Nomination of Margaret Osolo Odhiambo to the 100 voices platform:
“I first met Margaret some years back, when she came to my school in Mathare, Nairobi, to facilitate our local Red Cross Club. I was in eight grade at the time and I was looking forward to every single Thursday when the club would gather. In the club, Margaret would teach us about various issues, such as; first aid, child resilience, fire and road safety, as well as a healthy lifestyle for prevention of the Non-Communicable diseases. She is one amazing woman leader and role model, who I believe has not only inspired me but continues to inspire other children and young people. She does not know of this nomination, but I want to highlight her as an example of a female passionate leader in the humanitarian space.” Text by: Wuilu Wairimu, volunteer in the Nairobi branch of Kenya Red Cross Society.
– Margaret Osolo Odhiambo, Kenya
”I use my leadership position to create and open up more spaces for everyone”
”I play my part as a leader by trying to enable others. I believe there is enough space for service and humanitarian excellence at the top for everyone, so I use my leadership position to create and open up more spaces for everyone - men and women alike, including youth, children and the older generation. I work hard to try to get individuals of different backgrounds engaged in the Red Cross family and in reaching out to communities”, Margaret explains.
“My most memorable moment from the Red Cross was when 16 students of a Red Cross Club that I had been facilitating and engaging, responded to a fire in a nearby school and surrounding houses. The students were a group of 9-13 year-olds, but despite their low age they were able to attend to the affected children and the community members, they managed the injuries and assisted in evacuation while the fire was being contained – no fatalities were recorded.
It motivates me to see the tireless efforts of selfless volunteers of the Red Cross. The timely and appropriate responses they offer during crisis, emergencies and disasters, and their community engagements to ensure health, safety and well-being for all.”
– Margaret Osolo Odhiambo, Kenya
”Women and girls alike are compassionate and ethical leaders”
Other than being a local youth leader, Margaret also serves in the National Youth Council and is the Regional Youth Chairperson in the Lower Eastern Region of the Kenya Red Cross. She has received various awards for her resilient volunteerism across communities. In 2018, she received the Youth Volunteer of the Year under the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Government of Kenya for her resilient volunteer work in health and humanitarian spaces. She was also a 2019 Diana Award recipient in London, United Kingdom for her work in ensuring health, well-being and safety for vulnerable and marginalized children in the communities and humanitarian settings.
When reflecting on the future for herself and other women leaders, Margaret is optimistic: “Women and girls alike are compassionate and ethical leaders. The pipeline for female leadership in the society and country is widening as more girls and women are positioning themselves for leadership, for careers in the humanitarian space, and for the opportunities to grow, develop, reach out and to be a changemakers. There are many old stereotypes about women in leadership, but there is a lot of evidence speaking to the positive effects of more women and girls in leadership positions, such as increased productivity, greater innovation and effective decision-making. We are just as competent and capable if not more.”
Only 24.3% of all national parliamentarians were women as of February 2019, a slow increase from 11.3% in 1995.