Impact of the Women’s Voice and Leadership Project on the First Female Student Union President of the University of Calabar

 

This achievement is truly remarkable, as it marks the first time in the 49-year history of the University of Calabar that a female has been elected as the president of the Student Union Government. Blessing Alims, at 33 years old, has broken new ground with her historic win. Her success can be attributed to various trainings conducted by one of the partners of the Women’s Voice and Leadership Project, GADA. This milestone serves as a beacon of strength and inspiration for other young women aspiring to leadership roles.

Blessing Alims
Blessing Alims, SUG President, University of Calabar

 

10 Interview Questions for the First Female Student Union President of the University of Calabar

  1. What motivated you to run for the position of Student Union president despite the challenges posed by the patriarchal system?

    RESPONSE: The desire to make a difference and change the status quo.

  2. Were there any female role models or mentors who inspired you to pursue this leadership role? If so, how did they influence your decision?

    RESPONSE: Amb. Nkoyo Toyo, who contested for Cross River State Governor, and Prof. Florence Obi, the first female Vice Chancellor in UNICAL, inspired me.

  3. How did you overcome the societal and institutional barriers that often discourage women from pursuing leadership positions?

    RESPONSE: Through right values and believing in God. I was able to uphold my personal values, resilience, and a supportive network. By aligning my actions with my values, drawing strength from my faith, and building a supportive network, I navigated and overcame societal and institutional barriers that often discourage women from pursuing leadership positions. These experiences reinforced my commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive environment for all aspiring leaders, regardless of gender.

  4. Can you share some of the key strategies and experiences from your campaign? How did you manage to gain support from both male and female students?

    RESPONSE: I developed campaign messages, strategic plans, and collaborated with NGOs like GADA. I was able to gain support from both male and female students throughout my campaign for Student Union presidency.

  5. How did the Women’s Voice and Leadership project influence your decision to contest for the Student Union presidency?

    RESPONSE: The Women’s Voice and Leadership project provided both practical and emotional support that bolstered my decision to contest for the Student Union presidency. It reinforced my commitment to advancing gender equality and empowered me to pursue leadership opportunities where I could actively contribute to positive change.

  6. What kind of support did you receive from your family, friends, and the university community during your campaign?

    RESPONSE: During my campaign for the presidency, I paid a courtesy visit to GADA requesting support and received a sum of One Hundred Thousand Naira and a billboard banner to aid my campaign publicity. Overall, the collective support from my family, friends, and the university community played a crucial role in the success of my campaign and reinforced my commitment to serving as a leader who listens to and advocates for the needs of all students.

  7. What are your primary goals and initiatives as the newly elected president? How do you plan to address issues affecting female students specifically?

    RESPONSE: As the newly elected president, my primary goals and initiatives focus on fostering inclusivity, enhancing student welfare, and promoting a supportive environment for all students, with specific attention to addressing issues affecting female students and people with disabilities. By prioritizing these goals and initiatives, I aim to create a campus environment where female students feel supported, empowered, and valued, contributing to their academic success and overall well-being.

  8. What advice would you give to other young women who aspire to take on leadership roles in their universities and communities?

    RESPONSE: To young women aspiring to take on leadership roles in universities and communities, here are some pieces of advice:

    1. Believe in Yourself.
    2. Seek Mentorship.
    3. Build a Support Network.
    4. Develop Leadership Skills.
    5. Be Persistent and Resilient.
    6. Advocate for Yourself.
    7. Embrace Learning.
    8. Lead with Integrity and Empathy.

    By following these pieces of advice, young women can cultivate their leadership potential, contribute positively to their universities and communities, and make a lasting impact on society.

  9. How do you envision the future of gender equality in student leadership at the University of Calabar and beyond?

    RESPONSE: I envision a future where gender equality in student leadership at the University of Calabar and beyond becomes the norm rather than the exception. This future involves several key aspects:

    1. Increased Representation.
    2. Supportive Environment.
    3. Policy and Structural Changes.
    4. Changing Mindsets.
    5. Networking and Collaboration.

    By working towards these goals, we can pave the way for a future where gender equality in student leadership is not only achievable but celebrated as a cornerstone of a diverse and inclusive university community.

  10. What legacy do you hope to leave as the first female Student Union president, and what are your future plans after your tenure?

    RESPONSE: As the first female Student Union president, my legacy aims to be one of inclusivity, empowerment, and lasting positive change. During my tenure, I aspire to implement policies that promote gender equality, diversity, and support for marginalized groups on campus. I want to foster a culture where every student feels heard, represented, and supported in their academic and personal journeys. Looking ahead, after my tenure as president, I plan to continue advocating for social justice and equality in whichever path I choose. Whether it’s pursuing further education, entering the workforce, or engaging in activism, I intend to use the skills and experiences gained from my presidency to contribute meaningfully to society and continue striving for positive change.