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Today's Highlights

Fabulous, intense, instructive and powerful first day for #VVLead’s peer-to-peer in Cape Town. Learned a few things, got to know each other and broke through some barriers we didn’t know were there. Check out impressive Indonesian journo Devi Asmarani’s interview with four of our #VVLead women dynamos:

Q: Devi: 
Jessica, what was the most inspiring moment for you?

A: Jessica Hubley, USA, AnnieCannons
For me the most inspiring moment was talking with Shirley Otube (founder and editor-in-chief of online platform SECURE) during one of the exercises earlier today. She was explaining, ‘here’s why I don’t belong in this place of older men with more experience.’ But what was so powerful, what clearly came across to everyone else in the group was this: Shirley had gotten to this place that previously was only open to old men with tons of experience. And wow – how awesome must SHE be to even get there! It was really cool to offer her that outside perspective, identifying what she really was – a prodigy, accomplishing things much earlier, much younger, and with more impact than she might realize.

Q: Devi: 
Andrea, how has your idea of “possibility” changed today?

A: Andrea Garcia Lopez, Mexico, PROTRASH
I think it has totally shifted. I came here facing all these challenges about my organization and all the stressful things that I had been dealing with over the last month. But when I heard that many here are facing the same challenges, it had a positive impact on me and helped me realize how my organization could solve the problem. And, that there are things that we can do together in order to create change around the world. For example, I’m doing something in my country that can be replicated in many other countries, and other organizations can help me to create more value for MY users in Mexico. I am thinking how can we get all the pieces of the puzzle together and create, as someone suggested today, one solution collaboratively with all these people from around the world. We could actually create a bigger solution for a bigger problem.

Q: Devi:
Siphelele, what came out of the collaboration speed dating?

A: Siphelele Chirwa, South Africa, Educo Africa:
Meeting different people during the Collaboration Speed Dating activity, something unexpected happened – I started thinking not just about me and my organization, but about all my networks and how they can collaborate with the network here. It inspired in me an exciting broader possibility, a bigger picture – that solutions were not just available for me and my organization…but could benefit the larger community that I work with.

Q: Devi:
Rupal, what new ideas or tools did you come away with?

A: Rupal Kulkarni, India, Shram Sarathi:
For me the Collaboration Speed Dating activity was really exciting because up until now, I had only thought of financial inclusion in the context of the people that I work for. A lot of the things that, Siphelele, and Andrea and Gemma (Bulos, Global Women’s Water Initiative) were talking about requires me to go back, do some reading, get some homework done to actually be able to make a very meaningful contribution. It’s not a new idea or a new tool, but this realization that there’s so much to learn about financial inclusion. Even one conversation with someone who did not even work in financial inclusion turned out to be so revealing. Siphelele talked about, for example, the “black tax”. She said that if somebody earned $300 dollars over here (in South Africa), $250 of it goes towards paying for family responsibilities and family duties. It’s only $50 that is left for something that you want, for something that you need. And so, you’re essentially giving up a majority portion of your finances. You don’t have control over it; you don’t know what happens to it. We have a similar concept in India, but we just use fancier jargon for it. But I found it really interesting the way she explains it to me, because it comes from the perspective of somebody giving away and parting with their money. I feel a lot of these insights are very useful in designing programs. For me, that’s a good starting point to read a lot more about this and then come back with something that hopefully will contribute to their thinking around financial inclusion for their organizations.

Thank you all. Check back in with us tomorrow. We will have another Q&A about Day #2!

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