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What does an African woman’s post-grad year and experience look like?

Hint: There isn't a single, or a uniform answer to this question. But a friend of mine and I are on a mission to answer it. Read on to find out how!

Perhaps the best place to start off this article is here:

This is me, exactly a year ago today, closing off one of the most beautiful and formative chapters of my life. This is also me, confidently walking into my post-grad year knowing that nothing could stop me!

Leading up to this point, I had just about read all the books and articles I could find centered on post-grad experiences. And so, armored with all the knowledge I had on the post-grad year, I was ready for a smooth sail! But as I soon came to realize, no amount of reading can ever truly prepare you for any experience - or a pandemic for that matter.

In conversations with friends over the year, it dawned on me how the complexities in the challenges we were facing, ranging from job searching, being in new environments, moving back home, to navigating our first jobs and the paths we’d chosen for ourselves, revealed a pattern that was too easy to not notice: we were all simply trying to figure out the best way forward and often that meant having to lean closer to the support systems we had built in the three/four-year journey and share our stories.

Many of us, in fact, are still going through that process.

One conversation, in particular, drew me in to want to hear the stories of my other female counterparts, whose diverse experiences reminded me of 5 women navigating their own year in “Post Grad: Five Women and their first year out of college.” It came as a surprise that in conducting research across many African countries on what the post-grad season looked like for women, there was no collective let alone an extensive publication that touched on this crucial stage; an often challenging period of time.

A lot of the knowledge I realized I had gathered and read was almost all Western-centric and highlighted experiences of women who had attended institutions outside the African continent. And being a young Kenyan woman, I am well aware that the lived experiences of women can and do tend to look completely different based on geographical, demographic, political, and socio-economic factors.

Alongside my friend and co-founder, Hope Mutua, we saw an opportunity and a unique chance to amplify the stories that we were both getting exposed to and share those which we hadn’t heard in hopes of bringing more light into this phase of life.

For us, to be able to support young women as they enter the post-grad period and unravel the challenges they face is something we believe can contribute extensively to one's early career stage. And although attaining an undergraduate degree is not always a straight way ticket to a job, success, or even financial security, it is often a privilege for many African women and a key determining factor in one's career trajectory.

And so:

We're Introducing ‘That Glow Factor’

In 2018, Hope and I started FemmePWR Club to cater to our university campus women in helping them navigate their internship season with more ease. Almost 3 years in, we are now in the process of growing beyond our first launch and incorporating the diverse voices spread across the African continent. Our mission still stands, we are enabling young African college women to navigate their careers successfully.

From ‘FemmePWR’ to now ‘That Glow Factor’ we hope to continue using this platform to amplify, empower and inspire young African women to succeed in their career lives.

We are soon launching an exciting project! An extensive publication that will spotlight African Women’s Post-Grad Experience.

I am particularly excited about this as it’ll be my second publication to work on centered on African women - the first being that of African women social innovators.

Over the following year, we are embarking on a journey to listen to the stories of 100 women across the continent (from junior, middle, senior to hopefully retired level) and amplify these voices. From the challenges, the wins, the cries, laughs - we hope to hear it all!

As story-tellers, we are driven from the point of embracing and telling African stories as they ought to be told - candidly, honestly and to spark conversations that continue to shift the far too long, one-sided aspect many of us have often heard or interacted with when it comes to Africa and Women.

We hope to discover, learn, and if anything, be inspired by the stories we hear. We can only hope more stories such as these are brought into the light to encourage, uplift, and empower younger, present, and future generations into embracing the challenges and the phases of life they go through.

Hope and I are exceedingly passionate about creating platforms for African women. Women whose stories and journeys - whatever trajectory they have taken - may inspire an individual into realizing their utmost potential to becoming their best selves.

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