Saba’atu Elizabeth Danladi (Ph.D.) is the founder of AfriHUB – a network that connects local communities in Africa with global communities for capacity building and sustainable development. A seasoned researcher and health policy expert, Saba’atu is a fellow at the Nigerian Society of Environmental Health (SEHON). recipient of the African Industrialization Award (AWIA) and was named one of the “50 influential women in Africa” in 2021.
Her passion is to change bad narratives in the life of young people in Africa and to bring hope to disadvantaged children.
What inspired you to work in the international association sector? Would you recommend this career to others? Why/ why not?
I am truly inspired by the voluntary nature of our work; how folks are willing to volunteer without thinking of remuneration first.
I strongly recommend this career to people with a passion to change the world – it’s an exciting opportunity to tackle key problems, change bad narratives and challenge harmful gender/social norms. Through my work in Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI), I managed to challenge negative gender and cultural norms in Northern Nigeria on topics such as early and forced marriage, women’s socio-economic empowerment, women’s mobility, and women & girls’ decision-making power.
How do you/ your association #EmbraceEquity? What challenges did you encounter? How did you tackle them?
AfriHUB gives a voice to diverse groups by letting them know that they are part of the solution and not the problem. We make them feel safe, important, valuable, and respected.
A major challenge has been resistance to change, we solved this through acceptance and tolerance – but also by being consistent and persistent in our messages. We’ve adopted the gender, diversity, equity, and inclusion (GDEI) approach for inclusiveness and got people to play an active role within their scope of influence in order to challenge the monsters called gender stereotypes, gender bias, discrimination, and inequality.
How important are diversity, equity, and inclusion for the future success of associations? What practices can you share that help others understand the real value of DEI?
It is of the utmost importance because people want to be appreciated, to feel valued, respected, and safe anywhere they are or find themselves. For an association to achieve positive outcomes, it needs to develop a culture that fosters relationships that make members feel safe, valued, and respected. This requires an atmosphere that is free of exclusion, prejudice, oppression, and discrimination.
For us, it is important that we practice equitableness and inclusiveness in every part of our work. We try to be fair and impartial – which translated into a transformation in the minds, behavior, and practices of most members. Consciousness or subconsciously, they now object to the exclusion because our values have been deeply rooted in their minds.