By: Habiba Cooper Diallo
I was recently in Toronto at the Youth In Motion (now Plan Canada) three day leadership summit for the recipients of the Top 20 Under 20 Award.
The program recognizes 20 of Canada’s “…brightest youth, celebrating their innovation, leadership and achievement.”
I was awarded for the research and awareness-building around fistula that I have been doing through WHOI.
The application process began early. I applied in early February and was soon shortlisted for a telephone interview with one of the committee judges. Now in June, I was back home in Toronto to receive the award.
Upon our arrival in Toronto, all the recipients were taken to a media room where the tech. team made short video clips about us and our area of innovation.
Each day of the summit was jam-packed with seminars in media training, branding, and organizational strategy, to more relaxed activities like group games and dinner at the Keg Steakhouse. We also learned from top business consultants and practitioners from Right Management and the Globe and Mail.
Finally, the big day came—the awards ceremony breakfast. During this time, our friends, families, and the award sponsors all gathered to celebrate our achievement and to hear from all of the recipients about our various initiatives.
I was graced by the presence of fellow award recipients who themselves were partaking in groundbreaking research and philanthropic initiatives.
It is rewarding to be named one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20; and more importantly, I was honoured to have yet another opportunity to share my passion for fistula.
Habiba Cooper Diallo
I am a Canadian fistula advocate and blogger, and the founder of the Women’s Health Organization International, WHOI. I have been doing fistula awareness-building in Canada for the past 10 years. My work on fistula has led me to Ghana, Senegal, Guinea, Ethiopia, and Sierra Leone. I have been featured in Forbes, the HuffPost, and UNFPA