financially stable or from seeking new business opportunities. “This is why we need to be confident, and take the risk, diversify, and try something different than everyone else.”
Nyambura presented a clear process for the women to create their business plan and clarified the difference between a vision and mission statement: a vision statement focused on what an organization wanted to ultimately become, while a mission statement focused on what the business is and what it valued. She gave an example of putting a business plan into action, portraying a family trip to Disneyland with young children saying, “You need to decide how you spend your time and what you want to do.” She gave guidance on the best ways to register businesses with help from ACCPNW. She concluded the presentation with a call to action to the African diaspora community to work together to establish financial health and stability and to create a peaceful culture within each community and with one another.
“I am thrilled to be here,” said Angela from Uganda, “I went to Barton University in Kenya for the first 2 years, and studied in the US for the next two years. We worked together with the ACCPNW very closely at that time. We want to bring a lot of opportunities to Africa and give exposure from the USA.”